CCN PHOTO | DEBORAH GYAPONG
MP Stephen Woodworth focused Canadians' attention on the legal status of the unborn child.
Stephen Woodworth, the MP who challenged the law saying the unborn child is not a person, says while he is disappointed his motion to change that law failed to pass, his motion exposed "the most vile, most unjust law in Canada."
Woodworth's Motion 312 was defeated 203 to 91 in a House of Commons vote Sept. 26, but it won the support of the majority of the Conservative caucus, including 10 cabinet ministers.
"I want Canadians to remember that no great issue is ever determined by a single vote in the House of Commons," he said.
"It remains for the Canadian people to rise up even more strongly in defence of honest laws and universal human rights, which are so shamefully violated by (Criminal Code) subsection 223(1)."
Subsection 223(1) declares that an unborn child in the womb is not a human being until after the moment of complete birth.
If Woodworth's motion had passed, it would have set up a parliamentary committee to examine the definition of a human being in that subsection in light of the latest medical and scientific evidence.
Though opponents of Motion 312 said the abortion debate is settled and the courts recognize a right to abortion, Woodworth pointed out Justice Bertha Wilson in the 1988 Morgentaler decision left the question of protection for unborn life to Parliament.
"This issue was never closed, it's not closed now and will never be closed if we in Parliament continue to stick our collective head in the sand," he said.
Woodworth said he received a huge volume of mail mostly in favour of the motion. As well, hundreds of petitions with thousands of signatures showed both women and men supported it.
The volume of mail was so large it clogged the parliamentary post office, he said.
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) called the defeat of Motion 312 "unfortunate" but the vote results were nevertheless "encouraging."
"It shows how divided Canadians really are regarding respect for all human lives," said COLF director Michele Boulva. "Obviously, there is growing support for a national conversation on the beginning of human life."
"Science has clearly shown that from the moment of conception, the genetic code of a new and unique human being is present in the mother's womb," she said.
Pro-life advocate Andrea Mzrozek congratulated the MPs who voted in favour of Motion 312, specifically Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.
Women across Canada have many different views on abortion, "which are probably neither firmly in the pro-life nor the pro-choice camp," said Mrozek.
Mrozek said the motion served all Canadians well by advancing "our ability to respectfully ask questions and debate the issue of when life begins."
Woodworth said Canadians will recognize that much of what the opponents of his motion said during the debate "lacked any logic or coherence."
"Many speakers against Motion 312 showed they were willing to abandon time-honoured Canadian values in a single-minded personal preoccupation with abortion no matter how grave the consequences."