Proposed review of existing abortion rules likely won’t pass first stage

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

A Tory MP is conceding that his private members bill that would require a Parliamentary committee to study the point at which a baby becomes a human being might not have the support to pass a House of Commons vote next week.

According to the Globe and Mail, Stephen Woodworth booked the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Monday to clarify his motivation behind the bill and admit that he has a tough fight ahead him.

Ultimately, Woodworth wants Parliament to review Section 223 of the Criminal Code which says a child becomes a human being "when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.''

The review, Woodworth argues, won't necessarily lead to a change in abortion rules but is needed because the law is based on a 400-year-old definition of the term 'human being.'

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"Let's have an open-minded, respectful dialogue about our 400-year-old definition of human being," he said, adding that Section 223 "dehumanizes and excludes an entire class of people."

"Until a child's little toe pops out of the birth canal, that child is not recognized as a human being in Canada," he said, according to the Globe.

"At this point I am not optimistic that I will come close to the 50 per cent required to pass this motion, although I continue to want to meet with Members of Parliament and to try to convince them of that."

He can try to convince his colleagues but he likely won't succeed.

During an appearance on CTV's Question Period Sunday, government house leader Peter Van Loan intimated that it would not have caucus support.

"The prime minister has made clear the government's position, his position ... that he doesn't want to see the issue re-opened," he said.

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"I'm not going to speculate [on if the Bill will pass] but I think the prime minister's position on the issue is clear."

In our system the prime minister gets what he wants. Stephen Harper doesn't want Woodworth's bill to pass, so it won't.