Last Wednesday (Sept. 26), I voted “yes” in the House of Commons to the motion proposed by Stephen Woodworth, the Kitchener Centre Member of Parliament.
I was joined by 90 other MPs, including several cabinet ministers. As the news media could have provided more background information than in fact was available, let me try to summarize the situation.
The motion proposed the set-up of a new House Committee to review a law that seeks to define when someone becomes a “human” for legal purposes in Canada. The motion did not suggest that we create any new laws.
The current definition of human life is 400 years old. According to this definition, which is found in Section 223 of the Criminal Code, a person becomes a “human” only after being born and completely clearing the mother’s body.
I accept at least that this is a discussion worthy of debate and that Parliamentarians should not be reluctant to discuss it.
As mentioned, I voted “yes” to the motion to create a committee to study the 400-year-old definition. Leading up to the vote, I heard from people on all sides of the issue, and studied the different opinions closely.
Some supporters of M-312 would exhort MPs to prohibit all forms of abortion. As a staunch proponent of human rights, including women’s rights, I do not adopt their position.
Some opponents of M-312 believed that any discussion of the definition of “human” must be avoided, as it would inevitably lead to a prohibition of all abortions. As one convinced of the benefits of open discussion regarding important issues such as the Canadian definition of human life, I do not accept that extreme either.
Finally, I repeat my point that I took this vote as relating to the review of an aging legal definition. If there are any other 400-year-old definitions in our law that may be out of step with medicine, science or common sense, I would support reviewing them as well, a review that ought to be within the boundaries of civil, legal and democratic discourse.
MP West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country