Patrick Craine

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Canada’s pro-life movement unites behind motion on humanity of unborn

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, Ontario, February 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life organizations across Canada are urging support for a historic motion tabled in Parliament Monday seeking to launch an inquiry into the humanity of the unborn.

The motion, by Tory MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre), seeks to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins. Woodworth is calling for a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb.

Jakki Jeffs, executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario, said she and her organization “applaud” Woodworth for “raising the appalling plight of children before birth and the lack of recognition let alone protection of their lives by our Canadian Criminal Code.”

“We feel that it is long overdue given the fact that the government was asked to look into such matters years ago,” said Natalie Hudson Sonnen, executive director of the national educational group LifeCanada.

“It is an international embarrassment that we are in this current situation,” she continued. “Most countries in the world have revisited the issue, but Canada remains mired in a political correctness that forbids us to discuss such issues.”

Abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1969 with the passage of Pierre Trudeau’s Omnibus crime bill, which allowed a committee of doctors to approve the deadly procedure. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down that law in 1988, calling on Parliament to enact a new one.

But numerous attempts by pro-life MPs have been rebuffed. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative government took power in 2006 and currently holds a majority, has insisted he will “not permit anyone” to open the debate on abortion in Parliament.

Woodworth’s motion proposes to set up a committee to look at the medical evidence relating to the humanity of the unborn. It will need majority support from the House of Commons, and Woodworth expects an hour of debate in March and another hour in June.

Campaign Life Coalition has backed the motion and is urging its supporters to contact MPs and tell them to support the effort. “Campaign Life Coalition encourages the initiative of any MP who presents pro-life legislation,” said Jim Hughes, CLC’s president.

“It is about time women and men who disagree with the radical feminist agenda stand up and speak up about the need to respect the dignity of every human being at every stage of his or her existence. Our MPs need to hear from us,” said Michèle Boulva, director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, which was co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus.

(Get contact info for MPs here.)

Jane Richard, president of Kitchener Waterloo Right to Life, based in Woodworth’s area, said they have “great hope and determination” to support the motion.

“We are under no illusion that there will be an immediate law to make abortion illegal, in particular the first trimester, however this motion sets a precedent for getting to the fundamental principle of whether or not an preborn child is a person that has implications for the protection of life beyond the womb,” she said.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has opposed the motion, reiterating the Harper government’s stance against re-opening the abortion debate. Both the Opposition New Democrats and the Liberals have slammed it as an affront to “reproductive freedom.”

The reaction from the political class was no surprise, says Boulva. “Canadian society has accepted abortion as a so-called ‘right’,” she said. “We’ve been hiding our heads in the sand for decades, tragically choosing to ignore scientific facts regarding the beginning of human life.”

She said political leaders are even rejecting the simple request to examine the scientific evidence “because they are afraid of the backlash they might suffer from radical groups.”

Some pro-life groups have expressed concerns over Woodworth’s statements that he believes the unborn become human at some point before “complete birth,” suggesting a possible gestational approach. However these groups have also expressed confidence that, if conducted properly, the committee’s only possible conclusion will be that humanity begins at conception.

“Scientific evidence is clear that life begins at conception,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC’s national organizer. “We trust Parliament will recognize and protect all human life from conception to natural death.”

Boulva noted that this was the clear opinion of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune, regarded as the father of modern genetics.

“From the moment of fertilization, that is from the earliest moment of biologic existence, the developing human being is alive, and entirely distinct from the mother who provides nourishment and protection,” he said. “From fertilization to old age, it is the same living human being who grows, develops, matures and eventually dies.  This particular human being, with his or her characteristics, is unique and therefore irreplaceable.”

Jeffs also expressed concern that the motion focuses specifically on “medical” evidence given that the Canadian Medical Association approves abortions up until 20 weeks.

“The medical profession has become a major threat to life and health,” she said. “The science of embryology has confirmed when an individual human life begins and we remain hopeful if Mr Woodworth’s motion passes that experts from all relevant disciplines will have the opportunity to present their evidence.”

To send a letter of support to Stephen Woodworth:

Stephen Woodworth
Room 334, Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-995-8913
Fax: 613-996-7329
Email: woodworth.s@parl.gc.ca

Other contact information:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
pm@pm.gc.ca

Get contact info for all MPs here.


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LifeSiteNews staff

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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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