OTTAWA, 16 August, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The largest association of doctors in Canada, in an attempt to stonewall a looming abortion debate from being unleashed, voted yesterday to support the wording of the country’s Criminal Code which states that a baby becomes a “human being” only after being born.

Pro-life doctors and leaders have condemned the move as ‘shameful’, ‘unethical’, and ‘defying parody’.

Delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s annual general council voted on the motion so as to prevent what they called a “backdoor” attempt to reopen the abortion debate. They voted to pass, says a CMA report on the meeting, “a resolution supporting the current wording of the Criminal Code which states that a child ‘becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother…’”

Canadian Physicians for Life condemned the CMA’s move, saying that “every Canadian doctor knows that the unborn child is a live human being.”

Dr. Will Johnston, president of Canadian Physicians for Life in a statement emailed to LifeSiteNews pointed out the hypocrisy of the Canadian Medical Association which has a long-established policy of supporting the killing of human life through abortion.

“CMA delegates worry about children not exercizing enough or not wearing bicycle helmets, while over one hundred thousand children go missing from our playgrounds every year because they were killed by abortion.”

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“The mismatch between this problem and yesterday’s conversation from the CMA annual general meeting defies parody,” he said.

Dr. John Shea, MD FRCP(C), told LifeSiteNews from his home in Toronto that the delegates to the CMA meeting should be “ashamed of themselves for failing to recognize when human life begins”.

“The biological fact is what counts here, which is when the ovum and the sperm unite, a single-celled human organism is formed. Period. This organism is a human being, a person at the single-cell stage. From that point in time he or she has rights. Anybody who denies that fact is denying biological reality; they are lying.”

Conservative Member of Parliament Steve Woodworth filed a motion in the House of Commons last February to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins. He called for Parliament to re-examine section 223 of the Code, a 400-year-old provision inherited from British common law, that stipulates a child only becomes a “human being” “when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother”.

“Section 223 is, purely and simply, a law that says some human beings are not human beings,” said Woodworth at that time.

Dr. Johnston called Section 223 of the code “our profession’s biggest shame and biggest headache. It is a disastrous public policy which does far more harm than good.”

Pro-life groups across the country rejoiced in Woodworth’s motion, hoping that it might provide a foundation to offer protection to unborn children in the womb.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged to vote against the motion when it comes up, calling it “unfortunate” that the motion was deemed votable by an all-party committee of the House. Woodworth’s motion has been postponed till the fall.

Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that CMA’s motion “just shows the sorry state of the leaders of the CMA who have drifted so far from the oath of Hippocrates.”

The Hippocratic Oath, originating in 5th century BC, was until recently sworn by those who practiced the healing arts so that they would do so ethically and honestly. At one point in the oath, doctors swear that they will not give a woman medicaments to “cause an abortion.”

See related story:
‘Just being human doesn’t give you a right to live’: Peter Singer sums up pro-abortion philosophy