OTTAWA, Mar 23, 2001 ( – Garry Breitkreuz, Canadian Alliance MP for Yorkton-Melville, presented a motion in the House of Commons yesterday urging the government to amend the definition in section 223 of the Criminal Code which states that a baby isn’t a human being until it emerges completely from the womb. Debate on the motion ended after only one hour of debate with one Liberal and one Bloc MP voting against a motion seeking unanimous consent to make the motion votable (and another to forward it to the Commons justice committee for deliberation) and, thereby, also extending debate for another two hours on subsequent days. Although the failure of the motion to be declared votable was a disappointment, the exercise was nevertheless valuable because it provided the opportunity for pro-life politicians to keep the issue before the public, placing their views on the public record.

The right-to life was eloquently defended by Breitkreuz as well as colleagues from his own and the Liberal party. Liberal MPs Tom Wappel and Paul Szabo spoke in favour of the pro-life motion as did Alliance MP Grant McNally. Speaking against the motion were Yvon Charbonneau, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health and Bloc MP Diane Bourgeois.

During his speech Breitkreuz said: “This is the most important issue facing Canada today… For 10 years now successive governments have buried their heads in the sand on this life and death issue. I will correct myself. It is not a life and death issue, it is only a death issue… Does the government really think it can ignore the fact that 100,000 babies are being killed every year? … Liberals normally pride themselves in not discriminating against anyone… but every year they are discriminating against more than 100,000 unborn babies … Anti-life activists approve of killing the most weak and defenceless human beings. I am trying to save them. Who is standing on the high moral ground?”

Bourgeois called the bill “treacherous, deceitful and misleading.” She said: “defining a human being as a fetus and making consequential amendments will initiate a debate that will take us back to the middle ages “where “assemblies of bishops – men – condemned it (abortion) in a number of decrees.” She claimed the Bible supported her position. “What may be understood from the Bible is that each woman is free to choose independently and according to her own conscience.”

Wappel countered Bourgeois’ thoughtless appeal to Scripture noting that the Bible recognized the unborn as persons. “When Mary, who was going to become the mother of Jesus, visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was carrying John the Baptist, the baby leapt in her womb, says the Bible, in anticipation of the great joy of Jesus being born. The Bible uses those words, the baby leapt in her womb. Not the fetus, not the zygote, not the embryo, but the baby leapt in her womb for joy.” Wappel also pointed out the hypocrisy of the federal government’s consideration of ethical guidelines for research with human embryos. “How can it be logical to permit a third trimester abortion at eight months without blinking our eyes and wring our hands about whether or not a fertilized egg is going to be flushed down a scientist’s drain?”

For more see Mr. Breitkreuz’s press release: