OTTAWA, Ontario, August 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A conservative MP has slammed the largest association of doctors in Canada after it voted last week to continue support for the country’s Criminal Code which states that a baby becomes a “human being” only after being born.
Dr. Genevieve Desbiens, who brought the motion forward at the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) annual general meeting, said the aim was to prevent what she called a “backdoor” attempt to reopen the abortion debate by changing the wording of the Code.
But conservative MP Steven Woodworth, who filed Motion 312 in the House of Commons earlier this year to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins, said that CMA’s resolution was “based solely upon an ideological and political desire to prevent reconsideration of CMA’s existing position on abortion, rather than upon up-to-date 21st century medical evidence.”
“I was given no opportunity [by the CMA] to explain the context of Motion 312,” said Woodworth in a statement emailed to LifeSiteNews today. “There is no indication any consideration was given [by the CMA] to the wider human rights implications of giving the State authority to designate some human beings as not human, or to the wider implications of freezing in time, without democratic review or governance, a 400 year old law which denies equal and universal human rights.”
While the CMA’s Code of Ethics states that member doctors must “refuse to participate in or support practices that violate basic human rights”, the CMA at the same time adamantly supports what it calls a “long-established policy” of a woman’s “right to therapeutic abortion”.
Canadian historian Alphonse de Valk has pointed out that from its inception, the “Canadian Medical Association has been the foremost semi-public body in the nation in favour of legalization [of abortion]”, adding that the CMA’s first committee in 1963 consisted of doctors who self-identified themselves as “colleagues [who] have been breaking the law now for a long time [performing abortions]”.
The CMA has a history of opposing legislation initiatives that recognize life in the womb as human, such as the 2008 Unborn Victims of Crime act (Bill C-484) which would have criminalized the intentional killing of a woman’s unborn child against her will. At the time, CMA president Dr. Robert Ouellet told the Toronto Star that his organization’s opposition was not about “being for or against abortion” but about “being against making doctors criminals.”
Using similar talking points at the CMA general meeting last week, Dr. Desbiens told delegates amidst applause, “I’m not asking you whether you are for, or against abortion: I’m asking for you to recognize that women must retain their full and complete rights.”
“We must ensure that women seeking to terminate pregnancy and the doctors who support them and want to help them are not criminalized,” she said, according to PostMedia News.
But Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, pointed out that Desbiens’ attitude is “self-serving and lethal”.
“Don’t consider whether abortion kills the youngest of our kind. No, just make sure you don’t put her or her profession-betraying friends in jail. That wouldn’t be very nice. Just let them continue to shred the youngest of our kind in peace. Delivering babies involves working at all hours of the night; killing them, however, is a quick way to make cash during regular business hours. If some physicians wish to choose the latter instead of the former, shouldn’t they be allowed?”
LifeSiteNews contacted CMA for comment, asking the doctor’s association to clarify its position about what it thinks is inside the womb of a pregnant mother prior to birth, but was told that spokesperson, Dr. Reid, “is currently travelling and will not be available for interviews this week.”
Canadian Physicians for Life have condemned 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 last week pointed out the hypocrisy of the Canadian Medical Association: “CMA delegates worry about children not exercising 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.”