OTTAWA, Ontario, June 6, 2012 ( – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pressuring Conservative MPs to vote against Stephen Woodworth’s motion to review the legal definition of a human being, reports the Globe and Mail. The motion was supposed be debated on Thursday and voted on next week, however the debate and vote have been postponed until the fall after Woodworth’s mother fell ill.

The Globe reports that the Prime Minister’s Office is urging Conservative caucus members to vote against Woodworth’s proposed legislation, but adds that all pressure has been unofficial.


Woodworth’s proposed legislation, Motion 312, seeks 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. If passed, Parliament would set up a special committee to consider the medical evidence relating to the humanity of the unborn.

Harper has repeatedly promised not to reopen the abortion debate, and reportedly doesn’t want the opposition to believe the Conservative party is supporting Woodworth’s motion.

Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition, says that Prime Minister Harper’s actions don’t surprise him. “Mr. Harper considers abortion to be a political albatross. He’s never been in favour of the pro-life side. He doesn’t want to discuss the abortion issue and he doesn’t want any of his members of parliament to discuss it,” Hughes told

The Globe and Mail also says MPs are being told that “support for fellow Conservative Stephen Woodworth’s motion would be considered a vote against Mr. Harper’s wishes.” It also reports that the party dropped plans to force cabinet ministers to vote against the motion over fears of a pushback.

Pressure is mostly being given to those who do not have a stable opinion on the issue in Motion 312. This includes new MPs and those who are on the fence about the issue.

“At some point some Canadian prime minister is going to allow this [debate] and certainly backbench pro-life members of parliament are going to stand up and demand it, and soon the people of Canada will begin to demand it as well,” said Hughes.