OTTAWA, November 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth will introduce a new motion in Canada’s Parliament to promote respect for the unborn in Canadian law.
His office sent out a media advisory Tuesday stating that the motion will “focus on legal recognition of the equal worth and dignity of every human being.”
The MP will provide details on the motion at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon.
But pro-abortion critics are already slamming the motion as a backdoor attempt to reopen debate on the legality of abortion.
“This is about reopening the abortion debate,” New Democrat MP Niki Ashton told Postmedia. “It’s unfortunate that we’re seeing this double-speak. But I think many Canadian women are already on board in understanding that behind the Conservative talking points, you have people like Woodworth pushing an agenda that wants to set us back decades.”
Tuesday’s media advisory was titled ‘Motion 312 – Next Steps’, suggesting Woodworth intends to piggyback on his previous efforts.
In Motion 312, the MP had called on Parliament to examine the scientific evidence for the humanity of the unborn child. “Don’t accept any law that says some human beings are not human beings!” he said as he announced the motion on February 6, 2012.
The motion was defeated 91-203 on September 26, 2012. But it won support from more than half of the Conservative caucus, including ten cabinet ministers, and pro-life leaders hailed it for serving as a rallying point to build momentum.
After Motion 312’s defeat, Woodworth vowed to “travel the country” to promote respect for the “equal worth and dignity” of the unborn.
At the 2013 Rose Dinner in May after the National March for Life, Woodworth was honored with Campaign Life Coalition’s Joseph P. Borowski Award for his “integrity, courage, and leadership in defending life and humanity in the public square.”
Woodworth first announced that he planned to introduce this new motion in the spring.
In a May 6th media release he revealed that he had approached Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada on October 3rd, 2012, a week after his motion’s defeat, to secure her support for a “Parliamentary initiative to enshrine in Canadian law recognition of the equal and inherent dignity and worth of every human being.”
According to his release, Arthur declined on January 17, 2013 after he made a second request.
The resolution that he proposed to Arthur stated: “That the Parliament of Canada declare that the equal worth and dignity of everyone must be recognized by Canadian law based on their inherent nature as a human being.”
It is as yet unclear how Woodworth intends to bring forward the motion considering his low placement on the order paper.
CBC’s Kady O’Malley notes that it could be months before Woodworth would get a chance to table the motion, and likely not before the next election.
“In theory, of course, a like-minded MP who hasn't yet gotten his turn in the private members' rotation could ask Woodworth to withdraw his motion, and reintroduce it under their own name,” she suggests, however. “Perhaps that's what Woodworth is really hoping that the ‘next step’ will be.”
He would likely also face procedural roadblocks, as did his Tory colleague Mark Warawa last spring with Motion 408 on sex selection.
Parliamentary rules bar members from introducing bills and motions on topics already dealt with in the current Parliament. When Motion 408 was declared non-voteable, one of the rationales given by the members of the Subcommittee for Private Members’ Business was that it concerned abortion, which they claimed had already been dealt with by this Parliament in voting on Motion 312.
They came to that judgment contrary to the opinion of a non-partisan analyst from the Library of Parliament.
In his May 6th press release, Wordworth said the proposal was needed to bring “clarity to the undefined Charter terms ‘everyone’ and ‘every individual’ by insisting that those terms apply equally to all whose inherent nature reveals them to be human beings, excluding no human being.”