The Liberal Party supports a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion. It also allows caucus members to vote their conscience on private member’s business such as Mr. Woodworth’s M-312. I will be voting no on M-312.
We have answered letters and emails to my office with a single letter to people of all viewpoints as follows:
MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion M-312 calls for the formation of a House of Commons committee to study whether medical science can demonstrate if somebody is or isn’t a human being before the moment of birth. Mr. Woodworth’s reason for challenging the section of the criminal code 223(1), which says 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…”, is that he would like to challenge the legal basis for abortion in Canada.
Putting all legal and political questions aside, I sympathize with many people’s reactions to this section of the criminal code. For example, my daughter was born by a scheduled Cesarean section on a Thursday. If we had chosen to have her born on Friday, personally I would not have regarded her as any less human on Thursday.
As the father of two beautiful daughters I have a deep value for life. I also place a high value on their rights, the rights of all women in Canada and throughout the world. As stated during my election campaign I shall support a woman’s right to choose.
At the same time I believe our society should be doing more to address a number of circumstances that bring women and their families to the point where ending a pregnancy seems like their only choice.
Making abortion criminal is not going to solve these problems, nor does it absolve us of a responsibility to find practical solutions to the issues of poverty and injustice that are related to those circumstances.
I will be voting against M-312. Mr. Woodworth should propose legislation that specifically addresses his concerns with subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code, and be straightforward about his desire to restrict abortions under the criminal code.