In April this year when MP Stephen Woodworth reopened the abortion debate, claiming that he wanted to the study the moment a fetus is considered a human being. He motioned that it was to modernize the 400 year old definition of a human being in the Criminal Code of Canada which states that “a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth”. Woodworth assured everyone that this was in no way going to re-criminalize abortion. I beg to differ. The controversial issue was scheduled for debate and votes in September with very few wanting to reopen the subject, including Stephen Harper who is pro-life.
If the definition of human being has been around for that long then why change it if it works? Defining the term “human being” will somehow be a loophole for the conservatives to stop funding abortion. In Canada, abortion has been quietly legal since 1988 after decades of activist movement. The Tories today seem to think that those imposed against the bill are just afraid of finding out the true moment a fetus becomes a human being. Wrong, even some pro-life MPs are against Woodworth’s bills because they had promised in their campaign not to open the topic for discussion. Conservative MP Eve Adams has said that the debate is politically damaging for the party, “We did make a commitment in this election not to open this debate, that we wouldn’t go there, that this is a matter of personal conscience for women and something that they take their own personal counsel on. The fact that we’re engaging in this debate really speaks to a dinosaur era.” Her words the exact thought many women, myself included, agreed on.
By the end of September, the bill lost, 91 in favor to 203 against. Possibly the most alarming vote the bill got, was from the Minister of the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose. Her motion disgusted, disappointed, and dehumanized the women she stands for. Of all the MPs, women expected Ambrose to support the women’s reproductive rights regardless of her own views on the matter. However that is not a fair take says The Globe and Mail’s Tim Powers, “As Minister for Status of Women, many wrongly assumed based on their own personal predilections that she would be de facto opposed to M312.” Her mistake is not entirely in her side of the vote, but her lack of explanation to justify why she voted for the bill.
Bringing Bill M-312 up was a definite mistake, it has caused the Conservatives their platform, created pro-choice advocates uproar across the nation and questioned the integrity of our MPs. Although it is safe to say that those against the bill can breathe a little easier now, it has left a bad taste in them. It is no persons business to define the biologics of women’s bodies, or question the existence of a human at the time of conception. Bottom line, I hope that this is the last time we hear of any abortion-related debates for a long time, at least until technology stems and a human being will not be defined in a room of dinosaurs.