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Conservative MP discusses Motion 312

Spencer Van Dyk | Fulcrum Staff

CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF Parliament (MP) Stephen Woodworth spoke at the University of Ottawa on Dec. 3 about the proposition he recently brought forward in the House of Commons. The proposition, named Motion 312, called for the creation of a committee to determine at what point a child becomes a human being. This calls into question subsection 223 (1) of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that a child becomes a human being after complete birth.

Woodworth’s motion, which he stressed focuses on equal worth and dignity of all human beings and is not necessarily an attempt to change or abolish abortion laws, nevertheless brought up the abortion debate in the House. Woodworth, of the Kitchener Centre riding, explained during his talk at the U of O that his motion was not intended to stir up the abortion debate, but to reconsider the question of when a child is considered a human being. He said he believes subsection 223 (1)’s definition of the beginning of life is unjust.

“I have one opportunity to bring a matter to the floor for a vote in the House of Commons,” said Woodworth. “There were any number of issues that I could have chosen, but when I weighed them all up and considered it, it seemed to me that a law which decrees that some human beings are not human is such a vile objection of a law that every other issue that I could have brought to Parliament pales in comparison.”

His talk at the university, organized by the University of Ottawa Students for Life group (uOSFL), attracted people of all ages, representing both sides of the abortion debate. U of O student Daniel Fong said that although he does not agree with Woodworth’s views, he was curious to hear him speak.

“I want to talk to him, and also I’ve never heard him speak,” said Fong. “I just wanted to find out what the stance really was. There’s a lot of demonization of pro-lifers in the news, and that’s not necessarily something I oppose, but I like to see and make my own judgments.”

Selina De Luca, vp support for the uOSFL, said an open and honest debate was exactly their intention in bringing Woodworth to the U of O.

“The whole hype about Motion 312, we just had the idea that if Parliament didn’t want to talk about it, maybe university students would,” said De Luca.

U of O graduate Natalie Davis said she disagrees with the idea of reopening the abortion debate and believes it is not a matter the government should be involved in.

“This isn’t something government should be deciding,” said Davis. “It’s something that each individual woman—or family—should be deciding with their doctor. It really has no place in the government. I think that [they] should let the people choose; those who are against abortion won’t get one, [and] those who maybe need one, perhaps they will.”

Woodworth said he was happy to have an open dialogue about the subject.

“I enjoyed it, because it was a respectful dialogue,” said Woodworth. “I know there were a few people here who didn’t agree with me, and they felt welcome to challenge me, and I felt able to answer them honestly. Wouldn’t it be great if we did that all the time in the House of Commons?”