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Debate on abortion closed, for now

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission MP Randy Kamp voted for review of abortion section in Criminal Code. - Supplied
Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission MP Randy Kamp voted for review of abortion section in Criminal Code.
— image credit: Supplied

While a Conservative member’s bill to reopen the abortion debate got shot down Wednesday, local MP Randy Kamp wants more discussion on the topic, pointing out Canada basically has no law on the issue.

“I think that’s the thing we need to decide,” Kamp said Thursday.

Canada is one of the few countries that has no legislation on the issue, he added.

“I’ve said my whole career that I’m pro-life, believing that life begins at conception. That’s my basic position.”

But whether the issue every will return to the House of Commons, the MP for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission doesn’t know.

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth presented a private member’s bill calling for review of a Criminal Code section which says that a baby only becomes a human being at the moment of complete birth.

Kamp (voted in favour of that, but the bill was defeated 203-91.

Kamp said Canadian law hasn’t changed since the Supreme Court ruling liberalizing access to abortion in 1988. But at that time, the court said that Parliament needed to do more work on the issue.

“To say that it’s a completely closed issue, to have no legislation of any kind on when an unborn child deserves protection – that I think is what all that motion is about,” Kamp said.

Many people find the current Criminal Code definition to be, “somewhat difficult, perhaps intuitively wrong,” he added.

“It was defeated, as expected, and I guess that will be an end of it.”

“The fact is, there’s no legislation. There’s no restriction of any kind within the pregnancy in Canada.”

But most countries in the western world have set limits on when abortions can take place during a pregnancy.

“Whether Canada is ready for debate on it, I don’t know.”

Local NDPer Verity Howarth, however, said there’s been no reassurance that any review would preserve legal abortion.

“I don’t trust the Conservatives on this issue,” adding she sees it as a step towards prohibiting abortion.

“I’m very nervous about that.”

Woodworth could reintroduce the bill later, she said.

Howarth was disappointed that Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose voted in favour of the bill.

“That is appalling to me that she would support it.”

Pitt Meadows resident Korleen Carreras, who sought the provincial NDP nomination in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, attended the protest Tuesday in Vancouver on the issue.

“It’s a debate that’s already happened and it’s a debate we don’t need to have again,” she said.

She thinks Woodworth is going to continue to campaign for the review.

 

Woodworth’s motion

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motions asks a special committee to research:

• what medical evidence exists to demonstrate that a child is or is not a human being before the moment of complete birth?

•  is the preponderance of medical evidence consistent with the declaration in (Criminal Code) Subsection 223 (1) that a child is only a human being at the moment of complete birth?

• what are the legal impact and consequences of Subsection 223 (1) on the fundamental human rights of a child before the moment of complete birth?

• what are the options available to Parliament in the exercise of its legislative authority in accordance with the Constitution and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada to affirm, amend, or replace Subsection 223 (1)?

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