Unborn 'sub-human' under Canadian law: Tory MP
A Conservative backbencher in Ontario says unborn babies have "no human rights protection whatsoever" under the law and it is time that Parliament consider changing the statute.
The member for Kitchener Centre, Stephen Woodworth said in a statement on Wednesday that under the current law, a child does not have human rights protection until he or she has been born.
"This results from an unusual Canadian statute which defines a human being as a child who has completely proceeded in a living state from the mother's body, whether or not the child has breathed," Woodworth said in the release.
"This means that in Canada a child is legally considered to be sub-human while his or her little toe remains in the birth canal, even if he or she is breathing."
Woodworth believes this definition is based on antiquated laws from centuries past.
"Perhaps Canadians should at least examine this question," he said, adding Parliament has a responsibility to lead that examination.
While Woodworth may want Parliament to pursue the issue, Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems unlikely to wade into such a touchy debate despite pressure from more conservative members of his caucus.
Harper has long insisted that the Conservatives will not revisit abortion while he is prime minister.
During the spring election campaign, Harper said it was "not the priority of the government" to reignite the abortion law debate.
And a year before that, Harper said he would "oppose any attempt to create a new abortion law," after Winnipeg South MP Rod Bruinooge sought to bring forth a private member's bill to penalize anyone who would "coerce" a woman to end her pregnancy.
In the first Parliament in which Harper served as prime minister, the government blocked a bill that former MP Ken Epp tried to bring forward that would have made it a separate criminal offence to kill a fetus when a pregnant woman is killed.