Anti-Choice MP to Speak in London

By: Brentington AuntieFascist

On Tuesday, November 13th Western Lifeline, an anti-choice group based at Western Ontario (UWO), will host a talk with Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth. Woodworth is infamous for his hardline, anti-choice views on abortion.

In April, Woodworth introduced Motion 312 in Ottawa- a motion that would create a committee to look into medical research to determine when a fetus becomes a human. The motion has faced ongoing opposition from various activist groups and organizations. Even Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has not supported the bill. This opposition did nothing to sway Woodworth. Rather than pulling the motion from the floor, it went on to a second debate on September 21st, before being defeated on September 26th. Although the bill was defeated, access to abortion in Canada remains under constant threat. A politician who today is against the motion on the basis of staying in office, may quickly change their tune if they are likely to lose an upcoming election anyways.

Motion 312 would not make abortion illegal by itself. What this motion entails is a review of the Criminal Code’s subsection 223(1), which states that a fetus becomes a human at birth. It would create non-binding recommendations to suggest changes to the criminal code. Of the 13 member committee which would be formed, the motion called for 8 of them to be from the Conservative Party, 4 from the NDP, and 1 from the Liberal Party - all of whom would be handpicked by another committee dominated by the Conservative Party. This would allow the members of the committee to pick specific doctors and reports to propagate to the press and the public their anti-choice views.

This is not the first attempt by the Conservative Party to push for criminal code changes to abortion. A bill was introduced in 2008, which if passed, sought to criminalize some abortions with up to 25 years in prison. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many high profile members of the party voted to support Bill 312. There was a large outburst of anger when the Minster of the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose, voted in favor of this bill. Some pro-choice groups have started campaigns to have Ambrose removed from this position.

Woodworth’s visit to London will be met with resistance. There are already groups in the city organizing a petition and letter campaign in the hopes that UWO will change the format of the event to a panel discussion to provide a counter perspective to his anti-choice message. If the petition and letter campaign fail, plans are in development to hold demonstrations the day of the event, both on and off the campus, to allow everybody who believes that the reproductive choices of an individual should never be “mandated” by others.

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