PM pulls plug on new abortion debate

Pro-life demonstrators gather on Parliament Hill in May 2005.


OTTAWA - A backbench Tory MP who's proposed a parliamentary committee to discuss when life begins - at conception or birth - was shot down by his party before he even finished his press conference.

Stephen Woodworth, a Conservative MP from Ontario, filed a motion for the committee Monday morning. He said the committee would hear evidence from doctors and scientists about the definition of a human being and when life begins. Under the current legal definition, life begins only after complete birth.

"History is littered with disastrous examples of laws which pretended some people were not human beings to achieve some desired result or suit someone's philosophy," said Woodworth.

"If we continue to allow some people to be defined as not human, who is next? A person in a coma? Someone who has not reached the age of reason?"

While the MP was speaking to a room packed with reporters, the justice minister released a statement that iced the idea.

"The prime minister has been very clear, our government will not reopen this debate," said Rob Nicholson.
The motion to form the committee is still expected to be debated some time next month.

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