Credits: QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - MPs will centre in on the controversial issue of abortion Thursday, when a Conservative backbencher's motion on when life begins is up for debate in the House of Commons.
Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth is proposing a special committee review the federal Criminal Code's definition of when a child becomes a human being. Currently, Canadian law states a child is a human being only at the moment of complete birth.
Pro-choice groups accuse the government of using this motion as a way to re-open the abortion debate - something the government denies. But Woodworth argues the 400-year-old rule needs a 21st century reboot.
"It's a serious debate, it should be addressed," Woodworth said Wednesday.
"There's a diversity of opinion across Canada on the question of our definition of human being. But what does a parliamentarian do in the face of diversity? Rather than let opinions fester, one should expose them to the light of day."
New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair said Woodworth shouldn't count on any support from the NDP caucus and maintained Prime Minister Stephen Harper is attempting to spark a new abortion debate - something Harper has repeatedly denied.
"If (Harper) didn't want that to be discussed, it wouldn't be there," Mulcair said. "This is their backdoor way of signalling to their base that this is what they would actually like to do but they just can't do it."
The motion will get a second hour of debate sometime in either June or September, Woodworth said, and will then be up for a vote in the House.
Meanwhile, pro-choice protesters on Parliament Hill Wednesday said they didn't want the motion to take up even a minute of parliamentarians' time.
"There's no need for debate," protester Sandrine Oka said. "There are a lot more important and crucial issues that should be taking Parliament's time and money."