Today, a Canadian MP (Member of Parliament) introduced a ground-breaking motion in the House of Commons “calling for Parliament to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins.” Canada’s definition of human being currently includes only people who have been born.
Stephen Woodworth, the MP, has taken a courageous stand in the face of opposition. Canada legalized abortion in 1969, and the current Prime Minister has decreed that there will be no debate on abortion in Parliament.
However, Mr. Woodworth has accurately noted that a judge in the Canadian judicial system basically asked Parliament to determine when human life begins. In a quote reminiscent of an oft-remembered portion of Roe v. Wade, Justice Bertha Wilson wrote in 1988: (R. v. Morgentaler)
The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest in its protection becomes ‘compelling’ I leave to the informed judgement of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines.
Despite the fact that this decision was handed down nearly 24 years ago, Parliament still has not come to a conclusion, based on scientific evidence, of when the state ought to protect an unborn child. Many pro-life efforts by MPs have been stopped by those who support the abortion industry in Canada.
Similar to Britain’s William Wilberforce, MP Stephen Woodworth is plowing ahead anyway. He is not deterred by past failures or present hardships. The goal is clearly in his vision, and he is keeping his eyes on the prize. Thankfully, not even the words of the Prime Minister will stop Mr. Woodworth from pursuing equal rights for all human beings.
The world needs more politicians like Stephen Woodworth. We need politicians who will stand firm for what is right no matter who tells them not to; no matter who tells them it will not work; no matter who threatens them with failure or no further support. I wish more people agreed with Mr. Woodworth that, “If we care about the truth, we will courageously follow the facts wherever they lead.”
William Wilberforce was relentless in pursuing the end of slavery in Great Britain in the 1800’s. Though it took decades, Wilberforce saw the fruits of his tireless efforts. Wilberforce once shared his key for staying in the fight of his lifetime. He said,
Accustom yourself to look first to the dreadful consequences of failure; then fix your eye on the glorious prize which is before you; and when your strength begins to fail, and your spirits are well nigh exhausted, let the animating view rekindle your resolution, and call forth in renewed vigour the fainting energies of your soul.
There is no doubt that Mr. Woodworth—like Mr. Wilberforce—is convinced that every human being—deserves equal rights, beginning with the right to life. Here are some of his quotes from a press conference about his personhood motion:
Don’t accept any law that says some human beings are not human beings! No Member of Parliament should remain silent in the face of any law that says some human beings are not human beings.
Now there might be some people who can convince themselves that a child magically transforms into a human being when their little toe pops out of the birth canal…However, I’ve concluded that modern medical science will inform us that children are in reality human beings at some point before the moment of 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…Just laws must be based on accurate evidence, not arbitrary lines unrelated to reality. If there’s no objective criteria for who’s a human being, then personhood and the fundamental rights that go with it can be defined in any way any powerful person or group decides. Is that the Canada you want?
It is my hope that MP Stephen Woodworth continues to be encouraged to keep up the good fight for all of Canada’s babies. If you want to let Prime Minister Harper know how to feel about whether Parliament should take up the issue of personhood and abortion, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.