Okanagan Falls Review

MP report: Definition of human being at the heart of issue

I am providing you in this article information pertaining to a private members motion that was tabled Feb. 6.

The motion is not coming from the Government of Canada but is a private member motion.

Subsection 223(1) is a Canadian definition of human being which is at least 400 years old (from past British law) and has important implications since it denies that children are human beings before the moment of complete birth.

Only three other countries in the world share Canada’s refusal to recognize or protect the interests of children as human beings until the moment of complete birth: The Peoples Republic of China, Vietnam and North Korea.

An Angus Reid poll determined that 79 per cent of Canadians are not aware that Canadian law does not recognize or protect the interests of children until the moment of complete birth. In an Environics poll 72 per cent of Canadians agree with reforming this law once informed of this fact.

Most European countries provide some protection for children after ten weeks into the pregnancy. In the U.S., most states provide some protection for children after 20 weeks into the pregnancy. In Canada children have no protection anytime during the pregnancy, even during delivery.

Most physicians will tell you that after 20 weeks, abortions are rarely preformed, but approximately 600 to 800 abortions are performed after 20 weeks in Canada every year.

The private members motion does not pose an end to abortions in Canada but simply states that the government appoint a multi-party committee to review subsection 223(1) and make recommendations regarding the determination of what medical evidence exists to demonstrate that a child is, or is not, a human being before the moment of birth and is the evidence consistent with subsection 223(1)?

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, I believe the question being asked in the Private Members motion is logical.  I also believe if this issue can be discussed in a respectful and comprehensive way, this might shed light on the abortion issue. This is an emotional issue and it unfortunately often brings out emotional responses.

I will support this motion allowing a special committee of the House to be appointed and directed to review the declaration in Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code.  If this motion is passed in the House, I will openly review any recommendations brought forward.

I hope the above information will help you to understand the purpose of the motion presented by the Member of Parliament from Kitchener Centre.

-Colin Mayes, MP

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