EFC Letter of Thanks on Motion 312
Sent to EFC affiliate leaders who joined in endorsing a Declaration of Support for Parliamentary Study of Canada’s Legal Definition of “Human Being.”
Thank You for Your Support of the “Human Being” Motion 312
Wednesday night [Sept. 26, 2012], Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth’s (Kitchener Centre) Motion No. 312 was defeated in the House of Commons. Ninety-one Members of Parliament voted in favour of it while 203 voted against.
Motion No. 312 proposed a study of Canada’s legal definition of “human being.” It is the Criminal Code definition of human being which determines who is and is not protected under much Canadian law. As the law currently stands, the entity in the mother’s womb, though identified as a “child” in subsection 223(1) of the Code, is not considered a “human being” until it has “completely proceeded…from the body of its mother.” This definition is based on a 400-year-old legal concept, the “born alive” rule, which is outdated given the medical and scientific advancements of recent decades.
This legal fiction has led to some startling and illogical consequences in both fact and law. For example, in an Ottawa-area case a mother was charged with attempted murder after she used a pellet gun to shoot her nearly full-term son while he was still in the womb. The boy, born two days later, survived after surgery and time in intensive care. Charges were dropped because the child was not considered by law to be a human being when he was shot. This result is neither logical nor consistent with Canadians’ 21st century understanding of life, law and human rights.
While Motion No. 312 would not have changed the law, restricted abortion access, or granted legal recognition to the child in the womb, it would have permitted Parliament to study a key definition upon which Canadian human rights are determined by inviting testimony from average Canadians and experts. The committee established to study the issue would not have been able to make any legally-binding recommendations for change to the definition, but it would have provided an opportunity for Parliamentarians and Canadians to learn about the issues and challenges that the existing definition causes.
This is a motion that any Member of Parliament could have supported in good conscience. It was not a “pro-life” motion – it was a “humanity” motion.
The EFC strongly supported this motion, even prior to its introduction in the House of Commons. EFC staff met with MPs, wrote three open letters to MPs encouraging them to support the motion, and spent time in prayer. To educate Canadians we developed social media and video resources, posted blogs, participated in newspaper and television interviews, and provided resources to assist those who wanted to contact their MPs.
Both the EFC and the tens of thousands of like-minded individuals who supported this initiative are thankful for the MPs who stood up and voted for this motion. We recognize that this motion provided significant opportunities for public and media education about the child in the womb, our nation’s shocking laws on what is human and the realities of Canada’s abortion status quo.
MPs received thousands of letters, postcards and petitions in support of this motion – an estimated 200,000 in all – that demonstrate Canadians care about this issue and will continue to monitor how Parliamentarians choose to address it.
The Bible teaches that God gives life as a gift. Human life has inherent and inestimable worth and must be respected and protected through all of its stages, beginning at conception.
Parliament’s agenda moves on from this motion. The EFC continues to engage on a variety of matters that are being considered. And, inspired by Proverbs 31, we pray that you will continue to join us as we persevere also to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Bruce J. Clemenger
President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
To review the EFC’s engagement on Motion No. 312, please visit theEFC.ca/human. To determine how your MP voted, view the results listed here.