OTTAWA—A Commons debate Thursday triggered by a Conservative MP has led pro-choice forces to accuse the Harper government of trying to resurrect a divisive national discussion about abortion.
Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth will ask for a special parliamentary committee to discuss the definition of a human being when he rises in the House.
The Conservative MP takes issue with Section 223 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which states that human life begins when a child emerges from its mother’s body.
“The question is whether that’s an accurate statement, an honest statement or a misrepresentation,” Woodworth said in an interview.
Canada has been without an abortion law since 1988, when then-prime minister Brian Mulroney’s attempt to codify the procedure was struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said his Conservative government will not reopen the abortion debate.
Some pro-life Conservative MPs have attempted to reignite the issue. Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost publicly criticized his own government last year for backing an overseas aid group that provided abortions.
Opposition MPs say Thursday’s debate wouldn’t be happening if Stephen Harper wasn’t considering reopening the abortion issue.
“I’ve never seen anyone control (his caucus) so absolutely as he does,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. “If he didn’t want that to be discussed, it wouldn’t be there.”