Tory MP Mark Warawa has released a video in support of a motion to study the rights of the unborn in Canada.

In the clip, the Member of Parliament for Langley, B.C., backs fellow Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth's Motion 312, which calls for the formation of a parliamentary committee to study questions related to the definition of a human being.

"The definition of human being, should that begin maybe before complete birth?" Warawa asks. "We need to take a new fresh look at this."

Warawa twice says the committee would look at scientific evidence to make its determinations and wonders if Canada's current "400-year-old definition" of a human being meets our obligations under the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A vote on Woodworth's motion was to have taken place in June, but has been delayed until September. Woodworth told the Catholic Register the postponement was due to his mother being ill, but some have speculated the delay was strategically aimed at keeping the issue of abortion in the news throughout the summer.

The motion is now scheduled to be debated on Sept. 21, with a vote on Sept. 26

This isn't the first time Warawa has voiced support for Woodworth's motion. In May, he rose in the Commons and petitioned Parliament to "speedily enact legislation that restricts abortion to the greatest extent possible," chiding Canada for keeping company with China and North Korea in having no laws restricting the practice. Fellow Conservative MPs Harold Albrecht, Dean Allison and Kevin Sorenson presented similar petitions on the same day.

While Warawa has been openly against abortion for some time, he use to support his party's official stance that debate on the issue should not be reopened. In 2009, Warawa told the Langley Advance that "Canadians want us to focus on the economy," rather than on abortion.

As Warawa makes a fresh push for debate on the rights of the unborn, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has rejected Woodworth's motion as a "backdoor path to enacting restrictions on abortion," according to the Globe and Mail. The CMA represents Canada's 76,000 doctors and medical students.

Abortion was also back in the news last week as the Ontario government acknowledged it has begun limiting public access to records relating to the practice, according to the National Post. The government said the information is "highly sensitive," but others questioned why Ontario is restricting access to information necessary to determine how many procedures are being done when the province can both protect the identities of individuals while also releasing basic statistics.

While MPs will be free to vote their conscience on Woodworth's motion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already said he will vote against it.

"This motion was deemed voteable by an all-party committee of the House. I think that's unfortunate. In my case I will be voting against the motion," Harper said.

Without support from the PM, the motion is likely to fail. But while the debate may not continue in the halls of Parliament, it's clear Woodworth, Warawa and other anti-abortion MPs have succeeded in bringing the issue back to the forefront of public consciousness.

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  • Which Cabinet Ministers Oppose Abortion?

    The <a href="http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/index.php?p=Find_Your_MP" target="_hplink">Campaign Life Coalition provides a listing of MPs who support and oppose abortion rights</a>. The list is based on voting records, previous comments and questionnaire responses. Here is a list of Conservative cabinet ministers who, according to the Coalition, oppose abortion. (CP)

  • Rob Nicholson

    Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. (CP)

  • Vic Toews

    Minister of Public Safety. (CP)

  • Peter Van Loan

    Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. (CP)

  • Jason Kenney

    Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. (CP)

  • Gerry Ritz

    Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. (Handout)

  • Ed Fast

    Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. (CP)

  • Lynne Yelich

    Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. (Handout)

  • Gary Goodyear

    Minister of State for Science and Technology and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. (Handout)


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  • Where The Parties Stand On Abortion

    Here's a look at the official position of Canada's federal parties, and how the controversial debate has reared its head in recent years. <em>With files from CBC</em>

  • Conservative Party

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said that he has no interest in addressing the issue head-on.<br><br>"As long as I am prime minister we are not opening the abortion debate," Mr. Harper said in April 2011. "The government will not bring forward any such legislation, and any such legislation that is brought forward will be defeated as long as I am prime minister." (CP)

  • NDP

    NDP leader Tom Mulcair has stated that his caucus is unanimous in its opposition to the private member's motion calling on Parliament to look at whether a fetus is a human being, but he plans to force his MPs to vote along party lines.<br><br>"We're resolutely in favour of women's right to choose," Mulcair declared. (CP)

  • Liberal Party

    Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae has stressed that the abortion issue is matter of individual conscience. Rae expressed his personal opposition to reopening the debate, but said Liberal MPs will be allowed to vote "their conscience" rather than force them to toe the party line.<br><br>"Our position on reproductive choice, my position on reproductive choice is very, very clear. It has been for decades. The position is it's a person's right to choose." (CP)

  • Planned Parenthood Funding Controversy

    Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost tells Saskatchewan's ProLife Association in April 2011 that the federal government has decided to cut funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a decision he says was influenced by anti-abortion supporters.<br><br>"I cannot tell you specifically how we used it, but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to defund Planned Parenthood because it has been an absolute disgrace that that organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers' dollars," Trost said.<br><br>Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative MP from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, also calls for Planned Parenthood to be defunded.<br><br>Vellacott says the controversy over the funding "exposed the lies and destructiveness of IPPF's agenda."<br><br>"It exposes what this abortion giant is surreptitiously trying to achieve worldwide."<br><br>International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda approves funding. (CP)

  • 'Coerced' Abortion Law

    Conservative Winnipeg MP Rod Bruinooge proposes "Roxanne's Law" in 2010, a bill that would penalize anyone who "coerced" a woman into ending her pregnancy against her will.<br><br>"It's not just as simple as feeling pressured to get an abortion; there is a lot of discussion of sex-selection abortion these days, as well," Bruinooge told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It's part of the overall topic of intimidation that goes towards a pregnant woman."<br><br>Bruinooge insisted the bill wasn't meant to force Parliament to wade into the debate banned by Harper, stating that nothing in his bill made it illegal to abort a fetus.<br><br>But the Liberals and New Democrats saw it as a backdoor entry into the touchy topic.<br><br>"How is an abortion bill not an abortion bill?" said then-Liberal MP Anita Neville. "This certainly introduces discussion into the House of Commons and it is a rather sneaky way of doing it."<br><br>Then-NDP leader Jack Layton echoed her concerns. "You have got to wonder what is really going on here."<br><br>The bill was defeated in December of 2010, with 178 votes for and 97 against it. Harper and many Conservatives voted against it and 10 Liberals supported it. The NDP was unanimously against it. (Handout)

  • Maternal Health

    International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda discloses for the first time in April 2011 that Canada will not fund abortions in its G8 child and maternal health-care initiative for developing countries.<br><br>Keith Martin, then-Liberal MP who had defected from the Tories years earlier, expressed outrage. "People here are perplexed and wondering why Canada is rolling back the clock and depriving women in developing countries from having the same rights to basic health care and access to abortion as women in Canada," he said.<br><br>Then-NDP leader Jack Layton accused the Tories of putting Canada on side with former U.S. president George Bush, who reduced support for abortion-related aid.<br><br>"It's picking up the banner that George Bush used to carry, and I think that that's not something that would be supported by the majority of Canadians, that's for sure," Layton said.<br><br>On June 25, Canada pledged $1.1 billion to a global initiative on maternal and child health for developing countries - a disproportionately high amount compared to other G8 countries. Canada did not allow for its share to be used in the funding of abortions. (CP)