12 Sep 2012 Looking after children – before and after birth
In a few weeks Members of Parliament will vote on Motion 312, a proposal for Parliament to study the definition of a human being. The Conservative MP who tabled the motion, Stephen Woodworth of Kitchener Centre, has acknowledged that abortion is inextricably linked to this discussion. And so, as has become a “made in Canada” theme whenever the ‘a’ word is used, all manner of censorship has been invoked in order to avoid discussing the status of pre-born children.
Should Motion 312 be defeated, a sigh of relief from the Prime Minister’s Office will surely be heard from coast-to-coast. But contrary to chief government whip Gordon O’Connor believing, “society has moved on”, this issue is not going away. And if the polling data in the last number of years of is any indication, more and more Canadians are uncomfortable with the status quo on unrestricted abortion and want something done about it. Canada is only one of three countries in the world with no legal protections for children in the womb; the other two are communist dictatorships. Not only do we share this deplorable distinction with North Korea and China, we are also in direct violation of international treaties and conventions we’ve signed on to.
In 1991, the Canadian government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which they signed in 1990. The UNCRC, like the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child which preceded it, is very clear in stating that the rights and legal protection of children are paramount in both born and pre-born children. The preamble from the UNCRC states, “Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”.
All European countries, many of which are seen as more socially progressive than Canada, have restrictions on abortion. France and Germany for example have gestational laws in place that prohibit abortions after 12 weeks. They demonstrate in law an understanding that abortion should not be something that can be accessed without restriction. It’s important to note that the restrictions in place are not simply ‘policy guidelines’, like the Canadian Medical Association’s policy on the viability of a fetus. These are criminal restrictions enforced by law.
Canada needs to provide legal protection for children before birth. The lack of restrictions on abortion is not only completely out of line with all other Western nations but also an egregious violation of the rights of children as recognized by the United Nations.