4.27.2012

m312: harper gets our message

So the first hour of debate on the not-so-stealth abortion motion did not go well for Mr. Woodworth. The Opposition parties came out strongly in favour of the 21st century and rationality. And as you know, only one Conservative other than Woodworth spoke - Gordon O'Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills and Conservative whip) - and he demolished the bill.
But O'Connor disagreed, saying "the ultimate intention of this motion is to restrict abortions at some development stage in Canada." If the legal definition of when a person is considered a human being is changed, and a fetus is then considered a human being then homicide laws would apply, and abortion, as a consequence, would be considered homicide, O'Connor said.

He was the only other Conservative MP to speak during the debate, and he urged everyone to reject his colleague's motion whenever it comes to a vote.

O'Connor said abortion is a serious decision for women to make and he wants all women to continue to live in a society where they can make that decision "without the threat of legal consequences."

Whether one accepts abortion or not, it will always be part of society, O'Connor said, adding that he can't understand why those who are opposed to it want to impose their belief on others through the Criminal Code.

"Trying to amend the legal rules governing abortion as is intended by this motion will not improve the situation, it will only lead to increased conflict as the attempt is made to turn back the clock," said O'Connor. "Society has moved on and I don't believe this proposal should proceed. As well, it is in opposition to our government's position."
Knowing the Prime Minister's MO as we do, I believe this can only be interpreted one way. Harper used Woodworth's motion as a weather balloon, to test the public's appetite for re-opening the abortion debate. Pro-choice activists mobilized, and public opinion was rallied. Harper saw that this was politically unfeasible, and he hung Woodworth out to dry (or Woodworth volunteered to be sacrificed for the cause; those details don't matter).

Make no mistake. You beat back this threat. We did. We won this round and perhaps the war (for now), not because the Tories came to their senses, but because we showed them the consequences of their actions.

7 comments:

laura k said...

However... I emailed Gordon O'Connor to thank him for standing up for choice. It was the right thing to do, and he did it. He's going to take heat from fetus fanatics, so it's only fair that he receive thanks from our side.

gordon.oconnor@parl.gc.ca

Kev said...

The Liberal party certainly didn't paint itself with glory when they contended that reproductive rights(a basic human right) was a matter of conscience therefor open to debate.

Once more they showed cowardice and chose to oppose but not necessarily oppose M312. Human rights are not open to debate Period

laura k said...

The Liberal party certainly didn't paint itself with glory when they contended that reproductive rights(a basic human right) was a matter of conscience therefor open to debate.

Many Liberal MPs are virulently anti-choice. That's what you get in a party that stands for nothing.

Project Maddie said...

My initial reaction was celebratory, but there's a very convincing theory floating around that M312 was a red herring, that the Harpercons had no intention of reopening the abortion debate but it was a timely distraction from real threats to women's issues. They continue their war on women but are being somewhat celebrated for smacking down M312 which was their plan all along. Just days after O'Connor's speech it was announced Health Canada's Women's Health Contribution Program is closing due to federal cuts.

laura k said...

Whether red herring or weather balloon, M312 was going nowhere. Obviously this doesn't mean we can let our guard down.

I think the Cons did us a great favour. The activism around M312 woke people up to the threat.

Dharma Seeker said...

I really wish Blogger would let me confirm my identity before submitted my comment. It just identifies me as whichever e-mail account I last logged in to. I should have learned by now :)

Is there any action around cutting funding to programs that benefit women, particularly low income and first nations women? From what I understand the Women's Health Contribution Program costs the government less than 3 million dollars, a paltry amount in the grand scheme of things.

Do you worry that after a victory over something highly publicized like M312 the majority of people will think "problem solved" and return to complacency?

laura k said...

Do you worry that after a victory over something highly publicized like M312 the majority of people will think "problem solved" and return to complacency?

I assume that most people are completely unaware of this, and continue to be complacent. I think a very small percentage of the public is aware of what goes on in the HoC. Of course I may be wrong, but I assume the people who were active on M312 are generally informed and active, and those who are not, are not.

Re action around budget cuts that affect women, yes, I assume there is. The Centre for Policy Alternatives is a good place to start, and public service unions like NUPGE, CUPE and CUP-W.