CLC Blog

CLC Blog

‘Canadian pro-life victory’: MP motions supporting abortion in response to Roe all fail

June 30, 2022 (Campaign Life Coalition) – Canadian abortion-activist Members of Parliament (MPs) failed recently on three occasions to pass pro-abortion motions in reaction to the expectation that the United States would overturn its 1973 abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade, which in fact happened on June 24. With Parliament now on summer break since June 23, pro-life advocates are claiming a victory that none of the pro-abortion motions passed.

“It’s no small pro-life victory for the pro-life movement here in Canada that not a single pro-abortion motion passed in the House of Commons in the wake of the expectation that Roe would be overturned,” said Pete Baklinski, Campaign Life Coalition’s director of communications. “This is a sign that life is truly beginning to win here in Canada.”

Recent motions put forward in the House of Commons and various federal government committees that pushed the issue of abortion, both at home and abroad, failed after opposition from Conservative party members.

Since the leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court on May 2 about the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, various MPs put forward motions regarding abortion in an attempt to ensure that the repercussions of such an overturning would not affect Canada.

On Tuesday, May 3, the morning after the draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court was first leaked, Bloc Quebecois MP Christine Normandin (Saint-Jean) put forward a motion in the House of Commons to have the House unanimously declare the abortion was a woman’s choice.

Normandin moved that the House give unanimous consent to the statement that “a woman’s body belongs to her and her alone and that it recognize her freedom of choice on abortion for any reason whatsoever.”

This motion was met with multiple “no’s.” Since it had aimed at unanimous consent, it failed to pass.

Another pro-abortion motion was put forward by Liberal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos (Saint-Laurent) in a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women on May 13 where she attempted to advance abortion as a “Charter right” in Canada.

Lambropoulos moved that the Committee “report to the House that (a) access and availability to reproduction health services no matter where one lives in Canada, including safe and legal abortion, is a Charter right, and is ensured under the Canada Health Act, and (b) the decision to have an abortion made by women, transgender, and non-binary individuals for any reason, is their freedom of choice and theirs alone.”

Lambropoulos put forward her motion despite the fact that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes no right to abortion and, moreover, it clearly states that “everyone has the right to life.” Furthermore, no right to abortion has ever been established by Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court in the 1988 Morgentaler decision.

Lambropoulos’ motion was blocked by Conservative MP Shelby Kramp-Neuman (Hastings-Lennox and Addington), who moved to “adjourn debate” on the motion until current committee business was “completely done.” The Committee’s Chair, Conservative MP Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London), characterized the motion as having “absolutely no teeth to it” and “virtue signalling at its best.” After some emotional debate, Liberal MP Jenna Sudds (Kanata-Carleton) then moved to adjourn the meeting, stating that abortion was a “hard topic” and that committee members could not “resolve it or have a fulsome discussion today.” Committee members voted to adjourn the meeting, thus cancelling the advancement of the motion.

The last and most recent motion pushing abortion was on May 16. Liberal MP Dr. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre) put forward the following motion [video time stamp 12:16:40] in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: “Given recent reports of international backsliding related to women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs undertake a comprehensive study on the global access to the full range of health services.”

Fry said that the study would include, among other things, “family planning and modern and legal abortion and post-abortion care, laws restricting or prohibiting women’s rights to abortion, the medical and socio-economic importance of maintaining the right to access safe abortion and prevention...and what actions Canada can undertake to support women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights globally.” She said that the Committee should hold “no fewer than five meetings and that the Committee report its findings to the House.”

Not everyone in the Committee, however, liked Fry’s motion. Ongoing and sustained opposition to the motion by Conservative MPs Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills) and Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan) led to the later accusations by Liberal and NDP MPs of Conservative “filibustering” in order to block the motion from proceeding. The “filibustering” continued throughout the remaining scheduled meetings of the Committee, effectively blocking Fry’s motion from being discussed or adopted by the Committee.

Genuis accused the Liberal and NDP coalition of refusing to do the work for which the committee had been formed. “Another meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee where Conservatives move to adjourn debate on the Liberal's abortion motion so that we can get back to work on priorities like Ukraine, Taiwan, and vaccines. NDP-Liberal coalition opposes our efforts to adjourn debate,” he tweeted June 13.

With MPs having returned to their homes as Parliament goes on break for the summer, the fate of Fry and Lambropoulos’ motions remain unclear. Their failure for the time being remains a victory for pro-life advocates.

“Pro-lifers from across the country must be grateful to the hard-working Conservative MPs, some of whom are not even pro-life, who managed to block these pro-abortion motions,” said CLC’s Baklinski. “I’m glad to see more and more politicians finding some backbone to oppose the Left’s radical promotion of abortion. This is a Canadian pro-life victory. Bravo to all of them.”

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