Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper Responds: Won’t Open Abortion Debate

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper Responds: Won’t Open Abortion Debate

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 30
, 2008

Ottawa, Canada ( — After the new leader of the all-party pro-life caucus in the Canadian Parliament wrote an editorial Monday urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reopen the abortion debate, Harper has responded. The Conservative Party leader says he has no plans to file or support an abortion bill.

Rod Bruinooge, a Conservative MP for Winnipeg South, said a new debate is needed for laws to reduce or limit abortions to reflect the value of unborn children’s lives.

But Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister, said that’s not going to happen.

"Throughout his political career, the prime minister has been clear on this issue," Soudas said. "We will not introduce or support legislation on abortion."

Though Harper is unwilling to engage in an abortion debate, some abortion advocates say the Conservative Party will do so with a bill it plans to introduce to increase the penalties for attacking a pregnant woman.

According to the CanWest News Service, members of the party approved a resolution at its convention last month in Winnipeg supporting P-207, a bill to offer more protection and justice for pregnant women.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada claims the bill goes against Harper’s comments about not reopening the abortion debate, but pro-life advocates point out the bill is different from private member’s Bill C-484, the measure introduced by Conservative MP Ken Epp.

That bill goes further by holding criminals accountable for killing or injuring an unborn child in an attack on her mother while the Conservative Party bill merely gives an extra sentence for attacking the mother without any justice for or recognition of the unborn child.

In fact, in August, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson distanced himself from C-484 and told the Canadian media that the party would introduce its own bill.

On Monday, a representative of Nicholson told Canwest that there is no guarantee the government will move ahead with its alternative or what the bill would say if it does.

Bruinooge is the new chairman of a pro-life Parliamentary caucus and he says Harper is doing a disservice to Canadians by putting Canada in a "class of its own" because it has no limits on abortions.

The national government also funds abortions with taxpayer dollars.

"Very few Canadians appreciate the fact that essentially until a child takes its first breath, it has less value than a kidney," he told the Canadian Press.

"In Canada you can’t remove your kidney and put it on eBay and auction it off. That is illegal. Whereas you actually can end a beating heart of an unborn child the second before it’s delivered. Most Canadians would agree that is truly a poor bioethical position for our country to be in," Bruinooge added.

Canada followed the United States by 15 years in allowing abortions to be done across the nation without any major restrictions when, in January 1988, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled Canada’s abortion law was unconstitutional and allowed them to be done with even fewer limits than in the U.S.

While abortion advocates and even Conservative Party leaders like Harper say the decision closed the abortion debate, Bruinooge says that shouldn’t happen.

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