Conservative Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth is taking a national pro-choice group to task for not supporting a motion he plans to submit in parliament affirming a human's "equal worth and dignity."
Woodworth told CBC News on Monday once it is agreed that a human being has a right to dignity and equality, there can be a public and parliamentary discussion on the definitions of "human being," "dignity" and "equality".
"If you begin by saying that 'I'm sorry, some people are just not human beings and therefore they can be written out of the equation,' it's a really bad move," Woodworth told CBC News. "It creates a dark and dangerous future."
Woodworth said he reached out to Joyce Arthur, the executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, for support on the motion. The group is a prominent national pro-choice organization.
Woodworth said he wrote to the group in January with the specific wording of the motion: "That the Parliament of Canada declare that the equal worth and dignity of everyone must be recognized by Canadian law based on their inherent nature as a human being."
He said Arthur wrote back the next day, and that he then responded and then received no further response from ARCC.
Arthur said she and her group declined Woodworth’s request because they felt it would lead to giving rights to a fetus, which would have dangerous consequences for pregnant women.
"He doesn’t seem to recognize that at all," said Arthur. "When I bring up women’s rights over and over again, he thinks it’s some sort of sideshow. He doesn’t really get the issue, so what’s the point of talking about it with him?"
Woodworth said in a media release that he has "regretfully concluded" the ARCC "simply refuses to affirm human equality."
"We think the ulterior motive is that he's trying to include fetuses in the definition of 'everyone,'" Arthur said.
Last September, Woodworth tried to introduce Bill 312, a private member’s bill which would have studied when life begins.
It was defeated in the House of Commons with a vote of 203-91.
For this latest motion, Woodworth would need the support of at least one other MP. However, none have expressed their intent to join him.
Woodworth will likely not be able to introduce the motion himself until after the next federal election due to parliamentary procedure.