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Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson supports a colleague's call for parliamentary discussion about whether to give human rights to the unborn. (CBC News)

Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson supports a colleague's call for parliamentary discussion about whether to give human rights to the unborn.

Kitchener-Centre's Tory MP Stephen Woodworth said in a media release issued earlier this week that Canadian laws governing human rights and the unborn are outdated and need to be re-examined.

'I'd love to hear the debate on this.' — Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson

"I have to say, I support Steven Woodworth’s call for this kind of discussion," Watson said.

Watson said human rights for the unborn and abortion don't necessarily go hand-in-hand but said "there could be links between the two."

"I’d love to hear the debate on this. What are the various permutations and implications if human rights are extended to the unborn?" Watson said. "Parliament is exactly the place to have that discussion. If it doesn’t happen in Parliament, where do we have these discussions?"

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said repeatedly his government will not reopen the abortion debate as long as he is leader.

"Obviously, the government has been extremely clear it is not going to reopen any debate. But the rules of Parliament are such that individual members of Parliament, if they want to discuss these issues, can bring them forward for discussion.

"And I think it's clear how the government will vote on those issues, too."

Watson admitted "it's no secret" he is a pro life member of Parliament and believes the "old debate" about abortion should be re-examined.

"I think there’s more that can be done with respect to that issue," Watson said.

He said the government could provide more social and financial support to women who experience unplanned pregnancies. Citing a college student as a hypothetical example, he said a young woman today would not have to choose between education and being an unexpected mother.

"With the right supports you could have both," Watson said. "There’s more to this discussion than the old debate."