Saturday, 15 September 2012

Wankworth's Last Stand

Contained in the modern version of a 'brown envelope', this was slipped over DJ!'s transom.

A stupendously dishonest letter, with attachments, from Woody himself begging his colleagues to support Woodworth's Wank, aka Motion 312, aka A Duplicitous Motion to Prepare the Ground for Recriminalizing Abortion.

Here it is with his own bold faithfully reproduced.
September 14, 2012
Dear Colleague:
Re: Motion 312

1. I am enclosing a copy of Subsection 223(1), the law which is the sole focus of Motion 312. You will see that Subsection 223(1) is a 400 year old law which decrees the dehumanization and exclusion of an entire class of people we know to be human beings, namely, children before the moment of complete birth.

This is a direct assault upon the principle of universal human rights, which insists that every human being has an inherent worth and dignity which the state must recognize rather than merely a value assigned by others based on the utility or inconvenience of that human being.

2. I am also enclosing an extract from the judgment of Supreme Court of Canada Justice Bertha Wilson in her 1988 Morgentaler decision throwing out Canada’s abortion law. Justice Wilson was a woman of impeccable feminist credentials.

You will see from this extract that Justice Wilson left open the question of protecting the rights of children before birth for resolution by Parliament. Subsequent Supreme Court of Canada decisions have also left open this question for Parliament to resolve. Far from "re-opening" this issue, Motion 312 proposes the consensus-building dialogue which is the only path to finally closing it. This is in fact what Justice Wilson suggested.

You will also see that Justice Wilson concluded, like me, that the existing recognition only at complete birth is wrong, suggesting that it ought to be at some point in the second trimester of the child’s development. She did not regard this to be inconsistent with her decision on abortion.

3. Finally, I am enclosing a copy of Motion 312 itself. Please note that Motion 312 proposes no legislation (on abortion or anything else) and insists that the Committee also refrain from doing so. The Committee will merely study the evidence and report all available options.

Please also note that Motion 312 directs the Committee to respect all Supreme Court of Canada decisions. All existing women‟s rights are protected by this provision!

Laws like Subsection 223(1), which decree the dehumanization and exclusion of an entire class of people, deny the principle of universal human rights. That principle, which asserts that every human being possesses equal and inherent worth and dignity is the bedrock upon which all of other our laws rest.

No 400 year old law should be frozen in time, forever immune from democratic review and forever immune from advances in understanding.

Please support the mere study proposed by Motion 312.


Stephen Woodworth
Member of Parliament
Kitchener Centre
Breath-taking, isn't it?

I could go through each word and phrase and thought and rip it all to ribbons of duplicitous, mealy-mouthed horseshit, but I'm so thoroughly disgusted and enraged that I will -- at least for now -- point out two things only.

1. The clear intent of this charade from its inception has been to close the abortion debate -- without, miraculously, opening it -- by setting the scene for a law limiting abortion to the period ending at mid-second trimester.

2. Woodworth does indeed have the words 'woman' and 'women' in his vocabulary, but uses them only a) to invoke a Canadian feminist icon or b) to outright lie about their rights.

There is more to say, of course, and I'm sure wise, sensible people will weigh in with their howls of derision/outrage observations.

The good news is that there is just a little more to endure. Monday, Woody will hold a press conference; Friday will see the final hour of debate; and then there's the vote on September 26 to once and for at least a generation kill any notion of turning back the clock on reproductive rights.

And we can finally say buh-bye to this shit.

BONUS: JJ writes From the Horse's Ass Mouth.

UPDATE: In the comments choice joyce reminds us that Chantal Hébert thinks the vote might be close. Gender Focus has the goods on what we need to do next.

UPDATE 2: ARCC now also has a page with what needs doing now.


choice joyce said...

Great work fern hill! :-) The conspiracy has been exposed. You know, there was a response on April 13 from the PMO's office to a pro-choice letter writer that said (in part): "On behalf of the Prime Minister, thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth's statement proposing that Parliament lead an examination into human rights protection for children before birth in the later stages of gestation."

But no-one had said anything publicly about gestational limits at that point, not even Woodworth! Their campaign since then proves that's what they're after: the "We Need a Law" website, Ted Gerk and his Bertha page, the recent public divisions in the anti-choice movement over gestational limits, etc. And now we've got Woodworth openly advocating that. Why weren't they honest from the beginning, isn't it unChristian to lie?

(I'm going to write and post something in the next day or 2 on the ARCC site to refute that unconvincing Bertha argument in particular, as I haven't really dealt with it before.)

fern hill said...

So the folks at home can follow along. Some links.

DJ's take on The Bertha Wilson Motion.

The Bertha Wilson fb page.

We Need a Law (Like a Hole in the Head).

Anonymous said...

I don't think the bullshit will end with the defeat of M312. A few months from now Harper will let another dog out of the house. I believe he is committed to keeping the "discussion" in the public arena. Feed the animals.

Unknown said...

We will not give even one inch to anti choicers, we all can see what happened in the US. Woody wants our abortion laws to be just like Americas. He also has a really big problem with lying, other than the things that were pointed out, he seems to forget that abortion has been declared an international human right by the UN, and Canada's lawless abortion is praised by the human rights council, so I'm not sure what this "international human rights" for fetus crap is that he's talking about. I can't wait to see M312 crash & burn.

Beijing York said...

I'm afraid you might be right. The Harper Regime are trying to wear us down with every POS private member's motion they've been trotting out from the back benches since their first minority.

choice joyce said...

Chantal Hébert thinks the vote is going to be tight:

However, I believe we have the votes to defeat it - the key is making sure all the pro-choice MPs actually show up to vote!

fern hill said...

choice joyce's link.

How can we help getting pro-choice MPs to show up?

choice joyce said...

Here's a list of things that we could try to do, roughly in order of priority:

1. Target the NDP/Liberal/Bloc party leaders (Thomas Mulcair, Bob Rae, Daniel Paillé) and ask them to ensure maximum attendance because the vote might be close.
2. Email the pro-choice MPs to remind them of the vote on Sep 26 and the importance of being there to vote No.
3. Ask Harper to remind his Cabinet (and caucus) to vote against the motion, and recommend that he discipline any Cabinet member who defies his order.
4. Ask Conservative cabinet ministers to respect their leader's wishes.
5. Continue targeting anti-choice and 'unknown stance' MPs to oppose the motion.

Emails addresses of all MPs are here, ready to copy and paste into your To or Bcc box: (or do a search there to find and select individual ones)

choice joyce said...

Here is an up-to-date list of Cabinet members,including Ministers of State:

choice joyce said...

Ok sorry, Daniel Paillé is with the provincial Bloc, I think. I have no idea who the Bloc party leader is, or if there even is one? Anyway, there's only 4 Bloc MPs, so please email them all, in French if possible!

You can check party affiliations and ridings here:

fern hill said...

Email addresses.

Cabinet ministers.

Party affiliations and ridings.

I'll do a separate blogpost with these links.

choice joyce said...

I've got a linky up with all the necessary info!

JJ said...

I wonder why Chantal Hebert thinks it will be close: I still don't. If so many MPs were supporting it, I would think they'd all be rallying to convince their colleagues to do the same. And even if it passed, it wouldn't guarantee Harper all those (6%) of antichoice votes: they'll still hate him for opposing it.

OTOH, that fucking Harper. This is just the kind of thing he'd use as a distraction while he does who knows what in other areas, so he may want the controversy to continue.

fern hill said...

Yeah, I'm not convinced it'll be close, unless a bunch of pro-choice MPs skive off. And why would they?

That said, I will still email party leaders, my MP, and Government Whip Gordon O'Connor.

Sixth Estate said...

How can a clause of the Canadian Criminal Code be over 400 years old? I still haven't heard a satisfactory answer to this apparent breakdown in the fabric of space-time.

I wonder what he'll do once this campaign fails. Slink back into a corner, or come back with something even bigger and better?

fern hill said...

He weasels with something like 'based on a 400-year-old law'.

As for what's next? 40 Days of Harassment. Start the day of the vote.

Sixth Estate said...

Correction: he USUALLY does. Note the wording in the latest statement, which you quote above:

You will see that Subsection 223(1) is a 400 year old law which decrees the dehumanization and exclusion of an entire class of people.

fern hill said...

Quite right. I sit corrected.

Anonymous said...


Guessing it's an old English common law thing that is being referred to.
The oldest thing on the subject?

Sixth Estate said...

That's what he's referred to in the past, yes.

However, he seems to have forgotten that part of the pretence... the same way they forgot most of the rest of it (aka this is not about abortion, blah blah blah). Incidentally if this is about the 1988 ruling then it IS about abortion. But we already knew that.

Alison said...

CCCB statement regarding Motion 312
"The Catholic Church holds that a human being comes into existence at conception. The lives of human beings are, therefore, sacred at every stage in our existence -- from beginning to natural end. “Blessed is the fruit of your womb,” the Gospel of Luke says in reference to Mary, who was pregnant with child, Our Lord.

As the House of Commons prepares to debate Motion 312, the Bishops of Canada invite all members of the Parliament of Canada to take into full account the sacredness of the unborn child and each human life. We also encourage Canadian Catholics, and all people of good will, to pray that our legislators be blessed with wisdom and courage to do what is best to protect and further the common good, which is based on respect for the human dignity of all."

+Richard Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

September 18, 2012

Public gets write behind abortion motion
"Woodworth said one of the implications of his motion is that it could cause people to think about abortion.
'Perhaps, if Canadians think of a child at eight-and-a-half months' gestation as a human being, they will have second thoughts about abortion.' "

fern hill said...

Hey, Alison. Good to see your electrons again!

This whole campaign has been a muddled mess, hasn't it? Not abortion, sorta/maybe abortion, personhood, gestational limit. They didn't coordinate. Whole buncha sites and organizations competing for attention and, no doubt, money. Thousands of signatures, letters, postcards, but who's to say it's not the same few hundred people cranking it all out?

In short, dishonest and disorganized from the get-go.

If this is the best Canadian fetus fetishists can muster, I think our lawless abortion regime is safe.

Sixth Estate said...

"“Blessed is the fruit of your womb,” the Gospel of Luke says in reference to Mary, who was pregnant with child, Our Lord."

Well, if the Gospel of Luke kind-of-sort-of-maybe makes a statement on a scientific or political subject, we should definitely have that enshrined in Canadian law. For instance, if Luke implies that the Earth is flat... well, it's Holy Scripture, isn't it? And if Luke says we shouldn't allow divorce except in cases of adultery, well, that's Holy Scripture too, isn't it?

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