September 7, 2012 - Motion M-312 is a private member’s motion introduced by Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth. If passed, it would strike a Parliamentary Committee to study changing the Criminal Code definition of “human beings.” It is believed this is a back-door attempt to allow the re-criminalization of abortion and deny the constitutional rights of all pregnant women, and would lead us down the path of the United States, which has seen thousands of bills limiting women’s reproductive rights introduced and passed in legislatures in the last few years.
M-312 was supposed to be debated and voted on in mid-June. However, Stephen Woodworth switched places in the order of debate with another MP, thus pushing the vote to the fall. The Canadian Labour Congress has been working with the NDP Caucus, women’s groups and organizations advocating for reproductive justice to ensure the motion is defeated. They are encouraging affiliates to make connections with activists at the local level to lobby MPs to vote against M-312 and to make the public aware of the importance of reproductive freedom to women’s empowerment and human rights.
A petition is available at the CLC website for downloading and collecting signatures:
Fact sheets, sample letters and other resources can be found at the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) M-312 Action Page: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/m312.html.
A radical anti-abortion group has co-opted the tactic and route of the 1970 Abortion Caravan to bring an anti-choice message to communities between Vancouver and Ottawa. Their trucks, posters and flyers feature graphic images, intending to shock people into adopting their cause, bully women thinking about having abortions, and traumatize those who have had them. Their arrival in a community often includes a planned speaking engagement at a local church.
They have been met with counter-protest at most stops – sometimes individual actions, sometimes larger, organized events. The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) has been taking the lead in organizing counter-protests in various communities. Other events have happened organically, with word spreading through social media.
Reproductive rights organizations are now discussing holding a National Day of Action in the fall, possibly October 13.
Click here to read the letter regarding this issue sent to affiliates signed by Irene Lanzinger, Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour.