This was must see TV for me today, despite being scheduled at the “home from daycare” hour – required some careful explaining, but resulted in a heartwarming moment of watching live debate on HofC floor with my 4 and 6 year olds – anyway. If you missed it, I must say there were few surprises.  Still, I was naively surprised to hear the UN declaration of human rights, MLK Jr, Bertha Wilson and Emile Zola (re the Dreyfus affair) all put on the table in support of his motion by MP Woodworth.  And the reference to fingers and beating hearts convinced me that he wasn’t, actually, talking about very late term fetuses, either.  Well, shout out to MP Francoise Boivin for her able takedown (including revisiting Madame Justice Bertha Wilson in Morgentaler [starts @para 217]).  And other MP’s who were great. But most astonishingly we have the government whip, Gordon O’Connor, who … well, here it is in tweets:

kady:

O’Connor says that adjusting the definition of ‘human being’ to an earlier stage, the homicide laws would apply. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:02
Twitter
kady:

“Thus,” O’Connor concludes, the ultimate goal of this motion is to restrict abortion at an earlier fetal stage. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:03
Twitter
kady:

O’Connor goes through the various laws that already protect unborn children from injury and death in non-abortion contexts. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:05
Twitter
kady:

I can’t remember any instance of a government minister delivering a smackdown to a Conservative backbench motion in the House. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:05
Twitter
kady:

O’Connor notes that he has no desire to go back to a world where women are forced into illegal, dangerous abortions. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:07
Twitter
kady:

And so it was that Government Whip Gordon O’Connor wound up giving the most stridently pro-choice speech of the #M312 debate. [via Twitter]

6:07
Twitter
kady:

“I’m sure we all recognize that the issue of abortion raises strong and divergent views,” O’Connor notes. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:08
Twitter
kady:

That said, he believes that one should be “free to pursue one’s lifestyle,” and this motion would attempt to “turn back the clock.” #M312 [via Twitter]

6:08
Twitter
kady:

As such, O’Connor will oppose the motion, and recommend others do the same. #M312 [via Twitter]

6:08
Twitter
kady:

With that, the government whip wraps up his speech. After a split second of stunned silence, the opposition side applauds. #M312 [via Twitter]

All those tweets are from @kady, Kady O’Malley, CBC reporter in Ottawa, and if you hit the link below you can get her entire liveblog on InsidePolitics.  That should catch you up….till June (when the motion will return to the House).  But I would assume this is not really going anywhere. On the other hand, just a skirmish? I think with the “female feticide” issue lurking, and with access to abortion still patchy across this country, we aren’t in a position to completely relax.

House of Commons Liveblog: The Great “Legal Definition of Human Being” Debate – Inside Politics.