Day 12 was one of our busier days at the vigil for the end of abortion with 18 people coming by for an hour or more, logging in nearly 40 hours of prayer time among them.
Hector and his family dropped by for a second time since the beginning of the vigil this past Wednesday September 26th . He, his wife, and four children (18 years, 9, 6, and 9 months) spent an hour at the site. The cool autumn temperatures – about 14C, didn’t seem to bother him, as he wore a simple t-shirt throughout the sixty minute watch. He promises to return on Wednesday evening.
Also, a kind Samaritan dropped by with a box of Donuts and six coffees for those of us at the vigil location. He mentioned that he really appreciated our work and shared a personal story. Both he and his brother were both adopted as infants and he credits the work of persons like ourselves for having encouraged his natural mom not to abort them and put the twos of them up for adoption.
Finally, special thanks to Maria for dropping by at day’s end with a pot of hot carrot and squash soup. There were four hungry vigilers who devoured its contents in no time.
Under overcast skies, we experienced the largest turn out so far in this Fall's 40 Days for Life prayer vigil for the end of aboriton.
Twenty-two people showed up at one point or another today spending at least an hour on site in prayerful vigil. All together, there was about 41.5 hours in vigil time by these 22 persons.
The highlight was without doubt the presence of a family visiting from Lanoraie. Mother and father along with their four children came by, spending the last hour of the day at the site. They promised to return as early as this Sunday.
The total count of Saved Babies is up to 73.
Three hours had yet gone by in this Fall's 40 days for Life prayer vigil for the end of abortion that a surprising exchanged had already occurred.
Our eighth vigil in Lahaie Park, Montreal, across the street from the Morgentaler abortion mill, began as in previous campaigns. Our banner was up, vigilers were present, and the occasional passerby made some disparaging comment or rude gesture. Nothing unusual.
The surprising occurred when one such passerby actually came back for a talk! Earlier, on his bike, he had sarcastically shouted at me that he would be praying that I would go away. Yet within five minutes here he is, back in front of me, minus his bicycle.
Over the next five to ten minutes we had a respectful talk, he outlining his reasons for being pro-choice and I, pro-life.
He told me that it is preferable to abort a child than to see it live a life of poverty. When I asked him how do we know that of the child, he responded that we have a good knowledge who is fated to such a life.
Also, he believed that in many Asian countries, over-population is a major concern and so abortion is justified.
As for me, I pointed out to him the high rate of infertility among couples in Canada - 18% or so, and that carrying the child to term and then putting the infant up for adoption would bring join to some couple. He seemed to like this idea.
I don't remember how the conversation ended, but it was quite different than when we initially met one another.
The vigil runs through to Sunday, November 4th, 2012. Register or drop by daily, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Upwards to forty people gathered last night in Lahaie Park, Montreal, to kick off the Forty Days for Life prayer vigil for the end of abortion.
Forty Days for Life is a twice annual prayer vigil - one in the spring time and the other in the Fall, begun five years and has grown globally with 316 vigils - 18 of which are on Canadian soil, occurring simultaneously this Fall in six countries.
Here in Montreal, this is our eighth vigil, all of which have been done across the street from the Morgentaler abortion mill.
Last night, the gusty winds of the day died to an imperceptible breeze as men and women recited prayers and listened to four speakers.
After about half hour, the group moved into a basement hall for some libations and received instructions about what etiquette to follow when present at the 40 day vigil site.
Paramount to our vigil is the maintaining a prayerful presence. To this end a code of conduct is given below to help to this end.
Code of Conduct
- I will show compassion and reflect Christ’s love to all.
- I understand that acting in a violent or harmful manner immediately and completely disassociates me from this vigil.
- I will not obstruct the driveways or sidewalk while standing in the public right of way.
- I will not block the abortion facility's entrance nor the path of anyone, including passersby, on the sidewalk; I will remain on the north side of Saint-Joseph Blvd.
- I will not litter on the public right of way.
- I will closely attend to any children I bring to the prayer vigil.
- I will not threaten, physically contact, nor verbally abuse anyone.
- I will not vandalize private property.
- I will cooperate with local city authorities.
- I will not picket nor carry any signs, pictures, displays, nor wear clothing bearing any words or images, without the consent of the organizers.
- I will maintain a spirit of prayer and refrain from judgments, debates and quarrels.
- I will refrain from unnecessary discussion with the public and with the other prayers.
- I will maintain a physical distance from others at the site whose tactics would be considered contrary to these guidelines.
Although our purpose is to pray, we are not adverse to talk with persons not associated with the vigil who approach us to ask questions or make comments. The following may help in these exchanges:
How to Share the Pro-Life Message
What is the pro-life message?
At its most basic level, the pro-life message is this:
An unborn child is a human person
whose life has value and deserves to be protected by our society.
But we also have an important message to share about how abortion harms women – and men – and about how committed the pro-life movement is to helping women face untimely pregnancies and choose life for their babies.
Ultimately, our message is a message of hope. We believe that, working together, we can transform our society into a place in which no mother will ever resort to abortion, where every child, regardless of the circumstances of his or her conception, will be welcomed and loved.
10 Guidelines for sharing the pro-life message
1. Listen – and pay attention;
2. Take time to think – and pray;
3. Always be respectful;
4. Seek common ground;
5. Make it personal;
6. Give the benefit of the doubt, and never take offense;
7. Don’t interrupt others’ conversations;
8. Pick your battles and keep it simple;
9. Admit when you lack information; and
10. Always leave the door open.
Earlier this afternoon, members of Parliament, on both sides of the House, rose to speak on M-312, MP Stephen Woodworth's motion to start a committee to update Canada criminal code on matters related the definition of a human being in light of contemporary science. The hour-long exchange was more balanced than its first hour of debate this past Spring; at that time, nearly all of the speakers spoke against the motion whereas today, I thought it was balanced. Below I include two statements from Mr. Woodworth's office - the first a press release and the second the MP's presentation. Also, as I viewed the proceedings live on CPAC, I presume the network will provide a video recording of today's exchanges shortly. (Mr. Woodworth's web site). Here's a link to a governmental site containing the transcription of the speeches. (B.J.)
Media Release - For Immediate Publication - September 21st, 2012
Motion 312: Woodworth’s Plea to MPs
OTTAWA, Ontario ? MP Stephen Woodworth today urged Members of Parliament not to shield Canada’s 400 year old definition of human being from democratic review or from advances in modern understanding.
“This law, by denying the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, is the most unimaginably unjust law possible and has no place in Canada” he said. “Parliament should not treat it as frozen in time forever.”
When challenged about abortion, Woodworth points out that even Justice Bertha Wilson, who championed abortion rights in the Morgentaler decision, wrote that Parliament should review this question by “informing itself from the relevant disciplines,” the very proposal embodied in Motion 312.
“I’ve heard that some Members of Parliament are wrestling with their consciences over Motion 312,” Woodworth remarks. “I say give in to your conscience; you are only useful to your Leader, your Party, and your constituents when you bring your conscience and your ideals to your decisions.”
Limited by Parliamentary rules to five minutes, Woodworth’s closing remarks are attached. (see below.)
The vote on Motion 312 is expected on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. To view the proceedings, please tune in to your local CPAC television channel or visit www.cpac.ca for a live podcast.
Closing Remarks – S. Woodworth
2nd Hour of Debate – Motion 312 - September 21st, 2012
Mr. Speaker, our great democracy was founded on the promise that two founding nations in conflict could reconcile their differences peaceably. Generations of Canadians have lived - and died – to defend the dream of universal human rights and honest laws so necessary to fulfill that promise.
These ideals created unity out of diversity and made Canada a bright beacon of hope.
The sweep of history for 400 years has brought ever greater recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. That bedrock foundation anchors Canada’s essential character.
We are here in Parliament to honour that vision of Canada. We are here to seek out a spirit of compromise amid passionate debate. We are here to embrace advancing knowledge in the service of universal human rights.
Motion 312 honours those essential duties. Motion 312 seeks merely to shine the light of 21st century knowledge upon our 400 year old law which decrees the dehumanization and exclusion of a whole class of people, children before complete birth.
About abortion, I say this: recognizing children as human before the moment of complete birth will not resolve that issue.
Even Justice Bertha Wilson, who championed abortion rights in the Morgentaler decision, wrote that Parliament should “inform itself from the relevant disciplines”, the very proposal embodied in Motion 312.
Recognizing the reality that children are human beings before complete birth will affirm the hallowed principle that human rights are universal, not a gift of the State which may be cancelled by subsection 223(1).
It would be a triumph of leadership to insist that our definition of human being must not remain frozen in time forever, immune from the light of advancing knowledge, immune from democratic governance, and immune from the spirit of open dialogue.
It would honour our commitment to honest laws to recognize a child’s worth and dignity as a human being before the moment of complete birth if the evidence establishes that as fact.
It would fulfil our shared vision of Canada to allow, despite extreme and intransigent opposition, a mere study about human rights even if modern evidence might cause some to question our laws.
Or will Parliament reject those Canadian ideals? Is THAT what Parliament has come to?
I thank, and many Canadians thank, the Members who stand with me against that dismal view.
Yet we in Parliament cannot ourselves sustain - we cannot protect – we cannot without help safeguard – this great vision of Canada. The hope of a Canada governed by honest laws rests in the heart of every Canadian. The pledge offered by countless Canadians to the high principle of universal human rights will not be overcome by any decision of this Parliament. We may safely place our confidence in the certainty that Canadians will not rest content with the perpetual absence of open dialogue on this issue.
There is no more noble undertaking than to fulfill that essential promise of Canada. Join me in the conversation so necessary to reconcile Canadians.
OTTAWA, Ontario ― MP Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre this week made clear his hopes for Motion 312. Motion 312 proposes a 21st century look at Canada’s current 400 year old definition of human being. In preparation for the 2nd hour of debate and final vote, he is making a final plea to all supporters of Motion 312 to make their views known.
In meeting with journalists, Woodworth delivered a passionate argument identifying important questions he would like Canadians to address.
“Should such an important 400 year old law be frozen in time forever? Should such an important 400 year old law be forever immune from democratic review? Should a 400 year old definition of human being be forever immune from advances in modern understanding?. These are questions that need to be addressed by all, including opponents of Motion 312” said Woodworth.
Woodworth hopes for a constructive second hour of debate following seven months of preparation including dozens of interviews and speaking engagements.
“Although there is significant support among MPs for Motion 312, it does not yet approach 50%. Consequently I’m keeping up my efforts, and ask others to do so too” said Woodworth. “Tens of thousands of Canadians have expressed their support for Motion 312 and I hope that this support will also be reflected in Parliament at the vote.”
The second hour of debate on Motion 312 will occur on Friday, September 21st, 2012 at 1:30p.m. followed by a final vote on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012. Woodworth also encourages Canadians to visit his website at www.stephenwoodworth.ca for more information about Motion 312.
For more information:
Office of Stephen Woodworth, MP
I have some very good news for you. But first, I would like to share with you some post-election thoughts.
I’m writing to you the day after the provincial election. We find ourselves with a Parti Québécois government, a minority one – 54 seats compared to the Liberals 50 and the remaining 11 divided between two other parties. This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for.
Having said this, those of you who voted for either the Quebec Liberal Party or the CAQ (Coalition pour l’Avenir du Québec) on September 4th would have endorsed a government that maintains the status quo on the 30 000 annual lives - innocent lives, lost yearly via abortions, not to mention those now threatened by euthanasia.
What to conclude? It is clear that partisan politics, in both the short and middle terms, can do little to slow or halt the culture of death here in Quebec. The reason being simple: the dominant culture does not permit a change to occur.
This dominant culture (the culture of the mass media, the university elites, celebrities in the entertainment world, etc.) deforms consciences to such an extent that the ballot count on election night all but confirms what we all already know: the majority of Quebecers, disorientated by the pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro “gay-marriage” propaganda, voted for death. There are simply not enough people converted to fundamental truths to reverse this strong tendency.
So, what do we do? Despair is not an option. If the problem is simple, so then also is the solution: we need to focus on converting less our provincial representatives – i.e., the dominant culture, than our fellow citizens! I spoke of a simple solution, not an easy one…
Evidently, converting our fellow citizens to the pro-life and the pro-family position (and so arrive at a pro-life electorate) is a gargantuan task, and our organization alone is not able to bring this about. Yet we can play a pivotal part by adopting a focussed goal: provide our fellow citizens with a political education.
What is a political education? The lesson to be given, and repeated without end, may be summarized in the following manner: those who profess to be Christians or who affirm to have good values but who believe that their values must remain personal, private, not linked with their external lives, nor with politics, these are off course, for to preserve one’s values, one needs to live them, which means to put them into practice in our relationships. Our deepest values, for them to be living values, need have a public expression – i.e., a political expression.
A political education is principally a consistent education. If we are Christians, if we are pro-life, can we really vote while disregarding the number one social issue of our time - the fate of the unborn child? If we claim to be profoundly pro-life and pro-family, are we any less so in our daily lives, when we engage with the greater world and, especially, when we enter the voting booth to mark our ballot?
Yet, at times, when confronted with both concrete and complex situations, it is difficult to know how to integrate our pro-life and pro-family values. Such is the work of the Quebec Life Coalition: to form citizens apt to act concretely, consistent with the good values that founded Quebec society.
Another goal of the Quebec Life Coalition is to rouse people of good will who remain inactive, who are unaware at which point the Quebec society is in danger of disappearing through the death blow of abortions, euthanasia, and nefarious politics.
Over the following months, you will observe the extent to which our work is centred on the following two points:
Revealing the existential problem to which we all face; and
Informing citizens politically so that once informed, citizens can concretely act in their respective areas, for the good of all.
Earlier, I had promised you some good news. Here it is. It is with great pleasure that I announce that, in the context of our annual congress which will be this coming October 6 in Granby, Qc, we have a very special guest - none other than the Honourable Stephen Woodworth. (The member of Parliament for Kitchener-Center will be presenting at the end of September his motion 312 in Parliament which aims to revise the definition of a human being in the Canada’ criminal code. Presently, Section 223.1 stipulates that a child becomes a human being once it has completely exited, alive, from his mother’s womb.) I invite you to read the congress announcement, included herewith, for further information about Mr. Woodworth and the congress. It’s not to be missed! Mark it on your calendars.
Yours in faith,
Georges Buscemi, President
Quebec Life Coalition
p.s. We are about to enter a period of intense activity: our twice annual 40 Days for Life prayer vigil, our annual congress, monthly conferences, … Your support as always is greatly appreciated.
At the beginning of October, the Quebec Life Coalition is privileged to welcome the Honourable Mr. Stephen Woodworth. The Member for Parliament for Kitchener Center will be providing the keynote address at our annual congress on October 6. Below you will find some background information regarding his pro-life work in Parliament. It is provided by the archdiocese of Toronto. Enjoy.
In our political system in Canada, many proposed laws (bills/motions, etc.) are prepared and crafted for consideration. They help shape the country that we are, guide how our nation is governed and illustrate the way of life that Canadians are known for around the world.
Most pieces of legislation are presented by a governing political party. Some are supported across party lines and votes take place to determine whether such a proposal will become law.
Private members bills have a very different trajectory. Proposed by a single member of a party not part of the cabinet, they are often not approved or endorsed by fellow members of the party. They very rarely pass into law yet provide an opportunity for elected members to bring forward ideas for discussion and dialogue.
When it comes to pro-life legislation in Canada, all mainstream parties identify the issue as a political hot potato and steer clear of it in general terms. It's an interesting contrast to the American political system where the discussion around abortion and right to life was front and centre in recent Republican and Democratic conventions in very different ways.
Motion 312 is currently before Canada's Parliament, tabled by Kitchener-Center Member of Parliament, Stephen Woodworth. It's defined as "studying Canada's definition of a human being." If you read the motion, it's a relatively straight forward proposal, asking for a review of Canada's Criminal Code that states a child becomes a human being only at the moment of birth.
As Catholics, we firmly believe that life begins at the moment of conception. Yet our criminal code seems to suggest otherwise. Motion 312 provides an opportunity for us to affirm that belief, to dialogue with our elected representatives and respectfully express our views to them.
There are many within the Catholic community, people of other faiths and no faith at all that have been working on life issues for decades, trying to re-open the debate and determine the best way to move pro-life legislation forward in our country.
While not prepared by the Archdiocese of Toronto, some facts and background information on Motion 312 have been prepared by concerned Catholics. Below you'll find some of this information along with suggestions on how to voice your opinion to your local MP (thanks to Diana Reynolds for sending the resources along).
In an increasingly secular environment, it takes real courage for politicians to table legislation that promotes life at all stages. It's certainly not for political gain. Quite the opposite. They are often ridiculed or stereotyped, sometimes relegated to the back benches and dismissed as radical, divisive or trying to push their morality as part of an "agenda".
It's time we start having the discussion. Every one of us was carried in the womb until our birth. We didn't have a voice then. We have one now. Let's use it.
Motion 312 - When Am I Human?
What is Motion 312 about?
Motion 312 calls for the creation of a special committee in the Parliament to review the definition in Canadian law that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth.
Section 223 of the Criminal Code of Canada uses a definition of human being which is at least 400 years old. Canada borrowed this law from British common law, where it can be dated back to as early as 1642.
Section 223 (1) of the Criminal Code states that "a child becomes a human being when it has fully proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother..." Therefore if a toe is still left in the birth canal, that child is not considered a human being yet and therefore has no human rights in Canada.
Apart from a declining number of US States, only three other countries in the world now share Canada's refusal to recognize or protect the interests of children as human beings until the moment of complete birth: China, Vietnam, and North Korea. The Motion is scheduled for parliamentary debate on Friday September 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm ET and the final vote will be held on Wednesday September 26, 2012. Both the debate and the vote can be viewed on your local CPAC television channel or by visiting www.cpac.ca for a live podcast.
Where Can I Learn More About Motion 312?
Kitchener Centre MP (Federal) Stephen Woodworth introduced Motion 312. Please see his website for the full text of the Motion: http://www.stephenwoodworth.ca/canadas-400-year-old-definition-of-human-being/motion-312.
Since abortion was decriminalized in Canada, over 3 million abortions have been performed. Almost 1 in every 4 pregnancies in the country ends in abortion. For more information about abortion in Canada see: http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/shared/media/editor/file/AbortionFactSheet-CLC.pdf.
How Can I Support the Motion?
If you would like to see ‘human being’ defined according to current medical evidence, make your voices heard before September 26th. To support Motion 312, you can:
Sign a petition and collect signatures
Print out a copy of the petition form at: http://weneedalaw.ca/images/woodworth.pdf.
Completed petitions should be submitted to your Member of Parliament (MP) or to Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth.
Meet with your Member of Parliament to express your views
Approaching your MP may seem daunting. Consider these tips and discussion points for the meeting: http://weneedalaw.ca/index.php/resources/tipsforaproductivevisitwithyoump.
Write a letter to your Member of Parliament
Create your own letter or use a template. For ideas about what to write, see sample letters at the following websites:
Letters can be sent to your MP, the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister. Mail can be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament at the House of Commons address:
Name of Member of Parliament, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0A6
Not sure who is the Member of Parliament for your riding?
You can search by postal code, using this government website: http://parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCod....
"Let's Stop the Pretense" is a new website begun in support of Motion 312, the private member bill posited by Parliament's representative for Kitchener Centre, Mr. Stephen Woodworth, this past Winter, 2012.
Its home page contrasts the facts of fetal development with the pretense, the lie within Canada's Criminal Code. The rest of the site develops this point under four headings.
First, the context of this motion is clarified. "Motion 312 was presented by MP Stephen Woodworth on February 6, 2012. It proposes that a committee of the House review medical evidence, to determine whether or not a child is a human being before birth, and to address the potential impact on Canada's Criminal Code. The motion received its first hour of debate in the House of Commons on April 26, 2012, and will be debated again on September 21st (subject to change)." The full motion can be read here.
Next there is a section on fetal development, presenting a timeline of the child's growth from conception through to the 28th week. Also, you will find a 6-minute video and a couple of links for additonal information about fetal development.
Another tab is pro-active. "Contact Your MP" presents two ways for you to act so as to have you member of Parliament know your view - by phone and/or snail-mail form letters.
The final tab, "Blog", presents an argumentative essay criticizing Section 223 of Canada's Criminal Code, labelling as a lie, a pretense. It also invites readers to post a response.