By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News
[Ottawa – CCN] – Saskatchewan Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall’s private members bill that would make abortions done of the basis of a baby’s sex illegal in Canada will be up for debate and second reading in the House of Commons on April 14.
It is expected that the proposed private members bill, which was first introduced in the House of Commons back in February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown Parliament for a while, will be debated in the House for a second time starting at about 5:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, April 14.
Wagantall’s legislative assistant Tristan McLaughlin told the Canadian Catholic News that although MPs can take part in debates from home via the Internet, Wagantall plans to be in the House on April 14 because presenting the bill in person is important to her.
“She definitely plans to be there in person to address the House,” he said.
Wagantall’s proposed Bill C-233, called the Sex Selective Abortion Act, has the backing of most pro-life organizations in Canada who have been asking Canadians who want to see restrictions on abortion services to sign an online House of Commons petition in support of the bill.
The online House of Commons petition (https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Peti … ion=e-3161) will remain open for signatures until April 10, just days before the bill is back in the House for debate. As of April 6, 7796 Canadians have signed the petition.
The petition states: “Whereas: Sex-selective abortion is legal, as Canada has no legal restrictions on abortion; Sex-selective abortion is antithetical to our commitment to equality between men and women; A 2019 DART & Maru/Blue poll, conducted for the National Post, showed that 84% of Canadians believe it should be illegal to have an abortion if the family does not want the child to be a certain sex; International organizations including the World Health Organization, United Nations Women, and United Nations Children’s Fund have identified unequal sex ratios at birth as a growing problem internationally; and Canada’s health care profession recognizes sex selection as a problem. We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to pass a Criminal Code prohibition of sex-selective abortion.”
In an interview after Wagantall first introduced her proposed bill, she told the Canadian Catholic Newsthat she believes most Canadians would support the restrictions on abortion that she proposes.
“If just one girl is aborted simply because of her sex, parliamentarians must act,” Wagantall told the Canadian Catholic News at the time.
“Thankfully, Canadians of nearly all beliefs are united on this issue, with eighty-four per cent stating that sex-selective abortion should be illegal. This is reasonable common ground that every member of parliament must thoughtfully consider,” she said, after citing a poll that ran in the National Post newspaper as indicative of Canadians being in favour of some form of legal regulations surrounding abortion in the country as opposed to the situation as it is now in which Canada has, in essence, no laws at all when it comes to abortion.
In a posting on the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) website, CLC Campaigns Manager David Cooke called on CLC supporters to back Wagantall’s effort in the House.
“We are finally getting close to a vote on this life-saving Bill, which means we need your help once again,” he wrote on the CLC website.
“This E-Petition will be officially presented in Parliament and could help exert considerable pressure on MPs,” Cooke said. “Banning sex-selective abortion should be a no-brainer for our government.”