September 24, 2012

OTTAWA – The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement in support of MP Stephen Woodworth's private member's motion to recognize the sacredness of unborn human life.

The CCCB's statement complements a declaration signed by 60 groups and individuals in support of Woodworth's private member's motion that is scheduled for its final hour of debate Sept. 21.

"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," Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, the CCCB president, said in the Sept. 18 statement.

Smith stressed the Church's teaching on human life.

"The Catholic Church holds that a human being comes into existence at conception," he said. "The lives of human beings are, therefore, sacred at every stage in our existence – from beginning to natural end."

The CCCB's statement issued Sept. 18 came out as The Declaration of Support for Parliamentary Study of Canada's Legal Definition of "human being" was sent to members of Parliament.

That declaration in support of Woodworth's motion was signed by an array of groups, including the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, Priests for Life Canada, the Canadian association of the Knights of Columbus, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), evangelical churches from Baptist, Pentecostal, Mennonite and Reformed traditions, and various pro-life groups.

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada vice president Don Hutchinson stressed Motion 312 is not about abortion: "It is about the state's concern for the best interests of the child prior to birth."