Crush Motion 312

** The second hour of debate on M312 is scheduled for Sept 21 (1:30pm EDT), and the vote for Sept 26 (5pm EDT)**

Dear Supporters,

A dangerous anti-abortion motion was debated in Parliament in April and is coming up for a second round of debate on Sept 21 and a vote on Sept 26. Motion 312 (see full wording on Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s website) calls for a Parliamentary Committee to examine whether the Criminal Code definition of “human being” should be expanded to include fetuses. This threatens to give legal personhood to fetuses and allow the re-criminalization of abortion, as well as deny the constitutional rights of all pregnant women.

Although the motion is not expected to pass, we must send a strong message to Parliament and anti-choice MPs that we will never let anyone take us back to the 1950’s on hard-fought reproductive rights for Canadian women. Please take action today to ensure a crushing defeat for Motion 312 in June.

Petitions and Sample Letters

Priority Action:  Paper petition – Please print copies (legal size 11×14, or shrink to letter size 8-1/2 x 11) and gather handwritten signatures, then return to Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6 (not to ARCC). These will be officially tabled in Parliament. (Click here to understand the difference between our online and paper petitions and how ARCC will use each.)

Priority Action:  Sample letter for anti-choice MPs – Please send this letter (or write your own) to any or all anti-choice MPs and those with an unknown stance, urging them to vote No on Motion 312.

June 2012 Sample letter for your own MP – Please send this letter to your own MP, or write your own.  There is an alternate sample letter here that is longer.

April 2012Pro-choice Postcards – Please ask a local union to print these for free, or email us if you want us to send you some. This is a free service. (Postcard design by Haley Ritchie.)

March 2012 Online Petition Opposing Motion 312 – Please sign our Internet petition against Motion 312.

Counter Arguments and Commentary

September 24, 2012 – Notable  Canadian Women Oppose Motion 312. Fifty-nine women leaders, authors, entertainers, politicians, union leaders, and others have signed this letter opposing Motion 312. The signatories ask that women MPs stand up for women’s rights and vote against the motion.

September 16, 2012 – Dealing the Death Blow to the “Justice Bertha Wilson Wanted to Restrict Abortion” Argument  – Anti-choicers’ Bertha Wilson argument is “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”

September 7, 2012Anti-choice failures are no reason to give them an inch.  By Joyce Arthur (published on The Canadian women’s movement can’t afford to look the other way. We must fight right-wing attempts to erase women’s gains, such as Motion 312, even if those attempts have little chance of success.

March 2012Counter Arguments Against Motion 312 – Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion to try and change the Criminal Code definition of human beings to include fetuses is doomed to failure because it negates women’s rights.

April 2012 One-page fact sheet on Motion 312 (pdf).  Please email, or print and distribute.

May 2012 – Hey Parliament, Keep Your Laws Off my Body – Why are we debating women’s rights in the 21st century? (and how motion 312 came up for debate in the first place).

April 2012Motion 312: An ignorant affront to global human rights standards – A new international report on women’s rights versus fetal rights has arrived just in time to help demolish Motion 312.

April 2012 Written Debate on Motion 312 between Joyce Arthur (Executive Director of ARCC) and Conservative Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth.

The Debate on April 26, 2012:

Ongoing news on the motion – Please join ARCC’s Facebook page for the latest updates on the motion (as well as other reproductive rights news in Canada).

March 2012 Wacky and Wonderful Titles for Motion 312 – We’ve received dozens of delightful suggestions from you to name Motion 312. Check out the entire crazy list right here, let us know your faves, and please suggest more! We’ll use some of the best ones in our documents and correspondence about the motion.

January 30, 2012 – Woodworth Poses Risk to Women’s Health and LivesLike the rest of the anti-abortion movement, Woodworth shows no recognition whatsoever of the human rights of women, or how giving rights to fetuses would harm pregnant women.


Upcoming Events:

Montréal: Action éclair pour dénoncer l’absurdité de la Motion Woodworth (M312). Où : Parvis du Palais de justice à Montréal, 1 Rue Notre-Dame Est. Quand : vendredi 21 septembre de 10h15 à 10h45.  Afin de souligner le caractère farfelu de l’idée de donner un statut juridique au fœtus, la Fédération des femmes du Québec et la Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances a préparé une comédie des erreurs. Mise en scène : femme enceinte, avocat, médecin, représentante de la compagnie d’assurance et policière. Si vous être intéressée pour être actrice écrivez à

Ottawa: Debate Viewing Party, hosted by Radical Handmaids. Friday, Sept. 21, 1pm EDT (debate starts at 1:30).  CUPW Boardroom, 377 Bank street, 1st floor.  “Want to see the debate on M-312 but just can’t handle doing it alone? We got you covered. Join us for a debate viewing party. We’ll have copies of our drinking game & some Kool-Aid. Together, we can get through this. Not in Ottawa? Host your own viewing party! Download our drinking game, throw on some red and send us photos!”

Vancouver: Stand Up for women’s Right to Choose – Rally to Oppose motion 312. Tuesday, September 25, 10 to 10:30am. Vancouver Art Gallery (south side at Robson Street). This is a joint event of The BC Federation of Labour and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. Bring signs if you can, and wear red or a Handmaid’s costume. Here’s a poster (PDF) you can download, print and distribute.

Everywhere: Radical Handmaid’s Drinking Game. When: Sept 26, 5pm EDT. Where: In front of a TV tuned to CPAC. 

  • Make a Handmaids costume!  Here’s a hat pattern. Also, here’s a nun’s habit pattern you can adapt by substituting red fabric for white. Dare to wear it at an Oppose Motion 312 event or when you visit your local anti-choice MP’s constituency office to protest the motion!

Websites,  Facebook Pages to Join:

Oppose Motion 312: Official Facebook page.

Radical Handmaids (Facebook page): The Radical Handmaids are pro-choice activists who are fans of CanLit and really fabulous hats. Please ‘Like’ them to join them!

If you’re not on Facebook, check out the Radical Handmaids website.

Womb Swarm Parliament – This Facebook page is a call to arms for proud vagina owners and allies who believe in a woman’s right to choose. Knit, sew, crochet uteruses (uteri) and vulvas to send to anti-choice members of Parliament (so they can have one of their own and won’t mess with yours!) or to Ottawa for use in the Radical Handmaids action. (Note: the FB group is closed but you can request to join. Patterns are available there, or from this U.S. website. Another womb pattern here.)

Note:  If you’re in Vancouver,  please show off your lovely knitting at the Sept 25 rally at the VAG! 

#TellAntiChoiceMPsEverything (Facebook and Twitter campaign): “Anti-choice MPs in the House of Commons have re-opened the abortion debate. We’re responding with this meme and will #TellAntiChoiceMPsEverything about our reproductive and vaginal health here and on Twitter. Supportive brothers are welcome.”

Spread the Word:  If you’d like to encourage others to take action against M-312, here’s some text you can copy and paste into an email, tweet, or Facebook post. Please inform your friends and colleagues, and ask local progressive groups to spread the word to their membership and networks. Thank you!

If you know of an action or if you are planning one, please let us know so we can post it here. Thank you!

Past Actions

Press Release

April 25, 2012Thousands Join Forces to Defeat Anti-Abortion Motion 312:  A groundswell of opposition is building across Canada to a private member’s Motion 312 that would endanger abortion rights and the human rights of all pregnant women by attempting to establish legal personhood for fetuses. 

Please support ARCC!

Please consider a financial donation to support ARCC in its work against Motion 312. Your donation will help cover costs for:

  • Preparing background information and talking points for supportive politicians, union leaders, pro-choice groups, other allies, and the public.
  • Creating sample letters for you and our allies to send to your local federal and/or provincial representatives.
  • Researching and writing background documents.
  • Lobbying MPs and MLAs, federally and provincially.
  • Administration of our petition and other campaigns.
  • Translating materials into French so that all Canadians can access our work.

To donate or join, please print, complete and mail our Membership & Donation form. Or, you can pay via PayPal by clicking on the ‘Make a Donation‘ button on our homepage.

Thank you for your support!

The Anti-Choice Agenda

This anti-choice website reveals the planned agenda of Canada’s anti-choice movement for this motion: They want to bring forward the biology of fetal development as “scientific evidence” that zygotes, embryos and fetuses are human beings from conception and deserve legal protection (they’ve also been talking about ultrasound and sex selection technology). However, this would subordinate women to their fetuses and eliminate many rights and legal protections for pregnant women.

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