Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen says his constituents supported his decision to vote yes to a controversial motion to examine whether a fetus is a human being before birth.
Three of Central Alberta’s four Conservative MPs said voted yes to the motion.
Dreeshen, Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins and Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson voted in favour of Motion 312 on Sept. 26, while Wild Rose Conservative MP Blake Richards voted against it.
Put forward by Ontario Conservative backbencher Stephen Woodworth, the motion called for a parliamentary committee to examine the definition of a human being and was supported by 87 of the 163 Conservative MPs.
The motion, considered by many to be a back door to reopen the abortion debate, was defeated 203 to 91 in the House of Commons.
Dreeshen, who would not discuss his personal views on abortion, said his constituents were in favour of the motion three to one, judging by cards and emails he received.
“There was a considerable amount of support for the motion. I felt it was my responsibility to follow their wishes,” Dreeshen said.
He said he didn’t consider it an anti-abortion motion, but rather a way to look at all aspects of a 400-year-old definition of what constitutes a human being.
“Our party has said it won’t be introducing anything dealing with the abortion debate,” Dreeshen said.
Sorenson said support for the motion in a mail survey of his constituents during the summer was also clear.
“Overwhelmingly, my constituents asked that I would support Motion 312,” Sorenson said.
“There was a group who felt that it was a discussion to be had. When does (life) begin? That’s the question.”
He said a lot of constituents supported the motion, but at the same time a lot of people did not reply to the survey.
Earlier this year, Woodworth acknowledged his motion was relevant to the abortion issue, but argued it had wider implications.
Sorenson said the motion wasn’t about abortion and he wouldn’t discuss his opinion on abortion.
“I will not comment because that’s exactly what a lot of people want to do, make every discussion an abortion issue.”
But focus should be on the growing problem of people terminating pregnancies in favour of male children, he said.
“Do we ever have that discussion or do we say it’s fine to terminate based on gender?”
British Columbia Conservative MP Mark Warawa has since introduced a motion to condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.
Richards was unavailable to comment on Motion 312.
An official for Wetaskiwin’s Calkins said the MP will not comment on the motion to the media.