Masturdebates, the Criminal Code & Easy Answers to Goofy Questions

At the center of the shrieking maelstrom of madness known as “the Motion 312 Masturdebate” (because it’s really about one side not knowing when to quit) is the now-infamous Criminal Code Subsection 223(1), which among other things, defines when a “child” becomes a “human being”:

The use of the phrase “human being” is unfortunate because it has two distinct meanings, one legal, as in Subsection 223(1), and one biological. One correct, and one incorrect (in this context) and just waiting to be exploited. I can’t ask the Legal Eagles who crafted the statute, but I’m as certain as I’ll ever be about anything that what they meant by “human being” in the context of the Criminal Code was “legal person”, not “member of the species Homo Sapiens”. As old as Subsection 223(1) might be, it’s not so old that the legal minds of the time didn’t understand the biological reality that humans give birth to humans, not dogs or cats or hammerhead sharks.

But imagine Stephen Woodworth’s frenzied joy when he realized that the meaning of “human being” in 223(1), taken the wrong way, could be misrepresented as a Bad Law driven by Bad Science.  Bad Law that needed to be investigated by a Parliamentary Committee.  Bad Law that would eventually have to be changed to expand the legal meaning of “human being” to include even the lowly fertilized egg.

And so began the sordid tale of Motion 312, built on a disingenuous and self-serving misinterpretation of legal jargon, with its full intention the ushering in of the Beginning of the End of Abortion Rights in Canada.

Supporters of Motion 312, and Woodworth himself, bend over backwards with assurances that it’s nothing of the kind, but I know better.  Not just because fetus fetishists let the cat out of the bag ages ago, and not just because they use Twitter to barf out scads of abortion-related tweets all over the Motion 312 timeline, and not just because they hashtag those tweets with “#FetalRights”, and not even just because Woodworth is committed to pushing anti-abortion legislation.  All that stuff is meaningful, but the slam-dunk is a lot simpler.

If the only problem is a few words in Subsection 223(1), surely there’s an easier fix than launching Parliamentary investigations and expanding the legal meaning of “human being” to include zygotes, setting womens’ rights back about 50 years in the process.  If the only problem is the phrase “human being”… then why not just change it? Amend the statute to say “person” or “legal person” instead of “human being”?  Seems reasonable.

Reasonable to anyone whose “To Do” list doesn’t prominently feature the abolishment of reproductive rights.


11 Responses to “Masturdebates, the Criminal Code & Easy Answers to Goofy Questions”

  1. 1 fern hill Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Simplicity itself.

    And demonstrates yet again what a gang of lying douchebags they are.

  2. 2 kayveee1000 Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Have to be believe that rational & reasonable minds will prevail and that REAL Science & Law will conquer what the antichoice and especially SWoodworthMP obviously have gone over the proverbial divine edge to exclude.

    This would also mean that they would have to change the Legal definition of a “Child”, that a zygote would be redefined as a “person”

    Woodworth – you are a disgrace and disgust the **majority** of Cdn women, and a paragon of why a woman would want an abortion.

  3. 3 JJ Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 6:56 am

    This seems like a pretty obvious one to me.

    Woodworth & his supporters would have us believe that their outrage is over the fact that this law seems to say we don’t belong to the human race until we’re completely out of the birth canal, unattached etc. Woodworth consistently returns to the “injustice” and “scientific inaccuracy” of the law as a reason for launching an investigation.

    If that’s true, why not just lobby for a minor change to the statute so there’s no misunderstanding? Change the words “human being” to “legal person” and boom. Problem solved. Legal personhood begins at birth, the “humanity of the unborn” isn’t an issue, the supposedly “unjust, scientifically inaccurate” law is corrected.

    These people have always used words & semantics as a ‘gotcha’, so it doesn’t surprise me to see them doing it in this case. But people should know there IS an easier fix to the supposed “problem” than what the fetus fetishists are proposing.

  4. 4 JJ Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 7:04 am

    This whole thing is supposedly over the law’s use of the words “human being”.

    The answer isn’t to re-define what a “human being” is, it’s to change the statute’s wording to read “human person” or “legal person” or something like that instead of human being. Easy peasy.

    There’s only one reason to take the opposite route, and that’s to compromise abortion rights.

  5. 5 Beijing York Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Sections 221 to 223 should be amended to remove all references to “human being” like you suggest. Homicide should be defined as killing a person. Further to this, the criminal act should distinguish adult from child by using legal definitions applied in other laws:

    Child is the offspring of a parent. That offspring can be natural or adopted.

    The fact that their hanging their hat on this reference to human being is ridiculous when you look at the legal implications. In order to pass on human rights to an embryo, every law that references a child would have to be amended. The whole notion becomes absurd.

  6. 6 Sixth Estate Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Actually, it already says human being “within the meaning of this Act” right there in the text. So I don’t even know why an amendment would be required. It already says that it is defining a human being for the legal purpose of the Criminal Code, rather than for the philosophical purpose of I-don’t-know-what.

    In any case, although I agree, it’s irrelevant. You’re still open to the predictable and asinine counterattack that you, just like every Nazi before you, is now defining some human beings as non-people.

  7. 7 Sixth Estate Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    “Have to be believe that rational & reasonable minds will prevail…”

    You see the flaw in this, right? 🙂

  1. 1 Anti-choice failures are no reason to give them an inch – NB Media Co-op Trackback on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 1:31 pm

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