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For Tory backbencher, abortion is 'bullying in the worst degree'

Anti-abortion activists take part in the annual March For Life rally on Parliament Hill on May 10, 2012.

Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

A Conservative MP says anti-bullying initiatives across the country should also protect fetuses.

Maurice Vellacott, who represents the Saskatchewan riding of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, says abortion procedures are far worse than any schoolyard or neighbourhood bullying.

He calls it the "cruellest of ironies" that there's no protection in Canada for fetuses at any stage of pregnancy.

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"In this case, it's in every case a terminal victim as a result of the bullying that occurs," Mr. Vellacott said in an interview Thursday. "It seems almost too obvious to state, but it's bullying in the worst degree."

Mr. Vellacott has long advocated for laws to protect fetuses. He joins fellow Tory caucus member Stephen Woodworth in calling for a public re-examination of the abortion issue – something Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposes.

Mr. Harper has said he will not vote in favour of Mr. Woodworth's parliamentary bid to have a House of Commons committee study the legal definition of when a fetus becomes a human being.

Bullying, meanwhile, has become a major public policy issue for provinces and school boards across the country, particularly when it is spurred on by homophobia. New Brunswick this week introduced anti-bullying legislation, and Ontario has a hotly debated bill before the legislature.

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett called Mr. Vellacott's appeal "ridiculous," noting that it came Thursday, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

"It represents a certain number of Mr. Harper's supporters and it just feeds that group, even though it's totally offensive to all those Canadians who have fought so hard for gay and lesbian rights and a woman's right to choose, so in some ways he's managing to offend all of those people," Ms. Bennett said.

Mr. Vellacott, who has been an MP for 15 years, says he has noted an influx of younger people into politics who are uncomfortable with the lack of protection for fetuses.

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"I see this increasingly in my conversations, a younger generation of women – guys but particularly gals – that just do not buy the old, outdated kind of radical feminist ideology of the '70s and '80s and so on," the Conservative backbencher said.

"They're not buying so-called rights, they're not sure that the right to take the lives of little ones is a good thing."

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