O'Toole to allow Conservative MPs free vote on bill limiting abortion access

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole says he will vote against a Conservative MP's private member bill putting limits on abortion access but will let other caucus support it if they wish.

OTTAWA — A spokeswoman for Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole confirms he will allow a free vote on a caucus member's push to ban "sex-selective abortions."

The private member's bill from Saskatchewan MP Cathay Wagantall is set for debate in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Earlier this week O'Toole said he would personally vote against the bill, as he supports a woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy.

At the time, O'Toole did not directly answer a question about whether he would allow his Opposition critics a free vote on the matter.

Spokeswoman Chelsea Tucker confirms that votes of conscience are free votes for all members.

The political anti-abortion organization RightNow says it welcomes the news that O'Toole is sticking to his campaign pledge to allow his MPs free votes on matters of conscience.

“While we are happy that Erin has confirmed this commitment to pro-lifers, we are still disappointed in his decision to not vote for this reasonable and popular piece of legislation,” organization co-founder Alissa Golob said in a release circulated Wednesday.

"We will continue to keep a close eye on which members of Parliament vote in favour and against the legislation and encourage our supporters to vote and volunteer accordingly in the upcoming election."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021

The Canadian Press

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