Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The New Abortion Caravan

The June 27th, 2012, Canada Newswire (newswire.ca) article, “Pro-Choice Counter Protest to Anti-Abortion ‘Caravan,’” repeats a number of common falsehoods.

It says that Canada has a strong pro-choice majority. This is not borne out by the polls. The opinion polls of the last decade, Leger, Gallup, Environics, Angus Reid, and EKOS all demonstrate that Canadian opinion is split, and that the pro-choice side holds a slim, not a strong, majority.  In fact, when informed that Canada has no law or restriction on abortion whatsoever, a strong majority of Canadians oppose the status quo. 

The article quotes Carolyn Egan of the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC) who says, "The issue of woman's legal right to safe and accessible abortion services has been settled in 1988 by the Supreme Court of Canada."

This is not true. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) struck down the prohibition of abortions because of the unfortunate patchwork of laws on abortion. Laws varied from province to province, regulations differed from hospital to hospital, and wealthy women, who had access to private clinics, had options that other women did not. The majority of the SCC held that “the structure of the system regulating access to therapeutic abortions is manifestly unfair.” The provisions were held to violate the principles of fundamental justice and were struck down because of their inconsistency, leaving Canada with a legislative vacuum to this day. All seven judges stated that Parliament has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn child and that Parliament ought to rewrite the law.  Several attempts were made by Mulroney governments; however, they failed, and since then the statutory void has continued to exist. At present, women do not have a constitutional right to an abortion; there simply is no law on abortion, for or against.

Jordana Greenblatt, of OCAC, says: "The debate is over; safe legal abortion is here to stay in Canada." Ms. Greenblatt is wrong: the debate is just getting started again. Stay tuned! Ms. Greenblatt opines that all people should “…have equal access to safe, legal, free, and local abortion services.” Abortions are never free. On average, an abortion costs $800 (AbortionInCanada.ca), and taxpayers foot the bill.

Ms. Greenblatt is revolted that some parts of the pro-life movement use placards and billboards of graphic images of aborted fetuses alongside images of genocides such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan massacres. She writes, “As a Jewish woman, I am appalled that they would exploit the historical genocide of my people to try to challenge my rights as a human being, guaranteed under the Charter."

Ms. Greenblatt does not seem to appreciate that the world needed to see the appalling images of the Holocaust before it said, “Never again.” As Canadians see the disturbing images of dismembered babies, they will more and more be disgusted by the procedure itself and not just the photographs, and soon they will say, “Never again.”

George van Popta