Is clamping down on freedom of speech the logical conclusion of a pro-choice worldview?
Don't get me wrong. As a pro-life woman, it is certainly heartening to see the lack of receptivity to Justin Trudeau's position that pro-life candidates need not apply to be nominees for the Liberal Party.
There has not been much (any?) support for this bold declaration that freedom of speech and conscience ought to be denied Liberal nominees. His position sounds extreme.
But is it?
In my opinion, Mr. Trudeau's remarks are a logical extension of pro-choice philosophy.
In spite of the rhetoric, being pro-choice is not actually always in favour of choice. I'm not talking about the woman here; I'm talking about the developing human in the womb.
The problem for those who are pro-choice starts with failing to identify and then honour the obvious consequences of the humanity of the embryo/fetus in the womb. The mother's choice always trumps that of the unborn child.
One abortion rights supporter, Shelley Gavigan of Osgoode Hall Law School said this at a 2008 Morgentaler symposium: "If you must acknowledge the discourse of the unborn child," she said, "if we must reinsert the vernacular of the unborn into the discourse, [then the] pregnant woman and the unborn child speak with one voice and that voice is hers."
Here's the rub, and why being pro-choice leads to a need to quash freedom of speech for pro-lifers as Justin Trudeau has done.
There is a biological reality in pregnancy that pro-choice philosophy doesn't know how to address.
So they hope that it goes away. Example: When pro-lifers want to debate when life begins, pro-choicers stand down. (It is seriously difficult to get abortion rights supporters to debate the ethics of when life begins.)
Pro-choice people want to focus on any number of other things: The suffering of the mother, the difficult lives of some born children to name a couple, but not the life of the child in the womb.
For those of us who are pro-life, or anti-abortion, or anti-choice -- I'm really not flummoxed by labels -- the person in the womb has their own voice, as a developing person.
And while there are plenty of arguments to be made that speak to the negatives of abortion for the mothers and fathers having them, and for society, the reality is, some women and men do not suffer after abortion.
Yet consistent pro-lifers are always against abortion, even in these instances, since the unborn are human beings in their own right -- albeit ones who live in their mother's womb for nine months.
Hence, to the abortion-rights movement, we become "anti-choice."
That there is absolutely no precedent in law for abortion rights, by the way, is inconsequential to people like Justin Trudeau. The prevailing zeitgeist identifies self-determination as paramount.
As a result, pro-abortion folks believe that those of us who believe in a right to life are trampling women's autonomy.
If Justin Trudeau seriously thinks that being pro-life tramples on women's autonomy and rights, then he is right to kick those people out of his party. I would remove someone who denigrated women from my party, too.
That the mother's rights trumps the unborn child is the defining ethos of every single last Canadian who is pro-choice, whether they realize it or not.
(I'm what they call a new feminist, for wanting all the world to respect and acknowledge women even with their reproductive capacity. At ProWomanProLife.org we believe the rights of the unborn and of women need not compete.)
I'm encouraged that intuitively Canadians know Justin is missing something. That's evident in so many people commenting that his thinking is wrong.
But the reality is that Canadians in the mushy middle on the abortion issue need to ponder whether they believe in the right to life for all human beings. If so, how can they justify abortion as a choice?
Canadians in the mushy middle also need to ponder whether those of us who are pro-life are truly denigrating women. If we are, how do they justify the presence of pro-lifers in politics or anywhere else for that matter?
Justin Trudeau is acting in consistency with pro-choice philosophy. Now is a good time for Canadian men and women to consider why he is doing what he is doing and subsequently to consider where they stand.
Andrea Mrozek blogs at www.prowomanprolife.org and is Executive Director at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (www.imfcanada.org)
HIGHLIGHT: Edmonton comes in second to last place in areas of women’s political representation — currently one woman is elected at the municipal level.
HIGHLIGHT: Women earn about $14,000 less per year than men in Oshawa for all jobs, and there is a higher than average number of sexual assaults per year.
HIGHLIGHT: Men outnumber women in jobs in trades and apprenticeships at a rate of more than two to one.
HIGHLIGHT: Calgary has one of the worst records among the top 30 cities for promoting women into senior management positions. Women only hold 22 per cent of these jobs.
HIGHLIGHT: The rate of sexual assaults reported to the police in Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo areas is slightly higher than the national average.
HIGHLIGHT: The people of London (about 66 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women), identify their health as good or excellent.
HIGHLIGHT: Compared to other cities on this list, both men and women report high levels of stress.
HIGHLIGHT: Women living in Vancouver have the highest life expectancy compared to other cities.
HIGHLIGHT: Winnipeg has the highest rates of police reported incidents of sexual assault compared to the rest of these cities.
HIGHLIGHT: Regina has one of the best records for women's representation in senior management positions — even though men still outnumber women.
HIGHLIGHT: More than a quarter of women in Hamilton (28 per cent) identify their lives as highly stressful.
HIGHLIGHT: Halifax scored the highest in terms of having the smallest gap for men and women's employment.
HIGHLIGHT: Even with one of the smallest populations on this list, Sherbrooke, Que. has nearly equal levels of employment for men and women.
HIGHLIGHT: Women can expect to earn the most money in Ottawa-Gatineau.
HIGHLIGHT: The wage gap in Toronto is smaller than average — women earn about 77 cents on the male dollar.
HIGHLIGHT: Victoria has one of the highest rates of women holding senior management positions — 33 per cent.
HIGHLIGHT: Women are more likely to have diplomas (high school, college and university) than men in Montreal.
HIGHLIGHT: St. John's has one woman for every two men in top management jobs. However, it is also the only city with no female city councillor.
HIGHLIGHT: Four out of 11 city councilors are women.
HIGHLIGHT: At the number one spot, Quebec had the highest scores in areas of women's leadership and the lowest rate of police-reported sexual and domestic violence cases.