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Daniel Alexandre Portoraro Headshot

Do These Anti-Abortion Activists Deserve Recognition?

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There are many reasons to be against abortion. In fact, I believe that we are all against abortion. So maybe I ought to say there are many reasons to be pro-life. But I don't buy any of them.

Furthermore, there are many ways to argue for the pro-life movement. But to run into the waiting room of an abortion clinic and pummel patients with dogma is not one of them. Yet, two women, Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons, have been awarded Diamond Jubilee medals for doing just that.

In Canada, we are so very quick to accuse our Southern neighbours of backwards mentalities that stem from backwater America. Yet, it seems that Canada has an Okie of its very own -- MP Maurice Vellacott of Saskatchewan; that man who gave these two harpies their awards.

It is completely irrelevant that of these two anti-abortion activists, one -- Mary Wagner -- received the medal while being imprisoned for her "civil disobedience" which Vellacott has insultingly compared to the actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many argue that this decision runs against the current government's hard stance on crime. That would be the political line to take as well as the wrong one.

Wagner, 38, is known to barge into abortion clinics and harass staff and awaiting patients. She does not merely stand outside with a placard, she gets in your face. Why is this an issue? Because it's downright disgusting.

All the intellectual posturing and feminizing that surrounds abortion in the media falls flat in that abortion waiting room. All the rationalization of "when does life begin?" or "Am I really 'killing' something?" is eroded by the smell of anti-septic. The fact of the matter is that suddenly, the waiting room becomes the antechamber for death.

Fine, you might not be killing a living thing, but you are killing, eliminating a potential. And while Ayn Rand -- oddly enough the everyday reading of anti-choicists Paul Ryan and Rosa Ambrose -- might argue that "Rights do not pertain to a potential," I do not believe women to be so callous as to feel nothing while about to off a potential offspring.

No amount of Mina Loy or Cindy Cisler can negate the maternal extinct that kicks in when the doctor calls your name. It might be difficult to stomach, but thousands of years of biology don't dissipate after a couple of classes on gender studies. Abortions are not easy decisions to make. They stay difficult right through to the end, and in certain cases, well after.

So for two "activists" to be rewarded for attacking women when they're at their weakest, their most vulnerable, and on top of that say that these two women are "heroines for humanity" is one of the most backwards things I have heard in recent times -- far more so than the Minister of Women Affairs voting to have a debate on when life begins.

To award these two miscreants whom Vellacott -- his name begs for a play-on-word not fit for print -- calls "precious women" is a complete and utter insult to the Diamond Jubilee medal. It is irrelevant whether or not one believes the award means anything; it's meant to be given to 60,000 Canadians who have contributed to society in a positive manner. Traumatizing women about to undergo a traumatizing operation is not a positive contribution.

And I do not very much care for the argument that the awards are given at the discretion of the MP. Because while we're at it, we might as well take a look at the Okie in question. Vellacott was educated as a pastor, is an opponent of gay marriage, argues that homosexuals wrongly blame their personal tribulations on homophobia (homophobia in the Prairies? No way!). And he also believes that the universe was created 6,000 years ago, and subscribes to intelligent design.

Not only isn't this right man to be giving away medals, this isn't the right man that a nation such as Canada, which prides itself on being the USA's more reasonable cousin, ought to have voting on life and death policies.

Suddenly, people like David Akin and Richard Mourdock aren't just names we read about in the Times, mock with our friends while drinking double-doubles, and say "Well! at least we don't have of those guys here!"