You've heard of the recent attacks on women's healthcare in the States, but in Canada, we're feeling the impact too. For 50 years, Planned Parenthood Ottawa has been there for our community, providing unbiased counselling, education, advice and support. But it's become increasingly hard to do our work. Planned Parenthood is under attack, by people who oppose healthcare for women and the trans community, who don't want youth to get the education they need, and who dedicate themselves to cutting our funding every way they can.
In the recent P.E.I. case, the woman, who had been advised to seek ER medical attention by the province's emergency information telephone service and who had begun to experience cramps and bleeding while waiting, was told by the ER physician to go out-of-province, to Halifax, if she wanted to receive the necessary post-abortion care -- Halifax is over 300 km away, with a round-trip bus ticket costing over $100.00. Restricted access to abortion, compounded with physicians who do not fulfill their professional duty to provide patients with timely and effective referrals or necessary service in emergency cases, creates life-threatening situations that could otherwise be avoided
On February 12, Harper vowed to appeal a federal court ruling that would allow Muslim women to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies. Speaking to the press about the matter, Harper said, "That is not the way we do things." He added that, "This is a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal, and I think we find that offensive." This is a classic example of opportunistic feminism, which so many white men like to make use of from time to time.
The University of Calgary recently reversed the guilty verdict of seven pro-life students who were found guilty of non-academic misconduct for setting up a display with graphic photos comparing abortion to the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. The court decision has been heralded by some as being a victory for free speech on campus. But it's not.
An overwhelmingly male echo-chamber of pundits, scholars, theologians, Catholic clergy and politicians is in an uproar, because Justin Trudeau directed the Liberal Party to adopt the status quo ante on women's health that has been settled law in Canada for decades. And who's not howling with outrage at Justin Trudeau's audacity in supporting women's access to abortion, or wringing their hands at his shocking breach of parliamentary conventions? Women, that's who.
Last week, Justin Trudeau declared he stands squarely with a woman's right to decide what's in her best interests. He has unambiguously made tangible the predominant consensus within the Liberal Party of Canada that a woman has the right to access abortion services if she so chooses. This position is in the very best tradition of sound evidence-based public policy. And as problematic as this may be for some, particularly those with strong religious dogmas, it affirms a central convention of Canadian democracy: The separation of individual religious conviction with the broader public interest.
Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has announced that anyone who wants to be a candidate for the LPC must commit to voting in favour of pro-choice, if and when it comes to proposed measures on abortion. This is a step too far. Ultimately, it must be a truly exceptional situation for one to be willing to allow Party discipline to trump the right of MPs to vote according to their own opinions, particularly on issues of conscience.
It is essential for my purposes that you be able to imagine the desperation of being pregnant when you don't want to be, of what it is to be staring into that gaping black hole with everything you've ever worked and longed for lost inside it. I am aware that some people will find themselves more inclined to empathize with the six-week-old fetus in this matter, he or she (still indeterminate) about the size of a lentil, and whether such an inclination represents a terrific failure of imagination or an incredible imaginative leap, I'm still not entirely sure. But I'd like such a person to shake their convictions for just a moment or two.
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.
A young woman's recent decision to film her abortion and share it with the world has been making headlines lately and, over the course of the past few days, I've observed the puzzled, horrified, and downright hateful reactions of many on my social networks. But the more I saw the hate, the more I realized that what Emily Letts did was pretty ground-breaking and unbelievably brave. Letts isn't celebrating abortion. She's simply demystifying a procedure that most people have been conditioned to avoid talking about, and by doing so, removing all the shame and fear associated with it.
Every year, thousands of individuals and groups walk through the streets of Ottawa in order to condemn the right to abortion and to highlight its alleged immorality. Taking with them busloads of catholic school students from all across Ontario, on May 8, their large crowds will ensure a national visibility. However, the means they use to get their message heard are highly problematic. It seems important to expose the intellectual dishonesty of pro-life supporters and the danger of their arguments for women's rights in Canada and all over the world.
After 20 years of providing uncompromised abortion services to women in New Brunswick, and from PEI, the Morgentaler Clinic is being forced to close its doors due to funding shortfalls. It is shameful that Canada now has two provinces that refuse to uphold a woman's right to choose, and provide necessary medical procedures free of cost to women.
The Morgentaler clinic is the only abortion clinic in New Brunswick. It serves not only the population of New Brunswick, but also that of Prince Edward Island. Women in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island cannot access safe, legal abortions unless two doctors declare in writing that the abortion is medically necessary. I want you to think about what will happen in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island once the Morgentaler clinic is gone. Do you honestly believe that women just won't have abortions? If that's the case, let me tell you what's actually going to happen -- women are going to die.