At the passing of Dr. Henry Morgentaler there has been a lot of recent news reports, on the history of abortion in Canada. But will someone please tell "her story?" A great group, Back to Life Canada, has done just that, and whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, you owe it to your country, to listen to "her story", Lisa, Jennie, Tasha.
It is encouraging that Canadian women feel so certain of their reproductive freedom that they are comfortable, but we can't allow comfort to become complacency. Dr. Morgentaler fought to help women obtain the rights over their own bodies that they deserved. Let's honour his memory by keeping his activism moving. Young Canadians might be surprised to learn that it was just a quarter of a century ago that abortion was fully legalized in this country, thanks in significant part to the efforts of Dr. Morgentaler. And so a history lesson is in order, in order for us to appreciate just how recently the rights we assume as irreversible were granted.
What do you say about someone whose contribution to your life, and the lives of all women, is invaluable? Anti-choice groups nearly always talk about what kind of cancer-curing genius any given fetus might grow up to be, but almost no one talks about what a woman might become if she chose to terminate her pregnancy. Thank you, Doctor Morgentaler.
Whenever I write or talk about abortion and mention the possibility of a slippery slope, I am told that the slippery slope discussion is a straw dog. There are rules after all! But rules are only as good as the people who follow them and the institutions that are set up to oversee them. There is an assumption of honesty and human goodness. In the case of the Philadelphia House of Horrors there was a breakdown on both fronts. Abortionist Dr. Gosnell has no ethical/moral core and the overseers in Philadelphia dropped the ball for 17 years. Anyone who assumes Gosnell's clinic is a one-off is blinded by ideology. Those who refuse to look at limits in abortion are stuck in the rut of Manichean thinking.
There is no justification for aborting a fetus because one simply doesn't like its sex. Unfortunately, however, those who often elect to have abortions based on the sex of the fetus do not do so out of whimsy; rather, their decision is based upon cultural backwardness. These types of abortions do nothing to strengthen cultures. They weaken them, and allow them to continue to operate in a barbarically chauvinistic mindset that might have had its time in the Middle Ages, but today, is absolutely repugnant; especially in Canada.
At the University of Waterloo last week, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth was scheduled to speak to a group of students at an event organized by the Students for Life campus club. Unfortunately, a group of students shut down Mr. Woodworth's speech by shouting him down, until he was left with no choice but to cancel the event.
It is sadly becoming normal for guest speakers to be disrespected in places that we call "higher learning." Dressed as a vagina, Ethan Jackson felt right at home spewing what he believes to be well thought out highly educated views. They demand respect while denigrating the views of others, like Mr. Stephen Woodworth.
This Women's Day I'm honoring a wise friend and foremother, Cecilie Scott. In mid-December, she called me to her bedside. In a hoarse voice, Cecilie recounted a story she hoped to write before she died about the lengths to which women were forced to go to end their pregnancies before Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973.
Here is a true story that never made the headlines. Their marriage was in trouble, harsh words were spoken and now they feel they cannot go back. Her husband leaves. They have one child and now she finds out she is pregnant. With her husband gone and not much family support, the economic presures to the government's free elective abortion are overwhelming. Unless, we the people, say we care, because we do.
The awarding of the Queen's Jubilee medal to two chronic clinic harassers is a travesty. Linda Gibbons, 65, and Mary Wagner, 39, have been given medals for repeatedly attempting to invade abortion clinics and "counsel" patients not to end their pregnancies. They are regularly sent to jail for their actions. They are also assiduously cultivating public martyrdom.
The word "abortion" seemed to cast a hypnotic spell over MPs who spoke against Motion 312 in the Parliamentary debate, causing them to suspend thoughtful analysis and abandon time-honoured Canadian values and institutions. Canadians across our land are beginning to realize the damage to our democratic institutions and principles being done by those whose single-minded, intransigent and extreme preoccupation with protecting our abortion practices leads to abandon essential Canadian ideals.
Many saw Rona Ambrose's vote as the opening salvo in an effort to unwind the long-established principle of a woman's right to choose, and a terrible betrayal by Ambrose, who should now be called the minister in charge of turning back the clock. None of this was terribly surprising, since women seem to have been coasting on autopilot when it comes to protecting the rights we have gained, much less advancing the cause of equality and fairness going forward.
Wednesday evening was a perilous moment for every person with a uterus in Canada and elsewhere. In a country where we are applauded for not having legal restrictions on abortion, Parliament voted on M312, which was defeated 203-91. Though the motion claimed to be in the interest of equality for everyone, nowhere did the word woman, womb, fetus, uterus, or (heaven forbid) vagina appear in the motion. The person who should have been fighting the hardest Wednesday night was the Minister for the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose. Instead she sucker-punched everyone in this country who hopes and expects to be treated in accordance with their charter rights and as a person, by voting yes.
Stephen Harper has stayed true to his word, maintaining his stand that the issue of abortion will not be reopened in Canada so long as he is Prime Minister. That being the case, how did we reach the point where the blame for Motion 312 and it's implications on the reproductive rights of women in this country are perceived to be solely with Stephen Harper and the CPC?
The Prime Minister himself has said he will not open the abortion debate. This goes as far as the PMO working to strongly encourage members of parliament to vote against MP Steven Woodworth's bill -- that asks our government to review the definition of when a child become a human being -- though that doesn't look to be stopping some members. If Prime Minister Harper is not interested in opening the abortion debate, and if this was only a private member's motion to create a committee -- the least threatening and most common of all government workings, then what makes Motion 312 important?