Guess What Group Doesn't Hate Trudeau's Abortion Stance: Women

06/02/2014 12:27 EDT | Updated 08/02/2014 05:59 EDT
Richard Lautens via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 21: TLiberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks from the podium. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is the focus of a tribute at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel in Toronto for A-list crowd. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Something's up, because the menfolk are getting the vapours over women's reproductive freedom again.

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. For 26 years, through five Conservative and Liberal prime ministers, the Canadian standard for a vote of conscience on abortion has been the one made in private by a woman with her physician.

Some nerve that Trudeau wants to turn it into a clear platform policy with a whipped vote. "Justin Trudeau, pro-choice fundamentalist," blares the National Post with Rex Murphy's latest outburst on the topic. Virtually every male pundit in Canada has blessed us with his opinion on the subject.

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.

Reproductive freedom is something women manage every single day of our 30+ child-bearing years. For women, reproductive health is not a matter of arcane parliamentary procedure, but the most crucial aspect of self-determination in our lives. By a margin of 2-1, Canadians support women's access to abortion.

Two main currents dominate the media narrative on the Trudeau strategy, propelled almost entirely by talking heads without skin in the game. First, say the expert fellas, this idea sucks as electoral strategy, for all kinds of blah-blah-blah. Second, Parliament (an overwhelmingly male institution) has always had the freedom to vote its conscience on women's health, because tradition.

With the greatest of deference to the fine intellectual slicing and dicing going in various media outlets, to women this is all a lot of meaningless palaver focused on the historical rights and privileges of (mainly male) MPs. And women have tuned it out with the serene indifference used by Catholic women who universally ignore the Vatican's directives on contraception.

Everybody knows that no vote on abortion is in sight and this debate is like a Seinfeld episode. It's a show about nothing. But every blazing headline and photo of Justin Trudeau reminds women who's putting their freedom first.


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