09/28/2012 12:01 EDT | Updated 11/28/2012 05:12 EST

Motion 312: If You're An Old White Guy, I Don't Want to Hear IIt


There has been a lot of indignation and distress over Stephen Woodworth's Private Member Bill, Motion 312. There is indeed a lot to be upset over, although the recent call for Rona Ambrose's resignation is both overblown and misplaced. Overblown because we were all fully aware of her anti-choice stance to begin with, and misplaced because there should have been the same level of outrage at her appointment as Minister for Status of Women.

Considering the MPs were free to vote their conscience, what exactly did we expect her to do? Now, don't get me wrong, it was preposterous to put a staunch anti-choicer as the Minister for Status of Women. Moreover, regardless of the cantankerous commentary emanating from the tweets of Andrew Coyne, it should be a given that the Minister for Status of Women have the best interest of women's rights in her mind when voting on potential legislation looking to curtail the very basic rights our mothers and grandmothers fought for.

Nevertheless, the general public has no authority to arbitrarily call for the resignation of a democratically elected Member of Parliament merely because we do not care for the way she voted. The people of Edmonton voted Ambrose in, and it is up to them to vote her out.

What I find to be even more perplexing than Ambrose voting against the constituency of her ministry, is the pervasiveness of uninformed ideological rhetoric that has plagued the discourse of this country.

Here's an age old riddle for you: how many old white guys does it take to editorialize on a subject that has to do solely with a woman's most intimate choice in life? Well, if you're the National Post, then four. Kelly MacParland, Jonathan Kay, Andrew Coyne, and Chris Selley have all opined in one form or another on the limits -- or the right to debate the limits -- that the legislature places on a woman's reproductive rights.

Just a little friendly advice to the National Post: perhaps Postmedia wouldn't be hemorrhaging so much money if it spruced up its editorial board a little bit to reflect the reality of Canada's demographic. You know, maybe get some colour, ovaries and youth into the mix of old white men professing emblematic old white men perspectives. It's just a proposal; after all, you might even finally crack into that segment of the population with the country's foremost purchasing power -- gasp -- the 18-40 year old female base.

The outrage radiating from the old white men commentariat ranges from "well, why can't we have this debate?" to "fetuses are people too, and they have rights just like you and me." Sure, I suppose we could very well have this debate. If a strictly scientific, objective debate about the inception of life is to be had, then it is not an appalling conversation to partake in.

The caveat of course being that the very men and women demanding for this alleged scientific dispute to take place could not pass a rudimentary biology class if their third trimester fetus depended on it. This is because the very notion of "life" itself is an arbitrary concept. I could get into an entire discussion here about prions and viruses but I'm afraid it would just result in the furrowing of brows of the defenders of the unborn in the vain attempt to appreciate millions of years of evolutionary progress.

This is precisely why the legal and medical community has defined life in the only way it knew how: when the fetus was a completely separate entity from the mother. Yes, I understand that an eight-month fetus feels every bit a human being as a fully birthed child. However, if scientific and medical definitions are what the anti-choicers want to stick to, then in every sense of the term the fetus would be considered a parasite, and I'm sure there are very few people of the fighting-for-the-fetus population that would be comfortable with that sort of label.

I suppose the real predicament the Canadian people have found themselves in is that we tend to elect MPs that have virtually no scientific understanding of the world, as we know it. This is especially true of the Conservative Party, considering creationist Science Ministers tend to find their way into policy shaping roles.

Professor Timothy Caulfield has written extensively on the subject of political ideology overshadowing and ultimately hijacking any purposeful debate on scientific issues such as embryonic research in making it all about the moral status of the embryo. Indeed, the very same rhetoric that is being applied to save the country of the alleged 33-week fetus massacre was prevalent during the debate surrounding human embryonic stem cell research. My personal beloved moment during this time was when Jason Kenney referred to a 14-day-old embryo as a tautological human being

What the anti-choice caucus fails to mention -- presumably because they are either too obtuse or too indolent to look up the regulatory framework on the issue -- is that professional guidelines, (namely, section 17 of the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics), currently mandate that physicians always maintain the right to refuse performing any medical procedure as they see fit.

So, perhaps the outlandish depiction of a woman casually walking into her doctor's office and whimsically opting to terminate her pregnancy at 30 weeks can be attenuated to reflect the regulatory reality.

But then what would the old white men feign outrage over?