There is an interesting opinion piece, by Thomas B Edsall, in The New York Times, headlined “Why the Fight Over Abortion Is Unrelenting.” He gives the answer, provided by Professor Kristen Luker in 1984, right up front: “Why is the debate so bitter, so emotional?” Professor Luker asked. “Part of the answer is very simple: the two sides share almost no common premises and very little common language … [and she elaborated further, explaining that] … Those who oppose abortion usually begin by stipulating that since the embryo is an unborn child, abortion is morally equivalent to murder. But for those who accept abortion, this initial stipulation is exactly what is problematic; from their point of view, the embryo has the capacity to become a child but it is not a child yet, and therefore belongs to a very different moral category.“
That is ‘the long and the short and the tall‘ of it all. It is hard to have a debate when the two sides are discussing different issues. For some people, including me, an embryo is not human until some defined (by medical science) stage of its development … before that, it is a ‘growth,’ something, perhaps, akin to a tumour, if you will. But, to some of my friends, the embryo is a human from the moment of conception.
I believe that a woman, in consultation with her physician, can decide, for herself, to remove from her own body a ‘growth’ that she finds unwelcome. I also believe that while physicians must provide women with advice about abortions, no physician may be required, by law, to perform an abortion if doing so offends her or his conscience. Some of my friends believe that it may, sometimes, rarely, they hope, be necessary to terminate a pregnancy in order to save a woman’s life, but they believe that when that is done a human life has been taken. If it is done for ‘convenience‘ then some of my friends liken it to murder. I do not debate abortion with my friends. We do, now and again, explain our opposite views and then agree to disagree.
So it is … so I wish it could be it politics.
For my own, very personal, part, I agree, fully, with Conservative MP Cathy McLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo) who says:
I wish that members of parliament and of provincial legislatures and candidates for office could, in a civil manner, state their views on abortion and then get on with making the society we have, one that, in Canada, has, de facto, no laws respecting abortion, better for us all. Rachael Johnstone, a postdoctoral fellow at The Balsillie School of International Affairs who studies abortion rights, explained, to Global News, that “Abortion — in some circumstances — was decriminalized in Canada under the Pierre Trudeau government in 1969, but it had to be approved by “therapeutic abortion committee” … [but, then came] … the 1988 ruling in the R v. Morgentaler case … [when] … the Supreme Court of Canada said that abortion law violated Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms … [and] … “That decision struck down Section 251 of the Criminal Code and we got rid of therapeutic abortion committees” … [and Ms Johnstone said that] … parliament tried to create a law to reflect the Supreme Court decision, but was never successful because the debate was so polarizing … [and] … “It was very difficult for them to try to get anyone to agree because those who were in favour of improving abortion access did not want restrictions, then there were those who wanted to recriminalize it.”“
That fact that we have no law respecting abortion does not mean that no one cares … in fact as Dr Johnstone said we have no laws because our parliamentarians, like the rest of us, care so much that they cannot manage to frame a sensible debate.
Justin Trudeau, back in 2014, said that ALL Liberal MPs, even committed pro-life advocates like veteran Prince Edward Island MP Lawrence MacAulay, who is, now, Minister Of Veterans Affairs, MUST vote the pro-choice party line. Some Liberal MPs, like Tom Wappel, who had left the party before Trudeau’s rise, and Pat O’Brien, still supported the March for Life into this decade, but Justin Trudeau’s edict was, really, just a reflection of what most Liberals already believed. The Conservatives always had a fairly strong religious right (pro-life/anti-homosexual, etc) subset within the party, mainly from rural ridings. While, in a recent policy convention, the Conservative Party decided to maintain it’s established position ~ “A Conservative Government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion” (which I take to mean that a Conservative Government will not try to restrict abortion rights in any way but nor will a Conservative Government move to make abortions even more readily available) ~ the Liberals continue to try to paint the Conservatives as an anti-abortion party:
As with his outstanding statement against anti-immigrant racism, Andrew Scheer may have to speak directly to this issue, yet again, in an effort to defeat the Liberal lies.
Canada cannot have a civil, sane, political abortion debate because:
- First, the issue is too difficult to frame because too many cannot agree on the definition of what is being aborted: is it a human or a tumour? If two people of good character and nature cannot agree on that then debate is impossible; and
- Second, because, in his desperation to change the channel away from his own many serious intellectual, moral and political failings, Justin Trudeau has politicized the issue and made it all about domestic, partisan politics: the 2019 election ~ even going so far as to raise the issue of abortion laws in the USA when US Vice President Mike Pence visited last week. That was a failure of good manners, at the very least, which Mr Pence batted aside with ease and grace, saying that ““Friends can have differences and still be friends.”” As John Ivison said, in the National Post last Friday, “Why then would any Canadian prime minister deliberately antagonize the White House? … [well, he says, in response to his own rhetorical question] … The answer appears to be because Trudeau is desperate and nothing much else is working … [and] … That he was doing so for domestic political reasons was clear from his reference the previous day to “the backsliding of women’s rights that we’re seeing from conservative movements here in Canada and in the U.S.”” Andrew MacDougall, writing in Maclean’s magazine, last week, says that “the Liberal play on abortion is 100 per cent domestic. Slapping at the vice-president should also please the clap-happy backbench. But if you had told the Liberals at Christmas that cheering for abortion is how they’d be preparing for the upcoming federal election they would probably have guessed that something had gone wrong … [and] … It seems to be lost on the Liberals that someone can be pro-choice without being militantly so. That’s where I – and I imagine a lot of Canadians – slot themselves on this vexed question. Or that someone, for that matter, can be pro-life and not be a character in a Margaret Atwood novel … [but, he says] … Canadians are smart enough to know the “hidden agenda” doesn’t exist and that, even if a backbench MP does introduce a bill, it will either be smothered by the leadership or easily voted down by MPs in the House of Commons, the vast majority of whom have zero desire to revisit the issue, no matter how many gaps there are in Canadian law.” The current Liberal campaign against Andrew Scheer, the one that aims to paint him as some sort of a mouth-breathing, Neandercon monster is based on a Liberal lie. But recent data, from Abacus Data, suggests that it might be working:
But, Mr Scheer’s negatives are not as high as Prime Minister Trudeau’s, slightly more than ⅓ of Canadians have a negative opinion of Mr Scheer while almost ½ of Canadians hold a negative view of the prime minister. That explains why the Liberals are lying about Scheer and abortion:
Real liberalism is about individuals making the choices, sometimes very difficult moral choices, about what is best for them. On this issue, the Conservatives are the liberals and the Trudeau Liberals have adopted a stance better suited to Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un ~ it’s my way or the firing squad.
There’s an election coming soon, which is why Justin Trudeau is trying, dishonestly, to use abortion as a hammer with which to pound, mercilessly, on Andrew Scheer. Thoughtful, liberal Canadians, those of us who believe in a woman’s right to make the personal, moral choice, however difficult, that is best for her, must abandon Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party and support a real liberal candidate: sometimes a Conservative, sometimes an independent.