Call to Action! Let’s Not Re-open the Abortion Debate

It is time to get our pens out!

As most of you have likely heard by now, Conservative backbencher, Stephen Woodworth has won a bid to debate abortion in the House of Commons.  The debate, which is tentatively scheduled for April 26, is calling for a special committee (made up of a majority of Conservative MPs) to examine the question of when human life begins. Anti-choice crusader and president of the Campaign Life Coalition, Jim Hughes, released a video this week saying that recent events have “created a ‘perfect storm’  helping move Canadians to a point where the majority is truly open to re-examining our laws on abortion.” (Note that “re-examine laws on abortion” or “re-open the abortion debate” is anti-choice code for “re-criminalize abortion and let women die,” or in the very least, come darn close.) While we know that Hughes’s claim that Canadians support a new law on abortion is untrue, Woodworth’s motion is still concerning.

Executive Director of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Joyce Arthur, writes about why there is no need to re-open the abortion debate here.  First off, the Supreme Court has already answered Woodworth’s question in various landmark cases, including the famous Morgentaler trials and Tremblay vs Daigle, Dobson vs Dobson, and Winnipeg Child & Family Services vs Ms.G, all of which definitively established the fact that fetuses have no legal rights. Even if we were to come to some backward, pseudo-scientific conclusion that somehow a cluster of cells was a person, the legal implications of developing legislation that criminalizes or limits access to abortion means that women die. Moreover, criminalizing abortion does not reduce the instance of abortion. As Arthur points out:

Every country in the world where abortion is illegal has a well-developed abortion underground, and abortion is generally more common in countries where it’s illegal than where it’s legal. More than half of all abortions in the world (21 million of 41 million) are unsafe and mostly illegal. In the U.S. where abortion is now heavily restricted, women will travel hundreds of kilometres for abortion care, use their rent or food money to pay for it, go before judges to get permission, listen to mandated anti-abortion propaganda, walk past aggressive and bullying protesters, and even huddle for hours in a car in the clinic’s parking lot until the bomb threat is over. In short, most women will do whatever it takes to get an abortion, regardless of the difficulty or risks.

In the very least this motion seems like a big waste of time for our elected officials. Personally, I’d rather my MP be grappling with issues not already addressed by law and that do not serve to harm women… you know, like poverty… or childcare… or missing and murdered Indigenous women. But alas, such is the way of the Conservative majority government.

Over the next few weeks it is integral that we begin by engaging our campuses and communities in letter-writing campaigns (you can check out a sample letter here). Write to your MP stating your desire not to see the abortion debate re-opened and have all of your friends do the same. You can set up tables at your campus and have students sign pre-written letters or e-mails. You can also have them write their own and do a “letter for a cookie” campaign. Get creative and make folks aware of what is at stake. If your MP is pro-choice (you can find a list of pro-choice MPs here and anti-choice MPs here) then adopt an anti-choice MP and write to them! The more pressure the government sees from pro-choice Canadians the more likely that Woodworth’s motion will go exactly where we want it to go: nowhere.


4 thoughts on “Call to Action! Let’s Not Re-open the Abortion Debate

  1. While the Supreme Court of Canada has made a legal decision concerning human rights to fetuses, it still has not, nor has any other group, proven this fact. “Legal rights” are not true facts. Look in Germany, where Nazi’s made it “legally right” to imprison and mistreat Jews, to the point of concentration camps. Or how blacks were forced into inferior roles due to skin colour. Those were all “legally right” but we know they were very untrue.

    The fact remains that no group has proven that the fetus is not a human being. I have yet to see the point at which the fetus becomes human. There is no scientific evidence. Actually the scientific evidence points the other way, which is why some pro-abortion groups have sought to denounce scientific evidence (Planned Parenthood did/does this).

    I believe abortion to be wrong. I think it is a bandaid to the problem. I think women need real help. Terminating the baby does not solve the emotional and psychological distress of having the unwanted child. However abortion does increase their trauma by post-abortion guilt. Many women have serious guilt issues at some point after the abortion.

    But the point here is that a legal decision was made in ignorance. We have no evidence beyond reasonable doubt to support the fetus is or is not a human being. If you saw a fence in the middle of a field, would you kick it down? No. You’d want to know why it was there before you decided its worth. The same applies to abortion. Until pro-choice groups can prove this beyond doubt, I see no reason why a law needs to be made in ignorance.

    • Really Josh? Many woman have guilt after abortion? Where’s the proof in that? Show me the facts. Most woman that I have talked to, are relieved after an abortion takes place, and are happy that they can have the freedom to continue to live their lives. It’s their right, their choice; mo matter the need in knowing the distinctions between a human fetus. Let him approve studies to provide answers, but don’t disallow abortion rights.

      So please don’t speak for the majority of women, especially as a man. Not trying to dislocate men and women even more, but please don’t write things that you might never understand or feel as a woman would. Thank you.


  2. This is great! I completely agree that whenever someone has an opinion different to ours, we should work to silence them rather than debate them!

  3. Pingback: “Birth Tourism” fears evidence of Conservative nation-building project: How reproductive rights are being co-opted to create the “ideal” Canada « Synergy

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