Abortion has come to the forefront of politics this week. I recently wrote a post about backbencher Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) MP Brad Trost’s explosion onto the scene, slamming the decision by the Federal Government (his Federal Government) to fund International Planned Parenthood Federation. Unfortunately, many Canadians seem naïve about abortion rights and Brad Trost was painted as a “rogue” MP. I assure you, he is no rogue. Another backbencher CPC MP, Maurice Vellacott, has come out labelling IPPF “The Dupes of Hazard” and the harbingers of death. There is also backbencher Rod Bruinooge who tried to pass a Bill that would make “coerced abortion” illegal. In fact, 61.5% of CPC MPsare anti-choice. Now, those 3 men are all backbenchers, meaning they don’t wield very much power. The very scary person is Jason Kenney, one of Stephen Harper’s right-hand men and the Minister of Citizenship. Turns out in his youth, Mr. Kenney was more anti-choice than his American Christian University.
Publicly, Kenney will support Harper who says he will not re-open the “abortion debate.” But I am certain this is very similar to the situation with anti-choice groups and the “rogue” men like Scott Roeder, who kill doctors who provide abortion services like Dr. Tiller. Powerful MPs like Kenney give quiet support to MPs like Trost, Bruinooge, and Vellacott. Kenney has much to lose but the other 3 have very little to lose. These 3 are in “safe” Conservative ridings – filled with anti-choice bigotry – and they are already backbenchers. They may not have much to lose but they do have something to lose; they could be kicked out of caucus, meaning they would become “independent” MPs, which means they would lose a great deal of perks that come with being a member of the ruling party and perhaps their riding in the next election. The thing about Harper is that he controls his caucus like a dictator. The fact that these 3 men have spoken out like this means they do not fear Harper. It means that there must be little risk of them being kicked out of caucus. It means that they have the quiet support of powerful MPs like Jason Kenney. This is very much like the “rogue” murderers like Roeder. The pro-choice world knows they were not acting alone and neither are these backbench MPs.
It has recently become apparent that anti-choice sentiment is also harboured amongst the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidates (shocking, I know). Tea Party Tim Hudak, leader of the PCPO, signed a petition stating that he would defund abortion in Ontario. Well now he is running to be premier and he doesn’t really like answering questions asking whether he is “pro-life.” In fact, he runs away from interviews that ask him. Even though he insists he won’t reopen the debate. The mainstream media is picking up on Hudak’s waffling. Now we just need Ontario voters to do the same.
In Canada, abortion could be made a criminal offense by the Federal Government. Since abortion is healthcare, which is controlled by the provinces, the Ontario government could decide to remove funding like New Brunswick has. The Province has the power to force women to choose between rent or an abortion. New Brunswick currently does not fund abortions in accordance with the Canada Health Act. Pursuant to the CHA, the provinces are required to fund abortions in private clinics due to the time sensitive nature of abortions. Under the CHA, women should only have to show their provincial health card at a private clinic and get their abortion. Except in New Brunswick, women have to beg for permission from 2 OB/GYNs to get a provincially funded abortion and it must be done in a hospital. It would not be difficult for Tim “I signed a petition stating I would defund abortions” Hudak to cut funding if he gets a majority next week.
Canadians and Ontarians cannot take reproductive rights for granted. On October 6th, vote for the candidate in your riding most likely to beat the PCPO candidate, whichever party they may belong to. The loss of abortion rights and reproductive freedoms is a slippery slope and it begins with complacency.