Update on Abortion News in Canada

3 Jan

Things in the abortion world in Canada are heating up. Progressives have re-engaged the public in Prince Edward Island, Canada’s tiny island province, with respect to the complete lack of abortion services on the Island. All women have to ship out for their abortion to either New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. The abortion is paid for if it is at a hospital, but not the travel costs. The current Liberal politicians (I use the word loosely…) have decided to chicken out keep the status quo rather than piss off the right-wing. I suspect we will hear from the new pro-choice group again soon.

Meanwhile in Ottawa, half a dozen (white, male) anti-choicers are screaming about Canada’s “400 year old law” (Newsflash: Canada is less than 200 years old!) and wanting to re-examine the discussion about the “rights for the unborn,” all the while expertly avoiding using the dreaded A-word. Canada’s current Prime Minister has promised not to re-open the abortion debate but everybody on the Left know he has something up his sleeve. Harper controls the Conservative caucus like Kim Jong-Il controlled North Korea. That is to say: nothing happens without his approval. The fact that half a dozen MPs have issued press releases over the past few months, decrying the state of “human rights” in Canada (ironic coming from the Government that happily handed over Afghan detainees knowing they would be tortured) because a fetus doesn’t become a baby until it is born and the umbilical cord is cut, means he is aware and tacitly approving. All these men are back-benchers, meaning they are not within his cabinet. As a result, I foresee Harper claiming his has no control over these men, which is utter bullshit.

If you are in the riding of one of these anti MPs, please send them a letter letting them know that women’s human rights are not up for discussion!

In other news, the Student Union at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton has denied club status to a ‘pro-life’ group (Warning: Links to anti-abortion LifeSite) on the basis that,

…it would be a “single issue” club with “political will or intention,” that it would be “contentious” and “inviting debate,” and that it would be a source of “misinformation” regarding “post-abortion counselling.”

So long as the Student Union applies this criteria across the board and is not simply finding a reason to deny this group, I am okay with the decision. But if they are simply fishing for reasons to deny them status, I think I have an issue with it. While they are not technically government, I do not believe that driving this group underground will be of any benefit. I would rather this group be out in the open where their stance can be openly criticized. If they are in fact engaging in misleading women though Crisis Pregnancy Centres or showing up at the Morgentaler Clinic in downtown to harass women, then good, deny them funding. But if they simply want to have members, meet and enjoy the benefits for being a club, then I disagree with the Student Union. Disagreeing with their ideas is not sufficient grounds for denying them status; they must behave in a manner that violates some universal code of conduct for clubs.

I am a big believer in free speech. While every right has its limits, denying club status to a group just because you disagree is not appropriate; free and open discussion is important. It will be interesting to see how this progresses.

7 Responses to “Update on Abortion News in Canada”

  1. anonymous January 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    It seems that it is the will of the people on PEI to not provide abortion services. It sounds like it has been decided through the political process. In the overwhelming majority of cases, abortion is an elective procedure, i.e. not medically necessary. No one on PEI is preventing women from obtaining abortions, and they are even paying for them with the appropriate referrals. So is this just an argument about forcing the majority of people on PEI to capitulate to the demands of the few, namely about one tenth of one percent of the population? Wouldn’t that infringe on the people of PEI’s choice? If I’m missing something here, please enlighten me. The title of the article is deceptive, since there is no abortion ‘ban’ per se, but a business decision not to lose money on an elective procedure.

  2. Not Guilty January 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Anon, you are incorrect. First of all, the “people” do not get to decide what healthcare others are allowed to have. Some people don’t like that smokers get treatment for lung cancer. Should we ‘capitulate’ to those people? I don’t like that my tax dollars go to the military. In a democratic society, you do not get to pick and choose the rights that others get to have. Abortion is healthcare and in Canada, healthcare is public.

    Since when do other people get a choice about the healthcare decisions of others? Your statement is inane.

    You and I clearly have different definitions of ‘elective.’ Let’s start with the dictionary definition: Permitting or involving a choice; optional. Plastic surgery is ‘elective.’ There are only 2 ways to end a pregnancy: childbirth or abortion. If a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, the only way to end it is abortion. Abortion is the only procedure available to terminate a pregnancy and thus isn’t ‘elective;’ there is no other choice for a woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant. And a woman has every right to not want to be pregnant.

    Lastly, how the heck is the title “deceptive”? My article is about abortion and the manner in which it is making news, in Canada. You really just enjoy mud-slinging by the seems of it.

  3. anonymous January 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Perhaps I should have made it more clear to you that I was referring to the article you linked to in the first paragraph of your post. The title implies that PEI is “banning” abortions, when in fact, it is not.

    I am a medical professional. I doubt that anyone would consider treatment for cancer – a disease – elective. You must receive treatment or you die. Medically defined, pregnancy is a condition, not a disease. Medically speaking,a woman does not NEED an abortion (except in the rare case that there is an emergent threat to the mother’s life) therefore, it is classified as an elective procedure.

    That being clarified, you can shun your pseudo – naivete (or ignoring the obvious in an attempt to make your point). Abortion is a controversial and polarizing issue, and while some people call it healthcare, many other people do not. Calling it ‘healthcare’ is usually reserved for feminist activists, such as yourself – perhaps not always, but typically. At any rate, abortion is not defined by the medical community-at-large as healthcare. At least not yet.

    So in the end, it doesn’t matter what your definition of healthcare is, and it doesn’t matter what mine is. The tide of public opinion is the determinant in matters pertaining to abortion, and apparently on PEI, that tide is not in favor of abortion, so therefore they are happy to send their women elsewhere to obtain them. Apparently the protesters are trying to make the majority of the population capitulate to their demands (isn’t that what protesting is about?). Until the government of PEI actually prevents women from obtaining abortions, they aren’t violating anyone’s right to have an abortion.

    ….and I’m not slinging mud at anyone. Chill.

  4. Steph January 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Hi anonymous,

    I’m a public health professional and I’m here to tell you that abortion is health care (yay!). Here in the US, 1 in 3 women have an abortion by age 45. You can’t sit there and tell me that a procedure that 1 in 3 women has is not health care.

    Who else knows that abortion is health care?

    Doctors: http://www.prch.org
    Nurses: http://www.nursingstudentsforchoice.org/
    The American Medical Association: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion201.page
    Clinicians: http://www.prochoice.org/cfc/

    I could go on and on, but I’m sure you know how to use google. See for yourself. Feel free to post another comment when you awaken to the medical reality that abortion is a normal (and common!) part of health care provision.

  5. anonymous January 8, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    And who doesn’t believe abortion is healthcare?

    Doctors:http://www.prolifephysicians.org/
    http://www.aaplog.org/

    Nurses: http://www.nursesforlife.org/

    Pharmacists: http://www.pfli.org/

    Feminists: http://www.feministsforlife.org/

    You’re missing the point. I’m sure you would like to claim that abortion is in the mainstream of health care, but the reality is, that it is not. I’m not talking about whether or not it is a common procedure, obviously it is – but once again, it is an elective procedure. Lots of insurance companies buck against covering elective procedures. Especially for “non life threatening” reasons. Abortion still carries stigma. Providers are not in the mainstream medical community – also stigmatized. In many of your posts you are all bitchin’ about lack of access, stigmatization, lack of providers, lack of coverage, lack of money for women seeking abortions – and now you’re telling me abortion is mainstream healthcare…..come on.

    We both know abortion is the divisive, political hotbed, black sheep in the family of medical practice. While it will always exist, whether it exists legally is subject to the direction of the prevailing political winds. Otherwise, you could take down your blog and go home, yes?

    Bottom Line: PEI doesn’t provide abortions, because for whatever reason, they don’t make money on them. Coupled with that, they have a population that is mostly pro-life. So there’s your answer. You’ll find access where you find a money making proposition. End of story.

  6. not guilty January 8, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    I am not really sure why you feel the need to point out that the article i linked to is ‘deceptively’ titled; it is not really something I can control.

    Since you are a ‘medical professional’ you would be well aware of the medical fact that abortion, when performed in a clinic, is significantly safer than not only child birth but also pregnancy itself. far more women die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth than of abortion, so realistically, abortion is life saving medical treatment and far more similar to cancer treatment than plastic surgery.

    you have failed to provide a legitimate argument for why the ‘people’ of PEI should have any right to determine whether a woman has an abortion. whether or not they approve of or support abortion is irrelevant. there is a law in canada that requires every province to provide abortion services, free of charge whether it is performed in a hospital or private clinic. as a legal professional i can inform you that both PEI and New Brunswick are breaking the law in this respect. it is wholly irrelevant what the ‘people’ want.

    i’m curious, where do you get the stat that says the “tide” of public opinion does not support abortion when in fact every cross-country poll has shown that not only do the majority of Canadians support abortion, but they do not wish to even re-open the debate. Canadians realize abortion is a woman’s decision and nobody elses. You would do well to learn that also.

  7. nycprochoicemd January 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    Many,, if not most, medical professionals believe that abortion is health care. The elective nature of a procedure does not make define it as healthcare or not healthcare. if we were to exclude from our definition of healthcare all elective procedures, we would be excluding most cholecystectomies (failure to remove a diseased gall bladder is unlikely to cause death or severe injury) and hysterectomies (usually done for benign, non life-threatening disease). We could stop repairing minor lacerations (usually done solely to minimize scarring) and forget about all those minor dermatological procedures we do, like removing skin tags and warts. Healthcare includes life-saving services, yes, but much of what we do is based on quality of life. Even if pregnancy weren’t a condition which could lead to serious impairment or death, sometimes unpredictably, it would still severely impact a woman’s quality of life.

    If you are a medical professional, I recommend you think about the majority of reasons people seek medical attention: things like headaches, lower back pain, upper respiratory infections. these conditions are rarely life-threatenin, but we take care of them, as medical professionals. Undesired pregnancy is one of many reons women seek healthcare, and should not be considered less deserving of medical care.

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