Saturday, April 16, 2011

Desperate Liberals raise the abortion boogieman

The Liberals are desperate and trying to shore up support by frightening voters and implying that Conservatives will bring in anti-abortion laws—this along with a ban on gay marriage are the two scariest election outcomes, apparently, that any Canadian voter could imagine.

The Grits have dug up a decade-old student column on abortion by Heritage Minister James Moore. Apparently, he is expected to answer for his anti-abortion views expressed in that column.

According to the Globe and Mail, Mr. Moore’s student paper was:

“Dated Nov. 1, 1999 and titled ‘The flip side of abortion extremism,’ the op-ed discussed legislation in the United States that proposed to ban certain types of late-term abortions.”

It occurs to me that a majority of Canadians would agree that there be some legal restrictions on late-term abortions. However, neither Prime Minister Stephen Harper nor Mr. Moore have given any indication they intend to ban or even restrict the practice.

“Anecdotally, as an ethicist, I have been consulted in a professional capacity on two late-term abortions, both of which were carried out. One involved a 34-week gestation pregnancy, where the mother was an unmarried graduate student from a foreign country; the other a 32-week gestation pregnancy, where the married parents did not want to have a ‘defective child’—the baby had a cleft palate (a relatively minor physical deformity that can be largely corrected with surgery).”

– Margaret Somerville,
Director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law,
McGill University

As many as 80 per cent of Canadians (See Jan. 15, 2010 Angus Reid Poll) believe there already exists legal restrictions on late-term abortions and insist that such operations are banned in Canada except under extreme circumstances. Would that they were correct.

Actually, few late-term abortions are performed in Canada, but that is because most patients are sent to clinics in the United States that specialize in the procedure, and our Canadian healthcare systems foot the bill. To me, this is the moral equivalent to in-country late-term abortions, a very distressing practice.

Complicating this issue is the fact that when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988, it also removed reporting requirements making statistics hard to come by. As a result, detailed information is not available for more than half of the abortions performed.

The fact is—so far as I can tell—we have no laws whatsoever governing or limiting abortions in any way, and I’ve done research on this. Abortion is permitted at any stage of pregnancy in Canada. Whatever limitation exists is left to the conscience of medical practitioners and their codes of ethics. And, of course, there are no unethical doctors practicing in Canada. Or are there?

And what about the Liberal Party’s current caucus members who are practicing Roman Catholics. Should Canadians be afraid they’ll ban abortions because of their personal beliefs? Come to think of it, Roman Catholics aren’t too keen on the life-style of gays, so is gay marriage also in peril from a Liberal government?

As much as I personally believe our laws should address late-term abortions, I realize, as so many progressives and conservatives do, that Canadians, in general, are satisfied with the status quo on abortion and don’t want the to reopen debate on the issue. Most Canadian politicians accept this, regardless of their political stripe. If only Mr. Ignatieff had lived in Canada long enough to understand this.


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. I find it interesting that Iggy can say NO Coaition once and it is "case closed" and "off the table"...but Stephen Harper can have five years in government; say numerous times he is not going to reopen abortion; reiterate that fact in a press scrum and still - the media and opposition harp on it.

    Obviously in Canada - what is good for the liberal goose is definitely not good for the Conservative gander!

  2. thats okay alberta girl starting monday the game changer will launch and there is no way the liberals will be able to get away with stuff.

  3. Hi Russ

    Thanks for taking up this issue.

    I just wanted to talk about the issue of late-term abortions.

    It is true that our elective late-term cases are sent to the US. Non-elective cases-- usually involving fetal anomaly-- are usually not.

    But I learned that elective third trimester abortions are being performed in Canada on a few categories of women. Namely: women prisoners, women with immigration issues and victims of sex trafficking. Now you understand that the number of elective abortions on these women is very small. But since they have immigration issues, they cannot be sent to the US, and therefore their abortions are done in Canada.

    I learned this from a speech given by a woman in Montreal who is in charge of organizing third trimester abortions. More details can follow, if you're interested.

  4. Susanne,

    I'm aware of late-term abortions being performed in Canada, and that not all are for sound medical reasons. A loathsome practice.

  5. I was shocked when I recently learned about the lack of abortion laws in our country. I have always been pro-choice in early stage pregnancies, and assumed that was what was in place. Russ, I suspect most Canadians are not aware of what the status quo actually is, and will not be satisfied once they learn of it.