Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quebec takes a stand on abortion


Today the Quebec legislature voted unanimously (109 - 0) on a resolution calling for Stephen Harper to respect free choice and access to abortion, to end its ambiguity on the issue and to stop cutting funding to women's groups who favour abortion.

This after Cardinal Marc Ouellet stated that abortion is a moral crime.

“There is a spin, saying the cardinal would like to re-criminalize [abortion] and this is not what he said,” said Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre. “He's not calling for re-criminalization. He was talking [about] a moral thing, this is a moral issue. He was not bringing this to the judicial level.”

Oh, really? And yet on May 13 Ouellet had this to say:
“We support this stance of the government not to finance abortion in countries of the Third World, But we would like some more courage, some more courage to do something more in Canada.“

That sounds like a call to the government to act.

Canada currently has no abortion law after a Supreme Court ruling struck it down in 1988 as being incompatible with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The status quo has been working and Canadians believed this divisive issue had been settled. Mr. Harper brought the topic up with his maternal health initiative, all the while claiming he didn't want to reopen the debate here. Again I ask - really? These words from Mr Harper ring particularly false when he has systemmatically cut funding to women's groups and family planning advocacy and information organizations.

I'm not looking forward to having the abortion debate again as it's sure to get nasty. Having a child is a huge commitment, and the decision should be that of each individual woman. No one else has the same stake, and certainly not a bunch of supposedly celibate priests or woman-hating zealots of any stripe.

Again, thanks to Marci McDonald for outlining in her book The Armageddon Factor, how Harper is courting the religious right. In spelling this out clearly, it allows us to see that the rights and freedoms we have enjoyed in this country are by no means untouchable.

Kudos to the Quebec Legislature for taking such a firm stand. I guess Harper has written off that province as a source of votes, eschewing the Mulroney strategy for that of George W. Bush and pandering to a vocal minority.
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