Abortion Debate Shouldn’t be Closed



July 21, 2011

The Hill Times, June 13 2011: Mr. Harper’s press secretary Andrew MacDougall, said that “Our MPs were elected on a clear platform – our government will move forward to implement that platform” and that “the Prime Minister has made it crystal clear that the government will not introduce or support any legislation that seeks to reopen the abortion debate.

I realize that Mr. Harper has been saying he will not reopen the abortion debate for some time now. But frankly I am puzzled as to why he keeps insisting that the abortion debate remain closed.

Even ignoring the fact that a majority of Canadians would like some kind of legal protection for the unborn, Canada has had at least two very clear calls for legal protection.

One was from our Supreme Court judges, and the other was from the United Nations.

The Supreme Court said in its landmark ruling which struck down Canada’s abortion law (R. v. Morgentaler, 1988) that Parliament has the right to legislate protection for unborn children (e.g. Chief Justice Dickson said, “Like Beetz and Wilson JJ., I agree that protection of foetal interests by Parliament is also a valid governmental objective.”).

Our judges have clearly stated that protection for the unborn is an objective that lies within Parliament–a Parliament which currently has a majority mandate under Mr. Harper. How can he continue to ignore this call?

Then in 1959, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by a UN General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV).

The Declaration states in its preamble:
“WHEREAS the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth (emphasis added)”.

In 1989 this declaration became a Treaty which Canada and all 10 provinces signed. Again we have a clear call to provide legal protection for the unborn.

Mr. Harper is in a unique position at the moment. Of all of our Federal parties, the Conservatives are the only party (based on their traditional values and principles) that would ever enact legal protection for the unborn. It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that neither the NDP or Liberals would never do so.

This only leaves the Conservatives under Mr. Harper to do something to protect the unborn.

It would be a legacy Mr. Harper could be proud of.

Patricia Maloney

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