A few weeks ago, Sandeep Prasad wrote about “the best, worst places to get an abortion in Canada.” Prasad talked about the uneven access to abortion across Canada, and called for Canadians to push leaders to focus on increasing abortion access. The suggestion is that pushing the pro-abortion agenda should be an expected standard from all elected politicians. We think the opposite is true: our leaders should be at the forefront of defending and protecting human life in all stages. Supporting abortion contradicts this at a fundamental level.
Abortion provides a bandage solution for problems like intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, lack of social supports, poverty, and myriad other issues our leaders should be focused on. If we advocate for life, we can also call on our leaders to address these related issues. If we call for death as a solution in any area, we can have no basis for an expectation that they will improve standards of living across our nation.
Yes, I agree with Prasad’s premise that health care services should be accessible to all, not just those lucky enough to live in the right place. But abortion is not healthcare. Healthcare seeks to heal, treat or prevent disease. Pregnancy is not a disease, and when serious complications arise there are always options that care for both mother and child. Delivering a baby alive to save a mother’s life, even if it may not survive, is inherently different than killing that pre-born child before removing it from the womb.
Yes, abortion access is spotty across Canada. But so is actual healthcare. If your appendix bursts in Northern Ontario, or you suffer a stroke in rural Saskatchewan, your medical care access is not going to be the same as it would in a major city centre. Abortion should be the least of our concerns – barring labour, pregnancy is about the safest medical condition one can have if you’re worried about getting to the doctor while the symptoms are still present. Framing abortion as a healthcare issue is an attempt to mask the fact that this is a human rights issue.
Prasad states that “abortion remains one of, if not the most stigmatized essential health service in Canada. While the 1988 Supreme Court ruling should have settled that abortion be treated like any other medical procedure, our lack of progress shows how thorny of an issue it still is.” But the Supreme Court ruling never intended to settle the issue. Rather, even the most liberal of the judges wrote that the pre-born child should be given protection at some stage. It left the law-making to Parliament, as is the Court’s place. It is only Parliament’s inaction and cowardice that has left us the only democracy in the world without restrictions on abortion.
The abortion debate is open, it always has been. The majority of Canadians support limits on abortion, and always have. But the status quo brought about by fearful lawmakers means the womb is a uniquely dangerous place to be in Canada. In the womb, we have human beings not considered persons under the law. It is the only place a human being has no legal protection, but is left completely at the mercy of someone bigger and stronger than themselves. We want leaders who will advocate tirelessly for the vulnerable and voiceless, not throw them under the political bus.