The topic of abortion was a hallmark of the 2019 election cycle. It was brought up repeatedly by the leaders of the various parties and was a topic at the leader’s debates. This is a cause for celebration for pro-life groups, but it comes also with some real disappointment in the way that these leaders used the topic as a political strategy. Using abortion as a political weapon is a remarkably degrading way to treat the pre-born children at the heart of the debate.
But abortion does need to be talked about.
Since 2012, We Need a Law has existed with a mission to build support for legislation to protect pre-born children in Canada. Canada is the only country in the world without abortion legislation. The increased attention on pre-born children has raised awareness that our lack of a legal framework protecting pre-born children is largely the result of inaction by our political leaders.
Abortion should absolutely be a key topic of debate in every election cycle – and in the intervening four years. But the focus should be on measures that will be implemented by each party to protect these smallest members of the human family. Most Canadians agree that it is discriminatory to abort a healthy girl because you wanted a boy. Most Canadians are also disgusted at the idea that a child can be killed even when he is developed enough to survive outside of the womb.
But unfortunately, these were not the topics our leaders discussed. Instead, they viewed pre-born children as a political tool, either to scare people away from voting for one party or to reach out to an assumed support group with vague assurances. All parties seem to view pre-born children as merely part of a political strategy, not as human beings being denied their most basic human right.
What can we do differently?
As we analyze the results of this election, we must be wary of falling into the same trap. We need to avoid the polarizing drama or the partisan games when they cause the focus to move away from the pre-born child and the need to have legal protection for the child. We Need a Law is non-partisan. One of the reasons for this is because we understand abortion to be a human rights issue, not a partisan issue. We focus on getting Canadians to start the conversation with their representative regardless of the party. We want you to develop a relationship and influence your leaders to start honestly seeing the human victim of abortion – the pre-born child.
This isn’t merely a numbers game of getting the most MPs from a particular party. There is a culture that needs to change. A culture in Ottawa in the way they discuss this issue, and a culture across Canada. One change that needs to happen is a shift to talking about actual legislation rather than focusing on whether someone personally holds a correct opinion. Pro-abortion Parliamentarians have had it easy, never having had to counter actual abortion legislation; abortion legislation like what the rest of the world has managed to implement, abortion legislation that most Canadians would support.
For too long, we’ve allowed the political conversation to be about personal opinions and vague ideas. This needs to change. We need to see real abortion legislation on the table, and MPs need to have a real conversation about what it would look like here in Canada.
Canadians are already having very real, serious, nuanced conversations about pre-born human rights. Our politicians do us and pre-born children an inexcusable disservice by refusing to engage in the debate in the same way. It’s time for our politicians to engage in a serious conversation about legislation that would, at the very least, bring our country into line with other Western democracies. We need a framework around late-term abortion, sex-selective abortion, and pre-born victims of crime. We need to recognize the humanity of our own children before they exit the womb.