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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Prime Minister is Not Talking About Abortion

The Prime Minister is not talking about abortion. Look at the recent articles about what he says he is doing and not doing. The first one in the Globe and Mail notes he WILL try to end the gun registry, he WILL NOT open up a debate on capital punishment, although he believes in it and he WILL NOT talk about abortion, although he is against it. Citing an interview with Peter Mansbridge, the article notes that Mr. Harper "describes abortion as an issue he’s spent his political career trying to 'stay out of' and insists he wants no debate on abortion law. 'What I say to people, if you want to diminish the number of abortions, you’ve got to change hearts and not laws,' he said." Some of you who are fond of the inconsistency of people being both for capital punishment and "pro-life" must have been enjoying this immensely, as I have. I chuckle at the idea of Mr. Harper trying to change hearts. Perhaps he will play piano, sing sappy songs from his youth and wear blue sweaters.

A similar article in The Toronto Star takes a more direct tone with a headline saying Mr. Harper can't be trusted on abortion or capital punishment. There seems to be some evidence for this, especially on the abortion side, with three  private member's bills being raised by Conservatives since the minority government came into power five years ago. Compared to the number of private member's bills on say, the environment, or other areas of national and international significance, this is a notable number of bills.

Anyway, should we be worried? Good question. Look at this other article from the NYT, and my answer is yes. The slippery slope approach to abortion restriction is on south of the border and we have to watch carefully. That approach is well into the testing phase here too. What do you think all those private member's bills are about?

Let's be clear. Explicitly not talking about abortion, talking about not talking about abortion, is talking about abortion. Letting private member's bills about abortion come forward is talking about abortion. Excluding abortion from the G8 Maternal Health Initiative is talking about abortion. I'm on side with the Toronto Star on this one. What I'm pretty certain Mr. Harper will actually never talk about is a woman's right to control her own body.

Pundits say there is an election coming. Let's make the politicians talk about abortion. Explicitly.

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