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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Alberta Party on Abortion

Another response to my check up on choice has trickled in and this time it's from the Alberta Party.  

Again, my questions were, "Does your party support a woman's right to choose? What will your party do to expand access to abortion services in Alberta, especially in rural areas and the north? Does your party believe in fully funding all medically necessary health services, including abortion?"

And here is the response, from the Alberta Party, excluding salutations.

"Officially, the Alberta Party respects that this issue is under federal jurisdiction and has no intention of legislating in this area. We trust and respect the right and ability of Albertans to exercise their moral and religious conscience with regard to this very personal issue.

I would also like to answer your question personally as well as referring you to the Alberta Party stance on the so-called "conscience rights" issue that has come up in this election.

As a woman and a long time feminist, I am appalled that this personal issue continues to come up in political debate. I would not support a party that tries to suppress a woman's right to choose, and refuses to provide through our publicly funded health care system what is essentially a health care issue to women across the world.

I also completely support the statement from our leader Glenn Taylor on conscience rights, http://www.albertaparty.ca/strong_stand_on_conscience_rights It is framed around the marriage commissioners, but I believe it extends to all the other areas that still continue to be so contentious, including women's choice, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

The Alberta Party wants to ensure that no one is ever again singled out or excluded from society because someone with power disapproves of or looks down on them. This new political party we are building is based on the idea of active and equal citizenry."

The email is from Midge Lambert, VP Membership & CA Organization, Alberta Party

Firstly, given the storm over my post on the Wildrose and Abortion, I've got to say, good on you, Alberta Party. That takes guts to respond. One article in the Edmonton Journal suggested the Wildrose's mistake may have been responding at all. I disagree. I don't think questions should be dodged. If you're not willing to state a position during an election, what is an election for?

Based on this response, I'd say from a choice point of view, the Alberta Party looks okay. Like Wildrose, they deflect the issue to federal jurisdiction without fully acknowledging the vital role the province has in delivering care and deciding how that care is delivered. But the rest of the response indicates clear support of choice and of fully funding all medically necessary services. As for what they will do to improve access in the north and rural areas, that question remains unanswered. For me, that question is really one that tells us how deep and specific their policy or intentions go. Let the record show, it could be deeper and more specific.

Further I appreciate how they understand this issue is linked to the recent explosion of information about "conscience rights." They get an A for being able to connect the dots.

Unlike Ms. Lambert, I am not upset that this abortion issue continues to rear its head. That is because it is always about more than abortion. A party's perspective and policy on this issue is always telling. Look what we have learned already.

So, Albertans add this to your mix of information and remember to vote on April 23.

The Abortion Monologues is available now as an e-book at Smashwords.

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