abortion rights

My thoughts on what I find to be a disturbing article I came across in Canada’s National Post, one of the nation’s two national newspapers. The article was released this week, when our parliament is shut down so that no one can discuss it in our parliament and the rest of the Canadian media has been completely silent about it.

The article supports various efforts in the United States to make abortion more difficult for women. Maurice Vellacott a MP of the Conservative Party who is in power right now sent the article to all the members in parliament. Harper doesn’t want parliament to vote on his horrible economic statement but his MP Vellacott is sending out season’s greetings to everyone with a newspaper article that supports making abortion more difficult for women.

Unfortunately it is not one lone MP expressing his point. It is the actions of a MP of a Conservative government whose sole purpose has been to spread fear and disdain throughout the country. Most people in Canada have been nervous about the Reform / Alliance / Conservative Party for precisely this reason.

Canada’s Conservative government has done no work for 6 months, Harper called a surprise election after the summer break. When the majority of MPs came back and didn’t support of his economic plans to literally bankrupt them, reduce women’s equity and do nothing else for our economy, Harper shut down our democracy and the parliament will not return before the end of January 2009. We are the only country in the western world who has done almost nothing in the past 6 months.

Now on the same day that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has an interview with the CBC, where he states that he wants to work with others and wants their ideas (because he has none of his own), the National Post prints an article that supports one of the basic (if understated) principals of the Reform / Alliance / Conservative Party, restricting Canadian women’s right to safe abortions.

It is an article that seeks to make women feel ashamed for getting abortions regardless of the circumstance and praises the more restrictive access in various regions in the United States. The National Post is the same newspaper where former Bush speechwriter David Frum regularly writes for, where he supports Bush and Harper.

It is not an innocuous article, it is part of the philosophy of a divisive, sneaky government that has reduced funding to women’s groups across Canada, canceled our National day Care program brought in by the Liberals, in favour of a cash handout, that still leaves families struggling to find adequate care for their children (our country’s future).

The fact that the rest of the media is silent about this, actually empowers and enables the Conservative Party in creating an atmosphere where the abortion rights could be attacked and reversed. I am a man, I’m not the one going to carry the baby. But it seems really evil to sneak the possibility of a restrictive law back into the mindset of a country where the issue has been pretty much decided and do it during a time of nearly unprecedented economic stress and fear.

Attacking women in Canada regarding their own bodies is cowardly, immature and a government that encourages its members to do so is only showing their true stripes as being misguided and frankly not worthy of the trust its citizens place in them to work for the good of the country.

Once again, the Conservative Party has shown that they have nothing to offer except for dividing the country and using their faulty, abusive reasoning to undermine the rights of the citizens they swore to work for.

To deny women’s right to clean, safe medical abortions would put Canada back to the days of the recent past (1940s-1970s) when many women died, ran off to “houses” to have their babies in secret and then abandon them to religious organizations (with all the problems that we are still not dealing with in terms of abuse and neglect of thousands of children over the past decades who were brought up in orphanages run by nuns, priests and religious lay people), or kept the babies and had stilted lives mired in regret and frustration, while men who also made the children left them and our society condemned the mothers as “loose women”.

There is a reason why birth control is so popular and why the revolutions of the 1960s happened: women were being put down, black people were being put down and ignorance was considered to be bliss. Respect, justice and equality are things that we should never take for granted. We must always be vigilant for there are many who seek to place limits on the freedoms of women and others, keeping them from their true potential due to their own fears and insecurities, which they want to force down on the rest of us.

If you believe in a women’s right to have a life of her own, not controlled by the whims of ideologues in government, then you have to stand up and say so. Cheering at a sports game or singing the national anthem are not the only things you can do to be patriotic. There are some serious questions to ask when huge portions of the population are in danger of losing their rights over their own bodies and the rights to make decisions in their own best interests because a few people in the media and in power in the government are testing the waters to see how watchful the population is during the holiday season.

If the National Post is advocating restricting access to abortion and is supported by the sitting government of the day, who waits until after they win the election to openly talk about it, that’s evil and cowardly and if you support the women in your lives, it is something we should all speak out against.

What do you think? Are you ready to let your sister, daughter, lose the rights the previous generation used to improve the quality of their lives? If your wife, girlfriend, business partner, friend had to quit work or school (like millions of women did before abortions were safe and legal) because they couldn’t get a legal abortion or it became much more difficult how would you deal with it?

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