01 May 2012 Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper
To the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada,
Dear Mr. Harper,
You have made it clear that you don’t want this country to talk about abortion. But the Canadian public, the international community, and even the Supreme Court of Canada all call us to end the legislative vacuum that has existed for over 20 years in Canada. You are standing in the way of a discussion that this country wants and needs. The comments you made during question period last week Thursday have left Canadians completely baffled. To state it was “unfortunate” that an all-party committee deemed Motion 312 admissible goes against the democratic principles of free speech and due process.
Your emphatic denouncement of even the minutest debate on the topic of abortion is completely contrary to basic principles of democracy. Canadians, as well as prominent journalists such as Andrew Coyne, are increasingly perplexed, as they openly opine about the absence of reason and civilized debate in this country.
You must certainly be aware, Prime Minister, that the majority of Canadians (77% according to the most recent poll) want some restrictions on abortion. You must be aware that most Canadians believe that aborting a fetus, simply because it is a girl, is repugnant. You must know that most Canadians, including Dr. Henry Morgentaler, find it morally unacceptable that a foetus can be aborted, for any reason, in the 3rd trimester.
Prime Minister, you are the only leader among all democratic nations that refuses to provide some protection for children in the womb. Canada, along with North Korea and China, are the only countries in the world that do not recognize the rights of the foetus at any point during the pregnancy.
The position you have taken, to not allow the abortion debate to happen in Parliament, goes against that of the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court decision in R. v. Morgentaler (1988) is saturated with references to Parliament’s duty and legitimate interest in protecting the foetus. Chief Justice Dickson said, “I agree [with Justice Beetz and Wilson] that protection of foetal interests by Parliament is also a valid governmental objective. It follows that balancing these interests, with the lives and health of women a major factor, is clearly an important governmental objective.” (emphasis added)
Mr. Harper, the abortion debate is not about appealing to small ‘c’ conservative Canadians. It’s not even about maintaining the support of both pro-life and pro-choice Canadians. Prime Minister, the long overdue debate about the rights of the foetus transcends these things as well as party affiliation. This issue goes to the very core of our humanity and our ability to debate and make decisions.
The time has come, Mr. Harper, for our government to make these decisions. The people are speaking, the courts have spoken, and Canada sits in the embarrassingly ridiculous position as the only democracy with no law protecting foetal rights.
Canadians want a law restricting abortion. Canada needs a law restricting abortion. As difficult as it may be, now it’s your turn Mr. Harper. And if you can’t show this leadership, please do not stand in the way of the courageous MPs who do.
Campaign Director, weneedaLAW.ca
(A similar letter has been sent to Thomas Mulcair, M.P. Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition)