A few weeks ago my wife and I attended her high school class reunion. We had gone to school together and were only a year apart so I had grown up with many of her old classmates. I was looking forward to hearing about the paths their lives had taken in the twenty years since graduation.
Many of our former classmates had heard about the advocacy work I was involved with. They supported the idea that Canada needs to get in line with other Western nations by implementing restrictions on abortion. One particular conversation impressed this necessity on me all the more.
Our former classmate began by telling me about the time she lived in Calgary and worked at a downtown medical lab. This particular lab was located near the Kensington Clinic, a private, for-profit abortion facility. Her lab handled the majority of the clinic’s blood work. My classmate explained that the month of September was always extremely busy and was known as “Stampede Month” to healthcare workers. She must have sensed my confusion so she spelled it out for me: between eight and twelve weeks after the Calgary Stampede, a large number of women come in to abort the unexpected pregnancies resulting from sexual trysts during the Stampede.
I had always heard that abortion was used as a form of birth control, but never had it presented to me so vividly. The past decades have been marked by an increased focus on sex education including a plethora of contraceptive methods. One has to wonder why so many unexpected children are still conceived. Has any of this “safe sex” information penetrated the minds of those sitting through these progressive programs?
You would be naive not to realize that for many people, sex is just as much a part of the Stampede as pancake breakfasts and parades. But discarding your “products of conception” three months later is not an amoral act similar to, say, taking a ride on the Slingshot at the Stampede midway. We are constantly learning more about the physical and psychological consequences of induced abortion, especially for teenagers. With no laws regulating this procedure, women and girls are making irreversible decisions without proper counsel or even the minutest inclination that there may be negative implications for their health, not to mention the moral implications for the pre-born child.
This is why we need an abortion law. Dr. Margaret Somerville, director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, explains it well: “We need some law on abortion in Canada in order to recognize publicly and as a society that abortion is always a very serious ethical decision and that, as all the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Morgentaler case, the lives of pre-born children, at least at a certain point in pregnancy, merit legal protection.”
Contrary to what abortion ideologues profess, abortion is not safer than childbirth. It is time for Canada to begin regulating abortion. “Stampede month” at the abortion clinic suggests that sowing wild oats in the evening and hoping for crop failure in the morning is not working. Abortion is a serious ethical issue. We can — indeed, we must — do better for our women and girls.