As many of you will know we have just completed a nine-city tour of Ontario speaking to people about the need to join us in our efforts to stop the censorship of abortion statistics. For those unaware of what this is about, following is a quick backgrounder.
In 2012 the Government of Ontario quietly slipped in an amendment to FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) that reads: “This Act does not apply to records relating to the provision of abortion services.” This amendment was embedded in an omnibus bill – an omnibus bill is one that covers a large number of diverse and unrelated topics – and was never debated in the Legislature. It was only discovered after Pat Maloney, an Ottawa area pro-life blogger, had a Freedom of Information (FOI) request denied on the basis of the recently enacted amendment.
After careful consideration, and I emphasize ‘careful’ as we should never take it lightly when we file a lawsuit against the government, we made the decision to partner with Pat Maloney in requesting a judge to review the constitutionality of the amendment to FIPPA.
But why this fixation with statistics and freedom of information? This is a good question to ask; especially considering abortion is wrong no matter how many or for what reasons they occur.
We Need a Law is devoted to promoting grassroots political action. We know that for us to expect changes in public policy we will need to have strong enough public opinion. That is why we strive to give all citizens of Canada the tools they need to become politically engaged so they can be a voice for truth, justice, freedom, and human rights. But in order to do that properly, we need accurate information. Freedom of information is protected by the Charter’s freedom of expression guarantee because without access to government information, a citizen cannot meaningfully discuss, debate, scrutinize or make informed opinions on matters of public policy.
Statistics matter because, in addition to knowing how many pre-born children are aborted, they show how abortion really impacts women. How can we know abortion is safe if the government refuses to let the residents of Ontario know anything that pertains to the procedure? How many physical complications were there in relation to abortion? How would anyone know whether or not women have been hurt psychologically in the process?
The reality is that without access to the statistics, no one knows the answers to these questions and this presents an incredible challenge in proposing solutions. When the government withholds very important and relevant information on abortion, women cannot make informed decisions, and advocacy organizations cannot carry out their missions.
If you live in Ontario and have not yet done so we ask that you take a few moments to send this email to your MPP. Ask them to repeal Section 65 (5.7) because censoring abortion data is no way to deal with an injustice that affects over 100,000 lives every year in Canada.