Tips for a Productive Visit
Don’t be intimidated at the thought of visiting your local MP, MLA or MPP in person! He or she is there to listen to people in the riding, regardless of whether you are in agreement. Not too many people make the effort to visit their local representative in person, so you can be assured that your visit will make an impact.
You don’t have to be an expert pro-life speaker to voice your concerns to your representative! We have a few simple talking points to help you get started and hopefully make you feel confident in setting up a meeting to engage your representative in this important discussion. Being prepared allows you to be concise and direct. Don’t attempt to cover every aspect of the debate in one visit; focus on one or two points and let them know why and how much this issue matters to you. Listen attentively to their responses and use them to continue the discussion or ask if you can get back to them (perhaps by phone or email) when you’ve had time to think about your response. Never feel pressured to answer immediately, and always maintain a tone that shows the respect due to an elected official.
Talking Point #1
Canada is the only democracy in the world without legislation protecting children in the womb.
A typical conversation can start like this: “Mr./Ms. (name of representative), I would like to share a concern with you. For years, Canada has been the only democracy in the world without laws protecting children in the womb. Every other country has laws that grant legal protection to pre-born children. Why not Canada?”
There are a wide variety of answers you may receive. He/she may be sympathetic to your concern. You can then ask how you can assist them in bringing forward legislation, or what they see as the most realistic next steps. Some will not share your perspective. Respectfully question them as to why Canada doesn’t recognize, at any point in the pregnancy, the rights of the pre-born child, and/or why they are unwilling to take a stand on this.
Talking Point #2
In the 1988 Morgentaler decision, the Supreme Court of Canada did not give women a ‘right’ to abortion. In fact, they encouraged Parliament to enact legislation that protected the rights of the fetus at some point during the pregnancy.
You could start with “Mr./Ms. (name of representative), in the Morgentaler decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the existing abortion laws were unconstitutional on procedural grounds, such as unequal access to hospitals performing abortions and therapeutic abortion committees. The Court did not rule that women have a right to abortion, but many people seem to think they do. The Court didn’t make a new law because they knew that was the task of Parliament. It has almost been 30 years since that ruling – when can we expect Parliament to bring in a new law that protects the rights of the fetus, or why isn’t this being discussed more openly?” (For more information on the ruling, click here.)
Talking Point #3
The majority of Canadians want some legal protection for children in the womb. Most Canadians find it morally unacceptable that abortion can be committed in the 3rd trimester, or based on the sex of the child in the womb.
Your representative may not be aware that this is the case. Here are a few polling numbers for you to bring to his/her attention. According to several Abacus Data polls taken in 2011, the majority of Canadians (60%) believe that the life of the unborn should be protected at some point during the pregnancy. Also, an Environics poll in 2011 found that when asked specifically when they’d like to see abortion illegal, 77% of respondents answered with, “in the last three months.” As for sex-selective abortions, a 2011 Abacus Data poll indicated that 92% of Canadians think it should be illegal. Impress upon your MP that, with these kind of numbers, this issue, while difficult to discuss, would certainly not be detrimental to their political future.