Republicans in the US are criminalizing abortion. Canada’s Conservatives want to do the same.
On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed America’s most restrictive ban on abortion, making it illegal for abortion to be performed at any stage of pregnancy unless it is to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”
The law comes in the wake of other states introducing strict abortion regulations, including Georgia’s governor signing the “heartbeat bill” into law earlier this month, effectively banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy (when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant).
Canada’s Conservatives are looking to follow in Republican footsteps as they ramp up their war on reproductive rights, most notably at the Canadian March for Life in Ottawa May 9.
Here are just some of the ways Conservative politicians are trying to criminalize abortion:
Andrew Scheer’s MPs backing extreme anti-choice group
At least 12 Conservative MPs attended a recent anti-choice rally, including Dave Van Kesteren of Chatham-Kent-Leamington, Kevin Sorenson, former Minister of State for Finance under Harper, and Harold Albrecht of Kitchener-Conestoga.
“Some in Parliament, from both sides of the aisle, including our prime minister, claim that abortion is a human right,” says Matt Wojciechowski, vice president of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), a Toronto-based anti-choice lobby organization. “This is a lie. The killing of a child in the womb is not a right and no one has the right to kill another human being.”
He also said that the CLC wants women who face unplanned pregnancies to know that “abortion is not an option.”
Doug Ford’s MPPs pledge to “make abortion unthinkable”
At a Toronto March for Life on the same day, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff said he pledges to “make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime” and is keen on raising the issue in provincial parliament.
“I have no problem talking about the importance respecting life no matter how small the child is,” he said.
Premier Doug Ford avoided directly responding to questions of whether he supports Oosterhoff’s statements, although he has previously stated he is anti-choice. In an interview with anti-choice organization RightNow, Ford said that he would “welcome any member who wanted to bring [abortion] forward in the legislature.”
Andrew Scheer forcing campuses to host radical anti-choice extremists
Federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has framed the abortion debate as a free speech issue, specifically in terms of anti-choice protestors being allowed on Canadian university campuses.
As reproductive rights activist Robyn Schwarz says in an analysis piece for Ricochet Media, what Scheer means when he says he supports free speech on campuses “is that he is willing to use the power of the state to ensure that anti-abortion radicals can exist and continue to be normalized within Canadian society.”
With the fall federal election coming up, Canadian anti-abortion activists are “gearing up” to put as many politicians with aims to strip women of reproductive rights in office as possible, with the CLC claiming to have already gotten thousands of supporters for their cause memberships to conservative political parties.