How Andrew Scheer could bring abortion bans to Canada
In the past few weeks, abortion has been a hot topic in American politics as more and more states move to limit reproductive rights. On Tuesday, news broke that by the end of the week, Missouri may become the first state in the country since Roe v. Wade to no longer offer abortions as the state’s health department is expected to block services at the last health center providing abortions.
The same types of restrictions could be part of Canada’s future, too. While Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has claimed that a Conservative government will keep the abortion debate in Canada closed, there are currently three petitions to restrict abortion brought forth by Conservative MPs.
Brad Trost of Saskatchewan, Jim Eglinski of Alberta and Harold Albrecht of Ontario have all brought forward petitions to restrict abortion in defense of a person’s “right to life,” including fetuses “with a heartbeat and body systems independent from the mother.”
They also want to prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortions by passing a legislation that “recognizes the fact that abortion is not a medically necessary procedure,” changing its definition in the Canada Health Act.
It’s also implicitly written into the Conservative Party of Canada’s policy that the party is pro-life, stating that they have “a belief in the value and dignity of all human life,” and on issues of “moral conscience” (including abortion), the party says that members have the right to adopt positions “in consultation with their constituents and to vote freely.”
Besides Scheer misleading Canadians about his party’s stance on abortion, he has also been endorsed by a prominent figure in Canada’s anti-abortion movement. Alissa Golob, the co-founder of RightNow, one of the country’s leading anti-choice lobby organizations, wrote a blog post entitled “Why pro-lifers should continue to support Andrew Scheer.”
In the post, she talks about how Scheer has said he wants the MPs in his party to have “the freedom to vote with their conscience.” Golob interprets this as Scheer giving the green light to constituents to put pressure on their elected officials to get abortion restriction back in the national spotlight.
She also points out that Scheer had a perfect pro-life voting record as an MP, and that he had spoken out against abortion rights activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada, calling it a “debasement” of the merit.
“Where Justin Trudeau believes that in order to stand as a Liberal candidate, you must be pro-choice, all Conservatives are welcome in my caucus,” Scheer said in a statement in May 2017.