Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Elizabeth May's fishy stance on abortion

Okay, when a friend brought this to my attention, I couldn't resist posting it. While Elizabeth May, the new leader of the Green Party of Canada is a long-time (and tireless) environmental activist, some comments she made during the recent by election in London, Ontario should have women worried.

May recently submitted answers to voter's guide questionnaire distributed by Citizen Impact Canada, a right-wing Christian group whose stated purpose is "equipping Canadians for the effective expression of a biblical worldview in the public square. "

These question and answers are taken verbatim from the voter's guide, which can be found here. Candidates were asked to answer questions using numbers (5 is Strongly Agree, 4 is Agree, 3 is Undecided, 2 is Disagree, and 1 is Strongly Disagree):

  • When asked if she supports the introduction of legal restrictions on abortion, May marked #2 (Disagree), but then said "I respect the concerns for the sanctity of life -- removing access to legal abortions will lead to suffering and death of desperate pregnant women."
  • But then when asked if she supports a mandatory waiting time before abortions are to be performed, May said this: "Women considering abortion should have time to consider their options and should be encouraged to carry the baby to term."
  • The final whammy, is that when asked if she supports legislation that would "acknowledge the right of health care workers to refuse to participate in procedures which are in violation of their religious or conscientious beliefs," she said: "Conscience is critical and no on in a field should be forced to ignore personal moral choice."

So let me get this straight ... May believes in "the sanctity of life," but doesn't want to repeal the abortion laws. But she does think that women should be encouraged to keep their babies, and that doctors should have the right to refuse to perform abortions, if they are "morally opposed" to the idea. And in fact, if you take her statement a step further, does she also believe that government officials should be allowed to refuse to perform same sex marriages because of their "personal moral choice?"

Last time, I checked, the Charter of Rights prevents doctors and governments officials from making medical decisions on women's behalf, or refusing to perform a government function, simply because they find it morally distasteful. As it is, it's extremely difficult to get an abortion in Canada. You can't get one on Prince Edward Island. Many public hospitals don't perform them. And fewer and fewer doctors are willing to take the risk that they'll become the target of some crazy anti-choice nutbar. The last thing Canadian women need is a law that would restrict our freedom to choose anymore.

If Elizabeth May wants to paint herself and the Green Party as a new progressive force in this country, she needs to clarify her position on the abortion issue.

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