E. May Back-peddling

Elizabeth May does not *get* it! She’s blown it for the Greens!

I am one who worked towards women’s reproductive freedom in the 80’s. I rejoiced in Justice Bertha Wilson’s words in the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Criminal Code of Canada restrictions on abortion in 1988. I am greatly disheartened that May and the Green Party of Canada have re-opened this issue. Though they spout a (weak) pro-choice policy, they — and May, in particular — appear to have no respect for my right to control my body.
Furthermore, try as she might to do otherwise in in her response to Rebick, May makes a religious argument, not a moral one. And Canada, thank goodness, has managed to keep the Church and the State separate. Shouldn’t we try to keep it that way?

I have to wonder if the socially conservative will ever find peace. Is it not clear that so long as we have a society where children are considered a liability, where women are abused and mistreated simply because they are women, where the wages for parking lot attendants are more than childcare workers, where isms abound, there can be no discussion around abortion?
May’s talk to the Catholic nuns, it seems to me, was nothing more than politicking, vote-grabbing. Now she’s back-peddling. And, by recording her talk and broadcasting it, the Green Party of Canada has opened their doors to social Conservatives looking for a new home. Even more politicking and vote-grabbing. And, as always, it’s on the backs of women, at the expense of hard-won women’s rights.
I am appalled, not only with May, but also with myself, for thinking that she could make a difference for women in Canada, for thinking I could support the Green Party of Canada. Hah! It’s just more of the same-old, same-old.

Well, until you turn to the provincial Greens where the Leader, Sandra Finley, is a pro-choice feminist, no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes about it.

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28 thoughts on “E. May Back-peddling

  1. Well, I don’t even know where to start.

    “I am greatly dishearted that May and the Green Party of Canada have re-opened this issue. Though they spout a (weak) pro-choice policy, they — and May, in particular — appear to have no respect for my right to control my body.”

    I hate to be the devil’s advocate, but when you’re pregnant it’s not entirely YOUR child inside, it’s the product of two people. It may be YOUR egg and womb, but it wouldn’t be the way it is without the OTHER half. Remember?

    Women certainly have the right to control their body. Absolutely! No doubt about it. However, when you’re talking about a life-form inside of you, half which is a product your genetic make-up and the other half from someone else, it’s not really entirely your OWN. Is it?

    This is the problem I have with your brand of modern feminism.

    Secondly, I think you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill by villifying the GPC and linking them to social conservatives.

    “And, by recording her talk and broadcasting it, the Green Party of Canada has opened their doors to social conservatives looking for a new home.”

    Canadian theoconservatives and socons already have a home all snuggly inside of the CPC. I doubt May’s personal stance on abortion will bring droves of former Reform and Canadian Alliance members to the party. If anything, the Green party’s fiscal policies will bring Red Tories from the CPC and Liberal parties into the fold. I doubt you’ll see Stockwell Day or Jason Kenney buying a GPC membership anytime soon. When they do, email me and I’ll tatoo Preston Manning’s face on my back.

  2. Ah, but when I’m pregnant what’s going on is entirely inside *my* body. And you have never have rights on my body, even if you were the one who impregnated me. Of that, Chantal Daigle and the Supreme Court of Canada assured me. And the problem you have has nothing to do with me, but your own ideology.

    I live in the land of social conservatism and I have heard many so-cons say that Harper went too far in bringing up the same-sex marriage debate again. “A waste of taxpayers’ money.” “Leave well enough alone.” Harper has problems in the West. Folks are looking around.

    Stock and Kenney are right-wing fundamentalists, something different from social conservatives. Much of the NDP in SK is socially conservative stock; few, if any, are right-wing fundies.

    I know of a couple of good tattoo artists if you want to get the tattoo anyway.

  3. So, I am just trying to get a handle on what exactly your position on abortion is. You are upset over May’s comments on the topic, and would much rather support a feminist who sees the issue in black and white: “no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes about it.”

    I would like your opinion on a situation that came up in one of my classes. I am not trying to trap you or anything like that, and you don’t have to answer of course, but I would really like to better appreciate where you stand on such a situation. I guess this can be your chance to speak for those with similar opinions to your own.

    So, the situation is this: Prenatal testing determines that a woman who is ~17 weeks pregnant is carrying a girl who will be born with Turner Syndrome.

    Some background on Turner Syndrome: instead of having 2x’s, the girl only has one x. It leads to some problems for the fetus like some swelling of the arms and legs (which results in an abnormal ultrasound). The child will also be born with a sort of webbing on the neck, her nipples will be placed further apart than normal, she will grow up to be shorter than normal, and will probably also be infertile. The symptoms are variable from case to case. If you want, see wikipedia for more info. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_syndrome

    When this was described to my class, my prof who is a clinical geneticist, stated that the parents legally have the right to abort this child, even though their child will grow up to have normal intelligence and have only minor physical abnormalities. A rough quote would be “the baby will be normal, other than a little short and probably infertile.”

    Keeping in mind the difference between ethically and legally, ethically speaking does the woman have a right to abort this baby?

    Some spin off questions (i.e. I am anticipating a quick ‘yes’ from you… please write more than ‘yes’)

    Does the age of viability and the fact that the fetus is only ~7-8 weeks from it have any bearing on your response?

    Does the fact that all of the abnormalities associated with Turner Syndrome are relatively minor have any bearing on your response?

    I know that this is kind of off topic, not really related to E. May, but I would appreciate some honest answers. I know that it also kind of reads like something you would get in an ethics class, but I would really appreciate the free education. Thanks a lot.

  4. The choice to carry a pregnancy to term or not is the choice of the woman who is pregnant and no one else. On that, there is no compromise, as the Supreme Court has already stated. A woman has a right to control her own body; what your or I or anyone else thinks or believes does not come into play.

    I cannot presume to know what would go through the mind of a woman considering the termination of a pregnancy at 7-8 or at 17 weeks and I will not be drawn into speculative arguments. It is a woman’s choice and hers alone. I have no rights on her body. And neither do you.

  5. “Is it not clear that so long as we have a society where children are considered a liability, where women are abused and mistreated simply because they are women, where the wages for parking lot attendants are more than childcare workers, where isms abound, there can be no discussion around abortion?”

    No, its absolutely not clear. I’m not sure why the occasional smack on the mouth of a harpie wife should by extension mean that 100,000 babies can be murdered a year and you feminists get foaming at the mouth when its suggested that perhaps this is an undesirable circumstance.

  6. The choice to murder a wife is the choice of the man who is married and no one else. On that, there is no compromise. A man has a right to control his own body, what you or I or anyone else thinks or believes does not come into play.

    I cannot presume to know what would go through the mind of a man considering the termination of a marriage at 7-8 or at 17 years and I will not be drawn into speculative arguments. It is a man’s choice and his alone. I have no rights on his body. And neither do you.

  7. May didn’t “backpedal.” She’s been entirely consistent on this issue. She is pro-choice, no ifs, ands or buts. But she finds the issue of abortion itself (not whether or not one should have access to it)somewhat vexed and complex. As do most people, including women who choose it.

    Her problem was that of any rookie politician: she thought out loud and gave some nuanced comments. She won’t be doing that again anytime soon: back to nice sound bites that are “on-message.” So much more restful than real debate.

  8. Feynman, smacking a “harpie wife” is a criminal offense; a medical procedure is not. Furthermore, your argument is moot; men do not have the capacity for reproducing the species and, with you as a case in point, I am extremely thankful for that. As for ending a marriage, well, that’s your choice and if I was your wife, I would end it. Immediately.

    John, did you actually read May’s response? Those are not the words of a pro-choice woman. Those are the words of a woman struggling with her own issues around women’s reproductive freedom and foisting her issues on the country. If I, as a woman who worked to gain reproductive freedom for women, do not have a leader who respects that work and that right, who refers to it, in fact, as “frivolous,” then I cannot support that leader.

    She is no longer just Elizabeth May, do-gooder for the environment. She is Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, a public figure who hopes to one day represent people in the House of Commons. I do not want a woman who is very weak on an issue that is of great import to the women of this country — to me and my family — to represent me in the House of Commons.

    Who was it who said, The price of democracy is eternal vigilance? Because s/he is right, and believe you me, I will be forever vigilant on this issue.

  9. I think I’m giving up on this. So many, and so many men, just don’t get it. I have the right to control my body or I don’t. Why is this so hard to understand?

    There is no middle ground. None.

    And do all the people applauding May for her ‘nuanced’ stand know what the word actually means? It does not mean ‘brilliant’. It does not mean ‘subtly reasoned’. It does not mean ‘morally superior’. It means a slight difference. She’s weaselling to fool you, and obviously succeeding. She does not fool us feminists.

  10. Ah, but from 1869 until 1988, abortion was similarly a criminal offense, medical procedure or no.

    As for men not having “the capacity for reproducing the species”, apparently your biology teacher never got around to explaining what sperm are for. Regardless, I still don’t see the argument that since women get PMS they have an inalienable right to murder.

    “As for ending a marriage, well, that’s your choice”

    Exactly as I said. After all, what’s a dead body when the choice of somebody with species reproductive powers are at stake?

  11. So in a situation like the one I described, where the woman is just maybe 10 weeks away from being able to have a c-section and have her child adopted, she is perfectly justified in having an abortion? You can’t see any tragedy in that? I guess that I just don’t think that a woman’s right to abortion trumps that of the child’s right to life; there are situations where sacrifices are required.

    In your response you spoke about the Supreme Court, where I specifically asked about the ethics and not the legality of the situation. Speaking about legalities is a cop out when talking ethics, at least that’s what the people who taught me ethics said.

    You said: “I have no rights on her body. And neither do you.”

    But does the child?

    Perhaps a child that has reached the age of viability thinks differently of the so-called absolute right to abortion?

    Why is it so difficult to find a doctor who will perform abortions after a certain gestational age? Why are hardly any done in Canada? Why shouldn’t laws reflect the actual practice that occurs in our country?

    All valid questions I think… have any responses?

  12. “And do all the people applauding May for her ‘nuanced’ stand know what the word actually means?”

    Well, yes. “Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone.” That’s abortion, in a nutshell. Choice, of course, is to be distinguished from that: you either support it, as many have said, including me, or you don’t. In fact, it’s precisely because abortion is not–and cannot be–a decided matter on the moral or philosophical fronts that it should be a matter for a woman alone to decide. Full stop. But that doesn’t make her decision easy. No woman I have met who has actually had an abortion considers it a simple matter.

  13. People, the issue is a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. It is up to the woman to decide. Not me. Not you. It is her body. Not yours. She is the only one who gets to decide the matter. You have no rights on her body, no rights on her decision. It is hers and hers alone to make, regardless whose seed fertilized the egg.

    Now, if you do not trust a woman to make the right decision for herself and her family, well, then, that’s your issue. Not hers.

    And as for Elizabeth May, well, she can’t even imagine why a woman would make such a choice. She gets “queasy,” because she’s “against abortion.” She doesn’t think “a woman has a frivolous right to choose.”

    Well, I was taught that rights come with responsibilities. And if you don’t trust a woman to take those responsibilities seriously, then that’s your problem. Not hers.

  14. Not only has May NOT blown it for the Greens, it’s only the unique brand of feminists you find at Babble that think it has done damage to the Green Party and feminism in general. And I’d be saying this if May were the leader of the NDP even.

  15. I was going to write a response, and point out the flaws in your statements that are only sparsely peppered with logic, but have decided not too. I said that I wasn’t going to trap you, and never intended to get into a huge discussion, I was just interested in the other side of the story. I am in fact, as if there was ever any question, quite strongly pro-life, and will be a medical doctor in but two short years; I was interested in seeing the logic supporting those who push the pro-choice cause. You have stated repeatedly that you championed the right to abortion before it was so, yet it seems you have difficulty putting that into words. That is, words beyond ‘women have the right to choose, the supreme court told me so.’

    You have also quite effectively dodged my questions, thanks anyways for your ‘attempts.’ I am quite disappointed though.

    Cheers,

    Adam

  16. This guydisagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Tremblay v. Daigle.

    And who was the man desperate to intervene in his ex-girlfriend’s decision about her own body and future? None other than foetus lover, woman hater Jean Guy Tremblay.

    One of the reasons that Daigle cited for her abortion at the time was the fact that the father of the fetus, ex-boyfriend Jean-Guy Tremblay, had been abusive. Daigle did not want her child to have an abusive father …. During his attempt to have “complete domination” over the life of Chantal Daigle, Tremblay was supported and lionized by the anti-choice movement. But his violent history, already in evidence back in 1989, only proves that the anti-choice always put the welfare of fetuses above that of both women and children.
    The Pro-Choice Action Network

  17. Adam complains noone answered his questions, so please allow me to try. First, an answer to Dylan’s question, which relates to some of Adam’s comments:

    “…it’s [the fetus] not really entirely your OWN. Is it?”

    Yes, the fetus is 100% the property of the pregnant woman and no-one else’s. She can make all decisions on its behalf. The Supreme Court has said that a pregnant woman and her fetus are “physically one” person. Since a woman has established constitutional rights and a fetus does not, courts have refused to give any rights to fetuses, because that would violate the pregnant woman’s rights. You cannot have two beings occupying the same body with competing rights. So it’s Woman-100%; Fetus-zero.

    “Does the woman have a right to abort this baby?” [with Turner’s syndrome]

    Yes, in the same way she has the right to abort any fetus, regardless of its condition.

    “Does the age of viability and the fact that the fetus is only ~7-8 weeks from it have any bearing on your response?”

    No. Women have the right to abortion on request, without regard to reason, up to about 22 weeks in Canada.

    “Does the fact that all of the abnormalities associated with Turner Syndrome are relatively minor have any bearing on your response?”

    No. The problem with your reasoning is that it assumes that a woman is naturally obligated to bear and raise a child. But pregnancy and childbirth, even child-rearing, are forms of “labour and rescue” that must be voluntary, especially since they are unpaid, and involve physical health risks to the woman and a major intrusion on her bodily integrity. Whatever the fetus is – i.e., its personhood, its moral value, its physical condition etc. – is moot, because a woman’s right to bodily integrity trumps all that.

    “Perhaps a child that has reached the age of viability thinks differently of the so-called absolute right to abortion?”

    Only the pregnant woman has the right to make decisions on behalf of her fetus, which is legally and physically incompetent. Also, this fallacious thinking by Adam falls under my Irrational and Insupportable Reason #1 why people value fetuses more than women, as described here (Let No Fetus Defeat Us! – http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/fetus-defeat.html)
    1. Egocentrism – People identify personally with the fetus – after all, we were all embryos once. “That aborted fetus could have been me!” This view personifies the fetus, empathizing with its plight as if the fetus were part of one’s own identity and personality, or at least anthropomorphizing it into a sentient being just like ourselves. Abortion symbolizes the possible non-existence of one’s own self, a deeply frightening and intolerable prospect to many people.

    “Why is it so difficult to find a doctor who will perform abortions after a certain gestational age? Why are hardly any done in Canada? Why shouldn’t laws reflect the actual practice that occurs in our country?”

    Abortions at later stages are done using different methods, and the later the abortion, the greater the skill required. Few doctors have the skill and training to do them. Further, later abortions tend to be more difficult psychologically for everyone involved, and most doctors prefer not to do them. There are very few late abortions anyway – less than 2% after 16 weeks, and less than .3% after 20 weeks. The natural limiting factors for late abortions are the tiny number of providers, and the very low need/demand. This shows we can trust women and doctors to act responsibly in a timely manner, without regulation. There is no need to codify into law something that is already normal and acceptable medical practice. Besides, no other medical procedure is regulated, and abortion should not be singled out. Since only women get pregnant, any abortion restriction or legal protecton for the fetus, amounts to discrimination against women and violates women’s Charter right to equality. To find out more, please read “The Case for Repealing Abortion Laws” (in other countries) at http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/repeal.pdf

  18. In regards to Elizabeth May’s comments, there really is no common ground on abortion. Women’s right to abortion needs to be absolute, because any compromise amounts to a violation of women’s rights, and is also disrespecful and insulting to women. May’s comments are insulting to women. However, her main mistake, in my opinion, is to air her personal feelings about abortion, which are irrelevant to her political role, and highly inappropriate. She should just stick to the party line, and leave it at that. If she can learn to do that, I don’t care what she personally feels about abortion.

    I think where people get confused about abortion is between the personal and the political. It’s alright to be personally anti-abortion, to think abortion is murder, to think a fetus is a person – what’s NOT allright is to try and impose your personal views onto anybody else, particularly any pregnant woman. The only person who has the right to ENFORCE their personal feelings about abortion and fetuses is the pregnant woman herself, for her own fetus. Everyone else needs to just mind their own business. The only role of outsiders, including politicians and everyone on both sides of the issue – is to ensure the pregnant woman can exercise her options safely and legally, and to help her achieve a good outcome for her pregnancy – which may mean an abortion, or a healthy happy baby.

  19. Joyce, thanks for responding. If I may, I would like to respond to some of your statements. You have also relied heavily on legalities. At one point in time, women did not have the right to vote or hold public office, but that was changed. Why can’t the law be changed to give rights to children that are viable but still in the womb? What are the ethical reasons for denying rights to the baby?

    I find your statement “the fetus is 100% the property of the pregnant woman and no-one else’s” interesting. The father has no role whatsoever, even though he is 50% responsible for the woman being pregnant? I don’t think that I would refer to a fetus as property though either.

    “The Supreme Court has said that a pregnant woman and her fetus are “physically one” person. ”

    Obviously, this is not just the SC’s opinion, but one of your own. Does the fact that the fetus have unique DNA change this? If not, a fetus is the only “body part” that a woman has that has different DNA than her own… interesting.

    “You cannot have two beings occupying the same body with competing rights. So it’s Woman-100%; Fetus-zero.”

    I thought that the fetus was “physically one person” with his/her mother? Obviously we both know that’s not correct.

    “Abortions at later stages are done using different methods, and the later the abortion, the greater the skill required. Few doctors have the skill and training to do them. ”

    I would argue that this is a non-issue. Canada has tens of thousands of capable doctors, you would think that at least some of them would be able to learn the skills necessary to complete this “medical procedure,” right? Our doctors can transplant organs, do life saving surgeries- open heart, neurosurgery etc., manage hundreds of different medications and keep them straight in their heads, and so on. I think that if they wanted to, they could learn how to do a late term abortion. There must be another reason why they won’t do them; what could that be?

    “Further, later abortions tend to be more difficult psychologically for everyone involved, and most doctors prefer not to do them.”

    I wonder why they are more difficult? It’s just a “medical procedure,” right?

    “There are very few late abortions anyway – less than 2% after 16 weeks, and less than .3% after 20 weeks. The natural limiting factors for late abortions are the tiny number of providers, and the very low need/demand. This shows we can trust women and doctors to act responsibly in a timely manner, without regulation. There is no need to codify into law something that is already normal and acceptable medical practice.”

    Glad to hear you don’t have any real objections to restrictions on late term abortions. I think that law should reflect practice. If the rules are bent even once then it is a worthwhile law.

    “Besides, no other medical procedure is regulated, and abortion should not be singled out.”

    We both know that abortion is very different from any other “medical procedure.”

    Again, thank you Joyce for responding.

  20. Let me start by saying that I’ve always been pro choice. That said, I would be interested to hear from those of you who believe that to abort or not should be “totally up to the woman and no one else” regarding the following fact: According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’s population mainly as a result of women “choosing” to abort girl fetuses now that technology that can determine the sex of the fetus is widely accessible to those with means. I guess the point is that “choice” is not always so black and white.

  21. Adam, I don’t feel your responses are particularly substantive. Let me try and put things in a somewhat different context. Women’s reproductive capacities affect their lives in a much more direct and profound way than men’s. The only way to ensure equal rights and dignity for women, on a par with men, is to ensure them control over their fertility, to a much greater degree than men. That means not just abortion rights, but also supports and resources to raise children, so that women don’t fall behind in education/careers and become economically dependent on others, which translates to lost opportunities and various inequities. That’s the general state we live in today, because our society does not really value motherhood. Despite its obvious and many rewards, it’s unpaid, and women tend to be penalized for it economically. It’s strange that anti-choice people want to force women to have babies, when they and the rest of our patriarchal society doesn’t respect women’s motherhood role – or children for that matter, who too often are treated like the possessions of parents instead of people with rights. The bottom line is, if we truly respect and trust women as full and equal human beings, then it becomes intuitively obvious that we can entrust them with their reproductive role and allow them to make all decisions on behalf of their fetuses. Most women involve significant others of course, but the ultimate decision must be the woman’s because it’s her body.

    Most of your arguments are based on the assumption that the fetus is a separate person deserving of legal protection. However, you must concede that in our society, 1) fetuses are NOT legal persons or socially recognized as persons – they don’t have social insurance numbers, legal names, Certificates of Conception, or bank accounts, and they are incapable of enjoying freedom of speech, assembly, the right to leave Canada, or other constitutional rights – so by definition they cannot be persons. And 2) most people do not share your opinion – some may think a fetus is just a meaningless blob of tissue, some think it’s a potential human being but not fully until birth, some think it becomes a human being at some point in gestation, some just think a fetus has less moral value than a born baby, some think abortion is a “form” of murder but not quite murder, or whatever. The point is, there’s no reason to think your opinion is any more “right” than theirs. It’s just an opinion. Since there is so much disagreement, and since society will NEVER agree on what the fetus is or when it deserves protection, we need to concede that it’s a subjective personal moral issue, and let the individual pregnant woman decide, based on her own beliefs and ethics. After all, why should your opinion be any more valid than hers?

    If you think a fetus should have a right-to-life, then you’re saying in effect, that a woman should have LESS right-to-life than a fetus. That’s an indefensible position. Only one of them can have rights. So my question to you is, why do you think fetuses are more valuable than women?

    Btw, to clarify, “right-to-life” must mean more than just mere physical existence. It implies the right to lead a reasonably decent and free life. E.g, a slave chained in a dungeon is not enjoying any meaningful “right to life” and neither is a woman forced into a lifelong baby-making/rearing role against her will.

  22. Thanks for your comment, Julia. It’s important to realize that sex-selection abortions are not a problem with abortion per se, they are a reflection of the low status of women. We don’t solve the problem by making sex-selection abortions illegal (that would just be a band-aid); we solve the problem by raising the status of women and girls and ensuring they have economic and political equality – such as getting rid of the dowry system in India and the custom in China of male children supporting their elderly parents. That way, boy babies won’t be favoured by default because parents simply can’t afford to have girl babies.

  23. I totally agree with you Joyce!(on one point) Motherhood is under appreciated in our society. With the increasing attempts of childcare trying to take parents out of parenthood, well what do you expect? I know that women are put in a difficult spot. I was raised by my mom after my dad ran out on us and I can’t believe the sacrifices that she made for me and my siblings. This is what we need more of. People of strong character, such as my mom, who are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. I know that I am a man (me being as smrt as I am) and that I will never go through pregnancy, or experience what it is like to be pregnant at an unplanned time. There definitely needs to be more options and information available for women who are in that situation, rather than simply getting an abortion. Even now, as abortion is unregulated, it should always be a last resort.

    Again your statements are telling when you compare/contrast pregnancy to a slave chained in a dungeon. Remember HIGHER value on motherhood.

    “fetuses are NOT legal persons or socially recognized as persons – they don’t have social insurance numbers, legal names, Certificates of Conception, or bank accounts, and they are incapable of enjoying freedom of speech, assembly, the right to leave Canada, or other constitutional rights – so by definition they cannot be persons”

    Yes, this is true, but they do have unique human DNA (conception), a beating heart(~21 days), a working brain with detectable brain waves(~6 weeks), working organs, they respond to outside stimuli, fingers and toes (~5 weeks), distinctly human face (~8 weeks), adult pattern of muscles (~8 weeks), etc. I would argue that these things that I have listed are more definitive human characteristics than whether or not you have a bank account.

    Actually the latest poll on abortion in Canada, which is the latest in a string of polls stating similar findings, claims about a 70-30 split in those who want restrictions on abortion vs those who want the current status quo. So I disagree with you when you say “most people do not share your opinion.” Most Canadians do not share your opinion actually.

    I will respond you to your question about women vs fetal rights later… too tired right now.

  24. Oh, for goodness’ sake, Adam! Get a grip, will you? You come here, claiming to be a student who wants to know and now you’re preaching about the evils of childcare! You’ve crossed a line here, one that most would consider trolling, and I do not appreciate it.

    Furthermore, you provide no valid research to back your claims. My readers are expected to believe what you say, just because you, a student of the compulsory pregnancy movement, say so! Who did the polls? What were the questions? After all, this is the Internet, and the information is out there… I mean, if you’re gonna preach on my blog, you’d better provide more than say-so.

    Finally, if you do not respect the right for women to have freedom of choice in all matters of their lives, then you are living in the wrong century.

  25. PnP,

    I read, and reread through May and Rebicks comments, and I’m going to do what I can to point out where I think both you and Rebick have gone wrong on this issue. Because although your arguments are sound, and on the grounds that you’re arguing, you are right. Right to Choice is in the hands of the woman, and the right to abort is ‘her body, her choice.’ Roe v. Wade, and The Supreme Court of Canada are all on side with that. What you seem to have missed, is that so is May, as a part of the Green Party. official policy she stated as:


    First of all, the party’s position is that we must maintain access to thereapeutic abortions for women in Canada and the party’s position is that we should not re-open the debate on same-sex marriage. It’s a closed debate. It’s a human-rights issues. It’s under the charter. Case closed.

    So you’re not going to get any argument from them on that particular issue. The Green Party is totally in sync with exactly what you’re saying – and will continue to support that position as their official position on the matter. Considering the wishy washiness of the political circles as they are, I don’t see why you would kneejerk on the one party that is officially marking themselves out in the same camp. She’s with you:

    I actually agree with the party’s position but not necessarily for the reasons you’d think.

    But she points out a dramatic problem with this whole ‘no if’s ands or buts’ kind of black and white debate that seems to occur when dealing with this issue – it’s one that is grounded in morals v reason, logic v ethics, history v progress. There’s arguments and levels on both sides, but where May recognises that:

    It’s always a polarized debate with people on either side of the fence throwing things at each other. I think there are moral dimensions to the question that can be discussed as dialogue.

    Reibeck and yourself actually steel yourselves against dialogue before you’ve even really heard what she has to say about it:

    There is no middle ground on the abortion issue as you are no doubt finding out. […] I personally have debated right-to-lifers for 30 years. There is no dialogue here. (Reibeck)

    You’ve been fighting against hardliners for so long that you’ve missed out on a great oppourtunity to do something in this debate that is suprising that it’s coming from someone who leans more to the pro-life side. Compromise. She understands that despite her personal distaste for abortion, she has nothing against it being done properly, or for the right reasons. She’s conceded that fact as her peronsonal beliefs, which are secondary to those of her party. She’s looking for a chance to do something that both sides could be (and should be working towards to help start making this debate go away into a congenial discussion:

    And I think one of the things I would like to bring to Canadian politics is to show enough respect for the other view, that we could actually have a dialogue about it. Because one of the things that is wrong about polarization is the language becomes a barrier to understanding.

    Now, let’s be clear – she’s not calling into the issue of whether or not abortion should be legal, illegal or the woman’s choice or not. She’s not even questioning the current status quo, or trying to negate the last 30 years of femenist work. Let me put this very simply – she’s not trying to attack the rights you’ve gained – but attempting to actually progress them further, if you read her comments directly:

    So can’t we then have a different kind of conversation? What kind of programs and strategies do we need to have to reduce the number of legal abortions that take place?

    What I’m reading here is a smart, saavy and progressive thought direction here. She’s looking at a multi-pronged analysis and change of systems to help prevent the number of abortions, not limit them. Maybe it might be construed that she’s looking to make it tougher, but she’s already stated she wants to help create more accessibility and safer abortion clinics throughout Canada, making it available to more people with less risk, so that doesn’t seem likely. What it does seem like is she’s looking for strategies and programs that might educate people about pregnancy, sex, consequences and eliminating the number of legal abortions that are done as a method of birth control, instead of just a life saving procedure.

    Considering that those of us that are pro-choicers have essentially won the debate and have abortions legally. But we can’t just ignore those that are looking to bridge the gap and settle the issue once and for all – sure, abortions are legal. But if we can prevent the need for them, or the want through healthy choices and opportunities, why wouldn’t we do that? To me, that sounds like smart thinking, not pro-life propoganda. You ignore the moderates, or shoot them down in knee-jerk reactions, you might just end up having to deal with the extremeists again.

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