•   
  •   
  •   

CanadaWe're adopting U.S. abortion anxieties as our own. They don't fit: Robyn Urback

16:06  27 may  2019
16:06  27 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Legal in Canada, but barriers to abortion remain, advocates say

Legal in Canada, but barriers to abortion remain, advocates say While abortion remains legal in Canada, some abortion rights advocates say women continue to face hurdles in accessing the procedure. Funding, distance to medical facilities and a patchwork of provincial laws all mean an abortion is not as easy to obtain in Canada as some may think. "People often conflate the two, thinking that because it's decriminalized it's very easy to access in our country — and it's not the case," said Frédérique Chabot, director of health promotion at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

They don ' t fit : Robyn Urback . Canada is probably a generation ahead of the U . S . when it comes to social progress. We lack the highly politicized Supreme Court that is central to the U . S . debate over abortion , as well as grossly loose election financing laws that allow religious

They don ' t fit : Robyn Urback | CBC News. Canada is probably a generation ahead of the U . S . when it comes to social progress. We lack the highly politicized Supreme Court that is central to the U . S . debate over abortion , as well as grossly loose election financing laws that allow religious

We're adopting U.S. abortion anxieties as our own. They don't fit: Robyn Urback© Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has also promised to leave the abortion debate alone. But he is lauded by Canada's anti-abortion movement for his past voting record.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Stephen Harper must have found the greatest hiding spot in the world for his secret agenda. So great, in fact, that he forgot where it was.

Canada's near-decade under Prime Minister Harper did not bring about new abortion laws or a repeal of gay marriage — despite a free vote in 2006 over a motion to restore the "traditional" definition of marriage (which, granted, would not have changed the law, even if it passed) and a handful of private member's bills that, in one way or another, aimed to reopen the abortion debate.

‘Give this arrogant little twerp the boot’: OPSEU says Sam Oosterhoff should be kicked out of PC caucus

‘Give this arrogant little twerp the boot’: OPSEU says Sam Oosterhoff should be kicked out of PC caucus OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said: “If there was ever an argument to have a mechanism to recall politicians in Ontario, Oosterhoff is a perfect example.” READ MORE: PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff says he wants to make abortion ‘unthinkable in our lifetime’ On May 9, Oosterhoff appeared on stage at an anti-abortion protest at Queen's Park pledging to demonstrators "to fight to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime." PC MPP's Christina Mitas and Will Bouma were also in attendance. Oosterhoff's comments immediately drew harsh criticism from the opposition and ignited a social media firestorm.

Robyn Urback is an opinion columnist with CBC News and a producer with the CBC' s Opinion section. She previously worked as a columnist and editorial board member at the National Post. Follow her on Twitter at

We ' re adopting U . S . abortion anxieties as our own . They don ' t fit : Robyn Urback . Get analysis from our Parliamentary bureau as we count down to the federal election. Delivered to your inbox every Sunday evening – then daily during the campaign.

To social conservatives, Harper was a dud and a disappointment.

In 2012, he voted against his own MP's motion to study when a life begins. (We're still waiting for parliamentarians to strike up a committee to figure out what happens after we die, or why bad things happen to good people, and other such work apparently reserved for the House of Commons.) And he eventually resorted to simply blocking motions from making it to the floor.

The only nugget Harper offered to his social conservative base — and certain elements of his caucus — was to exclude abortion from Canada's global maternal health initiative. But at home, he not only left abortion alone, he went great lengths to avoid it.

We're adopting U.S. abortion anxieties as our own. They don't fit: Robyn Urback© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation It is unlikely, though certainly not impossible, that Canada would see the stringent restrictions on abortion access that individual states have imposed on American women over the last several decades, writes Robyn Urback. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

Years later, Harper's critics still paint him as a ruthless ideologue. But he was a pragmatist more than anything: reopening the abortion debate simply wasn't politically prudent. Harper would betray his own promises about caucus freedoms to stymie the conversation.

Andrew Scheer really doesn't want to talk about abortion. Neither did Harper

Andrew Scheer really doesn't want to talk about abortion. Neither did Harper Andrew Scheer would very like to squelch talk of how abortion rights would fare under a Scheer government. He might consider asking his old boss how easy it is to keep a lid on the abortion debate while in office.

Then they latched onto anti- abortion anxieties seeping into Canada from the U . S ., and To keep his promises, Andrew Scheer would make drastic and reckless cuts. We know this is what Conservative Robyn Urback is an opinion columnist with CBC News and a producer with the CBC' s Opinion section.

Robyn Urback · CBC News · Posted: Jun 21, 2018 9:00 AM ET | Last Updated: June 22, 2018. U . S . President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end his administration' s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. If everybody would have put partisanship

The agenda currently underway in the United States, however, is hardly imaginary: With the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court now tilted to the right, Republican-controlled states, one after another, have drafted unconstitutional-by-design laws that essentially ban the procedure outright.

The aim is to kick the cases up the legal ladder to the top court, with the ultimate goal of overturning Roe vs. Wade.

These anxieties have, of course, leached into Canada, rousing concerns about what might happen if the Conservatives again form government after the fall election.

There is some merit to those concerns: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is lauded by the anti-abortion movement for his voting record and expressed support, and many of his MPs attended an anti-abortion rally in Ottawa a few weeks ago.

Scheer promised years ago that he would allow free votes on matters of conscience (though he dodges when asked now if he stands by that promise), while at the same time repeatedly stating that he will not reopen the abortion debate.

COMMENTARY: Alarming rhetoric aside, there is no serious threat to abortion rights in Canada

COMMENTARY: Alarming rhetoric aside, there is no serious threat to abortion rights in Canada The existence of new abortion laws in the U.S. actually makes it even more unlikely that such laws would ever be proposed here. The pro-life movement in the U.S. might boast of some legislative accomplishments, but it does its Canadian counterparts a tremendous disservice. Abortion was already a third rail in Canadian politics, and the more that anti-abortion forces push the issue in the U.S., the more that Canadian politicians will run the hell away from the issue. Case in point is Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who probably does, at the very least, harbour some reservations about abortion.

Robyn Urback is an opinion columnist with CBC News and a producer with the CBC' s Opinion section. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines.

Robyn Urback . These were and are enormously powerful people who oversaw the arrest In the late 1980 s , he declared that "drug abuse has become an epidemic that undermines our economic as well as Robyn Urback is an opinion columnist with CBC News and a producer with the CBC' s Opinion

Scheer certainly wouldn't be the first politician to say one thing during a campaign and do another once elected. But from a political perspective, an about-face on his abortion promise would be terribly unwise — as Harper quickly recognized.

We're adopting U.S. abortion anxieties as our own. They don't fit: Robyn Urback© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting CorporationWhen former Prime Minister Stephen Harper came into power, he promised not to reopen the abortion debate in Canada. But between 2006 and 2012, three Conservative proposals related to pregnancy and unborn children reached the floor of the House for a vote. (Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

Canada is not the United States. Geography compels us to compare ourselves to our southern neighbour, but we actually have far more in common with Scandinavian and Western European countries when it comes to social policy and attitudes on issues such as health care, maternity leave, human rights laws and abortion access. An 18-month maternity leave is as foreign to Americans as a "heartbeat" bill is to us.

When we adopt U.S. anxieties as our own, we are importing from a country that is actually out of step with much of the developed world. To take their struggle over abortion and apply it to Canada is to attempt to cram it into a context that doesn't really fit.

He wanted to fly around the moon. He ended up in court instead.

He wanted to fly around the moon. He ended up in court instead. A billionaire trader and a Northern Virginia-based space travel company settled a lawsuit after two years.

This is not to say that Canada does not have an active, well-funded and politically driven anti-abortion movement. It does. Or that the fight for safe and legal abortion in Canada wasn't hard-fought, complicated and violent. It was. Or that the struggle for abortion access in Canada is over. It isn't.

There are still enormous discrepancies in access depending on where you live and how much money you have, particularly for women in rural areas who need to travel for the procedure.

But as a political wedge issue, abortion in Canada doesn't really provide.

All three major party leaders share the same pledge that they will not reopen the debate; the only wiggle room is in whether leaders will force their caucuses to toe the party line.

This is in stark contrast to the United States, where abortion has always been on the Republican front burner — from Roe vs. Wade, to Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, to now.

Canada also lacks the highly politicized Supreme Court that is central to the U.S. abortion debate, and the grossly loose election-financing laws that allow religious mega-donors to wield political influence.

Canada is probably at least a generation ahead of the U.S. on social issues, including gay marriage, transgender rights, assisted death, legalization of marijuana and abortion. And generally speaking, when these issues come before the courts, we typically don't move backward.

How the wave of U.S. restrictions will affect Canadian women sent there for abortions

How the wave of U.S. restrictions will affect Canadian women sent there for abortions Exclusive data obtained by Global News shows that provinces are sending dozens of women to the U.S. for abortions. Experts say this points to deeper problems with access in Canada.

As an example, earlier this month, Ontario's top court upheld a divisional court decision holding that physicians must write referrals for procedures that clash with their moral beliefs, including assisted death and abortion.

It is unlikely — though certainly not impossible — that Canada would see such stringent restrictions on abortion access that individual states have imposed on American women over the last several decades. The last Conservative prime minister had nearly a decade to implement some sort of abortion law. But he read the room and declined.

This doesn't mean that we should be complacent; simply that we should carefully reflect on the realities of our country's individual climate. "Be afraid" is an enormously effective campaign slogan, but only if we sit back and let it be.

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.

Read more

Ottawa women launch local 'abortion doula' group.
A group of women have trained to become abortion doulas in Ottawa — a job they say provides important companionship and support to women undergoing the procedure.

Topical videos:

usr: 3
This is interesting!