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Abortion access

Overview of abortion: An
apparently unsolvable dilemma?

Part 3 of 3:

Conflicting beliefs about abortion access (Cont'd).
Status of the pro-life and pro-choice groups,
and abortion access in the U.S. & Canada:

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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Conflicting beliefs about abortion access (Continued):

  • Some would only allow legal abortions in one or more of the following situations:
    • If an abortion is needed to save the life of the woman, or

    • To prevent the woman from experiencing permanent disability, or

    • To prevent the woman having serious health problems.

    • When the fetus is so malformed that it will only live a matter of hours after birth.

    • When the fetus has a serious chromosome abnormality -- e.g. those that cause Down Syndrome.

    • When the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
    Again, few if any polls ask these questions.

  • A small minority believe that all abortions should be banned, even if needed to save the life of the mother. According to the same polls, between 12% and 25% of American adults held this position. We feel that it is naive for the media to imply that there is a unity of belief within the pro-life and within the pro-choice movements.

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Status of the two groups and of abortion access in the U.S.:

The pro-life and pro-choice movements are both powerful and active. Pro-life groups are particularly influential at the state level and have successfully persuaded legislators and governors to creating many laws that restrict abortion. Many of the laws have been ineffectual; they are so broadly worded that court injunctions suspend them shortly after having been signed into law. Courts often find that these laws are so vaguely worded that physicians are unable to determine whether a specific act is allowed or prohibited. Those laws which survive court challenges are not particularly effective; they often merely have the effect of generating a delay before a woman can obtain an abortion, or of making it easier for women seeking an abortion to go to a nearby state.

Approval of the  drug RU-486 has forever change abortion in America. Doctors are now able to prescribe the pills and women may be able to take the pill at their homes. Rural women will not have to drive long distances to abortion clinics; women will not have to run the gauntlet of abortion protestors.


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Status of the two groups and of abortion access in Canada:

The pro-life movement lost most of its church funding after some groups started to harass abortion providers in the vicinity of their homes. This also generated fear among the families and neighbors of the providers. During the late 1990's, two Canadian pro-life groups lost their charitable status with Revenue Canada because of excessive political activity.

Abortion protests now fail to attract large numbers of supporters. The groups now do little more than conduct candlelight vigils, and issue press releases. One exception is the annual March for Life which is held in the nation's capital in Ottawa, Ontario each May. After the 2017 march, Life News reported that:

"... an estimated 25,000 people [had] attended [in 2016], and organizers hoped to break the record this year. ..."

"Photos and social media posts ... indicate that the [2017] crowd size probably did break the record, but LifeNews could not find an official estimate. The CBC reported 'hundreds” of people attended the march, but mainstream news outlets tend to vastly underestimate March for Life numbers." 11

Abortion access is rarely is discussed in the media. The country has many laws that promote the safety of abortions, but has no law that regulates access to abortion. That role has been taken over by provincial and territorial medical associations which have regulations that limit how late in pregnancy an abortion can be performed and for what reasons.

In recent years, social and religious conservatives have been forging strong bonds with the Conservative Party of Canada, similar to the formation of the Moral Majority and Religious Right movements in the U.S. during the late 20th century. Prior to 2015-OCT, the Conservative Party of Canada had insufficient members in the Canadian Parliament, and was only been able to implement laws and regulations on relatively minor moral issues, like:

    • Terminating foreign aid relating to abortion.

    • Gutting government funding to various women's movements in the country.

    • Terminating funding programs that had enabled groups to challenge government human rights violations through the courts.

    • Unsuccessfully attempting to re-open debate on same-sex civil marriage (a.k.a. gay marriage) in Parliament.

The Christian Heritage political party is strongly pro-life. However, it only fielded 30 candidates among the available 338 seats in Parliament, only received 0.09% of the vote and failed to elect a single candidate. 12

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At the 2015-OCT federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada regained its majority position. Abortion access appears secure. However, if the Conservative Party were able to obtain a majority in the House of Commons in the future, then it is quite probable that the Conservatives would quickly tackle major moral issues, by:

  • Re-establishing the death penalty.

  • Restricting or eliminating abortion access.

  • Terminating future gay marriages and perhaps forcibly divorcing existing same-sex couples.

and perhaps even

  • Re-criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual behavior.

Canada's political system is structured very differently from the U.S. These major moral issues must be fought on a state-by-state basis in the U.S., but can be changed simultaneously in every province and territory across Canada by a single federal law.

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References used:

  1. American statistics are listed by Baptists for Life, Inc. at: http://www.bfl.org/stats
  2. Canadian statistics are listed by Action Life (Ottawa) Inc. at: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/
  3. Bob Enyart is an extremely conservative talk show host. He has a "Bob Enyart Live Abortion Clock" on his web site. It lists the total number of legal abortions that have been performed since 1973. See: http://www.enyart.com/
  4. Carl Sagan, "Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium: Chapter 15" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store Chapter 15 has been reprinted at: http://www.2think.org/
  5. S. Boyd, "Give us liberty: The approval of RU-486 isn't about morals, it's about options," Salon.com at: http://www.salon.com/  (This may be a temporary posting)
  6. A.T. Hyman, "The 'A' Word." This is an essay on the legal aspects of the abortion debate. See: http://members.aol.com/
  7. Nellie Gray, president of March for Life, at the 28th annual March for Life, 2001-JAN-22.
  8. "Constitution Party supports statewide abortion ban," Stop Abortion in Ohio, undated, at: http://www.ohioabortionban.com/
  9. "Sanctity of Life," Platform, Constitution Party at: http://www.constitutionparty.com/
  10. Marci McDonald, "The Armageddon Factor," Random House Canada. Released 2010-MAY-11.
  11. Micaiah Bilger, "Thousands of Pro-Lifers Flood the Streets in Canada’s March for Life," 2017-MAR-11, at: http://www.lifenews.com/
  12. "Canadian Federal Election 2015," Wikipedia, as on 2017-MAY-15, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/

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Copyright © 1996 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2017-MAY-15
Author: Bruce A Robinson

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