Rescind pro-life proclamation
Sep 4, 2012 / 5:00 pm
The City of Kelowna is again coming under fire for its decision to proclaim the last week of September 'Protect Human Life Week.'
The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) has teamed up with local activists plus organizations and individuals from across Canada protesting the proclamation.
"We demand that the mayor of Kelowna immediately rescind this proclamation because it strongly implies that Kelowna does not respect women's legal and constitutional rights," says Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of ARCC.
In an open letter sent to Mayor Walter Gray, the ARCC says the proclamation, issued at the request of the Kelowna Right to Life Society is "highly inappropriate and should be rescinded immediately.
It goes on to say, "When the city states: “It is the intention of this proclamation to promote respect and (offer) protection to all human life, especially the infirm, the aged, the handicapped, and the unborn,” it is an implicit endorsement of the Kelowna Right to Life Society’s opposition to safe and legal abortion for women."
This is the second controversy to spawn from the proclamation.
Two weeks ago, the Kelowna Pro Life Society jumped the gun in stating the city would fly a courtesy flag atop City Hall to mark the week.
That sparked a public backlash which resulted in City Council voting to eliminate the practice of flying courtesy flags.
The entire letter is below.
Dear Mayor Walter Gray,
The signatories to this letter object to the proclamation you issued on July 3 declaring September 23-30, 2012 as “Protect Human Life Week.” This proclamation, issued at the request of the Kelowna Right to Life Society, is highly inappropriate and should be rescinded immediately.
When the city states: “It is the intention of this proclamation to promote respect and protection to all human life, especially the infirm, the aged, the handicapped, and the unborn,” it is an implicit endorsement of the Kelowna Right to Life Society’s opposition to safe and legal abortion for women. A quick perusal of the Society’s website makes clear that it is a radical political and religious group primarily concerned with opposing and re-criminalizing abortion, not with protecting the infirm, aged, handicapped, or even babies. A majority of Canadians support legal abortion, and our Supreme Court has struck down the previous abortion law as contravening women’s constitutional rights. Therefore, no municipality should make a public statement supporting an organization that is intent on reversing women’s guaranteed rights to “life, liberty, and security of person” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since the City of Kelowna has no legal jurisdiction to change federal or provincial laws on abortion (or anything else), it has no valid reason to issue the proclamation.
“Protect Human Life Week” is deeply offensive and upsetting to many people in Kelowna and across Canada, particularly women who have had or who are considering an abortion. It is wrong for the city to make proclamations that disregard women’s rights and make women feel disrespected and intimidated.
Although the city has issued this same proclamation in years past, it was never appropriate to do so because of its disregard for and opposition to established human rights under the law, and because it leads the city to improperly intrude into matters of federal or provincial law. Just as the “PRO-LIFE” flag will not be flown, all public support for “Protect Human Life Week” must now be withdrawn. We call upon you to rescind immediately the proclamation of “Protect Human Life Week” and to refrain from issuing it in future years.
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