Re. Robert Hepting’s letter Why protest U.S. decision (Castanet, June 28)
I won't attempt to paraphrase, but will instead quote directly from the article "What the U.S. overturning Roe v. Wade means for Canada", published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal on May 24.
"Abortion is decriminalized but not a constitutional right in Canada. Like other health services, abortion procedures are regulated under the Canada Health Act, but access varies greatly depending on provincial policies.
"Ottawa withheld federal funding from New Brunswick earlier this year because the province refused to cover abortions outside three hospitals. In Quebec, restrictions on prescribing the abortion pill hampered access during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other provinces. Other provinces, like Nova Scotia, have only one abortion clinic.
"Despite a more permissive legal environment in Canada, the hurdles to care are not so different from the U.S.
"Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen said her party will not reopen the abortion debate, although (her party’s MPs) subsequently refused to support a Bloc Québécois motion to recognize freedom of choice on abortion for any reason.
"Meanwhile, Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis has promised to criminalize coerced abortions and sex selection, cut foreign aid for reproductive health and increase funding for antiabortion pregnancy centres.”
It should be noted that last year, bill C-233, introduced by a Conservative MP, was defeated by a margin of 248 to 82, with 2/3 of Conservatives voting in favour of it, including Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray.
The bill sought to ban abortions based on fetal sex. Opposition to the bill, including women's reproductive rights advocates, rightly identified it as "effectively a stealth move to bring in abortion restrictions.” The bill introduces the possibility of dangerous slippage, opening the door for other aspects of abortion to be challenged as well.
In summary, why protest the U.S. decision to overturn Roe v. Wade? Because where the U.S. conservatives go, the Canadian conservatives try to follow.