Former Liberal Jane Philpott criticizes Liberals for politicizing abortion
Former Liberal candidate Jane Philpott has stated she stands by her pledge to support access to abortion “despite her beliefs,” but accuses the party she was booted from of playing politics with the hot-button topic.
Philpott, who was once in Justin Trudeau’s gender-balanced 2015 cabinet, is running for re-election as an Independent in her Toronto-area riding following her expulsion during the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
A tombstone in Belleville, Ontario has gotten some attention, as it was erected to commemorate “all victims of abortion”.
The black gravestone, propped by the area’s Knights of Columbus, posted an image of their tombstone of Nov. 2 and Nov. 8, leading to a national debate across social media.
In response, comment sections flooded with reaction memes, insulting the eighteen men in the photo, calling them misogynists, crusty white boomers, and other insults.
The three photos collectively garnered about 3,300 reactions on Facebook. According to figures from The National Post, “roughly sixty-six percent of people reacted to the images with a ‘Haha’ or ‘Love’ while about 20 percent responded with an ‘Angry’ reaction.”
In response to the controversy, Belleville chapter grand knight David Cameron said there’s nothing to debate about it. “We’re not engaging in any sort of debate about it … This is our belief and we don’t feel we’ve done anything wrong … it speaks for itself,” said Cameron to the National Post.
Engraved in the granite are other messages, such as “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you,” “unborn lives matter,” and “life is sacred,” a reference to Jerimiah 1:5.
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity founded in 1882 did not give a figure for the cost of the gravestone, though Cameron did note that the cemetery, St. James Roman Catholic Cemetery, supported the gravestone.
Local activists, though, say the tombstone attacks a woman’s right to choose.
According to Elissa Robertson, the co-ordinator of Warrior Women of Quinte, organized a demonstration in response to the Knights.
“It was designed to shame people. I think it was absolutely uncalled for and that money they put into this anti-abortion monument could have done a lot of good somewhere else,” said Robertson, according to InQuinte.
“It ties into patriarchal values and this idea that women’s bodies are meant to be controlled by men. It’s a broader issue that ties into violence against women, it ties into health care, it ties into safety.”
Cameron went on to say that there are 137 gravestones commemorating unborn lives across North America, each erected by the Knights of Columbus.
Doctors had previously been recommended to only attempt to save premature babies after 23 weeks; however, new data shows that babies born earlier can be saved, and the overall rate for premature survival has doubled as medical technology improves.
According to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine, while it’s still likely that those born before 22 weeks will pass away, experts believe that at least one-third of children born at 23 weeks may now be savable, and, thus, doctors should at least attempt to administer life-saving treatment.
The data shows that those born at 22 weeks only have a 10 percent survival rate. However, those born at 23 weeks were shown to have a survival rate of 38 percent in 2016, which is double the rate found in 2006. Furthermore, each additional week only adds to the likeliness that a child will be successfully delivered.
This latest news in health science has already prompted pro-life advocates to push for a reduction in the latest date that a child can be aborted.
“There is a real contradiction in British law, “ Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said.
“In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room, a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. Surely this contradiction needs to end?”
Conversely, a spokesperson for British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a pro-choice charity, said, “There is no contradiction between doing all we can so that babies born long before they are ready for the world have a chance of living, and ensuring that the very small number of women who need to end pregnancies in the final weeks of the second trimester, often in incredibly tragic and desperate circumstances can do so.”
“We must not pit women who have premature babies and women who have later abortions against one another.”
The Green Party has dropped their candidate for the Glengarry-Prescott Russell riding over her stance on abortion.
John Chenery, spokesperson for the Greens, told CBC that the party voted to officially remove Marthe Lepine, also requesting that she cease representing herself as a Green candidate.
Unfortunately for the Greens, the deadline to remove her name from the ballot was missed, meaning voters can still select Lepine as their candidate.
Chenery went on to say that Lepine had views on the hot-button topic that weren’t aligned to the Party’s.
“The Green Party will always fight for access to timely, safe, legal abortions,” he later said in a statement.
“It recently came to light through social media posts that Ms. Lépine does not support this position, so she has been removed as a candidate.”
Lepine’s beliefs and comments which were made on Catholic blogs ring similar in tone, though, to comments made by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
“My Catholic view is that abortion is a bad thing,” Lepine told CBC. “I understand some people feel like they have no real choice … it should be avoided as much as possible.”
In 2006, May was in the middle of controversy due to comments she made to nuns she at a convent that she has talked women out of having abortions, and “could not imagine any circumstances that would have caused her to have an abortion.”
“I don’t think that anyone is for abortion in the sense that you hope people are going to have abortions,” said May, according to Straight. “You hope in an ideal world that every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy. My friends and family members who’ve ever gone through abortions have found it a traumatically difficult decision to make. It’s a personally difficult decision. You can’t trivialize how hard that choice is. But a women has a right to make that choice, and it’s not a morally wrong decision by any means.”
The Greens, though, have been shying away from any position that could indicate that they’re open to re-opening the abortion debate. May recently told media that anti-abortion candidates would be “filtered out,” going on to insist that there is a “zero chance” of an elected Green MP reopening the abortion debate.
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has once again reaffirmed his promise to uphold pro-choice legislation if elected.
As a practicing Catholic, Scheer identifies as pro-life and opposes abortion on a personal level. However, he says that, as current laws stand, it isn’t worthwhile to re-open the debate on abortion, which would be highly divisive even within the Conservative base, and that he will uphold women’s right to choose.
According to CBC, Scheer’s reaffirming of this stance came one day after the other three major party leaders “pressured Scheer in a French election debate to say publicly how he feels personally about abortion.”
Scheer responded simply by saying that the debate in Canada is settled.
“My personal position has always been open and consistent,” Scheer said Thursday. “I am personally pro-life but I’ve also made the commitment that as leader of this party it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not re-open this debate, that we focus on issues that unite our party and unite Canadians.”
“And that’s exactly what I’ll do and that’s why I’ll vote against measures that attempt to re-open this debate.”
With that said, Scheer has continued to receive flack for an interview in 2017 where he said that backbenchers should have “freedom of conscience” and be allowed to bring any idea they’d like to the table, including talking about their pro-life positions.
“I think that’s one of the things that makes the Conservative Party stronger, that we allow for a diversity of views on these issues within our own caucus and we don’t tell anyone that they have to park their conscience or their faith at the door,” Scheer said in an interview.
He also said that he had previously voted for pro-life legislation but has since backed off and pro-choice legislation has uniformly solidified in Canada. As such, it isn’t clear whether he would support a different MP within his caucus taking a definite pro-life stance — it doesn’t seem likely given his more recent responses.