Meanwhile, Our Neighbors Up North
It was a pleasure to read the article, “Conscientious Commitment to Women’s Health” by fellow Canadians and longtime advocates for women’s reproductive rights here in Canada, Dr. Rebecca Cook and Dr. Bernard Dickens. Because of leadership such as theirs, and because our politics are somewhat to the left of those of the US, our situation regarding access to abortion services is somewhat better and less contentious. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a self-declared feminist, and the elected members of his party, the Liberals, must be pro-choice.
Abortion has been decriminalized since a Supreme Court decision in 1988, written by Mme. Justice Bertha Wilson, based on privacy rights. Still, the anti-abortion lobby, led by the Orwellian-titled Centre for Bio Ethical Reform, continues to agitate. Most recently, the centre bought ad space on the sides of public buses to display offensive and misleading pictures of fetuses and to use inflammatory language such as “Abortion kills; stop the killing.”
Now we are dealing with “end-of-life” directives to Catholic hospitals. Even though these hospitals are publicly funded, those exercising their legal right to obtain Medical Assistance in Dying are to be denied such care and transferred to other hospitals. You can imagine the outcry from Canadians on this state of affairs. If the church is seeking to self-destruct even more quickly, this is one good way.
Physicians with objections to either beginning or end-of-life terminations must be accommodated, certainly. But at the same time, citizens seeking such medical help must be able to quickly and sensitively obtain it.
Writer, teacher, activist
Coordinator, Catholics for Choice Canada