MICHAELS: You don't need to know me, this is Canada - InfoNews

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MICHAELS: You don't need to know me, this is Canada

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May 24, 2019 - 12:20 PM

OPINION


Have you had an abortion?

Wait a minute. 

Don't say because I don’t care and neither should anyone else. #YouKnowMe movement or not, it’s no more anyone’s business if you terminated a pregnancy than it is if your significant other has a low sperm count or if you’re having a series of particularly unpleasant periods that require a visit to your GP. 

These personal issues related to reproduction in some form or another are dealt with as any health issue would be, despite the wishes of those who march in front of the hospital with placards and erect billboards creating parallels between puppies and zygotes.

Canada made it so in 1988 when the Supreme Court struck down the country's abortion law as unconstitutional in the landmark Morgentaler ruling and public opinion in this country supports that tack.

A poll conducted by Ipsos global survey from 2017 showed that more than three in four Canadians say abortion should be permitted, which is higher than the global average of 71 per cent. Just over half said abortion should be permitted whenever a woman decides she wants one, while one in four favour some limits, saying it should be permitted in certain circumstances, such as if a woman has been raped.

Mostly, we side with the idea of a woman being more than an incubator.

That said, there’s an undercurrent of fear courtesy of Alabama causing Canadians to wonder, was Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid's Tale less a work of fiction and more a horrifying roadmap of what’s to come?

Friends and acquaintances across my social media sphere and closer to reality have been posting articles from the US lamenting the backward momentum south of the border and expressing fear that a cultural black hole is going to suck us all in.

While we can plug noses and say “not us, not here” about most things happening in the US these days, it's becoming increasingly clear that a woman’s bodily autonomy is not really off-topic in Canada.

Placard-carrying, billboard erecting anti-choicers know that. It’s why they jockey so hard for a moment in the spotlight and do what they can to keep the conversation in the public eye. If the topic can be kept alive long enough, there’s always a chance the way the issue as framed will change.

In a recent interview with a member from the local pro-life group, they said their long game was looking good.

After all, changes are afoot in other provinces.

Ontario and Alberta elected majority Conservative governments led by premiers who are supported by a strong anti-choice lobby. 

Abortion was a top-line topic at the Conservative Party of Canada’s policy conference in Halifax last year. Delegates voted to delete Article 65, the 2014 motion dictating that the party will not legislate on abortion. It was defeated, but narrowly.

So, clearly, there’s change in the air. We may not be in “under his eye” territory, but it’s unchartered.

The good news is that this is happening in an election year so those of you who care can start doing the work needed to ensure your needs and interests are best represented when and if the time comes to raise this issue again.

Until then, #YouDontNeedToKnowMe. We're Canadian and that means something when it comes to bodily autonomy.


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