THOMPSON: Why Canadians should care about Roe v. Wade | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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THOMPSON: Why Canadians should care about Roe v. Wade



Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey - landmark decisions in 1973 and 1992 - that guaranteed women constitutional protections for abortion rights.

Quite frankly, a sightless person could have seen this coming. The Religious Right and Political Conservatives - usually one and the same who comprise a minority of Americans - have been pushing a return to the days of old for, well, 49 years.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last May to take up Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization first signalled the possibility of a new abortions law of the land. Then, last Fall when the Court failed to even temporarily protect Texas women from an unconstitutional post-six-week abortion ban…the Right Wing Court conspiracy became clear.

Old, white men - AKA the Republican Party - made good on the promise to stack the U.S. Supreme Court with Conservatives who would overturn Roe v. Wade. All that was needed were the deaths and/or retirements of a few Supreme Court judges.

So, when the worst president in U.S. history and the only one impeached twice - Donald J. Trump - nominated three judges in four years…not only did minority rule became a reality… for the first time in U.S. history the possibility of a Constitutional right being taken from citizens appeared more certain than ever.

It should surprise no one that the Court’s theft of a Constitutional Right most affects those who have the least power- women - and particularly poor women and women of colour. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization - a challenge to the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that with limited exceptions bars abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy - was just the gift Conservative Republicans were praying for, a Trumped-up case to make all abortions illegal.

Why should Canadians care? Well, as one wag said, “When the U.S. sneezes, Canada catches a cold.” If a minority can change the rules in the democracy down South, what about here? More on that later because legally Canada could be on shakier ground than the U.S. on matters of abortion.

But back to the U.S….where during Trump’s reign lying was as popular a Republican pastime as suppressing the vote. It’s apparent now that all three Trump Supreme Court nominations - Brett M. Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Neil M. Gorsuch - lied during their Senate Confirmation hearings.

It is a matter of record…with all three nominees on videotape swearing that Roe v. Wade was an important precedent…a matter of “stare decisis”…a Latin term meaning “to stand by things decided.”

Now, just to be clear…seven out of ten Americans favour abortion rights for women. The right to choose an abortion has been the will of the people for decades…which - lest we forget - is how democracy works. 

But, the vote will come next month…and being a betting man…I’ll wager these three  - Kavanaugh, Barrett and Gorsuch - will vote along with Thomas and Alito to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Knowing Trump, it’s hard to imagine he didn’t squeeze promises to repeal Roe v. Wade from all three before giving them their lifetime jobs.

By the way, Barrett was 32 when appointed…I have more time in line waiting for a driver’s license than she has in court as a judge. Kavanaugh - like Trump - has a reputation as a womanizer. And Gorsuch is…other than Clarence Thomas…the most Conservative justice on the Court.

It’s troubling enough that five of the nine current Supreme Court judges were appointed by men who failed to win the most votes in their elections for president…Trump and George W. Bush.
It’s even more troubling that the elections for every other office - nationally, state-wide and local - in America are decided by the popular vote.

Only the highest and most important office in the land relies on a convoluted system called the Electoral College…which was put in place more than 200 years ago because Americans were suspect of Loyalists to the King of England.

It’s good to have a sense of history of how the Court evolved into its current politically partisan status. But, I digress…back to how the rights of women in America will be stolen next month.

Look, well-to-do folks are completely unaffected by the Supreme Court’s decision. The rich and entitled have always had the safest and best medical abortions money can buy…for decades. Nothing will change for them.

Like Southern Baptists who hid their liquor under the kitchen sink when I was a kid in Florida while railing against the evils of drinking…the well-to-do Right have easy access to abortions while openly criticizing the morality of the poor and people of colour.

Like most Conservative Republican policies…those who get hurt most are, of course, the poor and people of colour. Trump’s Republican Cult has little respect for women. So, it should surprise no one that making abortions illegal caters to Republican men - young and old - whose biggest success in life is controlling their women.

Not a single Republican in Congress believes abortion should be legal…even in the cases of rape, incest and health of the woman. Apparently, the unborn have the unconditional love of the Trump Cult and the Religious Right - strange bedfellows, indeed - but once born or when you’re of child-bearing age…12 or 13…well, not so much.

It’s easy to see that the repeal of Roe v. Wade is the start…not the finish…for the Trump Republican Cult. Same sex marriage and LGBTQIA2S+ rights can’t be far behind for the narrow-minded minority of America.

Now, in Canada, no laws explicitly guarantee access to abortion as a right. While true that abortion was decriminalized here in 1988 in the landmark Supreme Court of Canada case R. v. Morgentaler, no legislation was ever passed to replace it and guarantee a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Canadians favour a woman’s right to choose even more than in America…with recent polls showing support of somewhere between 70 percent and 80 percent of adults.

The Canadian government believes everyone should have access to safe and consistent reproductive health services, including abortion. The biggest problem is that so many women - especially in rural areas - have barriers to access.

Recently, the Trudeau Liberal Government funded two groups - Action Canada and National Abortion Federation - to the tune of just over $3.5 Million over the next three years. Action Canada has $2,119,073 to “expand its Access Line and Sexual Health Information Hub programs, which offer accurate and affirming sexual and reproductive health information and referrals.” Specifically, those funds will improve financial assistance for travel and accommodation costs, as well as logistical support to individuals accessing abortion care.

NAF Canada’s $1,469,150 will provide financial and logistical support to women seeking abortion services, train health care providers in providing abortion services, and ensure that abortion facilities have the capacity to continue providing services and related care.

It appears that Canadian women will have more rights than American women in another month.

But, remember, it is a vocal minority that drives the Court’s taking of Constitutional Rights from women in America. Can it happen here? America sneezes, Canada gets a cold.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.

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