Four months ago, Rona Ambrose voted in favour of a motion that would have tasked a committee of MPs with studying the legal definition of when life begins. Yesterday, asked about abortion, she told the House the following.
Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. Stealing a quote from someone I admire very much, Hillary Clinton, I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. I would encourage the member to work with me on the status of women committee on issues that women want to debate. This is an issue that women are not interested in debating.
Tim Powers wrote at the time—and I tend to agree—that Ms. Ambrose’s only mistake was not explaining why she voted the way she did. And it’s possible there’s no contradiction between her vote in September and her statement yesterday. Maybe, as it was a free vote on a piece of private members’ business, she decided to vote according to what she felt were the wishes of a majority of her constituents. Maybe, in this regard, she distinguishes between her role as a cabinet minister and her role as an MP. But absent an explanation from Ms. Ambrose, we can only guess.