130

That’s a no


 

The government having previously said that its maternal health initiative had nothing to do with capital punishment nor gay marriage, that it did not want to reopen the debate on abortion, but that it was not closing the door on any possibilities, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation did stand in his place this afternoon and announce that “Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortion.”

And so, nearly three months after the fact, Michael Ignatieff has an answer to his question.

Official transcript from QP after the jump.

Mme Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ): Monsieur le Président, cette semaine, les ministres du Développement du G8 se réunissent à Halifax afin d’harmoniser leurs politiques à l’égard de la santé maternelle et infantile. On sait que ce gouvernement s’oppose idéologiquement à l’avortement et qu’il voudrait bien exporter ses valeurs conservatrices à l’international. Est-ce que le gouvernement va mettre de côté son idéologie et reconnaître que les mesures de planification familiale, incluant l’avortement, contribuent à améliorer la santé des femmes et des enfants?

Hon. Jim Abbott (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my minister is hosting the G8 development ministers in Halifax today where this issue will be discussed. We will be leading the discussion at the upcoming G8 summit on child and maternal health. We are focused on how to make a positive difference to save the lives of mothers and children in the developing world. Canada’s contribution to maternal and child health may include family planning, however, Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortion.

Mme Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ): Monsieur le Président, le gouvernement conservateur a demandé l’aide de la Norvège afin d’établir sa stratégie à l’égard de la santé maternelle et infantile dans les pays en voie de développement. Le conseiller spécial de la Norvège insiste pour dire que les mesures de planification familiale, incluant l’avortement, sont essentielles à une telle stratégie. Est-ce que le gouvernement conservateur va écouter ce judicieux conseil et prévoir des ressources afin de donner la liberté de choix aux femmes?

Hon. Jim Abbott (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is getting a little tiresome to have the opposition always trying to score cheap political points on the issue of abortion. We are giving the opportunity to all our G8 partners to assist us in promoting maternal and child health. The standard practice is each country makes its own domestic decision which areas it will focus on. Our government has no intention to reopen the abortion debate in Canada. We will work with our partners on this important issue.


 

That’s a no

  1. At least they didn't redact their own answer. This time.

    And at least now, finally, after three months, they have partially clarified their position instead of trying to obfuscate, distract, accuse, attack, ignore, throw up red herrings and scarecrows and bogeymen all at the same time.

    And at least now we know who is writing Harper's policy.

    • And at least now we know who is writing Harper's policy.

      Who?

    • Which is why picking Maternal Health as a keynote issue for the upcoming G8 was just plain dumb.

  2. Deschamps: "will the government put aside its ideological prejudices and recognize that family planning measures, including abortion, improve women and children's health?"

    I think it is a bit cheeky to accuse someone of ideological prejudices while at the same time claiming abortion improves a child's health. I wonder what Deschamps thinks happens during an abortion and how she thinks it helps a child's health outlook.

    And I am surprised that Cons have actually followed through on their earlier threats. If Abbott hasn't misspoken, than I applaud this decision.

    • You don't see how having a safe, clean abortion – if permitted by local laws – conducted by a qualified physician would help improve women's health? Really?

      • "I wonder what Deschamps thinks happens during an abortion and how she thinks it benefits a child's health outlook."

        "You don't see how having a safe, clean abortion – if permitted by local laws – conducted by a qualified physician would help improve women's health?"

        You are arguing with yourself and strawmen, tedbetts. It would be helpful if you read before trying to convince me abortion improves a child's health situation.

        • You are arguing with yourself and strawmen, bergkamp. It would be helpful if you read before trying to convince me healthy abortion practices doesn't improve maternal health.

          • To bergkamp, a woman is just a container for a fetus. He doesn't care if the container wears out and dies.

        • Sigh. Are we really going to experience the identical debate you presented not that long ago under your previous alias? Can you please spare us the redundancy, and simply link to the post that contained your opinion on the matter? I'm really tired of re-experiencing Groundhog Day……..

      • In general, how killing someone else affects one's health is not the primary consideration in determining whether it's a good idea. At least it shouldn't be.

        • And of course, it's alright to let a woman die, if there is a slight chance of saving a fetus, even though an orphaned fetus will probably die anyway, as well as the woman's other children. Because women aren't important, are they Gaunilon and bergcamp/jolyon, and "maternal health" really means save-the-fetus!

    • Well, one way it benefits is if a desperately poor mother is having trouble getting food for herself and two kids, being able to not have a third to support means the other two will likely be healthier.

      • Yes, and think how beneficial it would be if she killed off one of her other kids too. Then she could concentrate on just getting food for one!

        If you want to argue that not having kids is sometimes beneficial, no one is going to disagree with you. And no one is going to disagree that every woman has the right not to get pregnant. Where people disagree, here, is on what can be done with inconvenient children once that prior decision has already been made.

        • You're first assuming there was a decision involved.

          You're also failing to see the difference between fetus and child.

          • Actually I'm inclined to think it's not ok to kill a child regardless of whether there was a decision involved, but yes, in most cases when someone has a child it's because they first decided to have sex.

            "You're also failing to see the difference between fetus and child."
            I've never viewed differences in age and development as the sort of thing that makes people killable. Good thing too – otherwise puberty would take on a life-and-death kind of importance.

          • So you believe then that every sperm is sacred? And that the government has a right to compel you to use your organs to support another?

            Interesting.

          • So women in countries where they have no rights, are free enough to decide when they will be having sex? I'm putting you down as hopelessly naiive.

          • Thwim, don't waste your time. Every time the subject of abortion comes up, Gaunilon and jolyon/Bergkamp show up and bellow their absolutist, belligerent stance at everyone here.

            Heck, a few weeks ago jolyon/Bergkamp called Liberals "racist eugenicists" for supporting safe abortion funding in the third world.

            Apparently these two are such superior human beings that we all should just swallow their dogma and do what we're told, even if it seems like an 11-year old girl, raped by her stepfather (http://www.blythe-systems.com/pipermail/nytr/Week-of-Mon-20060828/044749.html) shouldn't have her eternal soul cast into oblivion for aborting a "person" consisting of a few hundred cells. Or a nine-year old girl, also raped by her stepfather (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/142292.php) shouldn't face the same punishment.

            Nope. These guys' epistemologies are screwed so tightly shut that they seem to be actually angered by the existence of alternate perspectives, and they're sure that their morals should be forced (through the power of government!) on all Canadian women.

            And of course, Canada's Awesome New Stephen Harper Government feels the same way, but hasn't yet figured out how to put their will into law. Yet.

          • Oh, I understand that. But in my mind Gaunilon is operating from false impressions.. that at the moment of conception, some magic happens that transforms potential into actual, and I'm hoping that with enough logic he might see that "No, it remains potential.. and endangering the actual life of the existing mother for the potential of another human life is nonsensical"

    • 15% of maternal deaths are caused by unsafe abortions. Women who have no control over reproduction and who are not able to support a child or children they already have resort fo desperate measures in order to terminate a pregnancy.

      • Perhaps the more sensible solution, then, would be to attack the root of that problem and make sure that women always have control over their reproduction rather than helping them terminate a pregnancy.

        • There are many pregnant women and pregnant children who cannot wait for the ideal world to come along, and their health matters, too.

        • Rather than A or B, some folks might support A, followed by B if A fails.

          • Yes, and those folks need to ask themselves why option B is somehow reprehensible when the woman has just given birth to the inconvenient child, but perfectly ok when she's just going into labour.

          • Yes!!! and I heard about abortions being committed on babies halfway out!

            You can be really stupid sometimes.

          • I only write on behalf of the fool you know. You can't expect too much. However,
            – such abortions are indeed done. They're called "partial birth abortions".
            – abortions are perfectly legal in Canada until the baby is entirely outside the mother. Only then is the baby protected by law.
            – even if these were not the case, why would it matter? Since when is age a determining factor in one's humanity? We're people from beginning to end.

          • Partial birth abortions are done in order to save a woman's life. Of course you are quite willing to let a woman die for your warped view of morality.

          • I think that you are describing a different group of people than the group I was mentioning.

          • The situation I described is current Canadian law, which (so far as I can tell) most Canadians do not want to see changed. Therefore my description seems to apply to most Canadians. Were you referring to a different country? Or is it your impression that most Canadians are outraged at current Canadian abortion law (or lack thereof)?

          • Actually, I wasn't referring to any country in particular. Also, I wasn't referring to the current, relevant laws (or lack thereof) and the practical implications of those laws. I wasn't even referring to most people.

            I was only indicating that some folks (not sure how many, but I'll wager a significant portion) are not going to see A (contraception) and B (abortion) as mutually exclusive choices.

          • I see. In that case we're in agreement. I, for example, view one as the logical corollary of the other.

  3. Well, at least the Conservatives are finally admitting that they are ideological troglodytes and are just going to ignore all the medical and family planning research out there that demonstrates how idiotic their position is. The Conservative target is clearer for the Opposition… it's time for the Liberals to start dismantling this moronic government stance.

  4. Jim Abbott's full quote:

    "We'll be leading the discussion at the upcoming g8 summit on child and maternal health. we're focused on how to make a positive difference to save the lives of mothers and children in the developing world. Canada's contribution to maternal and child health may include family planning. However, canada's contribution will not include funding abortion."

    I assume that "family planning" includes contraception. So Canadian taxpayers won't be funding abortions in the developing world, but they will most likely be funding contraception and other family planning measures. Sounds like a reasonable compromise.

    • Well, now that they have finally, after three months of obfuscation and distration and accusations, come clean with Canadians (no doubt after heavy polling to tell them what to say and think), we can have the debate about what our international policies should be – stick with our and our allies longstanding policy of non-interference in domestic laws or take a different tack and exclude a part of maternal healthcare.

      Good for Ignatieff for acting like a good opposition leader and not letting Harper slip this one through without a debate or discussion.

      • tick with our and our allies longstanding policy of non-interference in domestic laws or take a different tack and exclude a part of maternal healthcare.

        I'm sorry? Was Canada going to interfere in domestic laws of other countries somehow? That doesn't make any sense. Also, *not* funding abortions in other countries constitutes "excluding a part of maternal healthcare"?

        • Previously, we funded health without looking at whether or not abortion was been offered. Now we will.

          For example, we have in the past funded the building of hospitals, medical schools and training facilities, surgical units. Now, apparently, we will first ask if the money for those types of things will include abortion services. If it does, then they will no longer get that money.

          A very different position than Canada had previously and that the other G8 countries have. Though, to be fair, the US oscillates on this: with the Republicans are in government one of the first things they do is put an abortion litmus test on all foreign funding; when the Democrats are in government, one of the first things they do is remove that litmus test.

          Looks like Harper is moving us in that Republican-Democrat split direction.

          • For example, we have in the past funded the building of hospitals, medical schools and training facilities, surgical units. Now, apparently, we will first ask if the money for those types of things will include abortion services. If it does, then they will no longer get that money.

            Do you have any evidence for this statement? Any evidence at all? Is this, in fact, pure conjecture on your part? It seems like you're trying to draw parallels to the United States where none exist. That's pretty disingenuous if you don't have any evidence.

          • On the contrary. Harper is following GW Bush's stupid lead.

          • It's pretty clear that he isn't following GW Bush's lead. That's just a convenient straw man. I've noticed that most of the arguments here are basically attacking Bush's old positions, not Canada's stated position which is simply to not fund any abortion-related G8 initatives.

          • Oh, please. This is basic stuff. We have been funding hospitals and healthcare in developing countries since the second world war. Read up a little on CIDA. For a start.

            And we are still a long way away from a Republican position, though Harper's abortion litmus test is certainly in that direction.

            The Republicans actually impose not just a litmus test but pre-conditions for funding, i.e. they will directly impose their moral codes on foreign countries' laws in order to get necessary funding and trade. Not just a matter of not funding abortion, but, for example with Bush's much touted $15 billion AIDS funding, if abortion was legal in your country you did not get the funding. If you had a government policy of promoting safe sex even alongside promotion of abstinence, you did not get funding unless you changed your policy to be one of only promoting abstinence.

            Fortunately, Harper has not gone that far. I will give him that.

          • Oh, please. This is basic stuff. We have been funding hospitals and healthcare in developing countries since the second world war. Read up a little on CIDA. For a start.

            I'm pretty sure I know as much about CIDA as you do, Ted, if not more. I was objecting to your "litmus test" fabrication.

            And we are still a long way away from a Republican position, though Harper's abortion litmus test is certainly in that direction.

            The problem with "Harper's abortion litmus test" is that you just made it up. It's pure bullcrap. You're obviously trying hard to establish parallels with Bush, but the problem is that you have zero evidence to justify that kind of link.

            All we know is that Canada's financial contribution to the G8 maternal and child health initiative won't include abortion-related initiatives. To pretend that we're going to impose "litmus tests" and pull CIDA funding from third world hospitals that perform abortions is just flagrantly deceptive.

          • The only people being flagrantly deceptive here is our own government.

            It seems clear that they may impose a litmus test on funding. The only thing they have thought us worthy of knowing clearly is that "Canada's contribution will not include funding abortion." Period. Funding a hospital that provides abortion is, as has been repeated by Conservatives over and over, funding abortion. So it is hardly flagrantly deceptive.

            A reasonable question was raised by Ignatieff on this point 3 months ago. They and their supporters have attacked him for raising the question at all, avoided the question, distracted, obfuscated.

            Turns out, it appears they had to reverse a policy just to give us "not closing the door on any possibilities including family planning" and now they appear to be wavering on that "may include" family planning.

            Point is, they have deliberately tried to play us, deceive us, their bosses, and they thought they could get away with it.

          • The only people being flagrantly deceptive here is our own government. It seems clear that they may impose a litmus test on funding.

            Funny, in your previous comments you said: "Canadian government will be putting an abortion litmus test on its funding." Now, confronted with the fact that you made the whole thing up, you've wisely changed "will" to "may". Seems pretty deceptive to me, especially since you have no evidence to back up these flimsy straw man "Harper = Bush" assertions.

            Funding a hospital that provides abortion is, as has been repeated by Conservatives over and over, funding abortion.

            Who said this, exactly? You're pretending, again with no evidence at all, that Canada will refuse to fund hospitals in developing countries that provide abortions.

            it appears they had to reverse a policy just to give us "not closing the door on any possibilities including family planning"

            I've already refuted your "policy reversal" argument. Canada has never had a "policy" of directly funding abortions in the third world.

    • "May include family planning.

      That doesn't sound to me like it "will" necessarily include family planning.

    • Sadly, the language leaves open the possibility that no compromise at all will take place:

      "may include family planning".

      …or may not.. They could have easily said "will" instead, but quite chose not to.

      This government has always been skillful with words. They can't be unaware of the door this leaves open, one that one word would have shut. The question is, why? Placate the reform crowd? Telegraphing their wishes to the other G20 members? Stubbonrn bloody-mindedness? A purposeful attempt to take me away from other work I should really be doing?

      • Probably because they haven't actually worked out the details yet.

        • Mister Micromanager hasn't worked out the details? Mister Chessmaster who plans a dozen moves ahead hasn't worked out the details? Mister Speak-finely-tweaked-word-meanings hasn't worked out the details?

    • Does the federal government fund abortions here in Canada? I ask honestly, if so, I find it tough to find an argument as to why they won't them in the developing world.

      • Does the federal government fund abortions here in Canada?

        No. The provinces do.

          • Well of course. But since providing abortion services is under provincial jurisdiction, it's not really accurate to say that the federal government is "funding abortion". Anyway, we're splitting hairs. ;-)

        • The Feds do, via the Canada Health Transfer to the provinces, on which there are no restrictions as to what procedures are funded.

      • I bet the Harper government agrees with you, but from the other direction….

      • This would be different.

        In Canada, what services are provided and covered by healthcare is determined by the provinces and the federal government puts no litmus tests on its funding.

        Outside of Canada, what services are provided in any country will be determined by that country, but the Canadian government will be putting an abortion litmus test on its funding.

    • No, it's not a reasonable compromise. Women will die who could have been saved.

      • Thanks to Harper's decision to make maternal and child health a G8 priority, many women and children who would have otherwise died will now be saved.

        Meanwhile, the UK and some other G8 countries have no qualms about directly funding abortions, so I'm sure they'll more than happy to fund new abortion initiatives, even if Canada won't.

        • We need results based funding, not making bad decisions that pander to anti-women groups.

  5. Well when you reverse a longstanding multiparty international party of the national government a certain very narrow way, when you take a position that is at odds with your fellow G8 countries on a particular narrow issue, you look at that way and that issue and for whom it is a priority and who has been telling us they will work hard for changes like that. So clearly, the social conservatives within the Harper caucus are writing this.

    Harper thought and tried to get good warm fuzzy feelings about his policy announcement and thought and tried to hide the ideological policy shift that was hidden inside, but got caught out by Ignatieff's questions three months ago.

    Now we know. Now we can have the debate that Harper doesn't want to have. As we should, as Canadians, be able to have whenever the government changes longstanding policy without campaigning on it.

    • So it's been Canada's "longstanding policy" to fund abortions in the third world? Based on what? A relatively tiny annual contribution to IPPF?

      • No, it's been Canada's longstanding policy to fund healthcare without asking if it was going to be used for abortion-related healthcare, as well as funding Planned Parenthood (which Harper has already ended).

        • No, it's been Canada's longstanding policy to fund healthcare without asking if it was going to be used for abortion-related healthcare

          As far as I know Canada has never directly funded third-world abortion initiatives in the past – CIDA has funded medical training, vaccination programs, and various other non-abortion-related initiatives.

          So when the government announces that it will not contribute funds to G8 abortion initiatives, this seems consistent with previous longstanding policies. Also, it's not like CIDA's going to start asking the questions you suggest, so that policy won't change either.

          • If a maternal health centre is going to be built and it also offers abortion services, are the Conservatives going to permit funding? Before now, there was no issue. Now, it sounds to me, like they are in fact attaching an abortion-related litmus test to funding.

            Of course, they could clear up this confusion and provide some clarity. But apparently asking our own government what it plans to do with our money is not permitted under this government.

          • Most likely, in your hypothetical "maternal health centre / abortion clinic" scenario, Canada's funding would be earmarked for the maternity ward and some other country would fund the abortion clinic. Despite the flimsy "litmus test" rhetoric, it's entirely possible to earmark funding from different countries for different purposes.

          • You are really trying to be too cute here CR.

            First you accuse me of being "flagrantly deceptive" because I suggested they are making abortion a litmus test for funding.

            Now you are saying they would earmark funding away from abortion activities.

            Which is it? You can't say it's going to be both or neither. Only Say Anything Steve can get away with that!

          • Oh, for crying out loud, Ted. You're the one trying to be cute, by pretending that Harper is imposing a "litmus test" simply because Canada will be funding Program X (Neonatal care, etc.) instead of "Program Y" (Abortions).

          • Maternal health includes safe. legal abortion. If the Government of Harper is going to specify that its money will only go to certain aspects of maternal health, then a bureaucracy will have to be invented to oversee this and money that could go to health care will instead go to making sure that women are not allowed to have complete health care services in one location.

            It is stupid, dishonest and counterproductive. And women will die as a result.

          • If the Government of Harper is going to specify that its money will only go to certain aspects of maternal health, then a bureaucracy will have to be invented to oversee this and money that could go to health care will instead go to making sure that women are not allowed to have complete health care services in one location.

            This doesn't follow at all. It's quite simple, really. Canada funds programs A, B, and C in the G8 initiative, and another country funds programs D, E, and F (where program F is "access to abortion"). It doesn't imply "litmus tests", and it doesn't imply a complicated and expensive bureaucracy.

          • CR, do you have any evidence that prev to this announcement that the GoC had prohibited the use of their aid funding to support abortions, directly or indirectly?

          • I love how you sneer at Ted's maternal health care centre/abortion clinic scenario and then go on to establish its accounting practices to *prove* the Harper government will only be funding part of it. While you're at it, why don't you choose the colours of the walls and the tiles for the floor?

          • go on to establish its accounting practices

            I'm not establishing anything that hasn't been widely reported. It's the Keith Martin Solution. Google it.

    • "For many years, Harris Decima pollster Allan Gregg has asked respondents whether they consider themselves conservatives, liberals or centrists, and he's also asked them how they vote. In recent years, he told the Manning Centre conference, the number of self-identified conservatives has been growing …… Gregg found that 89 per cent of respondents, nearly everyone, agrees that “nothing is more important than family.” Sixty-seven per cent agree that “marriage is, by definition, between a man and a woman,” 60 per cent that “abortion is morally wrong.” Wells, Macleans, March 19 2010

      Does it matter what Canadians think, tedbetts, or does it only matter what the 'multiparty international party' people think. I prefer it when our policies are decided by Canadians and not other G8 countries. The only reason Harper decided to go ahead with this is because he's seeing similar numbers as Gregg is reporting and knows there will be no real backlash to Canada refusing to murder third world babies.

      • "60 per cent that “abortion is morally wrong."

        I think quoting that single result paints a misleading picture of Canadians' attitudes toward abortion. In particular, it is possible to feel that abortion is morally wrong without believing that a government should make the choice for all Canadian women.

        Here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Canada#O

      • Funny, I seem to recall that Harper promised NOT to run his government based on the latest opinion polls. It was one of the ways the new boss was going to distinguish himself from the old boss.

        As for what Canadians think and say about this change in our policy, I don't seem to remember Harper ever once mentioning it in either of his last two elections.

        Canadians support our pro-choice culture and support not imposing anyone's views of abortion on any other nation. Well over 75% of Canadians think women should have access to a safe, legal abortion if they choose. In poll after poll after poll.

        • Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss

          It's on the record that Harper's government spent more on opinion polling in his tenure than any other PM before him. I'm not anti-polling (they are very useful, when executed well and interpreted and reported properly) but even I look at his spending and wonder what the heck went on that he needed to see so many numbers.

          Polls have shown a great deal of variety in support for abortion, depending on how the question is phrased and framed. Nonetheless Ted, I think you're right that the majority of Canadians do support some form of abortion – but by the same token, I don't think most Canadians support unrestricted and unfettered access.

      • Canadian women have to the right to safe abortion. Doesn't it look a bit ridiculous to deny third world women that same right?

      • I prefer it when our policies are decided by Canadians and not other G8 countries.

        Agreed. But I also don't like Canadian policies decided on a random sampling of people who don't have call display.

        Poll results like those should never be taken as the be all and end all. Why? Because for every Decima poll showing the trend you describe, there is an equally valid poll that shows the complete opposite.

  6. Sounds like Darrel Reid (formerly of Focus on the Family) is.

  7. He's in charge of writing policy in the PMO.

    • I thought he was Deputy Chief of Staff, not Director of Policy.

      • He was (cough) promoted.

      • Correct. He was recently promoted from Director of Policy to being the Director of Policy's boss as Deputy Chief of Staff.

        • And his Director of Policy replacement was… Paul Wilson, who is…. another evangelical Christian who was former Director of the Trinity College in Ottawa which has been, fairly or unfairly, been compared to Patrick Henry College in Washington, an evangelical college that is considered a training ground for new Republicans.

          So, as far as social conservative policy makers in the PMO go, out of the pot and into the fire and brimstone.

  8. If I were the Liberals, I'd be saying:

    "The conservatives are actively against women in other countries having abortions, and are willing to take steps to make it harder. How do you think they feel about YOU having access to abortion?"

    And they'd be completely justified in saying it.

    • Exactly.

    • This is a clear marker on where Harper stands on women's rights. It's good to see him out himself on this.

  9. You mean Allan Gregg, a paid pollster, appeared at the Manning Institute, and is allowed to appear on CBC.???
    Goes to show you what a horribly biased right-wing, government-sympathisizing instituion the CBC has become.

  10. Speaking of lobbyists….

    • Unfortunately, the Commissioner ruled that he wasn't required to register for those meetings with the minister that he claimed were the impetus for changing the Telefilm Canada funding rules. The Commissioner said thatMcVety wasn't required to register because he was appearing as a volunteer member of the board of Family Action Coalition.

      So even if he's part of the coalition as President of Canada Christian College unless he's actually remunerated by the organization he was representing at the time, he doesn't have to register.

      In other words another loophole you can drive a truck through.

  11. I for one, do not object if Canadian money is not to be used to fund abortions overseas. However, I would be interested in knowing how this policy will be put in place.
    One option, provide agencies that receive funding with allowable expenses and then put in place a reporting structure for the Canadian funds. No problem.
    Second option, ensure that no funding goes to any organization that facilitates women's access to abortion. Here, I have a major problem.

    • IAnd I don't want my tax money spent in a less effective manner in order to please a fringe group.

    • I think that is the issue.

      If a country permits abortions, where are they performed? In hospitals and women's health clinics. Are those hospitals and clinics, or even those countries altogether, going to be barred from receiving any Canadian maternal health money?

      Again, it is not an unreasonable question that "opens up the abortion debate" to ask these questions of our own government.

  12. The obsession by Liberals on demanding tax funded abortion by the Federal Government as a priority of maternal health explains why the Catholic vote is no longer in their camp.

    "The place to start is with the 2000 election. A close look at the sources of Liberal dominance in that election reveals that the support of Catholics and visible minorities was a critical ingredient.."
    http://ces-eec.org/pdf/Anatomy%20of%20a%20Liberal

    OBAMA and many democrats did not support funding national abortions with tax dollars. A large number were also against SSM and very little backlash from the left in Canada.

    • Yes, but there's a difference: Obama is a saint. Therefore, he never does anything bad or wrong. Not so with Harper. He is evil, and everything he does is bad and wrong. So even if Harper and Obama do the same thing, it's further proof that Harper is evil, and Obama is good. Got it?

        • OBAMA and many democrats did not support funding national abortions with tax dollars.

          And Canada does, what's your point?

          • Blues Clair,

            You should have held a leadership convention.

            The left have a selective morality, math filter.

            Ann Coulter (no free speech),
            Terrorist organization Hamas Financier George Galloway embraced. Galloway on banning on MP G. Wilder.

            Democrats don't fund their own national abortions, SSM denied by OBAMA. ( Canadian left, zzzzzzzz)

            Hilary goes Rambo demands abortion money for Congo she can't deliver at home, China's Dictator rebukes on human rights, the left can't spot the hypocrisy?

            Tax funded CBC pay for weekly polls from a large Liberal donor, no conflict , perception of bias from left?

            How did the left react to Duffy appointment to senate again?

            Evil "neo-con" thingy right, Culture War are just words…..

            The Bloc win 65% of the seats in QC with 38.1% of pop. The CPC win 46% with 37.7% of popular vote. Remember the 62% majority meme?

          • go on…

  13. Does anyone know whether this government is on record as accepting that the earth is round (pretty much)? And goes around the sun? Where have they got to on the we-walked-with-dinosaurs question?

    • Apparently asking those questions is a direct assault on Christians and shows you up as Christian bashing hater.

      And whatever you do, don't think asking the minister in charge of science spending about a science question is permitted either.

    • They are not re-opening the world-is-flat debate in this country. That's just an attempt to score cheap political points, etc., etc. ad nauseum

  14. and providing a chill effect on countries who require foreign aid for women's medical services, and wasting dollars on having to evaluate programs on whether $ is spent on abortion funding or not.

    • By reducing the funding and reversing the funding policy which had previously aided in supplying such a service.

      But Canada isn't actually reducing funding which had previously aided in supplying such a service, unless you count the paltry sum that had been contributed annually to IPPF.

      wasting dollars on having to evaluate programs on whether $ is spent on abortion funding or not.

      But Canada won't be wasting dollars on having to evaluate programs on whether $ is spent on abortion funding or not.

      and providing a chill effect on countries who require foreign aid for women's medical services, and wasting dollars on having to evaluate programs on whether $ is spent on abortion funding or not.

      Seriously, Mike, I think you're just recycling arguments from American debates a few years ago. Canada won't actually be doing the things you suggest here.

      • What are you basing these assertions on? Do you have information about the details? They cut funding to organizations like KAIROS which were helping women in the Congo who had been raped. The Harper Conservatives make choices which harm women..

  15. Then how do we tell if the $ is providing abortions?

    Nice try.

  16. He hasn't gone that far yet. But he hasn't said he would not go that far. If he could be believed in any case.

  17. "Why? Because for every Decima poll showing the trend you describe, there is an equally valid poll that shows the complete opposite."

    Lets see them, than. According to Gregg, sixty percent of Canadians think abortion is morally wrong. Please show us the polls that claim sixty percent of Canadians think abortion is morally neutral/correct.

    • Please show us the polls that claim sixty percent of Canadians think abortion is morally neutral/correct.

      Fair enough… I had really just meant that as a broad statement that is a failing of pretty much every poll by every pollster. But nevertheless, I'll dig a bit deeper.

      For now will just point here. And since Wikipedia is far from perfect, there is also this. And this.

      All that said, my actual point stands: one pollster's results are not a valid means to create policy on any matter.

    • Polls vary a lot. It tends to be half and half on whether abortion is immoral. On the other hand:

      "…in November 2002, 78% of respondents answered "yes" to the question: "Should women have complete freedom on their decision to have an abortion?"…"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Canada#O

  18. Does anyone else think the government is trying to change the channel on Jaffer by rehashing an old story? Could they possibly be expecting an adverse ruling from the Speaker tomorrow on the detainee documents issue?

  19. On the plus side, at least the Harper government actually answered a question in Question Period today for a change. Actually twice.

    After months of obfuscation and reversals, in response to a Bloc question, they finally admitted abortion is a litmus test for international aid.

    And in response to another question, they corrected another misdirection about Jaffer, admitting that he was negotiating business with them from Guergis' office.

    Two actual answers to questions asked in one QP. That has got to be a record.

    • That's certainly much better than Chretien ever did. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • LOL. Gotta love how you folks can't seem to get over the government of nearly a decade ago. Lemme know when you reach this century.

  20. Well they're pretty clear about reducing access to abortion for foreign women. You think if they had a talking point to the contrary they wouldn't be shouting it every chance they got, in the clearest terms?

    • Reducing access to abortion for foreign women? How can anything the Canadian government does possibly reduce access for women in foreign countries? If Canada doesn't currently fund access to abortion for women in, say, Sierra Leone, please explain how by continuing to do nothing, Canada is "reducing access".

      • By reducing the funding and reversing the funding policy which had previously aided in supplying such a service.

  21. I'm sure you're just as aware as I am that sperm cells are not human beings. They don't have a full set of DNA, they don't grow up into human adults, in fact they don't grow at all, etc.

    But yes, if someone else's life naturally depends on my actions, you bet I'm reponsible for not actively killing them.

  22. (1) If they aren't, the solution is to help them regain that freedom.
    (2) Regardless of how the child came to be, there is no justification for killing her.
    (3) The number of abortions performed due to rape is miniscule compared to the overall number which are done for convenience.

  23. Medicine works to help the body heal….nothing unnatural about that. By "naturally" I mean as opposed to "artificially"; i.e. a mother's actions naturally affect the wellbeing of her baby.

    Re potentials:
    (1) I'm not saying a zygote has the potential to grow into a human. I'm saying a zygote is a human and has the potential to grow into a human adult…much like an embryo, a fetus, and a toddler or a teenager do. A sperm cell is not a human and does not grow into anything.
    (2) Some abortions in Canada kill the fetus in the latter stages of pregnancy, when it is quite obvious that the baby is a human. In fact that baby can be killed for any reason or no reason at all, without legal repercussions, until the baby is entirely outside the mother. Do you defend this?

    Re illegality: making anything illegal doesn't stop it. That doesn't mean that killing children shouldn't be prosecuted.

    • And your refusal to donate a kidney naturally affects the well-being of a person that needs one.
      You're essentially arguing that the government has the ability to force us to provide anything needed to another should it be required to keep them alive.

      • Let's take your analogy and work with it. Let us suppose that one of my kidneys has been taken, without my consent, and placed into someone who needed it. We both agree that this is wrong. The situation is analogous to rape, and we both agree that rape is wrong.

        Now, here are the problems:
        (1) Do I have the right to go to that person's hospital bed, rip off their arms and legs, crush their head, and take back my kidney? That is what an abortion is. Yes, the government should stop me just as forcefully as they should be stopping people from taking my kidney (analogous here to rape) in the first place.

        (2) The case we've described corresponds to rape, which accounts for less than 1% of abortions. Argue the general case: someone has sex, then decides they don't want to deal with the consequences, so they kill someone to avoid those consequences. Yes, the government should not allow this.

  24. It is the woman's `choice. You haved no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Gaunilon, you are completely blind to the fact that a woman is a human being and that a fetus is not a human being, not a child, but just a part of a woman's body which she can choose what to do about. Only she has the right to say yes or no.

  25. Liar. You have no back up for statement 3. As for statement 2 there is justification if the fetus, not child, is going to kill the mother and orphan her other children, thus putting their survival at risk as well. As for statement 1, what are you doing to forward women's equality, the educate them and provide them with themeans of avoiding unwanted pregnancy? Put your money where your mouth is.

  26. So what's your definition of naturally? If nature is your guide than the entire medical profession is an affront to it, as it is — by definition — working to avert the natural course of things. Would you deny all of it? Or do you just deny the parts that offend your personal sensibilities?

    I'm not arguing a straw man.. you're saying that a zygote grows to a human. Well.. where does the zygote come from? If it offends you that we might prevent a zygote from reaching its potential, why not a sperm? This is the problem, you're not arguing for actuals, you're arguing for potentials. Potentially, a zygote or embryo may become a human. It may also become waste matter and very often does simply by nature.

    Or it does because the woman ate too much cinnamon or cardamon.

    Of course, what always gets me is that making abortion illegal will not stop it, and will in fact endanger the lives of more people as the mothers seek it out in places that aren't regulated — meaning that rather than just losing the embryo, you lose the mother as well.

    If you really value life, you give people they choice to do with it as they want. Embryos exhibit no sense of choice. They're no more human than tumors or parasites.. they have the potential to become such, sure, but so does a sperm if we give it the right conditions.

  27. I think they both have mommy issues. They identify solely with the fetus, while to them a women is just a disposable container for the sacred fetus.

  28. The journey from sperm & egg (in separate containers, human or otherwise) to new-born infant goes through a number of stages. Some of those stages (such as the moment of conception, closely followed by the moment of birth) are more dramatic – and almost magical – than some of the other stages.

    I'm pretty sure that there is widespread (although not total) agreement that at the sperm and egg stage people are pretty much free to do whatever they wish. I'm almost as confident that there is once again widespread (although again not total) agreement after the moment of birth stage that a human being exists, and it deserves all of the protections that we expect for ourselves.

    So the disagreement centers on at what point does the transition from sperm/egg to human occur. I gather that Gaunilon believes the moment of conception marks the transition, while others will argue that the transition occurs further on into the pregnancy, and is not marked (unfortunately for all of us) by a dramatic or magical moment.

    Isn't that almost the bottom line?

    • Sort of.

      I believe there's one other consideration here.. what can the government force us to do in service of the life of another.

      I draw the line somewhere before forcing me to use my organs to keep them alive. Gaunilon seems to feel that's okay.

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