Last week, Jim Abbott was quite insistent that “no one” wanted to debate the issue. Today, Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth told aid groups to “shut the f— up.” Glen Pearson, meanwhile, lends a firsthand perspective to the debate we’re not advised to partake in.
This is what makes all the hoopla circling around CIDA’s decision not to fund groups that undertake abortion procedures so maddening. Maintaining a pro-life decision in Africa often results in the death of expectant mothers. I have listened to the debates and realize that both sides have their legitimate arguments. The problem is that Bakhita died because we argued so vociferously that we eventually forgot her. She perished because we live in a political world in Canada that plays more to our party base and retail politics than it does to a woman dying in her family home after great personal suffering and loss.
There is something remarkably unheroic about this. A government suddenly decides after 25 years of international practice that it won’t fund a group that could have helped Bakhita. Yet at the same time, it doesn’t possess the courage to live its morality at home in Canada because to do so could result in an election loss. All the fervent pro-lifers in the governing party practice their ethics on a poor woman far away in Africa, yet refuse to stake such a claim at home because in the end it never is about Bakhita but about power. Their pro-life stance ultimately led to death.