Abortion debate takes a financial turn

Josh Pennell
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Campaign Life Coalition argues tax dollars would be better spent on doctors, nurses

It was a slightly different message to hear from Margie Hynes, president of Campaign Life Coalition — Newfoundland.
“It’s one thing to have an abortion, but it’s another thing to expect someone else to pay for it.”

Margie Hynes, president of the Campaign Life Coalition — Newfoundland, stands in support of the “Defund Abortion” campaign. Across the street, two people of the opposing opinion hold signs, one of which reads “Abortion is health care.”
— Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

It was something of a new approach in fact for the opponents of abortion gathering at the Confederation Building in St. John’s on Saturday. There was less of a moral edge to their message and more of a financial one.

The signs being held and waved at cars passing on Prince Philip Drive had slogans like “Defund abortion,” “Not from my wallet!” and “Kill babies with tax dollars?”

Of course, the moral issue was still at the heart of the debate, but the “Defund Abortion” campaign, which was was kicked off on Saturday and will be taken up by supporters across Canada is calling on all concerned taxpayers to rally together, rather than only opponents of abortion. A release from the coalition states that $1 million annually is used to fund elective abortions and that same money could be used to hire five family doctors or 14 nurses.

Hynes was front and centre at the Confederation Building on Saturday. For her, the argument for defunding abortion isn’t a new one.

“Years ago I remember when I used to do my tax return, putting in on my tax return that I opposed my tax dollars being used to support abortion,” she said. “We believe that it’s not medically necessary and we believe it’s a lifestyle choice. And that our health-care dollars shouldn’t be used for this.”

Any time the Campaign Life Coalition are out in force, the Voices for Choice — NL group are invariably on hand to offer a counter opinion. Though there were fewer from that group on hand than the 25 or so people the coalition had standing along the the parkway sidewalk with their signs, the Voices for Choice group was much more vocal. They stood behind the Campaign Life Coalition on the grass before the Confederation Building and chanted slogans such as “I asked God — she’s pro-choice,” “Keep it funded. Keep it safe,” and “No back alleys in the night — for safe choices we will fight.”

Janelle Skeard, the founder of Voices for Choice — NL, said in response to the “Defund Abortion” campaign her group had started a “Defend Abortion” campaign.

“The costs associated with childbirth are on average four times higher than those associated with abortion, not to mention the social costs associated with forced motherhood,” she said.

She said human health, and the funded health care needed to maintain it, is about much more than just fighting a disease, and the argument that abortion is an unnecessary procedure is a moot point.



Organizations: Confederation Building, Voices for Choice, Campaign Life Coalition

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Rose
    October 01, 2013 - 18:43

    Unless you are in the situation you will never understand! I too was strongly against abortion ...... Until one day when it was the only way I felt I could turn. Don't judge until you walk in our shoes. FYI... Abortions are only done up to 10 weeks at the HSC.

  • Richard
    September 30, 2013 - 17:55

    We all make choices in our life be they right or wrong (who are we to judge). If we stopped funding everything one doesn't agree with our deficit would be non exsistant... Why not just get you child spaded or neutered if you don't want them growing up and having abortions

  • Phil
    September 30, 2013 - 12:46

    This is what I found funny about anti-abortionists. They will stand outside abortion clinics, fighting for the life of an unborn child, tell the mother they are committing murder. But as soon as that child is born, the "right to life" crowd become the, "My tax dollars will not pay your welfare cheques", "this chlid is not my problem", "go get a job and raise your kid" crowd. To all these holier than thou people who want women to give birth and raise a child they may not want or may not be able to afford to raise or have the capacity (proper housing, job, resources, etc) - put the sign down and help and raise these kids you so desperately want to see born. If these anti aboritionists gave a damn about the children they are saving, they would be helping these mothers raise their kids - BUT THEY DON'T.

    • Agreed
      September 30, 2013 - 15:19

      I agree. If they want to make an argument based on dollars and cents, do a little research into the number of kids as a result of "unwanted pregnancies" that end up in our welfare system. Compare the millions of our tax dollars that are used to support these people to the amount used by MCP to fund abortions. I'm pro-choice, and I do think abortion is often used as a back up method of birth control. But don't use tax payers money as a slogan.

  • Harvey
    September 30, 2013 - 12:05

    I will never agree to funding for abortion with the public's tax dollar. Prevent pregnancy with the many ways of doing so.

    • Lee
      October 01, 2013 - 09:08

      How do you propose a woman prevent pregnancy if she has been raped?

  • Brett
    September 30, 2013 - 11:22

    This is just a redirection because the main argument against abortion is losing. As to cost - it costs less to have a fetus aborted than to have the fetus come to term, and left for eventual adoption. Crime rates have come down significantly since abortion has become more socially acceptable. It has been proven that there is a link between unwanted pregnancies coming to term and the people those fetuses eventually become being drains on society.

    • Tim Jamison
      September 30, 2013 - 15:34

      By that same logic, we should be executing all criminals. I mean, their rate of criminality is even higher than that of the poor, isn't it? (the fact that you're advocating eugenics for the poor is making me taste vomit in the back of my throat)

  • santo
    September 30, 2013 - 10:56

    There is a huge difference in someone who's life is threatened because of a pregnancy, and someone who chooses not to proceed with a pregnancy due to a personal choice. If a woman's life is in danger, than it is not a normal healthy pregnancy, and it has to be terminated. If it is a healthy pregnancy, there is no medical reason for it to be terminated, it is a choice. As for the comment about other lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.., than all I have to say is WOW, To compare a woman's choice to terminate a healthy pregnancy for no other reason than she wants to (no illness, or threat to health is present) has made my jaw drop! Really?! I am a woman, I've had a baby. I don't believe in an abortion for any reason other than medical, and that includes rape! Why?? because that baby that results is an innocent victim! To kill him/her because of someone else's violence seems to me to continuing the violence. With so many people out there unable to have children, and are eager to adopt any child, regardless of how they were conceived, I would think that a woman's choice to carry that child and choose to give that child to a loving home would be a hero, and make that act of violence into something heartwarming, and full of joy. There are lots of choices. Seems abortion is the copout... remember I say that for a health viable pregnancy!!

    • moejoe
      October 22, 2013 - 15:36

      I agree! thank God there are still some sane people out there.

  • Tim Jamison
    September 30, 2013 - 10:41

    Abortion should be funded by our healthcare system. It is an elective treatment in most cases, but it is a life-altering elective treatment that allows people to manage their lives and become stable adults who raise children in the wealth setting of their choosing. That being said, we do need some actual abortion laws put in place, just like every other industrialized nation has. Abortions should only be legal in the first three monthes. After that time, a baby is being murdered. Ever seen a 5 or 7 month old baby moving around on the viewscreen at the hospital? It's alive and it's a baby and the fact that we have lunatics cutting their heads off after they're born is insane and murderous. If an abortion becomes medically neccessary in the 8th month, than by all means do it. But choosing to murder a baby because you procrastinated or changed your mind at the last minute should not be a choice that is available to you. You can leave babies at various places, no questions asked. There is no wait to give up for adoption, only to adopt

  • Jocko
    September 30, 2013 - 10:14

    It's time for the prolife crowd to mind their own business. What gets me is how these people seem to think they are the moral police and that everyone else should do as they say. You may not like someone else's choice but it's none of your business what another person does to their own body. What's next? A campaign to stop men from getting a vasectomy? Where do you draw the line? Who are you to tell another woman that she must have a baby? How do you know the baby is not sick with some horrible condition or that the woman was raped? Why force someone to have a child they don't want? Are you going to care for that child? Don't tell me someone else will care for it. There are already to many unwanted children. What will we do in the future? With the worlds population ballooning by 100 million per year, there is going to come a time when the world cannot support all these people. What then? Your religious morals would have us keep bringing children into a world that are not wanted nor can they be supported. So as I said, mind your own business and stop trying to force your beliefs on others.

  • mainlander
    September 30, 2013 - 10:01

    These people are taking a page from the far-right wing playbook in the U.S. I'm pretty sure that people having abortions are also taxpayers. People without cars have tax dollars that go to highways. People without kids have tax dollars that go to schools. Everyone has an objection to something their tax dollars go to. You don't get to pick and choose. That's a weak argument. It works well with uninformed "muricans, but Canadians are smarter than that. I don't want my tax dollars going to a house full of youngsters people didn't want and can't afford. And with respect to late term abortions, people don't decide at 22 weeks they don't want the baby. Terminations that late in the pregnancy are for medical reasons for people who planned to carry to term. Why make this horrible situation harder?

  • Calvin
    September 30, 2013 - 09:29

    Yeah, this is a bit of a stretch. I think abortion should only be an option for someone who was raped, plain and simple. If you are old enough to make the choice to have sex, then you are old enough to deal with the consequences. With that said, that is only my belief, and saying abortion is wrong because tax dollars are paying for it is a poor argument. If you started denying health care and medical procedures to people based on their lifestyle choices, then you would start turning away a lot of people. Obesity causes as many health risks as smoking, but I don't see anyone standing around waving signs to stop caring for people who decide to eat fast food.

  • Villergirl
    September 30, 2013 - 08:09

    "The costs associated with childbirth are on average four times higher than those associated with abortion, not to mention the social costs associated with forced motherhood" TOTAL cop out! Forced Motherhood? BE careful, Don't have unprotected sex.. If you want to be "pro choice" that is fine.. but if you MUST at least be responsible for your own bodies. Abortion shouldn't be an easy way out! I am all about pro choice but I do NOT believe in using abortion as birth control.

  • paul
    September 30, 2013 - 07:51

    I am firmly pro-choice but I do feel that there needs to be clear laws about when an abortion is legal or not...at what stage of fetal development should abortion no longer be permitted? or is this already clear in the law?

    • margaret Hynes
      September 30, 2013 - 13:03

      There are no laws in this country on abortion - it exists in a legal vacuum since 1988. Abortion can be done for any reason or no reason at any time during the nine months... and paid for with our tax dollars. As well, we all need to educate ourselves and form an opinion as to when we think life in the womb begins and worthy of protection.

    • Laura
      September 30, 2013 - 19:28

      Each province has a set limit for abortion procedures, it's usually between 16-20 weeks. Doctors also have their own code of conduct and do not do late term abortions unless necessary (hence less than 2% of abortions occur after 23 weeks).

    • suzie
      September 30, 2013 - 22:08

      Oh Margaret, you so need to be informed. There isn't a single doctor in this country who will perform an abortion when the fetus becomes viable - which is 24 weeks. The reason the gov't of Canada is not pushing to reopen this debate is because there is truly no need. Providers self-regulate, as they have been doing since 1969 (with approval from a medical panel) and 1988 (when abortion became available on demand). Just as surgeons self-regulate. For example, an oncologist may not treat a cancer patient if the cancer has progressed too far. A cardiologist may not do open hear surgery if he believes the patient cannot survive surgery. An abortion provider self-regulates and refuses to do the abortion if the patient is too far into the pregnancy. With respect to cut-off dates: Fetal pain is not felt until 28 weeks, when the myelin sheath is fully developed, and brain waves are not detectable until 24 weeks. Hence, it is not a sentient being until 24 weeks. At that point, no provider in Canada will perform an abortion. Prior to 24 weeks, it is a living thing, like a tree, flower, grass. It is NOT aware and does not feel pain. The woman, on the other hand, is a sentient being and does feel. She needs to take care of herself and, in many cases, the children she already has. Only that woman knows what is best for herself and her family. Who are you to sit and judge? If anybody needs education, it's you anti-choicers.

  • Christine C
    September 30, 2013 - 07:34

    Guess they're finally realizing that the majority of the population isn't with them on their moral high horse, so it's time to look for another angle. Everyone loves a good "misspent tax dollars" story, after all.

  • Ashley H
    September 30, 2013 - 07:08

    There are many, many lifestyle-related diseases that are funded by tax dollars, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. If we fund the treatment of these lifestyle-related conditions, then what makes abortion any different?

    • Portia
      September 30, 2013 - 09:55

      Those diseases are not always "lifestyle-related". Medical science has shown that many of these diseaseas are often caused by inherent traits passed down - type 2 diabetes, in particular is strongly genetic. Many skinny active people have diabetes. I know of young people with cardiovascular disease in their thirties and early forties who lived modest lifestyles and were otherwise shocked by the illness. Abortion however is totally by choice, and since there is a strong moral element as to whether or not it is right, then tax dollars should not be used to fund it.

    • Ashley H
      September 30, 2013 - 16:49

      Of course those diseases are not always lifestyle related, but for the majority of people, they are. We all know or have met young people who live with these conditions, but is it my place (or anyone's place, for that matter) to inform them of their inferior decisions when it comes to the food they choose to ingest or the activities which they choose to partake in? Morality is an extremely grey area, and I personally think that the bigger issue here is to recognize that in the case of abortion, rarely is the situation black or white, rather, the situation resides in this grey area.

  • Joe
    September 30, 2013 - 06:52

    Why doesn't someone start a "Defund Roads" campaign? Looks like a last desperate try to change message.

  • Dee
    September 30, 2013 - 06:07

    You are right our tax dollars should not pay for this,but do you stand outside the cancer clinic with your signs telling peopleif they hadn't smoked then your tax dollars would not be used for their treatment,or maybe you don't care aout that,I know not everyone who get treatment for cancer smoked but most had,the same with alcoholics getting treatment,people who are trached,people doing the medadone all on our tax dollars.

  • Fred
    September 30, 2013 - 05:57

    Janelle Skeard you are something else. Childbirth cost more the abortion? Using that rationale then we should kill off the sick, elderly and disabled and retain only the perfect specimens of life like your ilk.

    • Suzie
      September 30, 2013 - 19:27

      Fred... Janelle didn't advocate for killing anybody. It was the anti-choice group that brought 'financial' issues up. Janelle simply stated a financial fact. Fetuses are non-sentient. They are aborted prior to nerve endings being established, prior to brain wave activity. NOT SENTIENT!! The people you refer to are sentient humans and nobody would advocate for harming them. Stop trying to read into the argument and turn it from abortion to euthanasia. The two are VERY different.

  • Choice not Necessity
    September 30, 2013 - 05:56

    If abortion is a "choice" it is NOT "medically necessary." Taxes should pay pay for things that are medically necessary. Abortion is just a choice, like many elective procedures. Except for extreme circumstances, someone will not die or suffer ill effects if they do not have an abortion. People might retort mental health, but the same can be said for many elective things people have to pay for. It is not right that somone can have a "choice" paid for by MCP, but things that are needed like eye care, dental work, or some drugs have to be apid for out of pocket.

    • Jiliana2
      September 30, 2013 - 08:51

      Unfortunately I know many women/couples for whom abortion is most definitely NOT a choice. Those who have been told that their fetuses have a variety of conditions that will not permit them to live outside the womb. Or what about those who were raped and become pregnant? Let's not forget the mothers' whose lives are endangered because of carrying fetuses that are not implanted properly in the uterus either; for without an abortion, both fetus and mother would perish. I advocate for true CHOICE... because honestly, sometimes the choices are too difficult for many of us to truly fathom.