No changes brewing on abortion, Coleman says

Andrew Robinson
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Next N.L. premier maintains personal views not driving political agenda

The lone candidate remaining in the PC leadership race is attempting to end speculation suggesting his eventual actions as premier will negatively affect a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Frank Coleman

“I do not have any intention to dictate any change in any current public funding models or any policy that would have a negative impact on the rule of law with respect to abortion in this province,” Frank Coleman told

The Telegram late Monday evening.

“I don’t intend to find ways to exact any control over people’s choices. That’s not me, and I don’t intend to impose my views on people.”

Coleman confirmed last week in an interview with The Telegram he has attended the Right to Life event every year. He could not attend last Friday due to travel commitments.

In a statement released last Friday, Coleman said his family’s participation in the event “is a result of shared beliefs on the value of every human life.”

After news broke on Good Friday of his family’s participation in the walk, social media debate swirled, with many wondering whether Coleman’s views on abortion would inform his work as premier. The story has since attracted national media attention.

Coleman’s future as the next premier of Newfoundland and Labrador was more-or-less confirmed last week after Bill Barry, the first person to formally declare his candidacy for the PC leadership, announced he was quitting the leadership race.

A spokesman for a Newfoundland and Labrador group advocating for restrictions to abortion access said Monday Coleman’s position of power could present an opportunity for the pro-life, anti-abortion movement.

“The pro-life movement is certainly gaining momentum, and when we see an individual such as Frank Coleman stepping forward, we see this as a good thing,” said Patrick Hanlon of Pro-Life Newfoundland and Labrador. “We certainly welcome all pro-life politicians and look to them as hope for the future.”

However, Hanlon also indicated Coleman appears to be at odds with himself on the matter.

“We believe he still is intrinsically pro-life, but why he would make such a statement — it is puzzling. We believe that you cannot hold one view privately and another view publicly if you have a good informed conscience.”

In Coleman’s view, taking part in an event such as the Right to Life walk is not an entirely political gesture.

“You may call that political, but it’s also sort of support for saying that there are options that exist,” he said, speaking with The Telegram by phone from Toronto, where he was attending business meetings.

Asked about the the interest his views on abortion have attracted publicly, Coleman stated he has not shied away from the issue since it was first brought up.

“It’s an emotionally charged issue that has society debating the issue on all sides. I certainly don’t look down in any kind of negative way on people who have a different view than I do.”

At a point in time where most people in Newfoundland and Labrador are still in the early stages of getting to know the man who will most likely become the next premier, Coleman hopes the public is ready to move on to other issues.

“I obviously am a pro-life supporter. I believe in what I believe in and I’m not ashamed of it. I think that if the people of the province can accept that I have a personal view and still consider that there are other issues that I am being elected to act on, then I think that’s a good thing.”



Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Colette Fleming
    April 23, 2014 - 23:58

    The group status, size doesn't matter; it is standing for the unborn who are being lead to slaughter by abortion is the mission pro-life groups are called to by Jesus Christ. Be not afraid and stand for what is right even if it means sometimes you have to stand alone. Poor judgment Derek and a shameful and slanderous attack on Patrick.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 23, 2014 - 18:38

    So what about the cabinet? How do they feel about abortion? I'd like to hear from Charlene Johnson.

  • jim
    April 22, 2014 - 19:38

    another religious bigot. When are people gonna learn?

    • Tim
      April 23, 2014 - 09:39

      Why is he a bigot? A bigot applies labels to people based on ethnicity, language, beliefs, and so on. Aren't we doing the same when we call this guy a "religious bigot" because he has a view on something I don't agree with?

  • Anna
    April 22, 2014 - 17:30

    Frightening. His promises not to change current government policies and funding models regarding abortion are not enough. Women in this province need better access to abortion, not a stay-the-course approach to the issue. Only three of the province's fourteen hospitals currently offer abortion services, leaving all of Labrador and many parts of the island without access. It is the provincial government's responsibility to provide meaning to women's legal right to abortion by ensuring reasonable access across the province.

  • Jared
    April 22, 2014 - 13:14

    Time for this guy and the entire conservative party get the boot.

  • Herry
    April 22, 2014 - 11:00

    This communist should be thrown out or terminated !

  • Jessie
    April 22, 2014 - 10:33

    Seems to me Coleman is trying to sit on the fence...that has got to hurt. Not sure if he's a God fearing man, but if he is I'd urge him to read Galatians 1:10 and Matthew 10:33 - and then ponder the implications. I'm not his judge, but from where I stand it 'seems' he is being privileged to be in a position where he can take a tangible stand for the underdog , and instead He's choosing to turn his back on them. Sad indeed. I hope he doesn't turn out to be another Jonah, and try to run from a God-given mission....or he's in for a rough ride.

  • Red
    April 22, 2014 - 09:24

    If he doesn't want to impose his views on anyone then why does he attend the prolife rallies all the time? That's exactly what those people try to do. Same old same old with the PC party, they will never change and why people keep voting them in is beyond me.

  • Morris
    April 22, 2014 - 07:08

    ANY CHANGES BREWING RE DEMONATIONAL SCHOOL SYSTEM? THAT IS THE IMPORTANT QUESTION, since Coleman does not support it. He founded a catholic private school in corner brook in opposition to the new system years ago !!!

  • R Hollett
    April 22, 2014 - 05:27

    What other issues? Other then 'stay the course', whatever that is, we have no idea what the man stands for on any other issue.

    • Rob H.
      April 22, 2014 - 07:19

      That's the same thing people are saying about Dwight Ball.

  • Derek Nowak
    April 22, 2014 - 05:27

    This 'group' is not a charity. Is it even incorporated? Who are its members? Who does Patrick Hanlon represent other than himself? Quoting Patrick Hanlon to fill-out an article is sensationalism and removes all integrity from the story. It illustrates a desire to create a story rather than report on the news. Frank Coleman is an intelligent man and I am sure he will pay no heed to Patrick Hanlon or his ramblings. That any journalist would spill ink on Patrick's views is astonishing.

    • carol barron
      April 23, 2014 - 17:06

      Mr. Coleman should take his cue from Norm Doyle who always won at election time and never compromised his pro-life position. He is truly an honourable man - I wish he was running for Premier I would vote for him in a heartbeat. By the way abortion stops a beating heart and the most basic human right is the right to life itself.