Motion 312 is defeated. A select group of unknown experts will not be deciding when life begins, which eventually would have reopened the abortion debate.
The people elected to represent Canadians demonstrated that, as Gordon O’Connor, chief government whip for the Conservative Party of Canada said, “No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against abortion, abortion cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition.”
Women will always seek abortions. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives women the right to life, liberty and security of the person.
This means that they have the right to receive unbiased medical advice and safe medical procedures, including abortions.
Minister Rona Ambrose, the minister for the Status of Women, voted in favour of Motion 312.
In her explanation of why she chose to support Motion 312, she raised the issue of abortion for the purposes of sex selection.
Sex selection abortion occurs because, on a global level, sons are preferred.
Globally, land rights usually fall to sons, men have greater economic opportunities, the responsibility for aging parents falls to the sons, and daughters require dowries.
Globally, as long as women do not have equal rights, there will be sex-selection abortion in favour of sons.
Minister Ambrose is in a very strong position to work towards setting a global example of a country where some women won’t feel as if though sex-selection abortion is their only choice.
By better understanding the root cause of sex-selection abortion, the minister will also better understand why some women feel an abortion, whether for sex selection or not, is their only option, while other women feel an abortion is the best of many options.
There will always be women seeking abortions.
They have a right to decide what to do with their bodies.
Increasing the options
Rather than taking away choices, we need to ensure that women have as many options as possible.
The Status of Women department’s priorities are to work towards increasing women’s economic security and prosperity, and focusing on ending violence against women.
By effectively working on these
priorities, women will be empowered to make the choices that are right for their unique circumstance, free from external interference and coercion.
Right now, parenting isn’t an option for some women who would otherwise choose it.
By effectively working on these priorities, parenting can become one of the options considered by some women.
Costa Kasimos is executive director of Planned Parenthood — NL Sexual Health Centre.
He writes from St. John’s.