TORONTO - It is an uncomfortable topic. If one begins a discussion of the issue, whether the parameters are “moral/religious”, medical/scientific or simply economic/political, emotion will override rationality.
That’s the way it is with abortion. Consider that the Supreme Court of Canada came to a decision in 1989 that the act of an abortion is a medical issue - full stop. Thirty years ago. The Law could no longer be used to ascribe “criminal behaviour” to those who sought or performed the procedure.
That has not stopped people from continuing their advocacy for, or against, the act and its place in our culture.
Religious adherence to one side, it is difficult to dismiss the fact that, individually and collectively, the conventions we establish as the compendium of who we are, one way or another, can be traced to our treatment of what is alive and what is human. Two basic criteria from which “rights”, as we know them, flow.
Emotions become a part of the public debate, no matter the tactics used to elevate or repress it. It is not hard to see why.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), a government agency, estimates that, in the last seven years, hospitals and private clinics have performed between 94,030 and 108,844 abortions annually. In 2016 the number was 97,764 – 268 per day, or one every 5.37 minutes.
One cannot base an argument on statistics derived from estimates that are flawed with inaccuracies because not all clinics and hospitals have refined, or adhered to, a reliable and consistent reporting timetable. However, for illustrative purposes, it is not unrealistic to extrapolate that, since the 1989 Supreme Court decision, somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000,000 have occurred in Canada.
This represents a not insignificant economic expenditure by the public treasuries: $1.2 billion base on an average cost per procedure of $400 (2019 value).
Still, rather than fall from the arena of public discourse – which the 1989 decision was expected to produce – the movie industry has thrown it back into the political field with abandon.
According to a CBC report aired Tuesday, some 2,800 stood in line to await a pre-screening of Unplanned. If the “trailers” are any indication, they would explain why pro-abortion/pro-choice advocacy organizations invested heavily in attempting to secure court orders to prevent a showing of the movie. They have not been successful.
I may come across as cynical, but Hysteria and Hyperbole are never in short supply. Who will produce legislation which content reversing 30 years of practice will then also survive the inevitable Supreme Court challenge? How will that go? Yet, then Opposition Leader Justin Trudeau, in 2015, made the signing of a document disavowing any pro-Life position a pre-condition for candidacy under the Liberal banner. In 2018, then PC Opposition Leader Doug Ford compelled Tanya Granic-Allen to step down as a candidate for his party, because of her strong pro-Life statements. Her support had been crucial to his leadership run and her positions well-known and well articulated.
It seems the political world cannot survive without outrage, real or imagined. Unless one lives in the USA or in the state of Alabama where the politics of the extreme is practised as a matter of course.