Third and final reading on Bill C-43 will begin on May 22. The Mulroney government hopes the Commons will pass the re-legalization of abortion before the end of the month.
IT will be just over 21 years that the original approval in principle of abortion in Canada took place. On May 13, 1969, the House of Commons approved an Omnibus Bill (C-150), which included abortion. At that time it was a Liberal government under Pierre Trudeau that took this most fateful decision in Canada’s history. Never before had a government approved the killing of unborn babies.
The 1969 legislation still contained certain restrictive conditions. Despite them, close to a million and a half human lives were snuffed out under its provisions.
Today, in 1990, it is a Conservative government which is determined to pursue the evil path of its predecessor.
New legislation became necessary when the conditions under which abortions were permitted in 1969 were stuck down by the Supreme Court in January 1988. The Court ruled them out of order as contrary to Section 7 of the Charter of Rights.
Instead of seizing the opportunity to restore the honour and conscience of the nation by prohibiting the killing of the unborn, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney decided to opt for the pro-abortion side, thinking it politically expedient. For six years he maintained to the world and himself that he was basically “pro-life” though refusing to touch the legislation which permitted the mass killing. Today he is the driving force in favour of a renewed approval of abortion in principle. This time there are to be no conditions at all, other than the provision that the killing must be done by medically authorized personnel.
Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, the national pro-life organization active in the political arena, summed up the situation with the simple note: “Abortion corrupts; legalized abortion corrupts absolutely.” Quoting former abortionist Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, he said, “Future historians will judge this society to be one of the most brutal in the history of mankind.”
As we now know, Hughes pointed out the abortion controversy has adversely affected politics, medicine, law, the police, religious institutions and above all, women. In short, abortion has affected everything most worthwhile in society. Violent crime is on the rise everywhere.
Smoke and mirrors
Bill C-43, says Hughes, gives the impression of making abortion illegal by putting it in the Criminal Code. But all pro-life leaders in Canada agree that this move of putting it in the Criminal Code is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Bill C-43 provides no restrictive conditions – “health” being open to the widest possible interpretations.
This means that “Bill-C43 is even worse than the previous law which we worked for 20 years to remove,” he said.
“It is hard to believe,” Hughes noted, “that when pro-life lawyers have determined that it is possible to pass a totally restrictive law, a Conservative government doesn’t see fit to at least make it one of the options for MPs to vote on.”
It is astonishing that this Bill C-43 is sponsored by a Conservative government which claims to have such different principles from the intellectual and moral liberalism of Trudeau, he observed.
It shows how thoroughly Mr. Mulroney has transformed the Conservative party, much in the same way Pierre Trudeau radically changed the Liberal party.
Another ugly feature of this latest battle, the pro-life leader observed, is Mr. Mulroney’s strategy to subvert the individual conscience of the pro-life PC’s. First, he ordered Cabinet members to support Bill C-43 in the name of cabinet solidarity. Then, he made it clear that parliamentary secretaries are to fall in step.
Now, in the last gasp of pushing through this odious legislation, he has virtually ordered all Conservative MPs to close ranks and get it passed un-amended. Anyone who dares to speak up for the unborn child in line with an informed personal conscience is threatened with ostracism or worse. In the name of “freedom of choice” Brian Mulroney is coercing pro-life Conservatives to violate their consciences.
On being asked whether he thought it strange that both pro-life and pro-abortion activists want Bill C-43 defeated, Hughes responded, “Politics make strange bedfellows. It so happens that we are doing it for totally opposite reasons, they because they want a woman’s right to kill her baby; we, because we look to the future for a new law prohibiting this killing.”
If the Bill is defeated, says Hughes, the chance for new positive legislation is not farfetched. “Look at Eastern Europe. Within less than six months, the political situation appears to have been totally reversed. Political opinions can be changed very quickly.” This is our hope and trust he said, and the focus of our work to come.
At this moment, Mr. Hughes noted, “Canada needs the backbench PCers. They must reject the blandishments of those trying to coerce them. We hope and pray they will do so. Justice demands nothing less.”