In the past The Interim has published a number of articles concerned with the pro-abortion bias of Canadian newspapers. We feel it is our duty to continue to draw readers’ attention to this feature if for no other reason than to raise awareness about the nature of the Canadian media.
The pro-abortion bias in Canadian media, especially the press, is expressed in three different ways; editorials, columnists and articles.
In July the editorials in Canada’s largest newspapers, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail,
Montreal Gazette, La Presse, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald have been pro-abortion without exception. The Toronto Star published no less than six editorials (from July 1 to August 9), all in support of women’s freedom to abort their unborn babies.
Among the many columnists of these papers, perhaps as many as 40, The Interim knows of only two who are pro-life Trevor Lautens of the Vancouver Sun and syndicated columnist Claire Hoy.
Newspapers are more careful about news reporting. Some attempt is made by almost all of them to present both sides. But there are many ways to skin a cat. A number of the July news articles look like “objective” reporting, but on closer inspection are found to quote three, four or five pro-abortion “sources,” against on or, at the most, two pro-life sources.
Another way of slanting is to select one’s “experts” exclusively from among pro-abortionists and print articles by them as if they represent the only objective “expert” opinion.
The following is a potpourri of such experts quoted in the month of July. Our selection is from among “women’s” voices, “lawyer and law professors and a few others for the sake of interest.
Nothing will be said her about the views of professionals pro-abortion feminists quoted endlessly in the papers as “sources of information”: Robin Rowe and Norma Scarborough (CARAL), Manon Bouchard and Michelle Egmont (Quebec abortion coalition), Kerry McCuaig (NAC), etc. Only four feminists will be mentioned briefly.
Judy Rebick is a former Ontario NDP leadership candidate. On July 7 she represented NAC, demanding that Ontario’s Attorney General Ian Scott censor Judge O’Driscoll. “The decision treats Barbara Dodd like a walking bomb.” She said. “This is slavery. We are all one judge away from losing our liberty…”
Rebick proves to be employed by the Canadian Hearing Society. Clayton Ruby immediately engaged her to be court interpreter for the hearing-impaired Barbara Dodd.
Rebick, who in earlier days was a spokeswoman for CARAL and the Morgentaler abortuary, obviously was in a key position to work with Clayton Ruby, Morgentaler and CARAL to seek the overthrow of the O’Driscoll ruling and further the Dodd abortion. On the day of the decision Ruby and Rebick flanked Barbara Dodd on the left and right, each holding an arm, marching her into the court room.
“Experts” Kieran Crean, Landsberg
Sheila Kieran is the author of The Family Matters” Two centuries of Family Law in Ontario (1986). On July 124 she was asked by the Globe to state her opinion. She explained she was worried by all the litigation and also by the fact that Mr. Justice W. Gibson Gray, in overturning the “Driscoll judgment did not do so on grounds that women have a right abortions. (Globe, July 18)
Susan Crean is author of In the Name of the Fathers: The Story behind Child Custody(1988). Upon request, she interpreted the court injunctions as an anti-feminist backlash of “family fundamentalism” and a “new militancy of fathers.”
Michelle Landsberg, wife of Stephen Lewis and a long time feminist champion of “reproductive rights,” is author of Women and Children First. When asked to comment, she saw the current litigation as a battle for power. “It’s all about control. It’s really a comment on how angry and frustrated men are over the areas that used to be under their control.” (Globe, July 15)
The three women illustrate how ideology rather than “expertise” dictated their responses.
One feminist-dominated organization is the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. For a long time it was – or pretended to be – a more moderate voice than its rival NAC, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. But no more. It is a government appointed body subsidized to the tune of tens of millions of dollars over the last number of years.
Its president is Mulroney-appointed Sylvia Gold, a committed pro-abortion NDPer. “I am stunned,” said Gold upon hearing of the Quebec Appeal Court decision. “What does this mean? It’s pretty disastrous….” “The government she said, “must ensure access to abortion.” She demanded that access to the killing of the unborn be made the mandatory through the Canada Health Act. (Ottawa Citizen, July 27)
In New Brunswick, feminist Jeanne D’Arc Gaudet, head of the provincial Advisory Council, was also shaken. She had thought that the killing of the unborn was alright protected by the Quebec Charter. “That’s clearly not so and I have to wonder, where does that leave the rest of us?”
Three weeks earlier Gaudet had attacked the U.S. Supreme Court decision. At that time Moncton Advisory Council member Roselle Melanson charged the poor were being prevented from getting an abortion.
In Quebec, another member of the Canadian Advisory Council, Ginette Busque, explained in a letter to the Montreal Gazette that the Council “considers that reproductive choice is an equality issue.” She complimented syndicated columnist Don McGillivray for his July 6 column “Court abortion rulings put women’s right in peril.” (Gazette, July 12)
If anyone wondered what stand the Advisory Council took on abortion in the past, the above quotes should settle the question the present.
Allan Hutchinson (Osgoode Hall, Toronto) together with his research assistant Lisa Fishbayn, produced a pro-abortion tirade under the guise of analysis in “A step toward womb control” (Globe, July 6). Mr. justice O’Driscoll’s July 4 injunction, this law professor states, brings a lot closer the “horrific vision of women as walking wombs in the service of the state.”
Hutchinson restates the falsehood that the January 28, 1988 decision of Canada’s Supreme Court established “that a woman has the constitutional right to control her reproductive right.” After denouncing judge O’Driscoll’s “moralism” and hailing Judge Bertha Wilson’s defense of woman’s reproductive rights (in the January 28, 1988 ruling) Hutchinson concludes: “The sane and just response is to pull the plug on this rising tide of moralism and to consider seriously the idea of giving women control over their own bodies.”
Another legal expert “expert” who has a direct entry into the media is Harold levy, a member of the Toronto Star’s editorial board. Here he joins such pro-abortion feminists as Lois Sweet and Susan Pigg.
In an article entitled “How Quebec judges let Daigle down” (July 29), Levy uses some 1400 words of expert knowledge to attack the character of three judges, accusing them of incompetence, insensitivity, ducking their responsibility and plain stupidity for not considering “the serious effects…on Quebec society.” He concludes that “the courts have no business butting into a matter as personal as the continuation or interruption of a pregnancy.”
In its July 19 edition, the Globe produced a news article typical of pro-abortion newspapers which consult only lawyers and professorial ‘experts” who are themselves pro-abortion: first there is Clayton Ruby; then the above-mentioned Allan Hutchinson, who is followed by Jack London, law professor at the University of Manitoba.
London is frequently called upon to comment by the CBC. In the Globe news article he is quoted as saying: “What we are seeing is the worst part of giving judges power. Ultimately, judging becomes an exercise in personal political preference, rather than a logical and reasonable development for the legal system.”
The article proceeds to quote from Sandra Rodgers, a University of Ottawa law professor. She reveals her views by acknowledging that the recent decisions have caused her to reverse her long-standing opposition to having any law on abortion. In a second Globe article, Montreal lawyer Jacques Shore (of Heenan, Blakie) earnestly recommends that the government accept the latest proposals of the Law Reform Commission. Like many others, he describes these proposals as “reconciling” competing interests of mother and fetus. They do nothing of the kind.
One may go on from there. On June 24, Michael Mandel who teaches at Osgoode Law School managed to denigrate the Viens ruling as “absurd” in an otherwise non-abortion article about the “notwithstanding clause.” Another newspaper quoted the spokesman of the Law Union of Ontario, Bob Kellerman. He calls the Quebec Appeal Court’s ruling “Neanderthal” and “a demonstration to the Canadian people that the law can be used to make women into reproductive slaves.” (London Free Press, July 27)
There is Clayton Ruby, Morgentaler’s Toronto Lawyer for civil cases (Morris Manning is Morgentaler’s lawyer for criminal law.) Ruby described the Quebec ruling as “based on the language of Christian fundamentalism, not on the language of the law.” (Montreal Gazette, July 29).
Another law professor at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall, Bruce Ryder, also protested the Judge O’Driscoll decision. He declared it “quite a reckless decision in the absence of any law gibing rights to any potential father or fetus,” adding “it’s an outrageous interference of women’s rights.” J(C.P. Vancouver Sun, July 6)
Let us note one more law professor and “expert” frequently quoted by the CBC and other media. Sheilah Martin is law professor at the University of Calgary. She illustrates as well as anyone the connection between pro-abortion feminists and law professors.
Martin is the author of a recent 84-page study on the rights of provinces under the Canada Health Act. The study was prepared for the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, whose views have been noted above. This Council obviously would not ask a pro-life lawyer to prepare such a study.
Martin recommends that the government declare abortion an essential medical service. The government, she writes, should amend the Canada Health Act to ensure all women have equal access to abortion. Otherwise provinces may renege on their duties to provide such services.
Let us conclude with two other examples of “sources” quoted. On July 7m, spokesman for Metro’s (Toronto) Labor Council, Bette Egri, said the O’Driscoll judgment meant that “we are nothing more than wombs or holding crates.” She demanded that Ontario’s Attorney-General publicly denounce the ruling. (Star, July8)
Finally, Patrick Powers, president of Planned Parenthood of Montreal, commented on the ruling of Judge Viens as follows: “This is a court becoming a pregnancy enforcer….This is worse than what’s going on in the United States.” He further called the ruling “the worst possible thing that could happen. We’ll be fighting like a dog…(Montreal Gazette, July18) And he added that a member of Planned Parenthood would foot the bill for Daigle if she had to go out of the province to get an abortion. (Vancouver Sun, July 18) The above is only a selection of the numerous pro-abortion statements – many from local spokesmen – found in papers throughout Canada. However, the Toronto Star, I think, surpasses them all. In the month of the Toronto Star carried 89 articles, 20 editorials or opinion pieces and 69 news stories related to abortion. Of the news stories, eleven pushed the pro-abortion cause almost exclusively; only one was devoted to reporting the pro-life side of the issue. Eighteen of the opinion pieces or editorials were pro-abortion, one defended Judge O’Driscoll’s injunction and only one opinion piece rejected abortion – a guest column in favour of adoption by Laura Goldstein.