The analysis by Rev. Abello of Saskatchewan’s Bill 53 (see September Interim) attempts to defend an initial bad decision by Campaign Life Saskatchewan, who called a news conference during the Bill’s debate to announce that they could not support Bill 53. Needless to say, their position caused much confusion and assisted our enemies in deferring passage of the Act.
The article of Rev. Abello refers to three objections to the Bill:
The name – the name “An Act Respecting Freedom of Informed choice Concerning Abortions in Saskatchewan” was chosen to confound the pro-abortionists, not the pro-lifers! Surely it is the substance of the Bill that matters, and besides, I understand the name will be changed to “An Act Respecting Abortions,” in any event.
The second objection was that if the Bill is passed, our enemies will say that women are informed prior to an abortion when they are not. In point of fact, they assert that women are informed now. Furthermore, if a woman is not informed prior to the performance of an abortion, the hospital and doctor would leave themselves open for a legal action.
The third objection was that the committee is naturally biased and an unreliable conveyer of truth to women. In Saskatchewan, however, not all therapeutic abortion committees are the same. Some are more conscientious than others. At present, only the doctor recommending abortions provides any information, so that even if the therapeutic abortion committee completely ignored the law, the patient would not be any worse off than at present. That being the case, then the most one could say is that this aspect of the Bill is neutral and of no help whatsoever. However, there are numerous other Bills passed by the Province of Saskatchewan dealing with such topics as agriculture and tourism that do not end all abortions either. No one now objects to these Bills because they do not end all abortions.
Rev. Abello concluded that on the whole the Bill would not contribute to the pro-life cause. Completely overlooked in the analysis are the following:
- Under the Bill the woman requesting an abortion must make a second trip for a second opinion. The second opinion may not be better than the first – but it could be. Furthermore, there was specific information required to be given to the woman.
- Section 6 required a 48-hour cooling-off period after the information has been given to the woman. You must be aware of the fact that some women make their decision to abort very rashly, and would change their minds if they had more time to think about it.
- A member of the therapeutic abortion committee must take greater interest in the patient, meeting the patient face to face. For the first time, the woman may be receiving information on the alternatives to abortion.
- The Act required the consent of a husband. Does this not contribute to the Pro-Life cause?
- The Act required the consent of a minor’s parents. Does this not contribute to the Pro-Life cause?
- It provided the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Movement with an opportunity to mark score cards on our MLAs before the next provincial election, and force them to make a public commitment.
I gather the primary objection to our Bill is that it was not pro-life enough. Most trees are not felled with one swoop. We are prepared to take what we can, and go back to the well for more. Furthermore, if pro-life people withhold their support until some MLA proposes a Bill that pleases every pro-life person in Canada, we will be waiting for a long, long time for any pro-life legislation.
Incidentally, we in Saskatchewan feel our strategy is in good company. This is basically the same Bill promoted by the Right to Life groups in the United States, notably Pennsylvania, Illinois and Arizona, and is presently before the Supreme Court of the United States. On the other hand, the opinion of Mrs. Darbellay and Rev. Abello is shared by Planned Parenthood and a wide coalition of homosexual and radical feminist organizations.
Hopefully, they will reappraise their positions.