Justice Minister Kim Campbell is fortunate intellectual fraud isn’t a crime.  If it were, she’d likely be joining former Tory colleagues who were convicted for swindles of the indictable persuasion.  That seems the only verdict reasonable people could reach after reading a circular Campbell sent out recently counseling doctors on avoiding the hoosegow under her pending abortion law.

If there’s one thing even rancorous opponents in the abortion debate should be able to agree on at last, it’s this 10-page document setting out the abortion law’s “philosophy” is “Exhibit A” in this political con game.

When the game began with introduction of the abortion bill last November, Campbell said the act “struck a balance” between access to abortion and “society’s interest in the fetus” – an entity many ordinary Canadians call an unborn child.

One year later, Campbell’s note to the nation’s docs makes it clear that promise of “balance” was never anything more than a cruel joke.  Nowhere in the Justice Minister’s 10-page philosophical whoop-whoop is “interest in the fetus” so much as mentioned.

What is mentioned, repeatedly and very bluntly, is that the real purpose of Campbell’s bill is to make abortion fully legal and universally accessible.

Her document makes it clear the legislation unabashedly moves Canadians from the status of the 1969 law which made abortion available under specific circumstances, past the “decriminalized” phase which followed the 1987 Supreme Court ruling to a radically different situation where all medically performed abortions now enjoy total legal protection.

“Under the proposed legislation, doctors would have the added protection of the legal recognition that abortion is a lawful medical procedure,” she says.  “The new law will expressly recognize the legality of abortions performed by doctors.”

Where before it was necessary to satisfy the state that an abortion was necessary, now the onus is on the state to show it is not needed.  That situation can be summed up in one three-word phrase: Abortion on demand.

Under this new law, anyone who wishes to abort at any time is as legally entitled to have the procedure performed as she is to have a troublesome appendix removed.  As a matter of fact, according to this document, the “routine medical procedure” of abortion is justified even without the minimal medical requirements of a garden-variety appendectomy.

“With regard to a woman’s health, a doctor would consider all of the consequences of failure to induce an abortion, not just the continuation of the actual pregnancy.  For example, social factors and personal aspirations could be considered in relation to a determination of health,” Campbell says.  The single, chilling, phrase “personal aspirations” puts this whole document, and Campbell’s legislation, into proper perspective.

Some women may “personally aspire” to have smaller noses, some to erase facial wrinkling and others to end pregnancies.  All, it appears, are now legally equivalent. Abortion, a source of moral turmoil for a great many Canadians, is now another brand of cosmetic surgery.

Granted, there are many, many Canadians who find that position perfectly acceptable.  There are many, many others who do not.  Those people were promised a balance.  They were told their honestly-held views would be considered, their beliefs would be respected.  They were told abortion would be returned to the Criminal Code.

Well, technically it has been.  It just carries all the legal weight of one of those anachronistic laws banning loud nose blowing, while riding side-saddle down Main Street on Sunday.  That is outright duplicity.  That is the kind of political dishonesty which should be denounced from all sides in this debate.

Both morally and practically, even those who might consider themselves on the “winning” side of this political shell game are losers when the country’s Justice Minister can freely commit this kind of intellectual fraud.  After all, a hallmark of any con game is that the tables can always be turned when the swindler chooses.