One year after being made available in Canada, Health Canada regulations restricting prescribing the abortion drug Mifegymiso, including requirements that they be distributed by doctors not pharmacists, that prescribing doctors take a ten-hour training course, and that physicians witness patients take the drug in person, were all lifted. Furthermore, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan announced they will fully cover Mifegymiso under provincial drug plans.
Canada loosens Mifegymiso restrictions link
9. Two leadership candidates endorse National March for Life
Every year, a half dozen or so MPs and senators speak on Parliament Hill before the National March for Life, but this year Conservative Party leadership candidates Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux officially endorsed the National March for Life. They were the first leadership contenders of any party to endorse the March during a leadership campaign. In messages taped for the official National March for Life promotional video, Trost said, “I’ve been proud to speak at the March for Life for the past 12 years. It is always encouraging to see so many people who believe in the sanctity of life. See you there in May.” Lemieux said, “I am very excited to be a part of the 2017 National March for Life. This great event has been an annual highlight for my family and me … I am honoured to be joining tens of thousands of pro-life Canadians on Parliament Hill who stand on guard for life.” The May 11 event was the 20th annual National March for Life and the 2017 theme was “Life: We Stand on Guard for Thee,” to help mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. More than 15,000 people participated in the 2017 march. Trost, Lemieux for CPC leader link
8. C-16 becomes law
On June 15, before the summer recess, C-16, “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code,” to add gender expression and gender identity to the country’s hate crimes laws and special human rights protections, was passed in Senate by a 67-11 vote. C-16 was approved by the House of Commons in November 2016. During hearings in May and June, experts including Professor Jordan Peterson warned parliamentarians that C-16 would be used to justify limits on free speech in order to silence critics of controversial gender theory. Conservative Senator Don Plett, a leading critic of the bill, tried to amend C-16 to prevent the mandatory use of particular words so that critics of gender identity and gender expression would not be compelled to refer to biological males as she or biological females as he, or be forced to use made-up pronouns. Plett’s amendment was rejected as supporters of C-16 said worries about freedom of speech and expression were cover for transphobic opinions.
Senate holds hearing of C-16 link
7. Wilfrid Laurier University punishes TA over pronoun debate
Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, was officially reprimanded by her professor and the school’s acting manager of the “Gendered Violence Prevention and Support” program for showing her class a clip of a televised debate on the use of gender neutral pronouns. She was castigated for showing the video of University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson, who opposes compelled speech such as pronoun requirements to refer to self-identifying transgender individuals as “zie” or “zher” or the singular “they,” without first denouncing Peterson’s views. After social media reaction to the hearing forced WLU to back-peddle and apologize, the school announced they would investigate the hearing, in which Shepherd was compared to Adolf Hitler.
University police allow abortion advocates to silence pro-life speaker link
6. Outpouring of support for Mary Wagner
In August, Ontario Court of Justice Rick Libman said Mary Wagner could submit character references before sentencing the next month after he found her guilty of mischief and breach of probation. The request was publicized by Campaign Life Coalition and in the Polish media, and more than 34,000 emails, 850 letters, and 67,000 petition signatures were submitted attesting to Wagner’s good character, including many who said they would have appreciated being stopped from making the mistake of having an abortion by someone like Wagner. Libman said not all letters were admissible and sentenced her to community service.
Outpouring of support for Wagner ahead of sentencing link
5. Manitoba enacts conscience protection
In November, the Manitoba legislature passed Bill 34, the Medical Assistance in Dying (Protection for Health Professionals and Others) Act, giving conscience protection to all health care workers including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. The law states that any health care practitioner can refuse to provide euthanasia or assisted-suicide and may refuse to aid such procedures, including referrals. The law also prohibits professional regulatory bodies from making any rules that require health care workers to violate their consciences in end-of-life care. Campaign Life Coalition called the law a model for other provinces.
4. Donald Trump brings back Mexico City Policy
In February, U.S. President Donald Trump re-enacted the Mexico City Policy, an executive order first implemented by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, that bars international organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Mary Stopes International that provide or promote abortion from receiving U.S. taxpayer funding. President Bill Clinton rescinded the policy in 1993, president George W. Bush brought it back in 2001 only to have president Barack Obama scrap the rule again in 2009. Trump’s policy went further than Reagan’s and Bush’s, banning international agencies, like the UN’s Population Fund, from receiving U.S. funds. Trump reinstates Mexico City Policy link
3. Justin Trudeau vows $650 million for foreign abortion funding
On March 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government would provide $650 million from the existing foreign aid budget over the next three years to provide abortion in the developing world, but also to lobby foreign governments to liberalize their abortion laws and to engage in cultural activities to change local values to be more accepting of abortion. Canadian taxpayer dollars would also go to sex education for youth and providing contraception. This pledge was repeatedly highlighted as the government trumpeted its feminist foreign policy and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau stressed that “reproductive rights” would be central to any humanitarian aid and refugee support Ottawa provided.
Justin Trudeau announces $650 million for global abortion, contraception link
2. Pro-life involvement in politics
Pro-life and pro-family Canadians were engaged in the political process and were decisive in winning nominations at the provincial and federal level, obtaining enough signatures to qualify the new Ontario Alliance as an official political party in Ontario, Jason Kenney’s uniting of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties in Alberta, and the better-than-anyone-expected showings of Conservative Party leadership contenders Brad Trost (fourth) and Pierre Lemieux (seventh). Trost and Lemieux brought in more than 20,000 members and according to a Campaign Life Coalition analysis of the leadership vote, their supporters’ vote for Andrew Scheer over Maxime Bernier on the final (preferential) ballot helped put the former speaker of the House of Commons over-the-top. Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes says “the pro-life and pro-family vote is routinely under-estimated and dismissed but time and again their votes impact elections, from riding nominations to leadership races and general elections.”
1. Ontario passes bubble zone law
Less than three weeks after the government introduced Bill 163, An Act to enact Safe Access to Abortion Services, the Ontario legislature passed the law on Oct. 25 in a 86-1 vote. The law states that all abortion facilities, as well as the homes of abortion workers, have an automatic 50-meter bubble zone preventing any pro-life witnessing or counseling. Other locations that commit abortions, including drug stores that dispense abortion pills, can apply for a similar bubble zone. Furthermore, any facility or abortionist can ask for the bubble zone to be expanded to 150 meters. Pro-life groups complained that the bill infringed freedom of speech, expression and assembly. Abortion advocates claimed bubble zones are necessary to protect staff and clients, although they did not produce evidence that their safety was at risk. The Ontario Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats called on the Liberal government to expedite passage of the bill. Ontario legislates anti-free speech bubble zone link