NDP and Liberals compete for pro-abortion vote

With media reports of an imminent provincial election in British Columbia – the government must call one by June – the NDP and Liberals are fighting over the pro-abortion vote, a tactic that has limited the options for the province’s pro-life voters.

The NDP is staking out ground as arguably the most pro-abortion government in Canadian history and Liberal leader Gordon Campbell is promising to maintain the abortion status quo, leaving many B.C. pro-lifers looking to the newly created Unity Party.

Premier Ujjal Dosanjh has recently boasted of his government’s pro-abortion record and has attempted to attract abortion supporters with ridiculous claims that the Liberals would reverse the gains the pro-abortion movement has made in that province under the NDP. In a February 27 television broadcast Dosanjh said a “fundamental issue to me is protecting a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body and about abortion.” He added, “Our government helped make a woman’s right to choose a reality.” He reiterated these statements in the March 14 throne speech.

The NDP’s astonishingly pro-abortion record since 1991 under Premiers Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark and Dosanjh includes:

  • legislating bubble zones through the B.C. Access to Abortion Services Act, prohibiting any pro-life demonstration within 50 meters of an abortuary;
  • abolishing local, democratic control of hospital boards in order to stem the influence of pro-lifers and replacing them with regional boards that answer to the provincial government, not the community;
  • requiring every region to have at least one hospital that provides abortions;
  • taking the unprecedented step of asking Health Canada to invite the French manufacturer of RU-486 to apply for permission to market the abortion pill in Canada;
  • providing funds for the security at private abortuaries;
  • becoming the first province to allow pharmacists to dispense the abortifacient morning-after pill without a doctor’s prescription;
  • funding of the militantly pro-abortion Pro-Choice Action Network; and
  • forcing a Nelson, B.C., doctor to commit abortions as a condition of allowing him to practice in that city.

One wonders what Dosanjh could possibly have in mind when in his TV broadcast he said “B.C.’s commitment to a woman’s right to choose will be tested as we take steps in the coming months to further strengthen that right.” Sadly, the Liberals will do nothing to reverse the trend of increasing access to abortion. According to columnist Vaughan Palmer(in the December 12, 2000 Vancouver Sun and the January 6, 2001 National Post), the Liberal Party will maintain the abortion status quo if elected. Palmer quotes that “a Gordon Campbell government is not changing policy on access to abortion services.”

In its February newsletter, Campaign Life Coalition B.C. Asks, “Could it be any more clear that a Liberal government would be no better than the NDP?”

Campbell, Palmer reported, believes abortion is “medically necessary” and that it is “not on our agenda.” But if it were to become part of the agenda, Campbell said he would not allow free votes on abortion, that he would “treat any attempt to challenge his position on abortion as a matter of confidence.”

CLC B.C. president John Hof told The Interim Campbell has long championed free votes for MLAs but has suddenly changed his mind and made an exception for abortion. “He is telling his caucus their views on abortion cannot be different from his own, which is very strange considering he has spent eight years talking about more power for the MLAs who represent the people.”

In an open letter published in February, Hof called on Campbell to clarify his statements, but there has been no response. Hof told The Interim that one must conclude that Campbell is serious in his determination to maintain the bubble zone and the regionalized hospital boards, and to continue to push abortifacients such as MAPs and RU-486.

That puts B.C. pro-lifers in a quandary. Hof said pro-life candidates within the Liberal Party should still be considered by voters who recognize the sanctity of all human life and that Liberal MLAs who have demonstrated their pro-life convictions “should not be abandoned,” but he added that they must somehow allay fears by telling voters how they would stand up to Campbell.

In his February broadcast, Dosanjh said, “I am concerned that there are well organized efforts underway by some of Mr. Campbell’s supporters in the anti-choice movement to turn back the clock,” promising to “fight to ensure that a woman’s reproductive rights are safeguarded and never taken away.” Hof said that Dosanjh is using abortion as a wedge to divide the Liberal Party. “The NDP and Liberals agree on most issues. They [the NDP] are hoping to create division within the Liberal Party and exploit it for political gain.”

The Unity Party was formed from a coalition of smaller parties, including the pro-life Family Coalition Party, to provide a united conservative front. It is led by Chris Delaney, whom Hof describes as having “a solid commitment to life.” Among the Foundational Principles of the new party is a recognition of “the right to life, which must be respected and preserved at all stages.”

CLC B.C. will be sending a questionnaire to the candidates and voters can call (604) 534-4828 for candidate information once the election has been called.