Debates on the items of Private Members Business are set out in the order of precedence established by draw. A motion by Gus Mitges, PC, seconded by Gordon Taylor, PC, is now on the Order of Precedence. The motion – M29 – reads as follows:
“That in the opinion of this House, the Constitution Act of 1982, should be amended in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include a human foetus or unborn human being.”
It is expected that this motion, which would restore legal protection to the unborn child, will be debated in mid-September. At the time of writing it is not established whether it will be “votable.” However, it will provide an opportunity for MPs to show their support for the lives of pre-born babies by their presence and participation. Pro-life groups and individuals are urged to write their MPs and add their support for Mr. Mitges and his motion M29.
Meanwhile, the abortion issue is not being forgotten in Parliament. Petitions for action to close the illegal abortion clinics and to strengthen the Criminal Code so that the law would be enforced have been presented by Mrs. Pauline Browes, PC (Scarborough Centre); Don Blenkarn, PC (Mississauga, South); Keith Penne, Lib. (Cochrane-Superior); and A.H. Harry Brightwell, PC (Perth).
On Mary 21, 1986, John Oostrom (Willowdale), referred to the Ottawa coroner’s jury recommendations following the tragic death of a girl caused by an abortion which was not properly approved. He asked whether changes, based on the jury’s recommendations were being contemplated. The Hon. Jake Epp in reply said that such recommendations go to the Provincial authorities. Speaking of Therapeutic Abortion Committees he added, “I think all of us in this House, regardless of what side of that difficult social issue we might be on, expect those committees to function within the ambit of the law. That was not done, and I would hope that the people responsible for those committees will take note of the coroner’s report which was very specific.” Ian Scott and the Ontario Government, please note!
On June 3, 1986, Gus Mitges PC (Grey-Simcoe) condemned the Canadian Medical Association’s policy summary on abortion as a “combination of contradictions, distorted facts and mistruths.” He asked: “How can a doctor in all conscience sign a death certificate for a patient who makes a fist, sucks his thumb, hiccups, who feels pain, and who has a strong heartbeat? Yet a baby in a womb with all these capabilities can be killed by a doctor at any state of pregnancy. Doctors should have no part in killing human beings.”
On June 4, 1986, Sven J. Robinson, NDP (Burnaby) spoke for the pro-abortionists, and denounced the disbandment of the only therapeutic abortion committee in Prince Edward Island, which action he claimed highlighted the inequalities in the provisions of the Criminal Code regarding abortions. Before he reached his time allotment he made a statement which requires clarification. “On June 2 the Minister responsible for the Status for Women responded to the National Action Committee on the Status of Women that he would take initiatives to ensure uniform delivery of abortion services across Canada.” A number of questions spring to mind. On whose authority did the Minister – Hon. Walter McLean – make this statement? Is the PC Party behind this promise to NAC, which is strongly pro-abortion and left-wing politically? If so, why?
On June 12, 1986, Mr. Jim Jepson (London East) made a strong appeal for the lives of pre-born babies and for the rule of law: Mr. Jim Jepson (London East): Mr. Speaker, on April 24 I asked the Minister of Justice (Mr. Crosbie) about a tragedy which occurred recently in Ottawa. On January 23 of this year a young woman underwent an abortion at a Ottawa Civic Hospital, but died because of complications arising out of that procedure. The report of the inquest revealed that the Criminal Code provisions respecting abortion had been all but ignored by hospital officials on the therapeutic abortion committee who had been given the very serious responsibility of protecting the right of unborn children.
Under our laws abortion is illegal. This reflects the fact that it is morally wrong for a pregnant mother to kill the child she is carrying. Our laws do, however, make an exception where a mother’s life or health is in danger in the opinion of the experts on a therapeutic abortion committee. Should a woman decide she wishes to consider an abortion, she can present her case to the committee for consideration and discussion.
At the Ottawa Civic Hospital, the interpretation of this law has been irresponsible in the extreme. No one connected with the hospital’s therapeutic abortion committee seemed to know when this specific abortion was approved. Apparently it was already listed as approved on the day of the operation, two hours before the committee was to meet. Last year the Civic Hospital committee approved every application for abortion put before it, approximately 2,000 in total.
There can be no doubt that Canadian families, women, and unborn children are being victimized by a rubber stamp process of approving abortion requests. This has to be the most serious moral issue facing Canada because of the more than 65,000 deaths from abortion each year. We are fooled by the argument about the women who become pregnant through rape or incest. This year those situations accounted for approximately 150 pregnancies. Does this justify 64,860 other abortions? Obviously not.
The situation as it is now is policy making by default, since no one is taking any responsibility for enforcing for existing laws. All to often federal and provincial governments are content to say that action lies in the jurisdiction of the other. It is up to the federal government to demonstrate the intent of the federal legislation and encourage consistent and responsible application of all its provisions in all our provinces and territories.
We have a law which is not obeyed, as we can see from the free-standing abortion clinics, or is abused by the hospitals which provide virtual abortion on demand. To leave such a status quo in place ignores our responsibility to provide workable laws for a just and orderly society. This is the law, but when hospitals and provincial agencies do not interpret its provisions as they were intended, it leaves the door open for the ongoing perpetuation of injustice. That is what is happening.
It is not the tragedy of one woman’s death that we are condemning the committee for. Of course, she might well have lived with her baby if the committee had been responsible and met with her to discuss the merits of her case. The real tragedy of this case is the fact that there are literally thousands upon thousands of cases where a rubber stamp is all that is needed to end the life of an unborn child.
No one in Canada can say that there is not a special value to the life of an unborn child. Indeed, all must acknowledge that foetal life has a very special value. It is because of this brief that we have therapeutic abortion committees with the job of ensuring that the utmost recognition is given to the potential o f the unborn child. It is quite reasonable to require the most compelling justification for a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Therapeutic abortion committees are not established to remove the obstacles to a woman getting an abortion. They are there to ensure that the abortion of a pregnancy is a last resort when the state of a woman’s health leaves no other option.
I congratulate hospital officials in Prince Edward Island, who last week announced the decision to dismantle that province’s last therapeutic abortion committee. If other provinces and the federal government do not have the initiative to adhere to the workable legislation in this area, the hospitals of P.E.I. are doing the right thing by protecting the rights of unborn children.
The federal government should make it clear to the provinces what we expect from them in concrete terms. I hope the Minister of Justice will take the leadership in this issue so that our Criminal Code can continue to provide protection for the lives of all Canadians, including unborn children.
In that vein I would urge the Minister of Justice to encourage the Attorney General of Ontario, Ian Scott, to close the second abortion clinic opened last week in Toronto in total defiance of the law. We cannot and should not tolerate this act of defiance if we are to expect Canadians to respect our judicial system.