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Movement grows against anti-choice motion

Michelle Robidoux

May 18, 2012

On April 26, an anti-abortion motion by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s had one hour of debate in Parliament. A second debate is scheduled for June 8 and a vote on June 13.

The motion—which seeks to establish rights for the fetus as a bridgehead to roll back abortion rights—is unlikely to gain a majority of votes in Parliament, as Harper balances between playing to his anti-choice base and denying any intention of recriminalizing abortion.

But this is no reason to be complacent. The motion is the latest in a series of back-door attempts by the Conservative to curtail women’s access to abortion.

Since 1991, when the last attempt to recriminalize abortion in this country failed, anti-choice politicians have attempted to use “stealth” to erode women’s reproductive choice. No government has had the confidence to take the issue head on.

That is because despite the claims of anti-choice bigots, more Canadians today believe that it is up to a woman to decide whether she will carry a pregnancy to term or not. In 2010, an Environics study showed that 74 per cent of Canadians agree with the statement that “every woman who wants to have an abortion should be able to have one.” This is up from 66 per cent in 2000.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote on June 13, pro-choice activists are now mobilized and angry that abortion rights are facing renewed attacks. A pan-Canadian day of action is in the works for the fall to highlight the lack of access in many regions in the country—especially in P.E.I. and New Brunswick—and to unmask the anti-choice agenda of Harper’s Conservative majority.

For updates on pro-choice mobilization visit Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

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