Greater Access Should Be the Only Issue Regarding Abortion

Greater Access Should Be the Only Issue Regarding Abortion

Abortion has emerged as a wedge issue as the federal elections approach in October, and Canada’s ethnic media are paying attention.

According to Can India News, a South Asian Mississauga-based newspaper, one issue the Liberals have been criticized for is their use of women’s rights, especially access to abortion, to draw “sharp contrasts” between their party and the Conservatives.

“Nothing is fair in love and politics, and despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisting he won’t go near divisive issues, voters would like our political parties to stake out their positions on, well, divisive issues,” the article stated.

Unfortunately, the Liberals chose to bring abortion up as a wedge issue rather than an inclusive one that promotes increasing access and support for women. Pakistan Post, an Urdu newspaper in Toronto, noted that Justin Trudeau has crisscrossed the country by warning about the dangers of electing a Conservative government. He is “shouting from the rooftops” that everything from guns in the streets to abortions being outlawed and the healthcare system being slashed could happen if Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives are elected, according to Pakistan Post.

However, the Conservative Party is in the spotlight of the issue, too. After Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released a 2005 video of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer speaking against same-sex marriage, Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, shared her concerns about Scheer re-opening the abortion debate with free votes on anti-choice issues. Joly then tweeted a video clip of Scott Hayward, co-founder of anti-abortion group RightNow, highlighting Scheer’s position.

“While some Conservatives say the abortion debate is closed, this new video proves Scheer tells anti-choice activists the opposite,” Joly said on Twitter.

Vancouver-based Chinese website Van People jumped on the issue, asking what the Liberals’ election talking points are during this time of environmental insecurity and economic anxiety. The source stated the following: “That Andrew Scheer is scary. He’s scary because he does not support a woman’s right to abortion, and because he seems to harbour some sort of animus toward gay and transgender people. It’s also reasonable to conclude he doesn’t want to be around gay people at all, given his refusal to take part in Pride parades.”

Bringing Green Party leader Elizabeth May into the fray, Goniec, a Polish newspaper in Toronto, reported that in 2006, May generated some controversy by saying she is against abortion and that she didn’t think a woman has a “frivolous right to choose”.

People gather at the California State Capitol to rally in support of abortion rights. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

But rather than attacking a politician’s previous views on same-sex marriage or abortion, we should instead be discussing how to increase access to abortion in Canada and how we can provide further support for women choose to do so.

Some ethnic media sources fear that there is a risk of abortion being repealed in Canada. CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning, a Montreal-based radio program, gave its opinion on this matter, commenting that although the Conservative Party is saying that it has no plans to reopen the abortion debate if elected, it will not be able to prevent its members from doing so if they wish. The source added that such a scenario is virtually guaranteed, given the number of pro-life MPs on the Conservative team.

Along these lines, some ethnic media outlets highlighted the fact that pro-life groups aren’t pleased with Scheer regarding his stance on the issue. Radio CINA 1650 AM News at 9 a.m., a Hindi program in Toronto, reported that anti-abortion groups are angry with Scheer’s stance on the issue of abortion.

Including ethnic media in the conversation enables Canada’s multilingual voices to equally participate, as the country discusses election issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Our initiative helps connect demographics and diversity with democracy in order to promote the inclusion of all Canadians in the upcoming federal elections.

Let’s hope that our political leaders put aside their attack tactics and get back to focusing on issues that matter to everyone, such as jobs, the environment, housing and supporting our communities, one aspect of which includes providing greater access to abortion instead of using it as a wedge issue.

Written by Blythe Irwin, with files from

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