Barbara Kay: Abortion should be about medical ethics, not Liberal politics

We need an abortion law, period — one that reflects the ethical concerns of Canadians, not the political concerns of Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence leave following a news conference in Ottawa on May 30, 2019.David Kawai/Bloomberg

Barbara Kay

June 4, 2019

U.S. vice-president Mike Pence made a trade-mission call on Canada in late May, fully inclined to emphasize the ties binding our countries. Justin Trudeau repaid his courtesy with criticism of new, restrictive state abortion laws, which are irrelevant both to U.S.-Canada trade and Pence’s federal status. Trudeau had much to lose if President Trump took this insult personally. Why did he do it? Likely, as columnist John Ivison opines, because with his poll numbers falling alarmingly, “Trudeau is desperate and nothing much else is working.”

Trudeau’s obsession with abortion puzzles many Canadians. It’s as if he never discusses the subject with anyone other than a cadre of radical feminists for whom belief in women’s right to abortion whenever and for whatever reason is the litmus test for any claim whatsoever to human decency. It’s as if he doesn’t know it has been almost 30 years since the Supreme Court decision in R. vs. Morgentaler directed Parliament to enact legislation that protected “fetal rights at some point.”

Is he even aware that abortion regulation is the norm amongst all other democracies? France protects unborn children after 12 weeks’ gestation, with exceptions for mothers’ life endangerment and severe, incurable disease in the fetus. Spain bans abortion after 12 weeks, with fetal impairment exception up to 22 weeks. Germany has a 12-week window, provided the woman receives counselling three days before the procedure. Likewise in many other European and Scandinavian countries. These nations are not ultra-conservative redoubts. They are amongst the most politically liberal countries in the world. Canada is the outlier.

Is he even aware that abortion regulation is the norm amongst all other democracies? 

According to the organization We Need a Law (WNAL), whose mission is to “mobilize Canadians and persuade our political leaders to pass laws that protect children before birth,” there are over 104,000 abortions performed annually in Canada. Of those, 15 per cent are performed after the first trimester. WNAL reports most Canadians are fine with first-trimester abortion, but only 40 per cent of us support second-trimester abortions, while 75 per cent of Canadians think abortion should be illegal in the third trimester. Of abortions for which the gestational age is known, WNAL estimates some 2,500 post-20 weeks abortions are performed annually. (The number is likely higher, but clinics, not hospitals, perform 75 per cent of abortions, and with no abortion law, they are not obligated to share data around them.)

Are those of us who want to see and discuss this data — many of us pro-choice in principle; I’m homing in on the details here — unfit to dine with Justin Trudeau? We look past ideology to recognize abortion is not a simple matter. Apart from the ethics of third-term abortion — arguably a form of infanticide — we get especially queasy at healthy potential girl babies being extinguished because they are girls, a phenomenon creating a demographic crisis worldwide, and a known pattern in certain cultural enclaves here. We’re offended as citizens that our prime minister actively encourages a chill on public discussion of this topic by branding us as misogynistic deplorables eager to bring back hangers in back alleys.

Sex-selection abortion is the practice of eugenics. The U.S. also has an abortion-related eugenics problem.

Sex-selection abortion is the practice of eugenics 

Progressives beat their drums loudly for racialized black Americans, but the history of abortion in the U.S. is also the history of the eugenics movement (we had our own here), with poor black Americans as the prime target for collective population reduction. In comments accompanying the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to take up the issue of Indiana’s new ban on abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas included some informative and disturbing remarks about the appalling linkage of abortion and racist eugenics in America. I encourage you to read it.

American eugenicists considered the black population a reasonable target for eugenics. Thanks to Margaret Sanger’s “Negro Project,” and Planned Parenthood’s vigorous encouragement, the reported nationwide abortion rate among black women is nearly 3.5 times that of white women. In some New York areas, black babies are up to eight times more likely to be aborted than white children. Thomas says the Court should not be wading into the issue right now, but it must at some point: “Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is duty-bound to address its scope.”

The U.S. needs to address the scope of an abortion law it already has. We need an abortion law, period — one that reflects the ethical concerns of Canadians, not the political concerns of Justin Trudeau. Mike Pence cares about unregulated abortion’s negative impact on women and black Americans. Our prime minister never permits himself to consider such outcomes, and bashes any of his fellow citizens who do. Who is the “extremist” here?

John Robson: Censoring free speech breaks faith with Canadians. Don’t go there

The most fundamental reason for allowing dissent is that we might be wrong. We’ve been surprised before

Censorship is not effective against bad ideas, though it can harm good ones, John Robson told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on June 4, 2019.Postmedia News

John Robson

June 4, 2019

The column below was adapted from John Robson’s testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on June 4.

It’s a pleasure and privilege to appear before you in defence of the fundamental human right of free speech. I know you’re very concerned about hatred and intolerance, and about how the internet too often seems to encourage our worst passions. But censorship is not the answer.

The state rightly restricts speech to protect us from force and fraud, prohibiting conspiracy to commit crimes, libel and slander, incitement to violence, or material misrepresentation. But government should not suppress any communication that does anything else, including insult individuals or groups.

Censorship might not sound to you like what you’re considering because it’s an ugly word and your motives are pure. But it’s the right word for any government effort to restrict freedom of speech except on the narrowest of grounds. And it’s an ugly word because it’s an ugly thing.

Censorship is an ugly word because it’s an ugly thing 

It is obvious that censorship in tyrannies is wrong because it represses the truth. But censorship in open societies does great harm because it famously cuts the rattle off the snake without removing the fangs.

The argument against censorship, even when labelled a hate speech ban, is not that its targets are always noble sentiments that only upset idiots and the hypersensitive. It is that in the battle of ideas truth will prevail, and that preventing the airing of ideas undermines truth and decency.

Here I’m profoundly indebted to John Stuart Mill’s 1859 On Liberty, which lays out three compelling arguments for permitting unpopular speech. Which is the issue here because freely elected governments almost never try to silence popular opinions.

Preventing the airing of ideas undermines truth and decency 

People are free not to listen, of course, as part of freedom of association. But politicians are not free to shut anyone up. And here’s why.

First, a strange or uncomfortable idea might turn out to be true. Naturally when you look at online hate you’re not worried about that possibility. But the most fundamental reason for allowing dissent is that we might be wrong. We’ve been surprised before. And once we start suppressing opinions, how shall we ensure that we only suppress errors? We are, after all, fallible humans.

Still, surely there are views on whose odious error we will stake our souls, if any. Like that Hitler should have finished the job or blacks are inferior. But the obligation tirelessly to confront and denounce such opinions brings me to Mill’s second ground for defending even the most obviously odious speech: the “Dracula effect.”

The danger of censorship is that it drives nasty ideas underground, into dank basements and ugly chat rooms where they breed and multiply unchecked. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

He didn’t call it that, writing 38 years before Stoker’s classic. But open societies are a gigantic wager that sunlight destroys evil, that truth has nothing to fear in a contest of ideas. The great danger of censorship in tyrannies is that it drives truth underground. But its great danger in democracies is that it drives nasty ideas underground, into dank basements and ugly chat rooms where they breed and multiply unchecked. It even allows haters to appropriate the mantle of martyrdom. So censorship is not effective in practice against bad ideas, though it can harm good ones.

Which brings me to Mill’s third point. If we accept orthodox opinions without ever hearing them challenged, even when they are correct we tend to accept them as stale dogmas not living truths. But when we hear them defended, or defend them ourselves, we develop a deeper and more lively appreciation of their meaning which then informs and enlarges our lives as well as preparing us better to refute them when we do hear them.

Censorship is not effective in practice against bad ideas, though it can harm good ones 

If you censor speech, you break faith with Canadians because you say we are not to be trusted with dangerous ideas and your job is to save us from ourselves. In which case it is impossible to understand why we should be trusted with ballots.

It is a perilous thing to arrogate to yourself the power to silence ideas you find disagreeable. And the appetite grows with the eating.

We already have too many restrictions on free speech in this country, including the outrageous rule that during elections a free people may not communicate freely with their fellows about issues under debate. And to say that certain kinds of speech are so hurtful as to constitute assault is to infantilize us, saying we can neither tell right from wrong nor withstand an insult.

We already have too many restrictions on free speech in this country 

If taken seriously it means forbidding all but the narrowest of currently fashionable orthodoxies. If you call any criticism of homosexuality hate speech, you run the real risk of making Catholic doctrine illegal, and taking your stand with Nero and Stalin.

When you forbid speech, even with the purest of motives and the vilest of targets, you undermine the search for truth, encourage errors and lies, and dull your own wits. And you break faith with the citizens who entrusted you with political power.

Do not go there.”

Hatred of women creeping into public debate, Trudeau tells equality conference

Arwen~ LOL…yeah right.

Translation – Anything that is not “progressive ” in nature or ideology is considered abhorrent views according to Trudeau and is tantamount to hate speech. 
Still think Trudeau believes that “diversity is our strength”? Think again.

Justin Trudeau

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta looks on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a panel at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver, Monday, June 3, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press 
Published Monday, June 3, 2019

VANCOUVER — Gender equality is under attack and, in the age of social media, it’s never been easier to taunt and spread abhorrent views, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a global conference on the issue Monday.

Trudeau, who was in Vancouver for the opening address of Women Deliver 2019, said that hatred is creeping in the public debate, with interest groups trying to roll back women’s rights, while politicians are giving into the public pressure.

“The rights we enjoy in Canada, and the rights so many have enjoyed around the world, are not guaranteed. Progress can backslide,” Trudeau said.

“We’re seeing it happen. Gender equality is under attack, and I can only imagine how hard it is to be a feminist on the front lines.”

The prime minister didn’t say what he was referring to, although last week he said he planned to talk to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence about the growing number of American laws that restrict abortion.

The Trump administration has also reinstated a policy known as the “global gag rule,” which bans U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations abroad that provide abortion services. Shortly after the U.S. adopted the rule in 2017, the Trudeau government committed $650 million for sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide.

Trudeau said the history of women’s rights shows that every step forward is met by another push back, and women are still routinely facing misogyny, racism and hatred.

He said politicians are “shamefully” campaigning to undo women’s hard-won victories.

“That’s a daunting reality to face. My friends, we are not powerless. It’s up to us to fight back,” he said.

He also spoke to the crowd about the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, saying Canada can and must do better to end violence against all women.

His remarks were interrupted by a woman in the crowd who cried out, “Then do something!”

Another yelled, “Shame!”

Despite the brief outburst, the crowd loudly applauded when he acknowledged that the report concluded that violence against Indigenous women amounted to nothing less than a genocide.

“Let me be clear, our government will always be your partner, willing to admit when mistakes are made and working very hard to build a better future for all our children,” Trudeau said.

“My friends, I know and you know that we can’t take our foot off the pedal, not even for a moment. There’s simply too much at stake. Canada’s leadership isn’t going anywhere.”

Women Deliver is a global advocate for gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of girls and women. The four-day conference is billed as the world’s largest event advocating for those rights.

The conference was attended by world leaders, including the presidents of Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia, who joined Trudeau for a panel discussion following his speech.

Panel moderator Lyse Doucet, a BBC journalist, commended Trudeau for being one of the first world leaders to describe himself as a “feminist” and bring in a gender-equal cabinet.

But she noted he had a “tough year,” given that he brought “tough women” into his cabinet, and asked how it had affected his feminism.

Former cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott were kicked out of the Liberal caucus this year after they alleged the Prime Minister’s Office had pushed for Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to avoid a criminal trial.

Trudeau said the experience has increased his feminism and made him think differently about it.

“Feminism and diversity and inclusion is not about making things easier. It often makes things a little more difficult,” he said. “To have strong voices sticking up for different perspectives means you’re going to get challenged, means you get to challenge back, and you get to try and figure out what the right path is forward.

“No one person has the monopoly on all the right answers, regardless of their gender, regardless of their background, regardless of their position as prime minister.”