When the three liberals voted against the LPC motion last week I decided to send a couple of them an email. Although their reasons seemed obvious at the time based on what I have read about the gentlemen here or elsewhere, I thought I should at least ask the simple question. Their responses appeared to be personally crafted and I guess not surprisingly contained very similar language and justification. I will not post their emails but I would like to share my responses to those emails or at least a compilation of my replies.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.
Unfortunately I've always had a difficult time seeing things in black and white and although I somewhat envy your resolve and self confidence in describing yourself as Pro-Life, I personally refuse to label myself Pro anything in this debate.
It may be my naivety, but the pro-life label, simply and somewhat maliciously infers that those who disagree are pro-death which is logically and obviously not the case. No one is rooting for abortions here. Alternatively the pro-choice label infers that the other side is offering no other choices except the completion of a pregnancy regardless of the cause of that pregnancy or the risks to the woman's health or life and the ongoing care of her existing children, which I can not believe that any sane Canadian would support. I guess that might make me a Pro Choicer in your books.
My personal experience with abortion is thankfully limited. I have only known two women who have had an abortion. The most recent was married, in her forties and the decision to have an abortion although not made lightly was more for economic reasons than possible health affects. She is a christian, believes in a god and continues living her life with her husband and children.
The other was a talented and young, eighteen year old girl that I went to school with, too many years ago. After getting pregnant for the second time she wanted to have an abortion. Her first pregnancy at 16 resulted in a child that was put up for adoption. She was never told if it was a boy or girl, as her parents thought it would be easier for her to forget the whole incident and move on with her life. Although she may have been considered somewhat frivolous with her favors even for the sixties, she could not and would not go through that again. Something her devout family and not so devout boyfriend would accept, as they refused to help her. We combined our cash and paid for her abortion. She too was a christian and went on to have a successful career, got married, raised a family and according to my last communication with her is now a doting grandmother,
My point is that both women were fortunate to live in Canada and even as far back as over forty years ago were able to choose to end an unwanted pregnancy. They had a choice. It wasn't like that for my mother's generation. Only the rich could afford abortions, with the majority of women being forced to leave town for a year or move into to an unplanned, unprepared for and all too often an unhappy marriage. The majority of women had less choices to have successful and personally satisfying lives.
There is a reason that so many of us in our sixties have or had so many uncles and aunts and it wasn't as I was told as a child because they were needed to work on the farm. Our grandmothers became pregnant every year, with the gaps in my uncle's ages being miscarriages or still born deaths. Without the contraceptive methods and the rights that married and single Canadian women have today, our grandmothers were treated like breeding stock. Married young and bred early was unfortunately the fate for a majority of Canadian women as recently as eighty years ago.
And that is what is still happening today in many under developed countries and in an environment that is much harsher than those faced by my grandparents generation here in Canada. My understanding of the motion put forth (and I could be wrong as I often am) was to reinstate what was removed by the Harper conservatives. The amendments included the funding of contraceptive technologies, family planning education and abortion services. The same funding we provided for in the past and the same services that are being provided to Canadians.
In your response, which I again thank you for, you state that you agreed with supporting and the funding of contraceptive methodologies and family planning services but when the debate in parliament became focussed on the funding of abortion services, you could no longer support the motion based on your personal beliefs and voted against it. You then claim and somewhat arrogantly I might add, that 50% of Canadians would agree with you if it was put to a vote and then infer that since 70% of the developed countries in the world are either christian or muslim or have laws against abortion, your personal beliefs are in the vast majority.
Unfortunately I would character those assumptions as blind faith on your part. The fact that an individual considers themselves a christian or muslim or a country is deemed to be one faith or another does not mean that the individual or the citizenry of that country would not have or would prevent others from having an abortion. It is an absurd argument.
As for your statement that 50% of Canadians would agree with your third world abortion funding argument, unfortunately 50% of Canadians would refuse to fund any third world services if they were given the opportunity. However such a vote would immediately evolve into the rights of Canadian women to avail themselves of such services and though you may consider yourself in a majority position, it is a vote your side would not win, Your personal beliefs which you claim your constituents are well aware of and accept as they have reelected you many times would eventually end your political career, if such a vote occurred.
Your opinions on abortion are not posted your web site or included in your mailings as is your right in Canada, but yet they were the overriding factor that caused you to ignore the much needed contraceptive services, that you supposedly agreed with. Again as you state the vote was not binding on the conservative government, however if it had been, your vote would have increased the number of deaths and increased the hardship of women and their surviving children in these undeveloped countries,
I guess my objection to your actions on this matter is that you failed to put aside what I would consider as a very narrow, personal and I'll mention the word, even though you won't, religious, belief, when voting on potentially life and death issues for women living precarious lives. I am not a christian, nor believe in any god, but I fully support your right to have such beliefs. However I do not support your right to impose them on others, especially when you take on the responsibility to represent the majority of voters within your riding.
Although you obviously believe that you have that right, you should at least be honest with your constituents and make them fully aware of the extent of your personal religious ideologies when it comes to refusing to support existing Canadian values.
Please note: The references to statements made above can not fairly be assigned to any of the members that I communicated with and does not imply that any one member made those statements. This response was a compilation of emails that were sent and received as private communication.