Dr. Dawg

Anti-abortion legislation--can't happen here?

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Don’t get over-confident.

In Canada the pro-choice side is presently working hard to ensure that cautious anti-choice salients don’t erupt into full-blown restrictive legislation. That makes a good deal of sense: better we appear a little over the top now than end up fighting a rearguard action if and when the anti-choice side rallies the politicians, federally or provincially. Call it the prudence principle at work. Or an instance of that eternal vigilance we need to preserve liberty.

For now we have public opinion firmly on our side, although the strategic introduction of red herrings—sex-selective abortion, for example—is worrying, and badly-constructed poll questions have made things worse. More importantly, perhaps, the Harper government has publicly jettisoned its social conservatism for now, being low in the polls and reading the signs.

On the infamous Motion 312, Harper managed to have his cake and ate it too, allowing this pointless and insulting debate to be re-opened and then having government Whip Gordon O’Connor publicly squelching the Conservative MP who brought it forward.

If we want cautionary tales to justify our concern, however, we need only take a look at the anti-abortion frenzy that has been gripping legislatures and prosecutors to the south of us. I’ve been following the debates down there for many years, and I can’t remember things ever being as bad as this, coinciding as they do with the rise of the Tea Party “government off our backs unless it’s women” movement.

The courts have been horrendous enough in the New Republic of Gilead, but legislators are now trying to make it even easier to hound women across the country.

A law presently before the US House of Representatives would make it a felony for anyone but parents to accompany a woman seeking abortion across state lines. Pro-choicers are—rightly—calling it the “Arrest Grandma Bill.”

In the state legislatures, every trick in the book has been thrown at women. In Mississippi, abortion clinics may shortly be outlawed. In Arizona, the law extends to pre-conception. In Virginia, compulsory is now mandatory for women seeking abortion, as it is in seven other states. In Kansas, a sweeping anti-abortion measure was signed into law by a governor who admitted that he hadn’t bothered to read it.

12 of these hateful bills have passed this year alone, down, admittedly from the 92 passed last year. A staggering 223 further anti-abortion laws are presently before state legislatures.

Get the government off our backs, indeed.

It’s happening in Michigan, too, and in New Hampshire (where a new law forces doctors to lie to their patients about the non-existent link between abortion and breast cancer). The misogynist craziness is now lapping at our shores.

The US hasn’t always been the way it is, but neither has Canada. Despite Harper’s current strategic retreat, we need to keep that in mind.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on June 22, 2012 1:04 PM.

Conservative preening was the previous entry in this blog.

Harper and Mulroney get a room is the next entry in this blog.

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