Let’s es­tab­lish life-giv­ing pro­ce­dures

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL - BY KEVIN ARSE­NAULT Kevin Arse­nault of Ft. Au­gus­tus ob­tained PhD in ethics from McGill Univer­sity

How many times must it be stated that there is no con­sti­tu­tional right to abor­tion in Canada? This fact is re­peat­edly and stub­bornly ig­nored by those push­ing for abor­tion ac­cess in P.E.I. As Ann Wheat­ley, co-chair of Abor­tion Ac­cess Now P.E.I. stated in a Tues­day news release an­nounc­ing le­gal ac­tion against the prov­ince: “Un­for­tu­nately, it is clear to us that noth­ing short of a court or­der will prompt the gov­ern­ment to com­ply with its obli­ga­tions to P.E.I. res­i­dents un­der the Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms.” There are no such Char­ter obli­ga­tions. In a sep­a­rate news release, LEAF ac­cused the P.E.I. gov­ern­ment of “flout­ing the spirit” of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1988 Mor­gen­taler de­ci­sion. The ac­tual spirit of that de­ci­sion was a sug­ges­tion that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment come up with a new law to pro­tect the un­born.

As the 1988 Mor­gen­taler rul­ing stated: “There has al­ways been a clear recog­ni­tion of a pub­lic in­ter­est in the pro­tec­tion of the un­born . . . The in­ter­pre­tive ap­proach to the Char­ter adopted by this court af­fords no sup­port for the en­trench­ment of a con­sti­tu­tional right of abor­tion.” As for­mer Chief Jus­tice Ger­ard Mitchell clar­i­fied in a May 22, 2014 Guardian com­men­tary: “None of the seven judges held that there was a con­sti­tu­tional right to abor­tion on de­mand. All of the judges ac­knowl­edged the state has a le­git­i­mate in­ter­est in pro­tect­ing the un­born.” De­spite the Supreme Court af­firm­ing both the pub­lic’s and state’s in­ter­est in pro­tect­ing the un­born, gov­ern­ment lead­ers have so far failed to af­ford the un­born any pro­tec­tion what­so­ever in law. Not es­tab­lish­ing abor­tion ac­cess in P.E.I. would be a ges­ture.

It is dis­heart­en­ing to see a small group of Is­lan­ders push­ing so hard to es­tab­lish med­i­cal pro­ce­dures in P.E.I. to de­stroy hu­man lives when there are so many other med­i­cal pro­ce­dures not be­ing pro­vided in P.E.I. that would save hu­man lives. Let’s give pri­or­ity to life-giv­ing med­i­cal pro­ce­dures. The provin­cial gov­ern­ment has ab­so­lutely no le­gal obli­ga­tion to pro­vide abor­tion ser­vices in P.E.I. and must fight this ide­o­log­i­cally-driven le­gal ac­tion to de­fend its right to de­ter­mine the most ap­pro­pri­ate and life-giv­ing health pol­icy for Is­lan­ders.

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