There’s been a lot of coverage on the (supposedly) potential re-opening of the abortion debate (yet, again) in the living rooms of the nation (not likely) and in the Parliament (highly unlikely). The latest attempt at igniting bickering comes courtesy of Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth. Badly timed, I think. I attended a family reunion over Christmas and this “news,” which came right before the festive season, did not seem like a suitable topic for discussion over turkey and stuffing. If Woodworth aimed to reawaken the consciousness, that was a fail, at least at my family table.
If there is a new debate, there are old tactics. It’s never about religion. Ever. As much as the pro-life movement in Canada has been attempting to distance itself from religious zealotry, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has voiced their support for Woodworth (even if I wasn’t actively feminist, as an atheist this would be a total turn off for me).
Also, it is not about steering the debate toward emotion. Woodworth claims that “a child is legally considered to be subhuman while his or her little toe remains in the birth canal, even if he or she is breathing.” Professor Shannon Dea of University of Western Ontario has written an excellent opinion piece, detailing Woodworth’s faulty interpretation of the current state of the law. In particular, she writes, “Ultimately, Woodworth’s release is no more than a superficial attempt to take advantage of the slow holiday news season, and not a serious effort to engage in deliberation and dialogue based on genuine data.”
Pro-lifers really need to figure out a new strategy and get the facts before proclaiming that the debate is renewed.
Update: Even National Post‘s Charles Lewis proclaims that the debate is dead (I say it never happened in the first place).