Doing damage to the pro-life cause
April 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Make no mistake, if I were living in Alberta I would be voting Wildrose this election and supporting an old friend, Danielle Smith, for premier. Make no mistake again, Smith has done tremendous damage to the pro-life movement through her recent comments that essentially aim to elevate abortion to the sanctified level of sacrosanct human right. This is vitally ironic, as Smith leads a socially conservative party base in the most socially conservative province in Canada.
But let us examine what she said.
“When our members elected me they knew they were electing a candidate that was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage,” Smith was quoted this week at an all-candidates forum in her riding in Okotoks. “The only way we’re going to be able to become a mainstream, big-tent conservative party capable of forming government is to focus on the issues that matter to Albertans. If I am elected premier, a Wildrose government will not be legislating in areas of morality.”
OK, Smith has every right to declare her personal views on abortion and same-sex marriage. She might even be applauded for her honesty. But she merits no congratulations for declaring that a “mainstream party” must be pro-abortion or that this issue doesn’t matter to Albertans, or most Canadians for that matter. Then she makes an even more grievous error by declaring that her potential government will not legislate in “areas of morality.”
Really? You will lead a government that refuses to make moral decisions? Shouldn’t morality be the basis of every government decision in one form or another? Should politicians, premiers or prime ministers be promulgating policy in a moral vacuum? To rule in favour of abortion is just as much a moral decision as to rule in favour of life. We would argue that the morally preferable choice is to support life.
However, Smith went even further by declaring that she would not even consider de-funding abortion as a medical procedure. With this commitment and her concomitant declaration that any such de-listing would constitute a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Smith has gone way beyond the usual parameters of a conservative politician pledging allegiance to socially liberal policy in a craven attempt to neutralize negative media reaction. She has nullified an issue that might well have been the starting point of at least placing some restrictions upon abortion in Canada.
Moreover, she has struck down a point of unity between social conservatives and libertarians, neither of whom think the government should be paying for abortions. And besides the whole issue of whether abortion is right or wrong, is it not simply prudent to de-fund an elective procedure that is entirely unnecessary when the health care system is so overly burdened as it is?
If abortion is to be effectively addressed in Canada, many of us believe that it must be incrementally challenged. Surely the weakest link in the abortion chain is the public funding that is extracted from (some) unwilling taxpayers. The state must stop this coercion and the provision of free abortions. To suggest that we must fund abortion because it is a certifiable human right enshrined by the Charter is not only counterproductive but destructive, especially as federal Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth has managed to provoke a debate in the House of Commons with a bill that would recognize the fetus as a human being.
Smith will probably win the provincial election next week. I hope that she does. But this political posturing was wholly unnecessary. Liberals will not vote for her no matter how passionate her support for abortion or gay rights. But on the flip side, many social conservatives will simply stay home and not vote because they feel betrayed.
This was not responsible policy making.
David Krayden is the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, an independent, not-for-profit institution dedicated to the advancement of freedom and prosperity through the development and promotion of good public policy.