When a leading pro-life group launched a campaign in October to call for an open debate on abortion, Canada’s abortion movement issued a response both firm and clear: “There’s nothing to debate.”

“The debate about legalizing abortion in Canada is long over and done with,” said Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada in a Nov. 3 press release.

But it appears not everyone got the memo.

On Nov. 11, the unstoppable pro-life defender Stephanie Gray of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform engaged in the battle of ideas with Jovan Morales of the University of Ottawa’s Atheist Community.

By all accounts, Gray’s seasoned defense of the dignity and humanity of the unborn earned her the clear victory, as was acknowledged even by staunch legal-abortion advocates who attended.

But some are claiming the debate was rigged for a pro-life win.

“Of course she ‘won’,” wrote one attendee on the Run With Life blog.  “This debate was a total set-up. no one from the pro-choice community in ottawa was asked to participate in the debate.”

According to the commenter, Morales is inexperienced in the ways of the “pro-choice movement,” leading him to advance “some pretty oppressive and ineffectivley [sic] thought-out arguments.”

It does sound like a good tactic, doesn’t it?  Let’s travel throughout the country setting up debates with the easiest opponents we can find.  That way we can easily destroy their arguments and everyone will be convinced!

As it turns out, however, the university’s pro-life club was forced to bring in Morales at the last minute after no less than sixteen leading abortion advocates, ten based in Ottawa, refused or simply ignored the invitation to debate Gray.

Let’s take a look at the list:

1. Dr. Henry Morgentaler (declined to debate)
2. Heather Mallick (“pro-choice” columnist for the Toronto Star) (no reply to invitation)
3. Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry (MP) (declined to debate)
4. Hon. Dr. Carolyn Bennett (MP) (declined to debate)
5. Dr. Kathryn Treehuba, Uof Ottawa professor (Obs-Gyn), and Ottawa-area abortion provider (no reply to invitation)
6. Dr. Fraser Fellows, UWO professor (Obs-Gyn), and London-area abortion provider (no reply to invitation)
7. Federation of Medical Women of Canada (declined to debate)
8. Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada- Joyce Arthur (declined to debate)
9. NDP Party (no reply to invitation)
10. Canadians for Choice (declined to debate)
11. Action Canada for Population Development (no reply to invitation)
12. Hon. Dr. Keith Martin (former MP) (No reply to invitation)
13. Planned Parenthood Ottawa (Heather Holland – Executive Director- Declined to debate)
14. Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (no reply to invitation)
15. Professor Sanda Rodgers (University of Ottawa) (declined to debate)
16. Professor Wayne Sumner (University of Toronto) (declined to debate)

The same scenario played out at Dalhousie University in Halifax in March, when numerous local abortion advocates refused to debate Gray. In the end St. Mary’s University professor Dr. Mark Mercer was publicly humiliated by angry activists who likewise charged that the pro-life club had rigged the debate.

Similar to the Ottawa event, they attempted to disrupt the proceedings by shouting, filling the room with balloons bearing pro-abortion slogans, and even setting off a stink bomb as Gray spoke.

It seems the mainstream “pro-choice” movement will not hesitate to turn against even abortion apologists who fail to uphold the party line that “there’s nothing to debate.”

Of course, the Canadian public seems to disagree.  A poll in May found that 52% think Canada should not fear an open debate on abortion, and only 26% wanted the issue left alone.  And a poll last month showed 72% of this country’s citizens want some protections for children in the womb, protections that are currently non-existent.

If mainstream legal-abortion advocates are so convinced of their views, why would not they relish the opportunity in a debate to showcase those views before an audience filled with potential converts to the cause?  Why not seize the chance to show how silly, stupid, or even dangerous those “anti-choice” arguments really are?

What do mainstream pro-aborts have to hide?