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New Brunswick Liberal Party leader Brian Gallant

Editor’s note: An edited version of this letter first appeared in the Daily Gleaner August 19. It is reprinted here unedited by permission of the author.

Dear Mr. Gallant,

You recently told the Telegraph-Journal that, if elected premier, you would remove “all barriers” to abortion access. I interpret that to mean you support taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, in both hospitals and private clinics.

If you had already been premier, apparently you would have funded the now-closed Morgentaler Clinic, where 10,000 babies were killed. It seems you are ready to fund a similar facility in the future. The people of New Brunswick deserve to know that before voting.

And lest your mind glaze over at the mention of babies killed, let me remind you that the Canadian Medical Association refers to the unborn as “babies”, not just fetuses. I’m talking hard facts, not religious spin.

If you are okay with a policy that would result in thousands of children being aborted, based not on medical indications but essentially because they are unwanted, it cannot be because New Brunswickers demand that. Polls show Atlantic residents strongly (70+%) oppose using their tax dollars for abortion on demand.

So why would you force New Brunswickers to pay for that? Apparently, you believe that’s what Canadian law requires. Now I like research. Please tell me where it says that. Because ever since the 1988 Morgentaler Supreme Court decision I’ve been reading the texts, and can’t find it!

A few months ago Justin Trudeau was roundly criticized for making a similar faulty claim that the law of the land requires abortion on demand. Legal scholar Margaret Somerville pointed out no such Charter right exists. On the Morgentaler decision, former chief justice of the PEI Supreme Court Gerard Mitchell said, “None of the seven judges held that there was a constitutional right to abortion on demand. All of the judges acknowledged that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn.”

Canadian law may not prohibit taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. But it does not require it. You should acknowledge the distinction. New Brunswick is not legally obliged to remove “all barriers” to abortion.

Following April’s NB Liberal Party Convention, where Frank McKenna’s longstanding restrictive policy was overturned, a Maritime news anchor reported your comment that supporting choice is “a no brainer.” I respectfully ask if supporting taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, under the banner of “choice,” is really a “no brainer” when:

  • 65% of Atlantic women polled said the law should generally not allow 2nd trimester abortions, routinely performed at the Morgentaler Clinic.
  • Scientific studies have reported women have higher rates of suicidal behavior, depression and substance abuse after abortion.
  • The Canadian Medical Association Journal identified the abortion of female babies as a cultural problem in Canada, and 92% of Canadians polled want the practice banned.
  • Publicly funded abortion on demand could sky-rocket New Brunswick abortions from about 1,000 to 2,000 per year, sharply reducing a low birth rate identified as a major reason for our aging population and economic woes.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your views, and move toward a maternal health care policy providing quality care for both mother and baby, not for one at the expense of the other.

A child should be welcomed, not treated like some virus to be eliminated. Mothers “with child” need support, not violence to their wombs. This is not religion. It’s compassion and common sense.

Rex Murphy chided Justin Trudeau for letting “pro-choice fundamentalism” cloud his judgment about the law. May the same not be said of you. It would seem so at odds with your Scholten grandparents having had 22 kids! They sure respected unborn life. Would you even be here if they had not?

Peter Ryan is the executive director of the New Brunswick Right to Life Association.