Green Party Slammed after Leader Elizabeth May Suggests Personal Dislike of Abortion

By Gudrun Schultz

  OTTAWA, Canada, December 21, 2006 ( - Canada’s Green Party is losing the support of militant feminist Judy Rebick over comments  by Party leader and leading Canadian environmentalist Elizabeth May that some abortions are “frivolous.”
  In a meeting with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, during her recent by-election campaign in London, Ms. May said that although she does not personally support abortion, she believes it should be legal—the Green Party officially supports unrestricted abortion access and requires all members to endorse that position.

  May refers to herself as a Christian. Explaining how she reconciles her personal views on abortion with the official Green Party position, May said, while she believes all life is sacred, she also believes abortion must be legal because otherwise women would die “horrible deaths” in illegal abortions.

  May said she would never “in a million years” have an abortion herself, however, and she would talk women out of having abortions.

f one group of people say, “A woman has a right to choose”, I get queasy, because I’m against abortion. I don’t think a woman has a frivolous right to choose. What I don’t want is a desperate woman to die in an illegal abortion.”

  Her comments were enough to cause Judy Rebick to withdraw her support for the Party. A high-profile activist in the feminist movement and a long-time supporter of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Rebick was a leader in the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics and a former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.

  In an open letter to Elizabeth May, published on the online alternative liberal news forum, Rebick wrote:

“We had a debate on abortion in this country for decades. Raising the need for further debate as you have done is a serious error in judgment and in the unlikely possibility that Stephen Harper wins a majority in the next election, you could have done irreparable harm.

“I have carefully reviewed your statements on abortion…I will no longer be supporting you or the Green Party in any way…I hope you will understand that I ripped up the cheque I had written to the Green Party and you can no longer rely on me for support.”

  May’s comments triggered an onslaught of outraged commentary by bloggers on feminist forums. One writer on wrote:

 “I chose abortion when I wasn’t in extreme poverty. When although it would have been an huge struggle, it wouldn’t have been impossible for me to raise a child. However, I knew very, very strongly that I did not want to raise a child, that I was not ready, and that I absolutely could not accept such a thing happening to my body.”

“I think, from May’s remarks that she would classify this choice as “frivolous”….by opening up a “friendly debate” on my personal liberty to my body, they are doing something that as a feminist and as a woman I find deeply, personally threatening.”
  Another commented, “All this drooling about the sanctity of life seems less than honest when you consider the dead, the maimed and the terrified-for-life,” referring to alleged acts of violence against pro-abortionists.
  Ms. May attempted to sooth the blogsite chorus in a posting Dec.12 on, saying, “My comments through the by-election campaign made it clear that the Green Party officially, and I personally, strongly support legal access to abortions for any woman (under whatever circumstances) who chooses to have one.”

“I would defend to the death the access to legal and safe abortions.”

  No recovery allowed, however—as one blogger stated: “She said what she said. No amount of PR is going to make people believe her.”

  Audio of Elizabeth May’s comments on abortion:

  Judy Rebick’s letter announcing withdrawal of support from the Green Party:

Share this article