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(LifeSiteNews) – Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), blasted the late-term killing of unborn babies as “abhorrent,” saying the time is right for a debate on abortion in Canada.

“It’s perfectly legal to kill a fully developed unborn baby during the third trimester of a pregnancy, a baby who would be viable if born prematurely,” Bernier wrote in a newsletter sent out to his followers last week.

“I find this abhorrent. It’s akin to allowing infanticide. Whether there are few or many is irrelevant anyway. A murder is a murder and it should be outlawed.”

Bernier began his email by highlighting how Canada has today in effect no law on abortion, and that there is no “constitutional right to abortion.”

“Because of this legal void, there is no legal obstacle in Canada to have an abortion at any stage in the pregnancy — including up to minutes before a child is born” Bernier noted.

Bernier wrote that when the issue of late-term abortions is raised, people claim that “it may be technically legal, but that it never happens except in very rare circumstances when the child has fatal deformities or the life of the mother is threatened.”

“That’s not true. Although statistics are hard to obtain because of their controversial nature, we know that such late-term abortions happen in Canada,” he added.

Bernier mentioned a 2019 La Presse report that showed “more than 20 Quebec women were sent every year to the few clinics in the U.S. offering late-term abortions ‘without restrictions,’ with all costs covered by the government.”

“Given the growing debate in the US — which recently culminated in the repeal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court — Quebec health authorities were saying at the time they wanted to ‘repatriate these services’ and provide them in the province. That was difficult because extremely few doctors are willing to perform such abortions for obvious ethical reasons,” Bernier noted.

“If more than 20 late-term abortions with both the mother and child in good health are practiced in Quebec every year, there must be more than that in all of Canada.”

In late June, Bernier said he was willing to open the debate on abortion in Canada. He also launched a petition for Canadians to sign to show their support for a debate on abortion.

After the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has upped his pro-abortion tone in a very public manner.

Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for spreading “misinformation” about abortion in the country after he earlier in the month declared on social media that abortion is a “right” in the country.

Bernier has said in the past he is not per se against abortion in the early stages but is firmly against late term, as well as sex-selective abortions.

He has said he would allow free conscience votes for his MPs on all life issues.

As for the PPC, it has no official party stance on abortion.

In Bernier’s newsletter, he noted that he believes “human life is sacred, and we should take steps to protect the most vulnerable.”

“Late-term abortion (in the third trimester) is akin to infanticide and should be prohibited,” Bernier stated.

“The House of Commons should debate when and in what circumstances to start applying restrictions after the first trimester.”

He also added that sex-selective abortions, “almost exclusively abortions of little girls by immigrant parents coming from cultures where boys are favoured,” should be “prohibited.”

Bernier: There needs to be a debate ‘on abortion’

Bernier noted that the argument of “my body, my choice” does not apply to late-term abortions, as “there is another body, another sentient human being, involved.”

“Freedom is one of my core values. But it doesn’t include supporting the freedom of a mother to kill her fully developed baby, before or after it is born,” Bernier said.

“I bet most supporters of late-term abortion agree that there should be laws against animal cruelty, and don’t even realize how absurd and inconsistent their opinions are.”

Bernier wrote that most European countries have laws that determine “when a fetus should be protected as a person, and when and in what circumstances abortion should therefore be restricted,”

“It’s time to join the civilized world. It’s time to stop listening to hysterical feminists who’ve hijacked this issue for too long. It’s time to break the taboo,” Bernier said.

“The other establishment parties, including the Conservatives, are too afraid of the leftist media and the pro-abortion activists to raise this issue. We’re not afraid. The PPC welcomes a debate on abortion.”

The only pro-life candidate in the running for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada is Dr. Leslyn Lewis. She has been firm in her opposition to unrestricted abortion and is the only one endorsed by CLC.

Abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1969 when then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (Justin Trudeau’s father) passed a heavily criticized Omnibus Bill that amended the criminal code to allow abortions to be done in hospitals under permissive circumstances.

This law remained in effect until the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the 1969 law as unconstitutional in the 1988 Morgentaler decision. The law was removed on a technicality, however. The court ruled that it violated a woman’s Charter right to security of the person since the law could not be applied equally across the country.

The court encouraged the Canadian Parliament to come up with replacement abortion legislation. This effort failed when then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s draft law was dismissed in a Senate tie vote. The result is that since then Canada has no abortion law at all, and thus abortion is permitted up through all nine months of pregnancy.