An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WILL THE ANTI-ABORTION DEBATE return to a neighbourhood near us?
A lot of people seem to be asking that question as the issue suddenly returns to the headlines south of the border, where several states have approved pro-life legislation aimed at turning back the clock.
Using so-called “heartbeat bills,” they impose ridiculous penalties on those who participate in abortions after set time limits of a few weeks of pregnancy. And several other states are preparing to jump on the bandwagon.
There was a time, 30 years ago, when the abortion debate raged in B.C. and in this community. Nobody wants to be “anti” something, so the anti-abortion advocates took on the name “Pro Life.” And nobody wants to be “pro” something like abortion, either, so the other side assumed the moniker “pro choice.”
The actual meaning of “pro choice” is now part of the renewed debate, with pro choicers saying they don’t advocate abortion for everyone, so that’s pro-choice. And on it goes.
Unless your old like Methuselah, you probably don’t remember the days when Royal Inland Hospital was ruled by its own board, and when elections to that board were fought on the abortion issue.
And when pro-lifers planted pretend-tombstones in front of the hospital, each representing an abortion carried out at the hospital, and then rallied with placards.
Those weren’t pleasant times. They were the times of Dr. Henry Morgentaler and his chain of abortion clinics, and finally winning a constitutional challenge. He was awarded the Order of Canada for that.
Abortion certainly isn’t a non-issue in this country, but there’s no sign it will become a serious issue in this year’s federal election. In a country that pays for abortions with medicare, it’s hard to imagine going back. But never say never.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.