In the United States, the year 2015 saw 57 pro-life laws enacted by 17 different states, and literally hundreds of other pro-life bills introduced, with some being seriously considered in almost every single state. The Guttmacher Institute shared detailed data on recent abortion law statistics. This was shared from their perspective of fear and loathing of any "anti-choice" success, as they consider abortion to be a woman's reproductive "right". However, Americans should be greatly encouraged in their government’s valuing of life and willingness to consider developing evidence, and Canadians should take note of just how much the government can, and will, do, when citizens insist.
The massive pro-life movement in the United States has engaged the culture from all angles. They've talked about moral, religious and ethical choices. They've talked about rights, humanity, science, and individual value. They've talked about exploitation, abuse, and rape. And they are winning, because life always wins over death.
The debate is also happening here in Canada, and the facts are the same, almost. The pro-life movement is engaging the culture on all fronts, and hearts and minds are being changed. There is one big difference, however, in the Canadian picture, and that is our government. Parliament holds the task of making laws for our country, a task they have quietly avoided since the old laws were struck down in 1988. Our government needs Canadians to tell them, unequivocally, that it is time to make laws restricting abortion, as virtually every other nation in the entire world has done.
In the United States, abortion is widely talked about and openly, often hotly, debated. This allows the arguments of both sides to be heard, and people to make informed decisions based on evidence such as scientific proof of fetal pain during abortion, the age at which a heartbeat begins, and the age of viability outside the womb as younger and younger premature children are able to survive and thrive.
It is these facts that are at the heart of most laws restricting abortion in the U.S. The most frequent contents of recent restrictions include mandated counseling prior to an abortion, limiting or banning abortions after the first trimester, improved medical standards for private clinics, and laws against profiting from fetal tissue. All of these restrictions are clearly pro-woman and pro-pre-born child. Our government needs to take the lead, as many principled U.S. politicians have, in introducing such laws in Canada.
Canada remains the only democratic nation in the world to allow abortion throughout an entire pregnancy, for any reason. The success of the pro-life movement in the United States tells us the tide is changing. The ideas and arguments of the pro-abortion movement are outdated, inaccurate, and insensitive to the real needs of vulnerable women. Our government needs to face its responsibility to create laws rather than side-stepping a decades-old legal vacuum that is, quite literally, sucking in Canada's future.
Anna Nienhius is the Research and Policy coordinator for WeNeedaLAW.ca.