I will have more to say about this (biiiig surprise, regular DJ! readers are thinking), but for now (I'm really busy) I just want to put a couple of points out there.
Here's a question no one seems to be asking: What would be the purpose of an abortion debate?
Rabid political partisans are obviously betting that it can score them some votes or at least some points.
Rabid anti-choicers want to roll history backwards and if not recriminalize abortion altogether (which even they admit is not on), then create some kinda law -- any kinda law -- on it.
The sneakier of those two groups take another tack. They want to debate the funding of abortion. This gang has an ally in Prime Minister ShitHead who said yesterday that abortion funding can't be part of the Maternal Health Initiative because it's extremely divisive. (Bulletin, Mr Harper: So is vaccination.)
Media outfits want an abortion debate because it's sure-fire click-bait -- have a look at any story about it and check the comment count. Some pundits want to sell books or freelance pieces. A few boyos want to exercise their middle-school debating skills and they'll do it purely for fun.
I call this aim the #AbortionDebateClub -- debating the fundamental human right to autonomy for FUN and PROFIT!!!!
Am I missing anything? Political points, legislation, funding, FUN. What other end could an abortion debate serve?
Here's my question for now. If legislation is the purpose, under what aegis?
Criminal Code of Canada? All recent Conservative private member's bills have been framed as amendments to the Criminal Code. Effectively this means criminalizing some types of abortion (medical bad, surgical OK?), some aspects of abortion (early OK, late [howlate?] bad?), some reasons (sex-selection VERY BAD) for abortion.
We need only look southward to see where partial criminalization leads. Once there is a law, people will inevitably try to screw around with it. The more forthright of the fetus fetishists admit that they will not stop until abortion is so ringed around with restrictions and regulations and paperwork that it becomes practically unobtainable.
How about the Constitution then? Section 2 of the Charter could have a few words added, no biggie.
2. Everyone (including the zygotal, embryonic, and fetal) has the following fundamental freedoms:Easy peasy, yes?
Or maybe the Canada Health Act? Again, we could insert a couple of words.
An Act relating to cash contributions by Canada and relating to criteria and conditions in respect of insured health services and extended health care services, except abortion
My serious question again: What is the desired concrete outcome of an abortion debate?
Because if we can't agree on a purpose for a debate, it does seem to me to be simply "extremely divisive."
And totally pointless in a country where a lawless abortion regime has worked very well for more than a quarter of a century.
ADDED: Joyce Arthur offers a distinction between "backwards" and "forwards" abortion debates. What we should be talking about she says is access, funding for women in developing countries, and international advocacy for our successful #LawlessAbortion regime.