Troy Media – by Catherine Ford
One of the smartest moves made by former Alberta premier Ralph Klein was to announce, in his avuncular way, that abortion was a matter between a woman, her doctor and God.
What had been an incipient firestorm between the pro-choice and “pro-life” advocates suddenly fizzled out. Not because the issue vanished, but because Klein and his advisors (likely the wily Rod Love) knew that any other stance would alienate one side or the other.
Would that it could be so easy for U.S. President Barack Obama, who is increasingly looking like the worst kind of conciliator – the mushy, marshmallow, doughy white-bread kind. Obama was blindsided recently by the divisive issue of sexual politics, one which no politician should touch, except to comment, as Klein did.
The issue is certainly not as simple here in the States, where the issue of who pays for what medical procedure is fraught with U.S. complexities of co-pays, private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare and insurance company mandates of what doctor is entitled to treat you. Canadian politics are almost benign in comparison.
In the 1993 Alberta provincial election, the then-leader of the Alberta Liberals, the late Laurence Decore, announced when he became premier, he would close all the abortion clinics.
Liberal supporters all over the province groaned. What had been predicted as the best chance for toppling the Progressive Conservative dynasty had just been torpedoed by sexual politics. Only anecdotal evidence exists, but, as the election proved, Decore’s stance cost his party.
It was really just simple politics: Women who were opposed to abortion were likely already Conservative voters and their votes were never going to land in the laps of the Liberals or the New Democrats. By the same token, pro-choice Liberal supporters had a choice: Stay away from the polls or park their votes with the New Democrats.
What Klein said was the right answer to an unanswerable question, but that is not available to Obama whose health care woes seem never-ending,
The U.S. is taking mincing baby steps into trying to provide some form of assured health care for the shocking number of people without health insurance -up to 50 million Americans.
When what is derisively called “Obama-care” comes into law, part of its mandate will force employers to provide health insurance for their employees. Therein lies the rub – those employers will have to have insurance that covers such items as birth control.
Enter the Catholic Church, whose opposition to any form of artificial birth control is a central tenet and whose sex- and gender-obsessed male hierarchy enforces an absolute embargo against abortion under any circumstances.
The idea that Roman Catholic institutions such as hospitals would have to provide birth control (including the morning-after pill) to their employees is being called an “assault” on the church and the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion. This is nothing more than a red herring: Nothing in this bill threatens anyone’s religion or freedom.
What is completely and utterly ignored is the even-more central tenet of the Catholicism of what constitutes a sin and what free will actually means.
It might have been more than 60 years since I was first handed a Baltimore Catechism and made to memorize it, but I remember this much: it isn’t a sin unless you believe it is. With little more knowledge than this and their own consciences, Catholic women all over North America and Europe control the number and timing of their children by artificial means – pills, diaphragms, condoms, tubal ligations and, yes, abortions.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I was raised Roman Catholic and am married to the owner and first medial director of Calgary’s Kensington Clinic, where women of all faith beliefs exercise their right to choose, Catholics among them.)
And even if a Catholic woman agrees with the church’s stance and follows it to the letter, nothing in the proposed U.S. health care changes requires her to take the pill or to employ any form of artificial birth control against her own conscience.
Choice means just that – the right to choose, dictated by free will and the right to do so without the interference of anyone, certainly without the interference of the state. The ongoing brouhaha in the U.S. over reproductive rights is nothing more high-minded than a gutter fight to control women, to treat women like the mindless chattels far too many politicians and religious organizations believe they are.
The lesson for Canadians is obvious: The same control freaks will continue trying to chip away at the rights of women to be seen and treated as adults capable of making their own decisions.
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