By Millicent McKay
Jan. 13, 2016
Joyce Arthur has some advice for politicians when it comes to abortion.
Pretending they can compromise on the issue and balance the views of anti-abortionists and prochoice people won’t work, she said.
Recently, Abortion Access Now PEI said it was taking the Island to court to force the province to provide unrestricted access to publicly funded abortion services. That’s something available in every other province.
The decision to file a lawsuit against the P.E.I. government is fantastic, said Arthur, the founder of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
The lawsuit focuses on constitutional charter issues, equality, discrimination and the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.
“These are really solid grounds. It’s iron and clad.”
Arthur acts as the director of the political advocacy group. Its responsibilities are lobbying and educating people on the abortion rights of women in Canada, she said.
Recently the group has been active campaigning against laws and motions that might, in some way, restrict abortion.
Allison MacNeill is a first-year political science major at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB.
Having a pro-choice stance doesn’t hurt politicians in this day and age, she said.
It is shameful it takes a lawsuit to make the government step up and do something about abortion on P.E.I. she said.
“It’s shameful that so many women and pro-choice advocates have tried to influence things, but the only time there is a reaction is when the system harms someone.”
It’s one of those things that people are OK with under certain circumstances, she said.
“But we need to accept that it’s none of our business why women make these choices.”
Statistics published by the World Health Organization in 2012 estimate there are 40 million to 50 million abortions every year worldwide.
That’s about 125,000 abortions a day.
As for Arthur, she said it isn’t all about a lack of access.
“It’s about upholding the rights of women, upholding the law.”
It shouldn’t be a debate between constitutional rights of women and hypothetical rights of a fetus, she said.
“The only person who can protect or make decisions on the behalf of the fetus is the pregnant woman herself.”