Earlier this year, one member of Canada’s Parliament tried to start a fire. The fuel for that blaze was women’s reproductive rights, and more specifically the section of Canada’s Criminal Code affirming that a child becomes a human being, and inherits all the legal rights inherent with that status, at birth. And not one moment before.
Conservative Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth sought to create a House of Commons committee to review the Criminal Code. But on August 15, the country’s doctors, via the Canadian Medical Association, responded in force against what they saw as a “backdoor” attempt to criminalize abortion. More than 250 delegates to the annual council meeting endorsed the concept that life begins at birth and, in doing so, pledged support for a woman’s right to abortion, contraception, and the full range of reproductive health care. According to the Montreal Gazette, Dr. Genevieve Desbiens, made an urgent appeal:
“I’m not asking you whether you are for or against abortion,” Desbiens told delegates. “I’m asking for you to recognize that women must retain their full and complete rights,” she said to applause.
No doubt Canadian doctors have seen how anti-choice legislation has interfered and even compromised the ability of physicians to the south to treat their patients.