André Picard is a perfectly good reporter on any number of topics, except abortion, at which point I feel like I’m reading a National Abortion Federation press release. True to form, this column (“We need fewer barriers to abortion, not more“) is no exception. “Access is threatened!” “The battle for reproductive rights is never done!” “Financial barriers remain!” “I am in the pay of the National Abortion Federation!”
OK, so he didn’t write that last one, but I’m beginning to have serious questions.
All in the name of “women’s reproductive health,” of course, Picard advocates for a double standard so that abortion clinics in Quebec would be exempt from the same standards applied to other clinics. On small points like hygiene and sterile environments and such. Cuz where abortion is concerned it’s all access, access, access! And deviating from that is punishable by up to four years in the bad books, with no chance of parole, so says Judge Vicki.
What the real deal in Quebec is deserves greater scrutiny. Bill 34 as it is called, would force abortion clinics to abide by the same rules as every other surgical clinic:
Bill 34, which was adopted by the National Assembly in the spring, says abortion clinics must adhere to the same guidelines as specialized medical clinics that provide such procedures as cataract and knee surgery.
In Quebec, where access to real health care for just about everything is severely threatened, abortion rates remain the highest in the country. That doesn’t stop “medical specialists” from coming out of the woodwork with quotes like this:
Medical specialists say Bill 34 is unjust and will reduce women’s access to health services. They note that the jeopardized clinics’ abortion methods conform to national standards.
I would link to those national standards, but it’s hard, because there are none. Such is the beauty of our lawless state in Canada where politicians panic at the mere thought of abortion. Actually, they don’t fare much better on the healthcare debate all told, but I digress. We have the best system in the world! In the world, I say, with the exclusion of France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, many Asian countries, the better part of North Africa and Cuba, among others.
Still, we should be concerned about access to abortion in Quebec, I agree. The abortion rate is very, very high there and it’s undeniably used as birth control–and that’s something even pro-choicers pretend to have a problem with.
Seems to me that medical clinics should all follow the same regulations. Seems to me also that abortion is not a medical procedure insofar as it almost always concerns a lifestyle choice–as in, woah, I just didn’t know that sex might lead to THAT and this is terribly inconvenient for me/my boyfriend/my mother/fill in your excuse here. As such, if pro-abortion activists are prepared to admit once and for all that abortion has nothing to do with “health care” then I’d say fine–let them be exempt from medical regulations.
They won’t. So I consider this bill that might grant some women and their unborn children a brief reprieve from the killing a great boon.
Véronique adds: Wait a minute Andrea. They are not referring to abortion legal standards – of which there are none — but to surgical standards. Pardon my bad faith but, WHAT? Do they mean that abortion providers are NOT held to the same surgical standards as other clinics? And abortion activists are OK with that?
Somebody is going to have to explain this one to me: abortion activists want abortion to be considered basic health care, but they don’t want the kind of regulations that make basic healthcare, well, basic. And safe. And readily available because you don’t have to shop around to find the doctor who cleans his surgical instruments. You just walk in a clinic anywhere and you get world-class, clean, competent healthcare. That’s the theory anyway. That world-class healthcare is the product of regulations: regulations on who can be a healthcare provider, regulations on who can open a clinic or a hospital, etc.
So first, you had illegal abortion, back-alley-coat-hanger abortion. We had to make it legal to make it safe (or so the cliché goes). Now, abortion activists are opposing a bill that would ensure that abortions are not performed in back-alleys with coat hangers. Because if you prevent back-alley abortions with coat hangers, then you might prevent a poor hopeless victim of her circumstances from having an abortion.
Am I getting this right? I hope I’m not.
Andrea adds: I fear you understand it perfectly, Véronique.
Rebecca adds: Medical care is the care that is required to correct or ameliorate a disease, injury or pathology. Pregnancy is none of these. Choosing, for no medical reason, to terminate a pregnancy has (moral dimensions aside) as much to do with healthcare as getting breast implants. Should cosmetic surgery clinics and abortion clinics conform to high standards of safety and cleanliness? Of course. Does it trouble me that there are financial barriers to elective, medically unnecessary surgery? Not particularly. Should tax dollars go to non-essential elective procedures when people wait for months to get diagnostics when life and limb are at stake? Oh, please. I can sort of see why any legislative barrier to abortion seems wrong to those who believe that the act of abortion is morally neutral. But expecting abortion to be hassle-free, available at the drop of a hat and paid for by the government is daffy. And pro-choicers are almost never called on it. Even leaving morality off the table entirely, there is much to debate, and we’re still stuck at “pro-lifers want to go back to the 1950s.”