A friend of mine jumped into a a discussion on Facebook one day and I was surprised when he took the position that he supported a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. I wasn’t surprised that he was pro-choice, I was surprised he was pro-choice because he supports the United Conservative Party. He doesn’t follow politics too closely so he can be forgiven for not knowing; or can he?

He wants a return of the boom times. He thinks he’s overtaxed. He doesn’t like the idea there’s a “socialist” government making decisions. He’s an Alberta conservative.

The Wilberforce Project is an anti-choice advocacy group. They had the intention of nominating 52 pro-life candidates for the United Conservative Party. Yesterday, they released their annual report and they have a lot to be happy about.

As it stands, if the UCP wins the upcoming election, then we will have the most pro-life legislature in decades, and maybe ever. The nominations have gone very well for the pro-life movement, however, as always, we now need to keep the candidates who won their nominations accountable and on track to enacting pro-life policy should they win in the general election. (Emphasis mine.)

~Cameron Wilson, Director of Political Action, The Wilberforce Project

Some people believe that nothing can be done at the provincial level. After all, abortion legislation is not written and cannot be changed at the provincial level. So what possible effect could pro-life policy have on the women in Alberta?

It’s surprisingly easy; restricted funding.

Healthcare is a provincial responsibility and the government determines what is funded and what is not. They also determine where funding will go. Termination procedures are currently available at hospitals in larger centres as well as specialized clinics. Funding for the regions, facilities and staff can be reduced and reallocated to regions or facilities where those procedures are not performed.

Pregnancy care centres that offer termination referrals can have their funding taken away. Most of the centres are run by non-profits. They’ll get the picture as soon as they are threatened with a loss of funding. It wouldn’t be difficult to cut off access to referrals. With the growing number of pregnancy care centres that look like they offer alternatives, but don’t, there are other not-for-profits with their hands out to toe the line.

Women in rural areas currently do not have access to the procedures locally and must travel. With lesser funding, fewer procedures will be available for booking. Unlike the scare-tactics of many pro-life advocates, these procedures are not performed after a certain number of weeks – there is a limited opportunity for women who make this decision. Women will be forced to travel out of province, incurring additional expense, to access safe termination procedures.

Or perhaps a new market will emerge for underground access to procedures. If they are no longer covered by healthcare, or subject to provincial oversight, who knows what type of care someone you love might receive.

While many people have been lured to support the United Conservative Party for their anti-carbon tax policy, the Party is not just about less taxes and reigniting an economy by mere virtue of their conservative-ness; the Party is hauling a Trojan horse of policy goals they aren’t shouting from the rooftops.

Most candidates are keeping their views to themselves but a short list exists for those who have either admitted being elected is simply a “foot in the door strategy” or have a documented history of pro-life activism:

Joseph Schow – Cardston-Siksika

Adriana LaGrande – Red Deer-North

Hannah Presakarchuk – Edmonton-Rutherford

Jason Kenney – Calgary-Lougheed

The Leader showed his heavy hand during the Bill 9 debate; there will be no representation from the UCP in support for women’s safety or choice.

This post contains fact and opinion. Links provided.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

dmaclean@countersign.ca

@Mitchell_AB @thisweekinAB


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