By coincidence, the same day O’Connor spoke those stirring words in the House of Commons, the government announced it would appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that had struck down key anti-prostitution laws. This was expected. The Conservatives have vociferously opposed any suggestion that the prostitution laws — which do not forbid prostitution per se but effectively make it impossible to do it without committing a crime — should be curtailed in any way.
So how does that square with the government’s declarations on abortion? Try replacing the word “abortion” in any part of Gordon O’Connor’s statement with “prostitution.”
“Whether one accepts it or not, prostitution is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations in which some women may have to choose the option of prostitution. No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against prostitution, prostitution cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition.”
Fits rather nicely, doesn’t it?
Then there’s marijuana and the other illicit drugs the government is making war on. Try plugging them into O’Connor’s statement.
“I cannot understand why those who are adamantly opposed to drug use want to impose their beliefs on others by way of the Criminal Code. There is no law that says a person must use drugs. No one is forcing those who oppose drugs to use them.”
Again, the fit is close to perfect.
So what’s left? Why does the government think its ringing words apply to abortion but not to other moral choices? Simple. In O’Connor’s statement, he objects to “new laws” that curtail personal freedom but says that the exercise of that freedom must respect “current law.”
Today, there is no law banning abortion. But there are laws banning prostitution and drugs.
Thus, what looks like a highly principled statement about the relationship between morality and liberty in a pluralistic society is actually something less grand: It is a lazy and weak defence of the status quo.
Boy, Dan Gardner really does slam the Conservative Government’s rationale for opposing any laws on abortion while concurrently proposing laws to keep prostitution and needle exchanges at bay.
It really does show how ridiculously shallow Harper and his cronies are on this question. They are hardly consistent in the arguments they employ in refusing to consider any law regulating abortion while blissfully dismissing those same arguments when it’s an easier “sell”. It shows them to be the lowest of the low of the political class, pandering to what they think will keep them in power. In fact, the brutal enforcement of the will without any consideration for justice, reason, science or the most basic decency is exactly what abortion is, and that’s the script that today’s Conservative government reads from too.