, 05.03.2022 07:33 AM

My latest: abortion is back

Think the U.S. Supreme Court decision to outlaw abortion is irrelevant to Canada?

Think again.

Because Politico’s bombshell revelation Monday night — a leak of a draft opinion of America’s highest court on the seminal decision that legalized abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade — is going to have profound consequences for many politicians. On both sides of the border.

In the U.S., overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t a political earthquake — it is bigger than that. It’s something beyond description. It’s akin to the shifting of political tectonic plates.

Among other things, it will lead to many Democratic Party victories in the coming mid-terms. That’s important, because Joe Biden was heading to an electoral pounding in November. No longer: He now has a wedge that will hasten the end of Republican careers.

It’ll lead to demands — which Biden may grant, after the mid-terms — to enlarge the high court and load it up with progressive jurists. That’s a given.

And how Politico got their hands on a draft Supreme Court opinion? That’s big, too. The resulting inquiries will certainly preoccupy lawyers and politicos (and maybe detectives) for years to come. Why? Because such a leak is something that has never, ever happened before. It means the Supreme Court justices are at war with each other, basically.

But overturning Roe v. Wade won’t just shake up American politics. It is going to have big political consequences up here, too.

Because if you think Justin Trudeau will hesitate to use abortion against his conservative opponents, you are dreaming in Technicolor. Abortion is the ultimate political wedge — one that mobilizes most Canadian women, of all stripes, to vote to maintain control over their bodies.

For Pierre Poilievre, the frontrunner in the Conservative Party leadership race, the return of the abortion debate is very, very unhelpful. For years, the Ottawa-area MP has enjoyed the support of the Campaign Life Coalition, the powerful lobby group that wants to outlaw abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia.

On its web site, the Campaign Life Coalition gave approving green check marks to Poilievre for voting for bills that would make it an offence to “kill or injure a pre-born child” — and to “protect women from coercion to abort.” For most of his political career, Poilievre has opposed abortion, full stop.

Only very recently — as the prospect of seizing the Conservative leadership grew larger — did Poilievre abandon his previous positions on abortion and gay marriage, thereby angering the Campaign Life Coalition. But, under his leadership, he still admits he would permit MPs to bring forward laws to criminalize abortion.

That matters. Because, even if Poilievre has magically experienced a whiplash-inducing reversal on abortion, the likes of MP Leslyn Lewis have not. Lewis is a social conservative extremist — and her presence in the upper ranks of the leadership contenders can’t be dismissed. Lewis doesn’t hide her opposition to abortion, saying: (There’s) nothing hidden about it.”

Exasperated conservatives will point out, correctly, that conservative jurists do not presently dominate on the Canadian Supreme Court. They will say, correctly, that neither Stephen Harper nor Brian Mulroney rigged our highest court with social conservatives.

But do you think Trudeau will ever hesitate to use a divisive social issue to pulverize his Conservative opponents? In 2015, 2019 and 2021, did the Liberal leader ever seem reluctant to beat Tories with whatever club was laying nearby, however cynical that may be?

No and no. Trudeau has used abortion to hobble Conservatives before, and he’ll do so again. The reversal of Roe v. Wade guarantees it.

On Monday night, you could almost hear the corks being popped on the Veuve Clicquot at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Because abortion is back.

And abortion kills — Tory political careers.

43 Comments


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Robert White says:

    My parents both raised me to support women, and their right to manage their own health without interference from deplorable politicians.

    We’ve been here before in Canada and we are NOT going there ever again. I’ll rejoin the God damned Liberals if I have to.

    Thank you for the overview of this debate, Warren. I don’t know the American system of jurisprudence like you do so I really appreciate the overview of the debate for Canadians interested in what is transpiring.

    You have a sophisticated view, and it’s appreciated from my neophyte perspective. Abortion debate was formally
    ended by Harper when he claimed the Conservative Party would never reopen the debate.

    If Poilievre does not mention Harper’s Constitution vis-a-vis abortion vs. Conservative Policy we can assume he is in fact going to move to the extreme right wing of
    wholesale ignorance run amok.

    RW


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      PJH says:

      PP will absolutely reopen the debate on abortion….that is why he has so many socon MP’s supporting his candidacy for Conservative Party Leader. (They of course know well enough to not hang their hats in support of Leslyn Lewis, who for all her positive attributes, lacks the royal jelly).

      If the party grenades, and I suspect it will when PP loses bigtime to the Liberals, I hope a new centre right party will rise from the ashes….one whose constitution states clearly and without equivocation, that it fully supports a woman’s right to choose.

      Solve a whole host o’ electability problems right there.


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        Robert White says:

        That damn Constitution has to be re-written to be unequivocal vis-a-vis the fact that women are the only people in charge of their own bodies and men can simply
        keep their opinions to themselves.

        I can’t see Poilievre as unskilled enough to actually attempt reopening the discussion given how volatile it is for all Canadians.

        RW


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    Pipes says:

    My head exploded.


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    Scot says:

    I have renewed hope for the Dems. Trudeau is perfectly right to bash the hell out of Cons with this one. I’ll also add that considering all the crap Cons throw at him I don’t consider any attack on them to be cynical. There is no freaking high road in politics anymore.


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    Sean says:

    Disagree. I don’t think this will make even the tiniest difference in Canada. This silly fake debate is already part of a well tuned game plan in this country. Justin’s tiny, desperate band of hangers-on have already been trotting out the abortion monster since they accidentally took the reigns of the once main stream, formerly respected Liberal Party

    The Conservatives were in power for 9 years. Four of those years they had a majority…. and predictably…. *they never did a damn thing about it.* There is no possibility that they ever will.

    Justin and Pierre P. are both blatant liars on that issue, by pretending that change is somewhere off in the near future… but it won’t stop them from carving up naive voters on both sides of the issue.

    So no, nothing new. Same old fake debates about stuff that can’t even happen.


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      The Doctor says:

      I totally agree that a lot of left-leaning and liberal commentators in Canada are either misinformed/stupid or cynically slimy (if they’re not misinformed) on the status of abortion in Canada versus the US. Morgentaler in Canada is a much stronger and more emphatic decision on its merits than Roe in the US, and our court is WAY more liberal/less conservative than the US Supreme Court.


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        Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Doc,

        True, but it’s not just in war that the first casualty is the truth. This is an opportunity galore for pretzeling even beyond credulity. Just take the 26 States that have filed amicus briefs and the after effects of overturning Roe vs. Wade would be monumental, if not historic.

        In the Canadian context Trudeau would run with it like a bone and quite deliberately grossly distort so-called Canadian conservative views on the subject.

        No question, as Warren says, this is a potential massive win for Liberals, no matter whether they merely stretch the envelope or actually rip it into shreds.


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        Robert White says:

        You are claiming the whole issue is a nothingburger
        here in Canada because of the foundation built by Morgentaler via the landmark decision enshrined in
        our Charter of Rights & Freedoms, but the right-wing
        is living in the 1940s or 50s depending on their brand
        of religious fundamentalism and partisan zealotry.

        Right-wing proto-Fascists have been known to overturn existing laws once they obtain power.
        Poilievre knows better than to court the right-wing partisan zealots. I personally don’t think Poilievre is
        as dumb as that. I’m wondering why he just doesn’t retire the whole issue by citing one hit wonder Harper and his inane Conservative Constitution.

        RW


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          The Doctor says:

          Morgentaler is not a statute. It’s a Supreme Court decision. A government cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision, absent invoking the notwithstanding clause.


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    Derek Pearce says:

    Well it’ll be interesting to see how Poilievre threads this needle because the last guy to do it sure failed. O’Toole tried to appeal to SoCons during the leadership race and then pivot to the centre as leader only to crash n burn. Will we see this same old story play our again?


  6. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    The Doctor says:

    I thought Charlie Sykes put it very well in the Bulwark today: for Republicans, this is like the dog catching the car.

    They’ve always been better off riling up their base talking about overturning Roe, rather than having that actually happen.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Poilièvre is smart enough to know that further abortion limitations are an absolute vote killer for the CPC. That’s why Harper refused to go there. In short, any leader who even entertains private members’ bills is a leader who will NEVER, EVER, be indirectly elected prime minister of this country. This is about as absolute an issue that anyone can come by.

    At the margins, it’s at least a net-plus for Charest.


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Charest tweets that he’s pro-choice. Well, knock me over with a feather. LOL.

      One step in the right direction. Here’s a hint at another: Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Minister and Attorney General. You’re welcome.


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    ted says:

    My guess is Roberts is the leaker. Trying one last thing before the shit storm.


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Ted,

      Well, I’m convinced that the leaker is in fact a justice. And perhaps not necessarily from the obvious political camp that benefits from this shit-storm. IMHO, it’s either an attempt by the right to cement Roberts into a draft opinion OR as you speculate, an attempt by Roberts himself to fig leaf out and “save” Roe vs. Wade from the radical right hordes on the bench.

      One thing’s for sure, this makes Collins look like a gullible fool.


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    Gyor says:

    I’m going against the grain here and I say it won’t save the Dems in the Midterms, most of those who are super riled up are going to vote Democrat anyways.


  10. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Scot says:

    You all miss the point. Most people don’t want to vote for anti abortion types. This Roe v Wade thing just reinforces that. Cons are dead in the water.


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      The Doctor says:

      Because Canadians are so stupid they think Roe is the law of Canada?


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Scot,

      Not necessarily. Last time I checked, Harper was technically pro-life but he had the good political sense to give regulating abortion a wide berth. Hence le vide juridique. That, at least in part got him roughly a decade in power.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Charest will keep blasting on this issue to put Poilievre on the defensive. And with that, at least a majority of women across Canada will be silently nodding their heads in agreement.

    You see, abortion isn’t about fetus viability. Rather it’s a predictable attempt by men insecure in their manhood to control women, dictate to them what they can do with their bodies, etc. End of story.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Reminds me of your average franco-quebecois married or common-law relationship: possessif, controlleur, directeur…

    Chercher pas docteur.


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    Gilbert says:

    Abortion is wrong. If we believe human life is sacred, we should do all we can to save it. I agree with Mother Teresa. She said that saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers. Maybe those who support abortion don’t fully appreciate the gift of life.


    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Warren says:

      I’m guessing you’re a guy.


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        The Doctor says:

        Nice one WK.


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        Gilbert says:

        My wife agrees with me.


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          Robert White says:

          I had a Maine Coon cat named Dudley that always agreed with me too.

          I miss the little bastard. He was a good cat.

          RW


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            Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Robert,

            Maine Coon! Aren’t they high maintenance?


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            Robert White says:

            Maine Coon cats are zero maintenance cats. As long as you take good care of them they are great for longevity.
            Dudley was 18 or 19 years old when he finally got too frail and I had to have him put down.

            Cost wise he was a low maintenance cat compared to
            Persian cats which are super high maintenance cats.

            I would never own a cat that was not a Maine Coon cat now that I know they are the best cats bar none.

            RW


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            Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Robert,

            (Notice how I decided not to be sexist and make that Maine person joke that is so apropos right now. LOL.)


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Gilbert,

      In an ideal world, this would work but how can a third party compel a woman to give birth against her will and even if she would voluntary agree after some convincing, who volunteers to bring up the child if she is not psychologically or emotionally willing or capable of bring up that child? Babies deserve to be brought up by at least one parent but preferably two.


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    Steve T says:

    The most interesting part of yesterday’s bombshell was the loud (and sure to be repeated) comments from Canada that it will happily take U.S. women for abortions, if they are blocked from doing so in the U.S.. That announcement misses a few key points:

    1. Roe v Wade was about the father of the child suing the mother to prevent the abortion. So once that is overturned, there is nothing stopping said fathers from suing mothers who pursue abortions in Canada. Roe v Wade was/is not a directive to healthcare facilities – it is an enabling ruling to protect women. It has no concept of borders.

    2. Unplanned pregnancies, and the desire to have an abortion, disproportionately impact the poor. So the majority of people that would be impacted by overturning Roe v Wade can’t just jump on an airplane for a trip to a Canadian clinic.

    3. There are plenty of prescription abortion pills available, which don’t require any visit to a doctor. Sadly, if abortion becomes prohibited in certain states, those pills will no longer be prescribable by a proper doctor. Instead, women will be forced into the wild west of the internet. Maybe they’ll get a legit pill online; maybe they’ll get some bizarre concoction that puts them in the hospital or the grave.


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      Gordon McRae says:

      Learn your history. Jane Roe was a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey who was the plaintiff suing the State of Texas. Henry Wade was the DA representing Texas.


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        Scot says:

        And she was pro choice. She was paid by right wing religious nuts go to court.


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    Westguy says:

    I think all the leak will really accomplish will to make a polarized country even more so and make a worsening situation worse. You say that it will result in Dem seat gains in November, I’m not so sure. A Dem support groundswell in New York will have no affect on the vote count in, say, Montana. Right now, the coverage shows a country that appears to be united in condemnation. But, 6 years ago the coverage seemed to indicate that Trump had no chance and we all know how that ended. All media outlets have a narrative.
    Despite this being portrayed as the end of society as we know it, more people are still far more concerned about inflation and the economy than abortion.
    And then there’s the leak. Depending on how the document got out, it may just change how the SCOTUS is viewed and not for the better. After all, if you can undermine their guy, the precedent has been set for them to undermine your guy.
    Canadian conservatives need to steer clear of the issue because you know Trudeau is lining up to bring American politics into Canada whenever it suits him. And I think, like the US, more Canadians are more concerned about inflation and economy than anything else.


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    PJH says:

    The abortion topic was noticeably absent tonight from the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference Conservative Leadership Debate, being that three of the candidates were adhering to Interim Conservative Candice Bergen’s gag order on the topic. I foresee the next debate as a no holds barred, cage match between PP, Charest and Patrick Brown, (who unfortunately couldnt attend tonight’s debate)….It was good to see PP get as good as he gives……I suspect he’s not used to being questioned on any topic, and at times, it showed……


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      PJH,

      If I might paraphrase our host: when you’re gag-ordering, you’re losing. Not at all Bergen’s best piece of political strategy — it’s like laying out a political trap and then voluntarily walking right in it.

      It allows your fear mongering political opponents to paint you with the anti-abortion anything brush and it’ll stick, at minimum partially.

      For some people, women or men, it’s a golden opportunity to fill in the speculative blanks even if their thoughts have neither rhyme nor reason. “Reality” becomes anything goes, no matter how far-fetched or idiotic and that’s never a good day for my party, Canada’s Conservatives…

      Candice has done a Stanfield and royally fumbled that ball. We badly need an official party position with all candidates stating their personal views but collectively agreeing as Conservatives to stick with and only officially support that position. It should come from a plurality of caucus. We are in no way a bogeyman and that needs to be on the record. IMHO, caucus can’t punt or shh this one, not this time.


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        The Doctor says:

        I saw clips of the CPC leadership debate on the news this AM. I think they’re fucked. They seem unwittingly determined to be a permanent angry opposition party, which will get seats in rural areas and be shut out of urban areas. Charest was taking moderate positions that most Canadians would nod their heads in agreement to. He got booed.


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          Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Doc,

          The more they fight full bore, the more Poilievre and Charest narrow their respective tent, not to mention their already dimming chances in an election. Looks like I’m the only one out there who knows the proper Charest strategy vis-à-vis Poilievre. If I can fucking figure it out, why can’t any of his SO-CALLED strategists????? What an utter disaster.


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            Ronald O'Dowd says:

            I’m getting tired of serially saying I told you so, after the fact. Let’s see: 2015, 2019, 2021…NEXT.

            But at least we’re in for a few good laughs on election night.


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          PJH says:

          Dont forget the debate took place in Refoooorm Central….The Centre for Truth, Justice and the American Way, er, rather, the Canada Strong and Free Network, formerly known as the Manning Centre. Tough crowd for moderate Tories. Though I felt that by the end of the debate, applause for M. Charest and PP was about equal. I suspect more impartial crowds in the next two upcoming debates.


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            Ronald O'Dowd says:

            PJH,

            It’s way beyond frustrating watching our team not behaving like Harper, Mulroney or Clark. The high road wins you elections, the low cements you right into the opposition benches.

            You would think Charest after all these years would instinctively know this and even be able to write his own scripts that would effectively take the so-called wind out of the Poilièvre campaign but apparently not.

            We can’t and won’t win this with memberships sold. Only Charest’s performance can move minds into our corner and this tit for tat bullshit is doing the exact opposite, narrowing the base for both our candidate and his opponent. Forget the general as well if they keep acting like this right up to September.


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            Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Got to admire our absent Douglas. I’ll bet he’s still busting his ass for our campaign. Charest badly needs to listen to Douglas and his fellow members walking through fire on his behalf.

            Because right now, we’re clearly losing. We need a strategic reboot and fast.

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