An abortion demonstrator is seen in Washington May 14, 2022. CNS photo/Leah Millis, Reuters

Editorial: Fanatics can’t change

  • May 19, 2023

The fanaticism to which self-styled pro-choice politics have descended bears out the definition attributed to Churchill that fanatics cannot change their minds and will not change the subject.

Supporting evidence was abundantly displayed last week in response to a private member’s bill introduced by Saskatchewan MP Cathay Wagantall. Less visibly but more troublingly, it was personified by the clump of feckless hecklers on hand to robotically denigrate Campaign Life Coalition’s national March for Life through downtown Ottawa.

As The Register and other media have reported, Wagantall’s legislation does not mention abortion. It intends no effect on abortion’s availability in Canada. Its purpose is purely to protect pregnant women from violence against, well, pregnant women. Analogously to how hate crime provisions can increase punishment for violence toward vulnerable populations, it would encourage courts to give added seriousness to harms assailants inflict on women they know are pregnant.

Yet the mere prospect of the Conservative MP’s bill being discussed in the House of Commons, however unlikely it is to become law, propelled pro-choice fanaticism to speak in the voice of Prime Minister Trudeau, his cabinet, his MPs and stalwarts of the abortion agenda.

Hey! Presto! The topic of holding to higher account violent criminality that recklessly harms women who choose to bear children became a pretext to turn up the volume on the inexhaustible subject of protecting “women’s rights to abortion.” Predictable jaw boning ensued regardless of a) no such right existing, or ever having existed, in Canada; and b) women facing no conceivable political obstacle to obtaining the procedure.

Never mind reality. What mattered, in Churchillian-defined fanatic fashion, was the opportunity to yet again fear monger about the potential possibility that something like Wagantall’s bill might, in some distant unspecified way, under some future sunless sky, be somehow converted into a simulacrum of a partial limitation on wholesale access to abortion.

Some of this was merely rank opportunism of the flagrantly cynical variety that occasionally and uncharacteristically pops up as an affliction of Canada’s contemporary political class. But the insistence on raising the subject incessantly, even vis-a-vis an effort to protect women’s reproductive safety, goes beyond hardened habits of cheap political reflex. It reveals minds in the fierce grip of a mindset that cannot allow for any possibility, any stray beam of newly illuminated thinking, to affect its own rigid, insular, ingrained, deep frozen fanatical orthodoxy.

The sad effects of such stop think, as Orwell classically called it, was evident in the demeanour of the March for Life counter protesters, primarily young women of undergraduate age who huddled on the fringes emoting the 50-year-old mantra “my body, my choice” as if they simply had nothing new to say. They appeared less a fresh rising of “pro-choice” activists than the abandoned progeny of an exhausted generation that long ago chose to close its mind.

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