Ford pledges not to re-open abortion debate after 3 MPPs speak at anti-abortion rally
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 3:11PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 5:53PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford said his government will not re-open the abortion debate in Ontario, hours after three members of his caucus spoke at a Toronto anti-abortion rally Thursday.
Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, Scarborough Centre MPP Christina Mitas and Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma stood on stage and each spoke out against the legal practice of abortion.
“For 50 years, Canadian pre-born children have been under attack. The human rights of the littlest citizens of our country have been ignored and their lives taken without their choice,” Oosterhoff said.
Later in his speech he said “We pledge to fight to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime.”
His Scarborough counterpart urged the crowd assembled at Queen’s Park to “stand up for the unborn.”
“I had a baby three months ago – I am not married and we did not plan the timing. I had a number of people from all walks of life coming to me telling me ‘abort the baby because it is going to impact your career’,” Mitas said.
Counter protestors yelled “shame” and chanted during the speeches by the three Progressive Conservative MPPs.
“Abortion has become a thing of convenience in this country,” Mitas said.
In response to questions about the rally during Thursday’s question period, Ford gathered his caucus for a meeting.
After 1 p.m., his office issued a statement saying his government “will not re-open the abortion debate.”
“The Ontario PC Party is a big-tent. We welcome members from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Our government is focused on protecting what matters most, cleaning up a fiscal mess left behind by the Liberals, making Ontario open for business and open for jobs, and lowering taxes for families.”
Speaking after question period, Oosterhoff said he stood behind the comments he made at the rally.
“To quote Dr. Seuss, a person is a person no matter how small. I’ve always said I am pro-life, I will always speak for children who are too young to speak for themselves, who don’t have a voice. I will always be a voice for the voiceless.”
NDP leader Andrea Horwath issued a statement on Thursday afternoon saying Ford’s commitment not to re-open the abortion debate fell short.
“We are horrified that Doug Ford continues to refuse to denounce his MPPs’ dangerous, anti-choice and anti-women position.”
At various times since entering Ontario politics, Ford has made comments about abortion and how it is governed.
During the 2018 leadership campaign, he questioned why a teenage girl seeking an abortion could obtain one without the consent of her parents, comparing it to other activities teens need parental consent for, such as a school field trip.
He told the anti-abortion news website Right Now that he was “personally pro-life” but that “all Canadians have to make this decision based on their own conscience and beliefs.”
He told the Campaign for Life Coalition he opposed the previous Liberal government’s so-called “bubble zone” restrictions on protesting outside locations that provide abortion services.