By Letter to the Editor on October 8, 2017.
Complaints from Ms. Harder and her supporters that it was undemocratic and intolerant to deny her the chair of the Status of Women committee miss the point entirely. As chair, she would be a spokesperson and defender of the rights of women. One key right that has been confirmed by our Supreme Court is women’s reproductive choice, i.e. control over their own bodies. Hard to think of any more basic right than that, but for women it has been a very long time coming.
Harder and her backers seek to replace that integral right, that bodily right, with the competing authority of religious doctrine, the further outrage being that this is yet another entirely arbitrary “interpretation” of that silly doctrine. The arrogance of these people is unsurpassed and yet they continue to force this competition, this showdown between human rights and religious “rights,” in spite of it being doomed for the simple and obvious reason that we are all human beings but we are not all religious believers. Hence the separation of church and state. Hence the more reasonably revered, modern, evolving and dynamic rule of law.
The nerve of supposed leaders among women such as Harder in particular to seek control over other women’s bodies is beyond perverse. It begs the question of whose side they are on. I know that they would smugly and self-righteously proclaim it to be “the fetus” or the “pre-born,” which implies that a fetus is free-range rather than inarguably implanted within another person’s body. This is the bottom line, truly, with no way around it. Messy, yes, and far from ideal but have you met bodies? Or human beings, for that matter?
Keep in mind that these same religious people of highly dubious moral superiority are also often bizarrely lined up against sex education in schools, which could obviously reduce the need for abortions! And Catholic doctrine is notoriously against even basic birth control, which is fundamental health care! How this array of backward nonsense can be perceived as anything other than purely punitive and therefore classically misogynist, we fail to see. Welcome to the world of religion.
Andrew Scheer nominated Harder as chair to signal to his religious base that the Conservative party views Christian dictates as superior to human rights. Harder stated in campaigning that she would work to eliminate women’s right to reproductive choice. The Liberals and NDP were quite right to deny her this platform.
Patricia and Tony Pargeter
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