Soon the Prince Edward Island government will be allowing abortion services in the province for the first time in almost 35 years.
And one Island man set out to put a stop to it with an application for a judicial review heard in court Monday.Kevin Arsenault’s time in court paled to that of the historic legal battles over abortion carried out by the late Dr. Henry Morgentaler.
On Monday, the determined, passionate pro-life advocate argued for roughly 90 minutes, ultimately unsuccessfully, for standing to seek a judicial review of P.E.I.’s abortion policy and laws.
Arsenault felt he brought forward compelling arguments that “the best interest of the child is an increasingly important consideration in all policy and all legislation.’’
He wanted to be a voice for the unborn. He wants all pregnant women to bring a child into the world.
Supreme Court Justice Nancy Key, in no uncertain terms, told Arsenault he had no legal standing to seek a judicial review of what the province will – or won’t – allow a pregnant P.E.I. woman to do.
It’s too bad that Key’s and the P.E.I. Supreme Court’s time wasted even 90 minutes listening to the argument.
“There are people who are directly affected by that (abortion legislation),’’ Josie Baker, a member of Abortions Access Now P.E.I., told The Guardian.
“Those are people with uteruses and unfortunately Mr. Arsenault is not somebody who is able to speak on behalf of that experience.’’
Morgentaler pushed that sentiment for years, stating that any woman should have the right to end her pregnancy without risking death.
He was not deterred when police raided his Montreal clinic in 1970. Nor was his resolve softened in the least when he was charged with performing illegal abortions.
He kept pushing for pregnant women to be able to choose whether or not to continue or end their pregnancy.
In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed with Morgentaler, striking down Canada’s abortion law, ruling that it conflicted with rights guaranteed in the Charter.
The justices found that the law violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringed upon a woman’s right to life, liberty and security of the person.
Many Island women have suffered a great deal over the last 35 years since P.E.I. diminished access to abortion services. Women have endured the health risks, financial strains and even attempted to self-abort.
Now it is time for Arsenault, other pro-lifers, and the P.E.I. government to leave pregnant Island women alone to make their own often excruciatingly difficult choice of whether or not they will bring a child into the world.