NDP Commits to Women’s Reproductive Choice While Liberals Play Political Football
Media Release — For Immediate Release March 29, 2001
VICTORIA — The Pro-Choice Action Network and the BC abortion provider community applauds the courage and commitment of the NDP government in standing up for reproductive choice for women.
On Wednesday in the BC Legislature, Deputy Premier Joy MacPhail and Minister of Women’s Equality Evelyn Gillespie presented an 11-point motion to improve access to abortion and other reproductive health services, and to protect and support health professionals who provide these services.
“The NDP government has proven once again their long-term ongoing commitment to women’s reproductive choice,” said Joyce Arthur of the Pro-Choice Action Network. “We are thrilled with these comprehensive, much-needed initiatives that will enhance and stabilize women’s access to reproductive health services over the long-term, including abortion.”
Representatives from the Pro-Choice Action Network, UBC Students for Choice, and other groups, sat in the BC Legislature gallery Wednesday to watch the motion being debated. “It was appalling to witness the total lack of respect that the Liberal party showed towards women’s rights and health,” said Hannah Roman of UBC Students for Choice. “We had expected that the Liberal MLA’s would express some support or at least explain why they oppose protecting a woman’s right to choose, but instead, virtually the entire Liberal caucus walked out and would not even debate the motion.”
“The Liberals accused the NDP of playing political election games,” said Roman, “but it was the Liberals doing all the political posturing, at the expense of women’s health and provider safety.” Before walking out of the Legislature, the Liberals indicated they would all vote against the proposed measures and legislation on Thursday. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell even refused to tell the media what his positions are on the specific initiatives, leaving the BC public completely in the dark. But health providers, women, and the rest of the public deserve to know in detail where the Liberals stand on these issues that are so critical to so many.
“Apparently, the Liberals regard this whole issue as a trivial one, useful only to kick around as a political football,” said Arthur. She pointed out that in contrast, the NDP are concerned about women, and are being realistic in the face of a possible Liberal win in the upcoming election, which would likely result in a deterioration of access to reproductive health services. “The NDP knows that a Liberal government would do nothing to actually improve access, which is still far from ideal,” said Arthur. “It’s obvious the NDP is simply trying to safeguard women’s rights over the long term by entrenching and increasing the many supports and initiatives they have worked hard to put in place over the last decade.”