Canadians say ‘no thank you’ to re-opening abortion debate

·National Affairs Reporter

It has been 25 years since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that banning abortion was unconstitutional and, except for a handful of political flare-ups, that is largely where the debate has rested since.

That is fine and dandy for the general public who, much like their personal finances, would rather just not talk about it.

The Globe and Mail reports that a new poll found a solid majority (59 per cent) did not want the debate reopened, against 30 per cent who did. Another 11 per cent of respondents didn't even seem to want to debate whether the debate should be reopened.

Mario Canseco, vice-president of the polling firm, Angus Reid, told the Globe:

Canadians have mixed feelings about abortion but the attitude is: ‘Let sleeping dogs lie.'

[ Related: Abortion debate rages 25 years after Supreme Court ruling ]

Remember the last U.S. election? When it seemed every Republican near a microphone shared their thoughts on abortion? Representative Todd Akin introduced the world to “legitimate rape” and others compounded the problem, forcing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate to discuss their own positions on the matter.

North of the border, we have largely avoided swimming in that pool. Officially, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is among those who would rather see Pandora's Box remain sealed.

"Very clearly I am against reopening that debate," he said during the 2011 federal election. "That is my position, now and in the past five years as well, and as long as I am prime minister, we will not reopen the debate on abortion."

[ Related: Parents take fight for double parental-leave to Supreme Court ]

But of course that hasn't stopped the debate from rearing its head from time to time. In September, a Conservative backbencher put forward a motion to review the legal definition of a human being — currently set at the moment it emerges from its mother.

The bill, seen as a bid to establish legal rights for fetuses, was voted down.

In December, another Conservative MP brought forth a motion condemning sex-selective abortion. And while no one was on the side of gender discrimination, some critics viewed the move as bid to open a side door on the abortion debate.

The front door of the abortion debate will remain closed as long as Canadians want it to remain that way. And, really, is there anything that could make Canadians want to talk about abortion?

It’s not as if Justin Bieber’s mother is suddenly going to become a vocal anti-abortion advocate. Things like that just don’t happen in Canada. Please and thank you.

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