Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Rip in my Flag. #NBProChoice

I just moved to a new place in Ottawa, and I realized my New Brunswick Flag got torn in the process. This imagery and a long overdue morning to write finally inspired me to say something about the appalling erosion reproductive choice in my home province.

The rip.
Abortion is a personal decision. If you oppose the idea of a fetus being aborted in principle, I welcome you to join me on calling on the government to better assist those who find themselves with unintended pregnancies through child care, education, and direct financial support. It is only through making pregnancy and parenthood more reasonable in today's economic climate that parents will choose against abortion.

The closure of the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton will disenfranchise thousands of women in the Maritimes. Beyond the irrefutable autonomy rights claims, access to abortion is necessary for creating equal opportunity for women's economic participation.

Social policy is how jurisdictions state their values publicly; Alward's Progressive Conservatives have written classism, sexism, and ignorance into New Brunswick's present. These differ greatly from the values of compassion, justice, and innovation my family and schools taught me. The social policy corollary New Brunswickers need is one that meaningfully expands opportunities for people to develop, not just extractive industries.

The reality of New Brunswick is that our talent pool flows west. Many of our professional workers study and settle in Quebec and Ontario, while skilled labour migrates further west and north. For those of us ex-pats who have grown homesick and ever plotted a return to the Picture Province, the closure of the Morgentaler Clinic is a startling disincentive.

I would love to find a good job in New Brunswick, move home, and start making my Northumberland Strait beach house more reality than dream. But why would I choose to raise a daughter under a policy that tells her she doesn't know what's best for her body and future? Where if she was forcibly impregnated, she'd need the permission of two doctors to abort her rapist's fetus.

The transience of talent is a problem that New Brunswick cannot ignore. The province must attract talented people through strong communities, generous social supports, and unique opportunities for personal and business development. Barriers to abortion are an unjust and unwise affront to progress. It's 2014, there is no excuse for abortion to be anything other than safe, free, and legal.

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