A roundup of news and commentary from around the interwebs.
John Sikkema—formerly of ARPA, now of Acacia Group, a legal firm specializing in religious liberty cases in Canada—has a good piece in C2C Journal on the Canadian Civil Liberties Union suing the province of New Brunswick for declining to fund a private abortion facility, Clinic 554.
Open Democracy, a progressive smear-job outfit that has been attempting to “expose” conscientious professionals from Latin America to Europe for assisting with the reversal of the abortion pill, has now published a story targeting Vancouver physician Dr. Will Johnston. He received an email through the Abortion Pill Rescue Hotline from reporter Annie Burns-Pieper posing as a pregnant woman and prescribed progesterone. The abortion activists at OpenDemocracy, of course, believe that reversing a medication abortion, rather than pursing one, is dangerous. Canadian Physicians for Life has the details here.
For anyone interested in how abortion pill reversal works, check out my interview with one of the pioneers of the procedure:
The pro-life group Precious Life is decrying the ongoing imposition of abortion on Northern Ireland, in which NI secretary Brandon Lewis is once again ignoring devolution and overriding the Stormont Assembly to ensure that bore abortions are carried out. (For a rundown of how abortion was forced on Northern Ireland, check out my interview with Bernadette Smyth here.)
Over at National Review Online, Dr. Michael New takes a look at long-term declines in both teen pregnancies and abortions.
Some of you might be interested in a discussion I had on the Fides Podcast on the Irish pro-life movement and various other culture war issues.
Micah Meadowcroft’s review of David French’s Divided We Fall in The American Conservative, which asks if an American divorce would really be such a bad thing, is very much worth reading. It examines a couple of possible scenarios that could unfold in the near-term regarding secession—and explains why this route, rather than civil war, could actually be a positive one. Food for thought.
Back in December, I wrote an essay for Convivium explaining why I don’t think that the restrictions on worship services in Canada have been primarily motivated by animus towards Christians. Raymond de Souza has just penned a column for the National Post explaining why he believes recent evidence indicates that in British Columbia, this is no longer true. An excerpt:
It is impossible not to conclude that Dr. Henry’s office was animated by a hostility to prayer and worship per se. The evidence? Her orders permitted a dozen or so people to meet in a church hall for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. If the same group went into the actual church, often a larger space, for a worship service that involved less speaking than the AA meeting, Henry’s big stick came crashing down. Dr. Henry had been petitioned by faith leaders to allow services at 10 per cent of capacity — lower than prevailing norms in other parts of the country, such as 15 per cent in Alberta and 30 per cent in many parts of Ontario. She swatted that request down.
A coalition of Reformed Christian churches — supported by a wide array of B.C. faith leaders — challenged Dr. Henry’s order in court earlier this month. The chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court agreed that the restrictions violated all four of the fundamental freedoms in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, surely some kind of record. Dr. Henry had trampled all over freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association, but the judge decided that the trampling was permissible because of the pandemic. He upheld the orders — for now.
B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson nevertheless expressed his astonishment at the unlimited, unaccountable powers Dr. Henry had been granted by the B.C. government.
“Dr. Henry is really holding all the cards,” he said at the hearing. “So how do I know what Dr. Henry is doing and why? … When you deprive the complainants of the ability to understand how (Dr. Henry) got from A to B, the court can’t look at it, it really isn’t much of a review. It gives Dr. Henry absolute authority and if she chooses not to share her thought process with the court, there’s no oversight.”
Indeed, Dr. Henry did not bother to share her thinking with the court, failing even to file an affidavit. The government lawyer told the judge that he could watch the daily press briefings if he wanted to know what Dr. Henry thought. Be kind, be safe, etc …
“It is a point I’m struggling with,” Hinkson said. “Nobody elected Dr. Henry. She’s been appointed and she has a difficult job. But if you just take it on faith — that’s an ironic term to use — that she’s balancing all of these things.”
It’s not so much ironic as Orwellian. Total power invested in the smiling, soothing, sympathetic voice of the one who whispers “be kind” as she suspends, arbitrarily and without recourse, all the fundamental freedoms in the Charter.
“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law” — so begins our much-vaunted Charter. Not in B.C. Not anymore.
Forget God. Dr. Henry is supreme now.
Unfortunately, increasing evidence indicates that de Souza is likely right.