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Green Party will not silence MPs who are anti-abortion, says Elizabeth May

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says members of the Green Party “won’t be prevented “ from trying to reopen the abortion debate in the next Parliament.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says members of the Green Party “won’t be prevented “ from trying to reopen the abortion debate in the next Parliament.

This goes against May’s own personal belief that women have “a right to a safe, legal abortion,” but May goes on to say that she does not have the power as the Green Party Leader to “silence an MP,”

“I could talk to them. I could try to dissuade them. I could say it would be unfortunate … but I don’t have the power as leader of the Green Party to whip votes, nor do I have the power to silence an MP.”

“And frankly, I think that’s a good thing because democracy will be healthier when constituents know that their MP works for them and not their party leader,” said May in a CBC interview.

With the abortion topic being a pressure point already used against Andrew Scheer, May’s next comments were more aligned with that of Prime Minister Trudeau’s, stating that she personally believes that abortion is a woman’s right.

“A woman has a right to a safe, legal abortion. I’ve never wavered in that position since I was, like, eight years old and realized what was going on when I heard my mother arguing with people about the issue,” said May.

Different policies exist throughout the major federal parties in Canada. The Trudeau Liberals made their stance clear by barring all new members of his caucus from supporting any restrictions on access to abortion.

The NDP have also made clear that a candidate must be pro-choice to run for the party. NDP spokesperson Melanie Richer stated.

May, a practising Anglican, leads her party with a more nuanced approach.

“We are an inclusive and all-embracing society. Within the Green Party, we have candidates from every faith and religion and a lot who don’t believe there is a God and wonder why anyone would be so foolish as to think so. And everyone is respected and welcome.”

May’s previous comments

A similar conversation surrounding May’s abortion beliefs came about in 2006, when she told nuns at a convent in London, Ontario that she has talked several women out of having abortions.

“If one group of people say a woman has a right to choose, I get queasy because I’m against abortion,” said may in a recording, according to Straight. “I don’t think a woman has a frivolous right to choose. What I don’t want is a desperate woman to die in an illegal abortion.”

When May was asked in 2011 if she thinks abortion is morally wrong, May replied, “No.”

“I don’t think that anyone is for abortion in the sense that you hope people are going to have abortions,” May said.

“You hope in an ideal world that every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy. My friends and family members who’ve ever gone through abortions have found it a traumatically difficult decision to make. It’s a personally difficult decision. You can’t trivialize how hard that choice is. But a woman has a right to make that choice, and it’s not a morally wrong decision by any means.”

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