September 5, 2012
RE: PROTECT HUMAN LIFE WEEK IN KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – SEPTEMBER 23-30, 2012
Mayor Walter Gray
1435 Water Street
Kelowna, BC V1Y 1J4 via regular mail & email
Dear Mayor Gray,
Thank you to you and the council in Kelowna for proclaiming September 23-30, 2012 as Protect Human Life Week. While I might normally have applauded this decision from a distance – either through a blog or commentary in an op. ed. piece – the recent public letter sent to you by a number of pro-choice advocates compelled me to write to you directly ( their letter is published at http://www.straight.com/article-769706/vancouver/kelowna-mayor-walter-gray-receives-blast-prochoice-movement-over-right-life-week).
I do not object to people opposing your declaration. That’s constitutionally protected freedom of expression. I do wish that the group of pro-choice advocates who sent you the letter would also respect that there is nothing inappropriate about your proclamation, or the request from citizens of Kelowna to celebrate Protect Human Life Week; that is also constitutionally protected freedom of expression. Kelowna’s Protect Human Life Week enables civic conversation about the importance of human life.
I do object to the mischaracterization of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R v. Morgentaler (1988). The court struck down s. 251 of the Criminal Code because it threatened women’s right to “security of the person” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically due to the limited availability of therapeutic abortion committees. The court also noted that the protection of pre-born human life was a legitimate constitutional interest of the federal Parliament and suggested means by which Parliament might act within its authority. In short, “the protection of all human life, especially the infirm, the aged, the handicapped, and the unborn” is a legitimate pursuit of Parliament – and appropriate for conversation and debate among Canadians. Accordingly, it is entirely appropriate for the City of Kelowna to facilitate the celebration and the conversation.
Don Hutchinson, B.A., J.D.
Vice-President, General Legal Counsel
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada