Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Beacon for Human Rights

Canada does not have a great track record in a number of areas, including environmental legislation. However, Canada is leading the world on a couple of important human rights issues.

Gay Rights
Even our far-right federal government has closed the book on the same-sex marriage debate. How was this possible? Before we legalized same-sex marriage, quite a few people were worried that it would threaten the concept of marriage or somehow hurt the fabric of society. Now that we've had same-sex marriages for several years, it's obvious that there is no harm whatsoever. It's all good. Gay people finally have full, protected rights to live their lives like anyone else.

Women's Reproductive Rights
Canada imposes less restrictions on abortion than any other country in the world. As a result, we have fewer, safer, and earlier abortions than just about anyone else:
- Canadians have one-third fewer abortions than Americans.
- Canada has about the lowest complication rate for abortion - and the lowest maternal mortality rate - in the world.
- In Canada, 90% of abortions are done by 12 weeks, and 97% are done by 16 weeks. Legal restrictions in the US delay medical care, resulting in later-term abortions.

Canada's record shows that restrictions on abortion serve to punish pregnant women, but are counter-productive if your goal is to reduce the number of abortions or ensure that they are done early.

More Reading
Civil Unions Not Good Enough
Criminalizing Women's Health
The Importance of Same-Sex Marriage in Current Canadian Politics

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