Richard Deaton published a Guest Opinion in the Guardian on March 6, 2018 titled “The Changing Politics of Abortion,” which then appeared in the Journal Pioneer the following day.
I have no interest in having a public “back and forth” exchange with Mr. Deaton, as has happened between him and several other respectable scholars in recent months, including Dr. Henry Srebrnik. a political science professor at UPEI. Dr. Srebrnik offered a response to Deaton’s many false accusations and misstatements against him on his own website titled, Attacks by an Anti-Zionist Bully
Deaton seems to be one of those guys who always has to have the last word, no matter what, even when they don’t have anything intelligent to say.
And the nature of the exchange between Deaton and every another person he engages invariably goes like this: (1) He makes outrageous, often slanderous or defamatory statements, (2) he states falsehoods as ‘facts,’ with no sources, then (3) compels the other person to respond to defend himself and correct Deaton’s misinformation and false claims.
I’ve never met Richard Deaton, but I imagine he has a bumper sticker on his car that reads: “I’ve never met a Guest Opinion writer I liked!”
Although it would likely be pointless to attempt to explain to Mr. Deaton the errors in his article against me, it was suggested that I should put those corrections “on the record” in the event that in the absence of a public response to his quite nasty article from me, someone might mistakenly interpret that what he said had merit….so I’m posting a response to accompany my other writings on the protection of the unborn and abortion.
Richard Deaton’s recent op-ed on abortion contained numerous false statements and accusations against me which need correcting. It truly baffles me how someone with a law degree could be so wrong about the law. Let’s start.
Deaton says that I claimed “…an unborn fetus has legal rights.” Not true! In fact, I wrote: “Ms. Arthur is correct that unborn children are currently not recognized by Parliament as having legal rights.” I did point out, however, that parliament has a legal duty to protect unborn children because we signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which obliges Canada to provide legal protection to children “…before as well as after birth.”
Deaton then cites an unnamed “legal commentator” (Joyce Arthur) claiming: “The evolution of charter and abortion-rights jurisprudence means that women… now have a charter right to abortion – a right that is significantly more secure today than it was in 1988.” That’s complete hogwash! No amount of jurisprudence can “amend” the charter. Former Chief Justice of the PEI Supreme Court, Gerard Mitchell recently addressed Joyce Arthur’s errant thinking by saying: “Despite the failure of parliament to pass a new law these past 30 years, the Morgentaler decision has not somehow morphed into a ruling that abortion is a charter guaranteed right” (Guardian, February 22).
Deaton then states that I mislead the public by failing to mention my legal case was “thrown out of court.” That statement is both untrue and defamatory. My case was not “thrown out of court”….I was denied “legal standing,” so my case was never heard. And Judge Key’s reasons for denying standing had absolutely nothing to do with the merits of my case.
And Deaton totally misrepresents what my case was about by suggesting it had to do with the “legal reality and state of the law” regarding abortion. It didn’t. My case rested solely on the claim that the PEI government was violating a provision of its own Health Services Payment Act which stipulated that only “medically-necessary” abortions were insurable. Deaton apparently doesn’t understand this legal argument, because he then falsely claims that failure to provide an abortion violates a woman’s “rights under the Canada Health Act (CHA).” Surely Deaton must realize that the CHA affords no such rights and the five program criteria he cites only apply to those medical services which provinces deem to be “medically necessary”.
As Health Canada explains on its website: “Medically necessary services are not defined in the Canada Health Act. It is up to the provincial and territorial health insurance plans…to determine which services are medically necessary for health insurance purposes….If a service is not considered to be medically required, the province or territory need not cover it through its health insurance plan.”
Deaton then argues there are no legal grounds to “halt” abortions, implying that I believe such legal grounds exist. I don’t. I always mention in my articles that there are currently no legal restrictions preventing women from having abortions in Canada. What I have consistently called for are: (1) that parliament protect unborn children by enacting a law with reasonable restrictions on abortion, as the Supreme Court suggested it do; (2) that PEI stop paying for medically-unnecessary abortions; and (3) that we all do whatever we can to help pregnant women decide against ending the lives of the innocent and vulnerable unborn children they conceive.