From Life Site News.
In what pro-life leaders are calling a stunning and unprecedented attack on religious freedom, Ontario’s Education Minister has apparently declared that Catholic schools can no longer teach that abortion is wrong.
Laurel Broten, who serves under Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, said Wednesday that Catholic schools are barred from teaching this core moral belief because Bill 13, the government’s controversial “anti-bullying” law, prohibits “misogyny.”
“Taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be considered one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take,” she told the Canadian Press. “I don’t think there is a conflict between choosing Catholic education for your children and supporting a woman’s right to choose.”
Bill 13 had already been slammed by Ontario’s bishops as an attack on religious freedom because it forces Catholic schools to allow “gay-straight alliance” clubs.
An official transcript sent to LifeSiteNews by the Ontario government confirms that Dalton McGuinty’s Education Minister told media on Wednesday that Catholic schools should not be teaching that abortion is wrong because it is a violation of the government’s newly-enacted anti-bullying bill.
[...]In her press conference, Minister Broten went beyond saying that Catholic schools cannot teach their pro-life beliefs, insinuating that they must actually adopt a “pro-choice” position. “We must ensure that women, young girls in our schools, especially highlighted during the week of the first ever Day of the Girl tomorrow, that young girls can make the choices that they make. This is not about being pro-abortion, it is about being pro-choice,” she stated.
A reporter pointed out that in the debates around Bill 13 there was no mention of abortion, and so asked why she had brought up the controversial bill.
“Bill 13 has in it a clear indication of ensuring that our schools are safe, accepting places for all our students,” she explained. “That includes of LGBTQ students. That includes young girls in our school. Bill 13 is about tackling misogyny, taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take.”
“There are many, many families that send their children to Catholic school and choose that education for their children that also support a woman’s right to choose,” she continued. “And as I said, I don’t think that there is a contrast or a conflict between choosing a Catholic education for your children and supporting a woman’s right to choose.”
And reactions from pro-lifers:
Since LifeSiteNews first published the shocking comments Wednesday, they have ignited a firestorm of criticism from pro-life and faith leaders in both Canada and the U.S. and across denominational lines.
Dr. Margaret Somerville, the founding director of McGill University’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, called it an “appalling” violation of religious freedom. “If Bill 13 were interpreted in the way the Minister suggests, in my opinion, it would be unconstitutional as offending freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and free speech, as well as contrary to parents’ obligations and rights with respect to their children, and so on,” she told LifeSiteNews.
[...]Steve Phelan, communications director for the Virginia-based Human Life International, called it “a case of radical, secular leftists trying to take away the most basic rights of those with whom they disagree.”
William Saunders, Senior Vice-President of Legal Affairs for Americans United for Life, said the comments show the “totalitarian instincts” of pro-abortion politicians, but also stressed that “it can’t be misogynistic to oppose something that is so harmful to women, as many recent studies show.”
“That’s the dirty secret about abortion – how harmful it is to women; and so to suggest it’s misogynist is to completely miss the point,” he explained.
[...]Somerville said the Minister’s comments are a sign of abortion advocates’ desperation, which she sees as hopeful.
“The fact that they can’t discuss abortion shows how frightened they are that they cannot support their case in an open public square and get others to support it,” she said. “And now, if we take the Minister’s comments as an indicator, that fear seems to have increased: They don’t want to let anyone even disagree with them, indeed, they want to go further and have everyone ‘preach what they preach’ about abortion. So much for their stance of adopting so-called “progressive” values which is supposed to include their ideology of tolerance for diversity and manifest this in practice.”
Now, I am not a Roman Catholic. I am an evangelical Protestant Christian, and proud of it. But I do defend religious liberty for all. There is nothing that I hold to more strongly than religious liberty, the first and most precious of our American liberties. I think it is important for us here to look around the world and to see which groups are opposed to religious liberty and freedom of conscience. It’s not the conservatives. It’s the progressives. And that’s why we must never vote for them, for any reason. We have to defend that right, as a matter of the first importance – not just for us, but for everyone else, too.
It’s important for social conservatives to understand never to make common cause with those who support big government and the restriction of basic liberties. We need to embrace small government and fiscal conservatism so that government never gets powerful enough to take away our freedoms. For a start, government should not be in control of education at the federal level. As social conservatives, we should be promoting state and local control of education, right to work laws and school vouchers. There is a connection between fiscal policy and social policy that both sides need to understand.
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