Social conservatives see opportunity to re-open abortion debate with Andrew Scheer as opposition leader

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      Two B.C. anti-abortion activists will attend this week's Conservative policy convention in Halifax to push the party to change its position on this issue.

      UBC law school graduate Tabitha Ewert and Mike Schouten are with, which is campaigning for a new national law on abortion.

      Their group, along with another anti-abortion organization called RightNow, will host a hospitality suite at the convention, which takes place from Thursday to Saturday (August 23 to 25).

      They want delegates to delete an article from the party's social policy, which states: “A Conservative Government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion.”

      “It is clear that Article 65 conflicts with the party’s guarantee of free votes for all members on matters of conscience,” Schouten maintained in a news release. “Deleting this article does not mean we have an abortion law, but it means we can have a national conversation.”

      The group has paid for billboards in Halifax saying there needs to be a law on abortion in Canada.

      “Almost everywhere else in the world, pre-born children are protected after the first trimester," Ewert said in the news release.

      In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada's abortion law in the Morgentaler decision.

      In the wake of this, a Conservative justice minister, Kim Campbell, introduced a new law. It passed in the House of Commons but was defeated in the Senate.

      Last year, RightNow claimed that it sold thousands of memberships to the Conservative Party of Canada leading up to its last leadership campaign, which was won by Andrew Scheer.

      "Andrew has always been a strong pro-life candidate that has defended the rights of members of Parliament to freely vote on these issues as well as bring them up in Parliament," RightNow cofounder Alissa Golob said in a news release after Scheer's victory.

      Another RightNow cofounder, Scott Hayward, stated in the same news release that his group is "excited to work" with Scheer. That's "because of his voting record, positive pro-life policies and his goal to unite the party and accept that social conservatives need to be part of the conversation".

      Scheer has often stated that public universities should not receive funding through federal granting agencies if they don't protect free speech on campus.

      But to date, the Conservative leader has not promised to re-open the abortion debate in Canada.

      However in 2016 in a parliamentary debate over medically assisted death, Scheer stated that "upholding the principle of the sanctity of life is our job".