Liberal Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada spoke publicly in the House of Commons about the abortion she experienced at 18.

Soraya Martinez Ferrada speaking into a microphone.

Soraya Martinez Ferrada said Canada “saved” her by allowing her to obtain a legal and safe abortion.

Photo: The U.S. Press / Spencer Colby

It was a rather unusual confession in a setting like that of the House of Commons in Ottawa. In the middle of question period, Liberal Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada stood up Thursday to confess that she had undergone an abortion at the age of 18.

His statement was followed by a wave of applause from his Liberal colleagues and demonstrations of support from Bloc and New Democrat elected officials. However, it left Conservative MPs cold.

Mr. President (…) when I returned to Chile, I realized that I was pregnant, without rights, without choices. For the second time, Canada saved me by allowing me to obtain a legal, safe abortion, a future that I had chosen.

A quote from Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism

It was just after Pinochet left. And I decided that I wanted to go to the country to finally find what the dictatorship had stolen from mesays the Montreal elected official of Chilean origin in an interview with Radio-United States.

Soraya Martinez Ferrada speaks, standing in the House of Commons.

Soraya Martinez Ferrada took advantage of a question from one of her liberal colleagues to talk about her own abortion.

Photo: The U.S. Press / Justin Tang

Arriving in Chile, she learned that she was pregnant. : \”Well, you know that in Chile, (abortion) is not legal. It’s criminal and you can go to prison.\””,”text”:”When I talked about that with my aunt at the time, she told me: “Well, you know that in Chile, (abortion) is not legal. It’s criminal and you can go to prison.\ “”}}”>When I talked to my aunt about it at the time, she said, “Well, you know that in Chile (abortion) is not legal. It’s criminal and you can do from prison.”

She then returned to Canada to undergo a voluntary termination of pregnancy.

Since 2017, Chile has authorized abortion in three situations:

  • in case of rape;

  • in case of danger to the mother’s life;

  • in case of non-viability of the fetus.

Earlier this week, Conservative MP Arnold Viersen tabled a petition on behalf of Canadians urging the government to pass legislation to protect the rights of fetuses. More than 35 years after the Morgentaler decision which decriminalized abortion in the country, the signatories affirm that this decision directly contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since it does not protect life.

Minister Martinez Ferrada now fears that Canadian women’s right to abortion is under threat. What really appealed to me was the submission of the petition which in fact brings back the debate, through the back door, on the question of a fetus’ right to life.

The Alberta MP is showing persistence, since this is the third time in six months that he has tabled the same petition.

This time, Soraya Martinez Ferrada felt attacked. Does that make me a criminal? I mean, that’s the question. And I said to myself, I think it’s important to finally use my personal story to stop asking questions for women’s rights.

We must break taboos and silence. And that’s what I did.

A quote from Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism

Anti-abortion protest on Parliament Hill

As Minister Martinez Ferrada stood up in the House, outside the walls of parliament, the traditional “National March for Life” got underway.

Every year, the scenario repeats itself, in a well-orchestrated production. At the front, there are teenagers holding photos of fetuses, followed by a group singing a religious song.

In the crowd, MP Arnold Viersen took pleasure in taking photos with activists who carried signs reading: Pray to end abortion.

People participate in the “March for Life” on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, May 9, 2024.

People took part in the “March for Life” on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday.

Photo: The U.S. Press / Sean Kilpatrick

A few minutes later, in his speech, Mr. Viersen invited anti-abortion activists to sign his petition. We ask to protect life from conception until natural death, because we are made in the image and in the light of Godhe told the crowd.

Its leader Pierre Poilievre, for his part, stays away from this type of gathering. He has also repeated several times, during the Conservative leadership race, that he is pro-choice.

But that doesn’t reassure Soraya Martinez Ferrada. : is his party pro-choice? Because what will guarantee that women’s rights in Canada will never be called into question is that the party that wishes to govern is pro-choice”,”text”:”The question is: will her party is pro-choice? Because what will guarantee that women’s rights in Canada will never be called into question is that the party that wishes to govern is pro-choice”}}”>The question is: is his party pro-choice? Because what will guarantee that women’s rights in Canada will never be called into question is that the party that wishes to govern is pro-choice.she says.

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It is clear that the Conservatives are torn on the issue. In its political statement, the party affirms that a Conservative government will not support legislation to regulate abortion.

But we add that, on this question, deputies can express possibly divergent personal convictions and are free to vote according to their conscience and that of their voters.

With the collaboration of Marie Chabot-Johnson

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