VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. Liberal candidate Laurie Throness is under fire, again, this time for controversial comments about free contraception, comparing the NDP’s plan to one that’s trying to prevent poor people from getting pregnant.
Throness took part in an all-candidates debate for the Chilliwack-Kent riding on Wednesday, during which he was asked, “is it right for the government to provide free contraception to everyone?”
A portion of the video was obtained by NEWS 1130. In it, Throness says that while he doesn’t “have a problem with contraception,” he doesn’t see it as a priority.
“It’s not a moral issue to me, but to me it’s a priority issue. To me, it would not rank as high on the priority list” to other medical services and needs, such as surgery, Throness says.
“And the other thing that I feel about this is that it contains a whiff of the old eugenics thing where poor people shouldn’t have babies and so we can’t force them to have contraception so we’ll give it to them for free,” Throness continues. “And maybe they’ll have fewer babies so there will be fewer poor people in the future. And to me that contains an odour that I don’t like and so I don’t really support what the NDP is doing there and that’s my answer.”
Suggesting free birth control is about selective breeding ‘ridiculous’
His answer is being slammed by advocates, including those with Options for Sexual Health.
“Quite honestly I was shocked initially, and then also thought about the source because Mr. Throness has been involved in other controversies that are archaic, so I was not that surprised when I considered the source,” Michelle Fortin, executive director for Options for Sexual Health, tells NEWS 1130.
“I am concerned that in 2020, during an election, where two parties have included universally and free, accessible contraception on their platforms, that someone would comment that contraception is not something that’s necessary in our healthcare system to consider to be free,” she adds.
In his response, Throness outlines conversations he’s had with some people who described needed life-or-death procedures.
Fortin says British Columbians are fortunate to have the Contraception Abortion Research Team, which looks into the impacts of unplanned pregnancy. She takes issue with people who don’t recognize that planning families is what’s actually best for society.
“Anyone that stands in the way of what would be, predominantly, women’s ability to choose when and if they become parents quite honestly keeps women oppressed. And the idea that this is about wanting to keep poor people from having babies is absolutely ridiculous,” Fortin adds. “What we want to do is have people be able to enjoy a healthy sex life and be able to plan when and if they become parents.”
"Anyone that stands in the way of what would be, predominantly, women's ability to choose when and if they become parents quite honestly keeps women oppressed. And the idea that this is about wanting to keep poor people from having babies is absolutely ridiculous," Fortin says.
— Hana Mae Nassar (@HanaMaeNassar) October 15, 2020
Fortin wants to see the provincial Liberals drop Throness, who’s also come under fire for his anti-LGBTQ views, as a candidate.
“I am shocked when you consider that their leader was a physician, so the idea that someone who’s a physician would allow one of its members to talk about something that’s not a moral imperative, but a medical imperative — that’s what contraception is — is shocking to me,” she says. “Laurie Throness, I think this is just him continuing to reveal his stripes.”
Liberal leader on contraception
BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson was quick to respond on Thursday after Throness’ comments came to light.
Taking to Twitter, Wilkinson wrote “Let’s be clear, I support government providing free contraception to anyone in B.C (sic) who wants it.”
— Andrew Wilkinson (@Wilkinson4BC) October 15, 2020
Wilkinson went on to say that what Throness said was wrong, and that it goes “against my position as leader of this party.”
Wilkinson apparently plans to bring this up with Throness the next time they speak.