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Bill 28 speaking notes

Notes for my deputation at the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Queen’s Park, 2016.10.18. Delivered almost verbatim, as it turns out.

Hi, and thanks for having me in the big chair here. I’m Joe Clark. I live in Toronto and I’m a journalist and author. I wrote about 400 articles for newspapers and magazines, including over 100 in the gay and lesbian press. I also wrote a couple of nonfiction books on generally uninteresting subjects. I am very committed to protecting and defending the legitimately constituted gay and lesbian community.

I’m glad to have the opportunity to talk about Bill 28: The Handmaid’s Tale Act. That’s what I call it, because this is a bill that literally rewrites motherhood and fatherhood. In fact, it redefines motherhood out of existence.

The original reason why this bill exists is to make it legally straightforward for gay and lesbian couples to be recognized as parents of their respective children. (Not “queer” couples; please stop using that term.) That’s all we need and all we needed this bill to do. But in a classic example of scope creep driven by what is actually a really creepy transgender agenda, this bill attempts to rewrite human biology.

I’m sorry to be the eldergay journalist who’s saddled with the task of telling you about the birds and the bees, but here goes. Males have XY chromosomes and a penis and testicles. For reproduction, males produce spermatozoa. Females have XX chromosomes, breasts, a uterus, Fallopian tubes, and a vagina and clitoris. For reproduction, females produce eggs or ova.

There. Those are the immutable biological facts about Homo sapiens. These facts are just as immutable as Newton’s laws or saying 2 + 2 = 4.

It is not true that there really are two kinds of men – those with vaginas and those without. Men don’t have vaginas or female anatomy. It’s equally untrue that there really are two kinds of women – those with penises and those without. Women don’t have penises or male anatomy. These are basic biological facts. There are two sexes. Two, not an unknown number or any other number.

But what this bill manages to do is erase motherhood completely. It also takes a good stab at eliminating fatherhood, but for some reason doesn’t quite go all the way there.

So, for example, Part II of the Children’s Law Reform Act is simply repealed. §4(1) there says “Any person having an interest may apply to a court for a declaration that a male person is recognized in law to be the father of a child or that a female person is the mother of a child.” That’s just gone.

You’re trying to change the Vital Statistics Act so that, to quote,

into this Orwellian doublespeak nightmare:

“birth” means the complete expulsion or extraction from a person of a fetus

Your bill also says the following pretty baldly:

The definition of “still-birth” in §1 of the Act is amended by striking out “from its mother” and substituting “from a person.”

If this law passes, mothers will not give birth. Mothers will not undergo the tragedy of stillbirth. Generic bodiless sexless “persons” will do so. There are no generic bodiless sexless “persons” in existence, let alone in Ontario.

Could I ask the men on this committee – it’s pretty obvious you’re men; I don’t have to ask for your preferred pronouns, not that I would ever do that – if they as “persons” have ever expelled a fetus or had a fetus extracted from them?

Your bill also makes many references to a “birth parent.” There is only one kind of “birth” parent and that is a birth mother. The only one giving birth is the mother. And she is a she, a woman, a girl, a female. There aren’t two ways about it, literally or figuratively.

None of you were ever elected, least of all on a mandate, to socially engineer the province of Ontario. You were not elected to define motherhood out of existence. And you really weren’t elected to suppress and deny femaleness, girlhood, womanhood, and motherhood. But that’s what this bill does.

You simply do not have the authority to make sweeping changes of this scale. And they can’t be fixed by tinkering; you have to delete every attempt to redefine motherhood and fatherhood in sex-neutral terms. Mothers are drawn from the biological sex “female” and fathers from the biological sex “male.” I can’t believe I have to be the one to tell you that.

The cure is worse than the disease here. Remember: You had one job – clearing up parental rights for gay and lesbian couples. Yet you arrogated the right to redefine motherhood and fatherhood and simply deny biological sex.

Really, how dare you?

That’s the end of my remarks. I’d be happy to sit here and endure the ritual berating that government committees visit upon critical witnesses.

Posted: 2016.10.24

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