Sunday, April 29, 2012

Canada on abortion - like a deer in the headlights

This week, Stephen Woodworth, a Conservative member of Parliament, introduced a private member's motion calling for a study of when life begins.

Woodworth's motion directs that a committee of the House be struck to examine the definition of a human being in the Criminal Code. Section 223 of the code states that a "child becomes a human being" when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother. " If Woodworth's motion were to pass, a House committee would be charged with examining "what medical evidence exists to demonstrate that a child is or is not a human being before the moment of complete birth," and the legal and legislative consequences of such a determination. - Father Raymond de Souza

This seemingly innocuous motion has caused a firestorm of reaction, from Justice Minister Robert Nicholson who condemned the motion back in February to Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada who states that women's rights trump those of the fetus. On my own blog, a commenter invokes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to state that I cannnot question the right to abortion since women have autonomy over their own bodies.

That's exactly what Woodworth is asking for: a definition of the status of the unborn, given the data of modern science. After all, most people who have read anything about pregnancy, know that the child in the womb has its own body. It is residing within and dependent upon the mother for its nutrition and a safe place in which to grow. But that does not mean the child is part of the mother's body. In fact, its unique DNA, its own sexuality (half the time, different from its mother's), all indicate that this child has its own body and is its own person. In fact, all the changes within the mother's body during pregnancy are dictated by the child she is carrying, not by her own biology. That fact puts into question the autonomy of the mother.

The reticence by some to discuss this issue and the outright indignation of others that any debate should be allowed, would seem to indicate that they are afraid of losing ground if science should be brought to bear on the situation. This is why pro-abortion defenders always invoke the rights of the woman and never speak of the rights of the child. They cannot talk about the child, because that would be acknowledging the reality that they are trying to avoid - this is a fellow human being who is being destroyed in an abortion.

Why is Canada so reticent to open the debate on abortion? In 1988, the Senate had a tie vote on the subject of restrictions on abortion and they gave the issue back to the House of Commons, encouraging them to bring in some legislation on the subject. None has ever been brought forth since that time. And now we have a Prime Minister who declares that he will not re-open the debate.

Polls indicate that over 70% of Canadians favour some legislation to restrict abortion (Canada has no restrictions, putting it in the same category as China and North Korea). And another poll shows that 80% of Canadians are unaware that we are devoid of any legislation on abortion in Canada. No other western country is in this position. When pro-choicers state that the issue is settled, they are ignoring the fact that the issue has never been properly dealt with at all in this country.

So, if you like living in a country where the Supreme Court ultimately decides everything, then so be it. But that, to me, is not democracy. If the nine judges of the Supreme Court can decide something as important as who is considered a person, then what else will they decide? If an entire class of human beings have absolutely no protection by law, then all the rest of us are in danger of having the same thing happen to us. Removing protection from one group of persons takes away protection from all of us.

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