05.18.2010 08:10 AM

Choice vs. None At All: the sleeping giant awakes

At Michael Ignatieff’s sold-out fundraising dinner last night – and when I was in Alberta on the weekend with that province’s Liberals, and in emails and messages I have been getting from across the country – women have asked me how to get more involved in politics.  I ask them why. “Because Stephen Harper promised not to go after abortion rights, and now he’s doing just that,” they say. “Because I am afraid of what the country will be like if these sons-of-bitches get a majority.”

Looking at the morning papers, I’d say that many others are starting to express the same feelings.  Canadians – and particularly Canadian women – are concerned that the crypto-Reformers now ensconced in government have a not-so-hidden agenda which will end in abortion again being criminalized.  Examples are here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

On the weekend, I received a powerful commentary from a woman named Amanda.  I think everyone should read it.  It expresses a view that I am hearing over and over, these days.  It expresses the view that Stephen Harper has woken a sleeping giant in Canadian politics – and he will come to profoundly regret it.

Here’s Amanda:

A little over a year ago, I would’ve told you that I was *this close* to thinking about voting for these guys. I liked their stand on Arctic Sovereignty, on Afghanistan and the Canadian Forces (foreign policy being an important part of what I think defines a federal government in Canada), and even to some extent on stimulus and a handful of other domestic issues. I am a great big, bleeding heart, capital “L” Liberal, and I just couldn’t see my way clear to voting for a man in my riding who I have never heard from, who is a member of a party with a leader who can’t see HIS way clear to finding himself a personality or traction on any issues; Except, now, for an issue on parliamentary rules that only people who actually understand the ins and outs of parliament can understand. Let’s just say it’s certainly not a wedge issue, or more to the point, an issue that is going to get into a householder.

I was *this close* to simply allowing my mind to ponder under what conditions would I cross the aisle and betray my party. Had the LPC (including the MPs and the Office of the Leader of the Opposition) done enough to shake my life-long faith in the Natural Governing Party? It began with the Prime Minister Chretien/Minister Martin debacle, and I never could get behind Prime Minister Martin. He had no interest in working with Premier McGuinty, despite being fully aware of the role Ontario plays in Confederation, and dashed the hopes of many who finally had a longed-for Liberal Ontario/Liberal Canada. It didn’t live up to hopes, and Prime Minister Martin began a sorry history of not being able to get traction on any issue – the very thing which is poisoning the party now, and which is a clear sign of a leader who is a compromise, rather than someone the party faithful really wanted to lead us. Prime Minister Martin, followed by Mr. Dion, and now Mr. Ignatieff. I feel like the only time the party actually got together in all this time was when Mr. Graham was interim leader. Did they shake my faith with horrifying incompetence, ridiculous attempts to grab power and a total inability to communicate on issues? Absolutely. This is not the party I felt drawn to as a newly-aware teenager. This is not the party of Prime Ministers Trudeau and Chretien.

And so, one turns to other options. The NDP is too silly to be serious about anything, although I have the utmost of respect for Mr. Mulcair. Green is a lovely idea, but it’s a wasted vote when the Leader can’t get elected to the House. The only other option is the Tories, and so the question must be asked – are they REALLY that bad? I don’t particularly like Prime Minister Harper as human being, but I don’t really believe in the general maliciousness of humans (See? LIBERAL!), and I do believe for the most part, he thinks that what he does is what is best for this country. His Ministers have not been impressive, obviously, but I have found myself nodding in agreement when foreign policy issues have been at the forefront. I believe in our mission in Afghanistan for many reasons, and I believe in protecting our sovereignty in the Arctic. I believe in our relationship with Israel, I thought that appointing Ambassador Doer in Washington was brilliant, and on other foreign policy issues, I thought this government was going mostly in the right direction.

Until now. This issue of denying abortions to women in developing countries is a way to start the debate here in Canada, after Prime Minister Harper said he would not – that abortion in Canada is established and he wasn’t going to be pro-active in opening the issue. Women everywhere have a right to choose to do what they want with their own bodies, particularly with reproductive concerns. It never occurred to me that Canada would be a country to implement a gag rule and would not provide funding to those who provide abortions. Removing funding from this essential health care service and from Pride festivals (Toronto may be relatively well-funded, but other places are not, and it’s no more acceptable to stop providing Pride funding than it would be to stop providing funding to a jazz festival because the Prime Minister doesn’t like people who play the trumpet) is not acceptable. Telling women to “shut the fuck up” was so revealing about who this man is and what his party stands for. And they are in government and as such, so very dangerous.

We are not that. We are, simply, not that country. And I will never, ever consider changing my vote again, and I will come back to my party and love it so much as to make sure I do all I can to ensure it gets to its fighting weight for the next round. We are not Prime Minister Harper’s Canada. We never will be.

144 Comments

  1. Martin Partridge says:

    Inspirational. Similarly, I have been astonished recently at the number of women who suddenly have raised the abortion issue in conversation.

    The 2004 election began to turn in favour of the Liberals in week 2 of the campaign when Tory Scott Reid made a pro-life statement. Maybe it will be the ballot issue this time.

  2. jordan says:

    I am glad that others, women in particular, are seeing through the ruling party and the man at the top whose personality alone was enough for me from Day One to fight and scream and shout. “I don’t particularly like Prime Minister Harper as human being” is putting it mildly. History is full of damaged and possibly sick personalities ruining countries and continents. Why do I keep hearing “not in Canada”? We are in no way different and special and shouldn’t have to go through years of bitterness and suffering to be convinced. Personality was one of the dominant issues in the 2008 election when Mr. Dion was treated in a way that should make us forever ashamed as a country. So why can pesonality on the other side not be a dominant issue in the next one, and we don’t even need any of the vitriol poured over Mr. Dion to show up Mr. Harper for who he is. Facts will do.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Oh – that is a very graphic poster. Hits home. I knew a family in SK who lost a daughter to an illegal abortion in the 1960s. She was 16 – both she and her boyfriend too scared to tell anyone that she was pregnant, or that she had had an abortion. She was at home, very sick, the Drs thought it was pneumonia, and by the time the boyfriend told the parents, it was too late.

    A tragic death – but it didn’t stop there. The mom started drinking in earnest, and the parents divorced. The 3 remaining kids, one older than the teen who died, the other two younger, never really recovered any kind of happiness; not for a long time. It had long-reaching effects, that needless death.
    Just meeting the family and hearing the story, when I was 17 or 18 – was a searing experience. When I heard that abortions were actually done with coat-hangers – I could hardly believe it, like something out of a horror movie.

    I am not pro-abortion, but I’m pro-choice, and I’m pro-medically safe abortions. Dr. Morgentaler saved lives.

    • Veronika says:

      “Saved lives.”
      Really?
      What about the 2 million babies lives (unborn babies) killed.

      • Elizabeth says:

        In case you didn’t get the first part of my post?? I am talking about the lives of women that are saved. You know – women also have lives that should be protected, in case that never occurred to you. Morgentaler saved women who were desperate, from going to back-alley abortionists, and dying from massive infections, or from hemorrhaging, bleeding to death.

        • Veronika says:

          Gee thanks Liz. I had NO idea. I guess in YOUR world women’s lives are far more valuable than unborn babies lives, which btw includes girls!

          • Jon Pertwee says:

            Veronika you are attempting to frame the discussion based upon your belief system. Invalid.

            D-

          • Veronika says:

            Thank you Jon. I wonder what the pro-abortion side does? hmmmmmm
            I suppose we are only allowed to spew pro-abortion commentary here. ok.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve never, ever considered voting for Harper. I voted Tory once, for Brian Mulroney – but Harper gave me the creeps instantly.

    I don’t consider that I’m too Liberal to vote for Harper – I consider myself too Canadian to vote for Harper.

  5. Paul R. Martin says:

    How desperate are the Liberals? They are the party making the noise about abortion. That was what the phrase “hidden agenda” was all about. Who is being deceitful and divisive here? In all political parties there are many people who are for and against abortion. This manufactured issue is simply another case of political shenanigans by a Liberal Party that has nothing positive to say about itself.

    • Martin Partridge says:

      How delusional. The Conservatives can deny it all they want, but this is the signal issue that will prevent them from ever having untrammeled power. It is the scar on Harper’s forehead.

      Just like Elizabeth, I love children and wish there were an alternative to abortion. But I too am profoundly pro-choice over pro-life because of a searing experience I had about 40 years ago.

      I sat up all night with a friend who was the victim of a botched Buffalo back alley abortion (I was not the father). She was literally bleeding to death. She refused my entreaties to get help because she was a newly trained teacher just about to start work in the separate school system. She knew that revealing that she had been pregnant, let alone that she had had an abortion, would end her nascent career. She couldn’t even tell her family because of their beliefs.

      Miraculously she survived, but she and many others were changed forever by the experience. It makes me want to scream when supercilious men like Mr. Martin think that they are entitled to dictate to our vulnerable daughters.

      • Veronika says:

        How big of you Martin, that you can sit up all night and hold a friend’s hand….But to those not born I suppose you will cheer while they are disemboweled.

        Anyone who defends abortion should see how it is actually performed. Lots of images online.

        Anyone who wants to kill an unborn baby should really consider that there are thousands or childless couples who would gladly adopt your child.

        • Martin Partridge says:

          How harsh. How uncomprehending.

          • Veronika says:

            Yes. Abortion is harsh, and uncomprehending of the integrity of human life.

          • Jon Pertwee says:

            Gotta love how the one side tries to twist everything to suit their beliefs…. Conbots Im talking about you.

        • Dennis says:

          Who invited the bible thumpers?

          • Chris says:

            There are actually plenty of pro-lifers who are not bible-thumpers.

            Myself, I have trouble committing fully to either side of the debate

          • Veronika says:

            This is all you can offer Dennis? Accusations. How truly intellectual of you.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Adoption can be a disaster, I know four families for whom it has been a disaster. Try again.

          You must live quite an interesting life to spend it coming up with language worthy of the National Enquirer. It’s quite hateful.

          • Patagonia says:

            Veronika says “Anyone who wants to kill an unborn baby should really consider that there are thousands or childless couples who would gladly adopt your child.”

            How do you explain that there are over 30,000 (thirty THOUSAND) children waiting for adoption in Canada at this very moment. How about you spend your time getting that number down to zero and then get back to us, okay?

          • Veronika says:

            Patagonia, you are right, forget adoption, let’s kill all unborn babies to deal with your alleged numbers of kids waiting to be adopted.
            No, wait in your pro-‘choice’ world we can kill them too, because they are ‘unwanted babies’ and ‘unwanted children.’
            Let’s go further and kill ‘unwanted’ old people as well.
            Brilliant arguments you give. Just brilliant. ha ha

    • BobbyB says:

      How wrong you are. This issue was raised explicitly by the Conservatives, by Harper. They want Maternal Health funded but do NOT want ABORTION or FAMILY PLANNING ala contraceptives funded! Instead of saying they fund Maternal Health and allowing the countries receiving the funding to make their own decisions on what thyey would use the funding for (e.g., abortioons, contraceptives, family planning, etc etc) the Harper Conservatives excluded those things from any of their funding. They explicitly opened the debate and the door as to what other countries were allowed to do with funding provided to them! It is also then hypocritical of the Conservatives because Canada has (or should I say HAD) Maternal Health funding in the he areas of contraception, Family Planning, abortion but Harper ideology is against this so he imposes his beliefs and constricts what other countries may spend funds on! Now that Harper is gutting funding here in Canada for groups that support Maternal Health such as contraception and Family Planning he is taking the next ideological step to restrict these services and these choices to Canadians, the next target is abortion in Canada. It was Harper and the Conservatives that opened the abortion debate. I hope Canadian women see this and fight back to retain the rights they have for control over their bodies and not let this government take away those rights!

      • Veronika says:

        I think it’s great Bobby that you not only think it’s great that Canadians can murder unborn babies, but that you also want Africans to murder their kids as well.
        Bravo to you, you are truly a worldly, international fellow.

        Life and family in Africa are treasured and respected and who the hell are we, the white man/woman, to tell them how to live and how many children to have.

        Sounds awfully racist and colonialist.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Sounds to me like you spend a lot of time walking around with placards.

        • Patagonia says:

          Veronika says: “who the hell are we, the white man/woman, to tell them how to live and how many children to have.”

          Precisely.

          • Veronika says:

            Patagonia, how big of you to help Africans abort their children.
            Very worldly of you.
            Perhaps they will nominate you for the next Peace Prize for humanitarianism. ha ha.

    • James Smith says:

      Paul,

      Respectfully, I disagree this is the most striking example yet of this person’s lack of Canadian values.

      Firstly, while the Canadian public may have rejected the notion that the present PM has a hidden agenda, the facts point in the opposite direction. Do I need to go through the list from Income trusts through ignoring democracy to this latest attempt to jam regressive social policy down our throats ? Can we treat people one way in Canada, & another way abroad? You & the present PM may think so, but that is not what most Canadians think.

      Secondly; as men, yours, mine, & the present PM’s opinions on the subject are just that opinions – this is an issue between women & their doctor,
      full stop.

      • Paul R. Martin says:

        I have never said what my position was. Like Harper, I am ambivalent. On the other hand, there are Liberal MP’s who are clearly anti abortion. Furthermore, nobody has accused the Roman Catholic Church of being an Evangelical Christian Church (i.e. “the Christian Right”), yet they are anti abortion. As a non practicing Anglican, I have to say that I tend to distrust most religious denominations.

        I realize that the Liberal Party is trying to find issues that they can fight an election on; however, this one is phoney and will not gain you any traction.

        • James Smith says:

          Paul,
          I don’t think I brought up any of your off topic points.
          But you miss the point.
          You, the present PM & me we don’t get a say- to repeat:
          “this is between a woman & HER doctor. “

    • Michael Watkins says:

      I’m disappointed Paul is unwilling to give credit where credit is due. It was Stephen Harper and his ministers responsible for the file who lifted the issue of abortion back up on to the national stage. They opened the door wide and a majority of Canadian women don’t like what they see.

      Harper never feels obligated to do anything for anyone, so he must have felt it was now safe to throw a bigger bone to the so-cons, either because he felt he could argue plain logical consistency and get away with it, or his sense of security within his own power base was strong enough, or because he felt the women of Canada would not draw too clear a line of linkage between his policies aimed at Africa or Haiti and those policies he does, or might, support at home.

      It seems he miscalculated on at least two fronts and perhaps on all three.

      While I don’t think this is an election issue, yet, it just might become a solid enough pre-writ wedge others can use to split apart some elements of the coalition that is the Conservative Party.

      Would some Conservatives welcome a departure of the aggressively dogmatic social conservatives, provided such a split didn’t lead to broad based electoral defeat? Maybe some might feel a need to engineer a split before pragmatic humanism and politics becomes impossible due to the growing influence and power of dogmatic, theocratic, politics.

      And maybe, just maybe, the should they stay or should they go now, choice won’t be left to the Conservatives alone.

  6. Jan says:

    When you belong to the sex that lives with the risk of an unwanted pregnancy hanging over your head for approximately 40 years, it is not a manufactured issue. Harper, through his constant playing of one group of people against another has brought this on to himself. If he had any balls he’d be open about what he believes in and run on it.

    • Veronika says:

      Jan get a grip. I ‘belong to the sex..bla bla.’

      This is not a man-hating issue.

      Plenty of women out there who are pro-life. Visit http://www.feministsforlife.org/ for one.

      If you want to take your silly version of feminism, try this on for size…having babies is the one thing you can actually do and men can’t so why not protect that gift.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Wow. What a moron.

        • Veronika says:

          wow Lizzy. If ‘moron’ is the best response you got, go and enlighten yourself and perhaps you might learn bigger words than moron.

      • Patagonia says:

        Veronika writes “having babies is the one thing you can actually do and men can’t so why not protect that gift.”

        When that gift of being able to choose to have a child is in jeopardy, we’ll fight to protect it. Pro-CHOICE. Get it?

        • Veronika says:

          No Pat, What you are saying is: ‘If I get pregnant, I decide to let the child live or die. Screw the kid, it’s all about me.’
          My rights, my body, my life, are better bigger and more superior than the life inside of me.
          In your case it is not a ‘gift’ it is always a burden.

  7. Francis says:

    Great post on an important issue although the gratuitous shot at the NDP is pretty weak and ill-informed. The NDP has at least consistently voted for choice abroad, unlike the Liberals. The reason the Harper Tories can now even vainly attempt defend their reckless decision to defund groups which provide or cousel abortion is that House Liberals like Paul Szabo and others voted against Mr. Ignatieff’s own motion on the subject, enabling the Tories to imbue their backwards position with a false legitimacy. Regardless, this issue is too important for partisan wrangling AMONG progressives. We need a united front. Period.

    A great new, explicitly non-partisan video detailing the inseperable links between Harper’s reckless decisions abroad and the coming drive to re-criminalize choice at home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkQ_E-7huF0

    Hope you’ll all take a look and get involved with one of the many great organizations fighting back from coast to coast to coast.

    Thx as always for the space, WK.

  8. Raymond says:

    *sniff, sniff…*

    Really, you people are so stupid.

  9. Steve Gallagher says:

    Amanda’s letter is profoundly close to how I feel about the abortion issue in Canada.

    We have come to a civilized, dignified and respectful decision as a nation on this matter.

    There is something so inherently vile in trying to use the matter politically that it is almost beneath the contempt I have developing for this political party in minority power.

    Now I will go out for a walk in the rain and cool off.

    Steve

  10. Troy says:

    Wilfully taking the life of an innocent human being for the reasons folks usually have abortions is not a choice to be championed.

  11. JStanton says:

    … its pretty moot what we think, actually. Women will decide what to do with their bodies, and men can either accept that or ratchet the debate up to gender war, where we arrest or otherwise oppress our mothers, daughters and sisters. I for one have more useful things to do than engage in an unjust war that cannot be won, forced on us by ideologues.

    Men need to show due humility here. We can offer polite debate, in the hope that our thoughts and feelings are heard, but we cannot dictate terms. This is ultimately a women’s issue and they have already decided.

    And, by the way, I think its ok to be anti-abortion – having visited that dark place where these issues demand real rather than merely intellectual consideration, I certainly am. The important question to my mind, is whether or not one is pro-women, because if a decision is forced on women, then their hard-won emancipation is effectively nullified.

    Women’s rights are human rights, and its beyond this governments purview to change that. This discourse needs to framed properly. Its not about abortion, its about whether or not we as a society can trust women, given their circumstances, to make the decisions that are best for them, and whether, whatever those decisions are, we are prepared to provide tangible support for them.

    If the objective is to reduce abortions, then, clearly, the suspension of human rights is not the answer. How about a national child care policy that sees the children of single parents raised to adulthood in reasonable comfort, rather than misery and grinding poverty? How about a post-secondary educational system that doesn’t discriminate against the poor?

    We need to get control of this discourse, rather than continue to allow it to be hijacked by simple-minded ideologues.

    • Veronika says:

      Funny comment. It shows absolutely no regard for the father of the child, grandparents, siblings.

      Many articles have been written about the physical and emotional harm abortion causes not only to the mother, but the emotional scars inflicted upon other family members who have been robbed of a family member.

      “Discriminate against the poor” you write – why that’s just what Planned Parenthood and their abortion clinics do when they set up in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

      • JStanton says:

        the issue is that neither ” the father of the child, grandparents, siblings” or the government is prepared to offer reasonable support to women caught up in these unfortunate circumstances. Until they do, they cannot pretend to be taking the high road.

        There is no point in vilifying women who are in essence trapped by reproductive realities. We have worked too hard for womens emancipation to accept the infantile arguments you are making as a basis to roll back the advances of a generation.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Anyone read The Handmaid’s Tale?

  12. northbaytrapper says:

    Did I miss something? Did the Conservative Government move a bill on abortion? I missed that.
    Cue the culture war. I think Mr. Graves comments are going to hurt the Liberals for the next little while. It makes everything they do look empty and self-serving.

  13. Sean says:

    Team Grit just held a thinkers’ conference to get bold new ideas… Lets hear more about those bold new ideas. Long dead controversies from the 80’s won’t form a government…

  14. allegra fortissima says:

    Michael Ignatieff on termination of pregnancy:

    http://www.youtube.com?v=jw7jT938pi0

    And could we please use the term “termination of pregnancy” instead of “abortion”? Abortion = a very reactionary word in my personal opinion!

    • Veronika says:

      It is abortion. One is aborting or killing a life.

      Why try and sanitize this? Call it for what it is.

      Enough of the semantics please.

      • allegra fortissima says:

        It speaks for Michael Ignatieff’s intelligence that he uses the term “termination of pregnancy”.

        I have to admit, the study of language meaning can be challenging – certain people might as well give up and sip some tea instead while uttering “abortion…aborting…aborted”

        Beside that I am glad that knitting-needles are not on the Nation’s bestseller list!

      • Jon Pertwee says:

        Wow was that a rock I heard hitting your glass house Veronika?

  15. Scotian says:

    I think Warren has a point about this. I’ve also noticed an increase awareness in women that prior didn’t pay much attention to federal politics being worried about where Harper is taking the nation since this maternal health issue blew up in Harper’s face when he tried to placate his special interest group within it. One of the main ways Harper sold his transformation as a political moderate/centrist (versus the far right ideologue he had been from the late 80s until after his loss in 2004) was his declaration that the abortion issue was settled, off the table, and something his government would never bring up. Well, he clearly broke that promise, and I find it ironic that the scarlet letter of politics which may be the defeat of Harper is the same letter of the alphabet as the one worn by Hester Prynne in the Scarlet Letter.

    Personally, I have been pleasantly surprised by the clear reaction to Harper’s attempt to limit abortion in foreign policy. I had feared that too many average non political junkie type people had simply stopped paying any attention to politics (which I think may have been the prevalent view in the Harper CPC too) because of how nasty it has gotten since Harper rose to power (also something I think was desired by Harper, the more the less committed ideological voters turn off and drop out the more the ideological voters that remain see their votes increase in power in terms of electing MPs and governments) but it would seem that this issue may be his Waterloo. One can hope anyway, but I will not assume so until I have seen him fall from power.

    Time for Harper to wear his Scarlet Letter openly on his chest instead of underneath his cloak of secrecy and deception as he has all along.

  16. Veronika says:

    Forget the ‘religious angle’ even many professed atheists are pro-life bc they see the intrinsic evil in killing an unborn child, and in this country, that can happen up until delivery of the baby.

    Prolific writer Nat Hentoff is one of many atheists who is pro-life. Writer Wesley Smith sums up Hentoff’s view simply: “universal human liberty depends on society’s embrace of the intrinsic equality of ALL human life.”

    Funny how everyone commenting on ‘choice’, who has been safely born is pro-choice. Sure, no one decided to abort you.

    • allegra fortissima says:

      When I tell you the moons are yellow, will you tell me the moons are blue?

      You’ll probably counter: “I don’t know anything about the moons. I just throw them in the same pot.”

  17. Veronika says:

    There is nothing about abortion that is pro-woman or about maternal healthcare. Killing is not healthcare.

    The suffragettes were not abortionists. Visit http://www.feministsforlife.org to learn more and to hear stories from men and women who have survived abortions and who, instead of being snuffed out, were adopted by loving families and are now living beautiful, productive lives. Hear also from a woman who was born after her mother was raped and is thankful her mother never killed her. She too was adopted by a loving family.

    • Ginger says:

      Well, they also supported eugenics, so you may want to pick and choose a little more carefully. Also, the fact that you use FFL as any kind of basis for rational discussion shows just how out of touch with mainstream Canada you truly are.

      Lucy Stone is one of my favourite suffragettes; yet, I am not so niiave as to pretend there are not parts of her writings that aren’t frightening. But again, you are reading nonsense such as FFL …

      • Veronika says:

        Thanks Ginger. My point is that FFL has some interesting examples on their site, you know interviews with women who have undergone abortions and those
        who survived them. But I see you wouldn’t know that.
        I did not espouse their other views.
        I do not agree with many of them.
        But in your teeny, tiny world, one has to agree with everyone all the time.
        Thank you for clarifying.

  18. Lipman says:

    Martin P’s story here is profound. But those on the authoritarian side of the debate don’t care. They are propelled by Christian moralism and are simply uninterested in hearing opposing views.

    At the end of the day, a shoe-leather campaign will beat these guys. Talking on these boards accomplishes nothing; but, it is important that the sensible types comment enough here to drown out the far-right loonies who bombard the forums any time a contentious issue such as this crops up.

    -Too bad the Liberal fundraisers exclude a lot of people who would like to go but cannot due to the price of admission. The cost of these events is obscene.

  19. Tara says:

    Abortion is one of those issues that people use to demonize the other side rather than talking to them and working out a compromise. There are people on the extremes in both camps who will never be happy with any position other than their own. There is an entire generation of people who have grown up in Canada now and have never heard about abortion being curtailed in any way. Canada is, regardless how you feel about abortion – the Wild West when it comes to this procedure. We have no laws. Of all Western democracies, we are the only country (to the best of my knowledge) that has no legal protection or acknowledgement of a fetus – not one at 2 wks gestation, not one at 39 wks gestation. Because the debate has been poisoned by special interests on both sides, most middle-of-the-road Canadians, be they Liberal or Conservative or one of the Undecideds, feel they have no voice, no recourse but to sit down and shut up for fear that they will be branded by some fear-mongering hater on one side or the other. This isn’t normal, you know. Every other country has managed to come up with something that looks like a compromise -as much as possible, both the rights of the potential mother and the rights of her potential child have been balanced. I think we should have this conversation. I think we need to have this conversation. I want women to be protected and their bodies respected. I want babies to be born and I want them to be loved and cherished – by their biological parents or by adoptive ones. But most of all, I want the rhetoric and the hyperbole to stop. For any decision to be a good decision, it must be arrived at via a process of reflection and accommodation with equal parts warm empathy and cool logic. And anyone who falls into this category will never be heard over the din of rabid political hacks with agendas who use the abortion debate to step on, step over and shout into submission anyone outside their precious party fold. Argh.

    • Veronika says:

      Tara, please explain how one can ‘compromise’ on life and death?
      How can one sort of, kinda of, have an abortion?
      It’s like kinda being sort-of pregnant.
      Some things in life are black and white.
      There is what you call ‘rhetoric and hyperbole’ because life and death are passionate issues.
      And the moment we stop being passionate about issues, we have relativism.
      Oh wait, we already have that in our society.

      • Tara says:

        Precisely. If you outlaw abortion, women will die. That is, women will die in addition to the fetuses (what is the plural of that, by the way?) who are dying. I’m not sure that adding the deaths of women to the deaths of their unborn children is in anyone’s interests. Politics, I’m sad to say, is not an arena for morality per se. It is pragmatic to the end. It must be because everyone will never agree on what is ‘moral’. I’m afraid relativism is what we have and what we have to work with. Until someone comes along to change that situation, We have to play the hand we’re dealt – not imagine one that’s never going to happen. I’m suggesting that instead of an uncontested legal situation – what we have now – we have a discussion, a real discussion with the reflection, accommodation, empathy and logic I suggested, and try to find some controls that will at the very least improve the status of the fetus (currently it has none) and still provide the ‘choice’ women will make.

        I understand it’s not palatable. I know it’s anathema to many – but it’s also reality. It’s not a perfect world. Would the world be better if every child found its way to a family that would love and nurture it? Yes. Obviously. But there will always be some women who believe an abortion is their best option. It’s not up to you to judge them – I don’t think any right thinking woman approaches abortion casually – if you feel strongly about abortion, then provide the counselling, the friendship, the compassion these women may need – before and after. It is not enough to thunder from a pulpit “You are wrong!” It’s not enough to stand and wave a sign or castigate people on the opposing side (whichever side you happen to be on). If you care about abortion, I’m supposing you care about women. And if you care about women, you must find a way to make abortion unnecessary – and there are ways to do that.

        You’ll never stop a woman from getting an abortion if she’s determined to have one. And if you disagree with her choice, what does it say about you if you’re willing to let her suffer and perhaps die simply because you disagreed?

        I don’t think that’s something anyone should support.

        The point of my comment was to say that by allowing the extremes to represent the issue, there is nowhere for most Canadians to stand. Rosie DiManno had an excellent column on this very issue. There must be a conversation in order to improve the status quo for the fetus because it is in society’s best interests to have the status of the fetus defined – a society that hopes to thrive must protect it’s children at some point. But since some women will have abortions, a compassionate reasonable solution must be reached that protects the unborn but also protects women. Polemics and tongue lashings only obscure the dialogue. Since we have to deal with the issue, let the debate happen under the best circumstances so the best solution can be reached. It will be a compromise. But it’s better than the status quo.

  20. bc says:

    This type of dishonesty is what really needs to be stopped.

    I am a pro-choice AND a supporter of the Conservatives. There are Conservatives and Liberals who fall on both sides of this fence…and in many cases the Liberals are the more vocal opponent of legalized abortion in Canada.

    But one thing that both sides can agree on is that there will be no change on the status of abortion in Canada. It’s a reality in this country, and no matter where you stand morally on this issue it isn’t one that will ever be changed.

    For Warren, Liberals, and other left-wing nutters to make such a false connection between the governments position abroad and at home is laughable.

    CHOOSING NOT TO FUND ABORTION ABROAD DOES NOT MEAN ONE WILL CHOOSE TO DO THE SAME AT HOME.

    Period. End of story.

    • Michael Watkins says:

      bc: I will agree with you there are plenty of moderate Conservatives who are pro choice, or, put more accurately, believe that legal access to abortion should not be overturned. There are also plenty of moderate Conservatives who do not support the Harper government on other issues like their stand on same sex marriage.

      Question for you: how often do you hear from those voices in any official manner?

      Answer: except for extremely rare exceptions (four Conservative MPs standing up, correctly, for same sex marriage in a house vote a few years ago), you just don’t hear from those moderate voices in any *official* capacity.

      Question: Why?

      A party which gives no voice to a significant constituency of its membership, let alone the general public, isn’t a party which can be trusted to respect the thoughts and views of that consistency.

      I disagree with your conclusion completely. If Harper can prevent the opinions of the many moderate Conservatives from being expressed, then how can anyone with a stake in any of these issues feel comfort that the Harper government will not come gunning for them, particularly when they are gunning “for them” (figuratively) in their foreign policy?

      PS: What impartial viewer of Canadian politics would actually apply the term “left” to the federal Liberals? Certainly not the actual left. Can’t think past talking points?

      • Brian says:

        bc wrote – “CHOOSING NOT TO FUND ABORTION ABROAD DOES NOT MEAN ONE WILL CHOOSE TO DO THE SAME AT HOME.”

        Fair enough, but one reason I’m switching my vote from Conservative to something else in the next election is because I don’t care whether the government is finding ways to appease the McVety bloc abroad or at home. Truth is, I don’t want them appeased anywhere.

        I thought I was voting for a government that was willing to apply Canadian values consistently regardless of country or circumstance. And if I sound like I’m also talking about Afghanistan and the supremacy of elected Parliaments when I say that, that’s not an accident.

        • bc says:

          “PS: What impartial viewer of Canadian politics would actually apply the term “left” to the federal Liberals? Certainly not the actual left. Can’t think past talking points?” – Warren, Liberals and other left-wing nutters…that was written incorrectly. Blame it on the internet. I didn’t mean “others” as if Liberals are left-wing nutters. Truly.

          Brian – this government is applying Canadian values. Although the debate at home is closed…abortions are legal and always will be…there is still a huge chunk of the population which finds abortion unacceptable. It’s amazingly split evenly, too. So Harper not including abortion in a maternal health initiative isn’t saying “Abortion bad!”, he’s just not paying for it.

  21. abe says:

    If I can force my neighbour to not terminate her pregnancy, then I better be prepared to contribute to the child’s upbringing. If you think that it’s fine to force a woman to have a child, then you should be prepared to pay for the child’s upbringing. For you pro-“lifers”, would you agree to a special tax to be levied against you pro-lifers only, for the support of a child who otherwise would not have been born (and giving the mother a choice between termination of a pregnancy or choosing to have the child on the condition)? … didn’t think so.

    • Veronika says:

      Abe, before you continue your ignorant rant…. Might I submit the following organizations (to name but a few) who help women who are pregnant and in need of assistance. Perhaps you have heard of some of them. My guess is you haven’t. Amazing how the issue of life is reduced to mere economics for you.

      Resources for pregnant women/post abortion healing ministry: Aid to Women, Birthright International, Project Rachell, Rachel’s Vineyard, Second Chance Ministry, The Sisters of Life

      Resources for Single/Teen Parents: Rosalie Hall, Rose of Durham, Rose of Sharon, Vita Manor

      • Abe says:

        Heard of most of them. Totally underfunded. Also under-resourced. So are you gonna address the question. I bet most of those that would criminalize abortion aren’t willing to assume the financial burden. For those who say that there are a lot of people waiting to adopt, there are alot of unadopted kids out there but they tend to be older and sometimes have issues; too bad there’s no rush to those kids.

        • Michael Watkins says:

          A lot of energy goes into groups that say they are “defending life” while not nearly enough energy and funding goes into “defending the living”, at home and abroad.

          Yes, two issues are quite exclusive, but my experience with Conservative politicians and supporters (which goes back many years) is that, broadly speaking, there’s a lot less empathy for those who find it difficult to make it in life, or in our country, than there should be.

          I sure hope that Veronika and Joe are earning some good karma doing work or something more inspirational and concrete for the under-employed, under-educated, under-housed, under-fed… than just yakking here about what they think other people should do with their lives and bodies.

  22. Veronika says:

    There are those who approve of abortion of younger fetuses that lack neural connections.

    “To consider this implies that a person with Alzheimer’s stops being a person. One would have to ask the relatives of a patient with Alzheimer’s if they do or do not consider him a person. It has served, for families with this problem, to fortify their unity. The characteristics of a sickness do not take away from us the rank of persons, nor do physical damages. This was an argument used by the Nazis.”

    – Bioethicist Rosario Laris

    • Jon Pertwee says:

      Yeah Im not too ready for a lecture about morality from the Catholic Church of all people. How’s their current problem going? It seems to have removed their moral highground.

      • Veronika says:

        hahhaa. How clever you are. Just because I am pro-life does not make me Catholic.
        But then again, the ‘choice’ side can’t grasp that idea that plenty of atheists and non-Catholics are actually pro-life.

  23. Veronika says:

    Maybe the pro-abortion folks should actually read some of the stuff available out there. Oh yeah, but ignorance I suppose, is bliss.

    “Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn children could not be willed away from them.”

    – Susan B. Anthony 1889

  24. bc says:

    By the way, after reading Amanda’s story it is pretty clear that she would have never voted Conservative, or for Harper despite her suggestions otherwise.

    And people, please…

    By not funding abortions abroad Harper isn’t saying, “you can’t have one”. He’s saying, “I’m not going to pay for it”. What’s wrong with that? And why would that automatically mean he is “re-opening” the debate here at home?

    So many incorrect assumptions.

    • AmandaM says:

      BC, I left a comment later on as to my intentions, but two things:

      First, regarding “He’s saying, ‘I’m not going to pay for it.'” Herein lies the issue – Prime Minister Harper personalizes it, to the point that we all see it. It’s not HIS money to spend. It’s OURS. And as a society, it was decided that abortion is a medical procedure that is legally performed in this country, and paid for with taxpayer dollars through our health program. Countries use foreign aid as a way to spread their own values around the world. Canada has decided on geographic areas of focus in allocating foreign aid, as a way to instill Canadian values in those places – values of peace, order and good government. Canadian values, as decided a few decades ago, include legal and safe abortion. What’s wrong with that is that Prime Minister Harper thinks it is his money to spend, and his own values to profess. He is a Prime Minister, and this is a democracy. He has a responsibility to put aside his own thoughts and feelings, and profess to the world the established values of this country.

      Second, don’t think for one moment that there was no consideration about the domestic consequences of this decision on maternal health in foreign aid. When the Prime Minister got together with his advisors, there was certainly a discussion that probably went something like this:
      “When this goes public, there will be political consequences, Prime Minister. It signals to our base that while we have said we will not open this debate domestically, we share their values”.
      “Of course, I’m well aware of that. The women’s groups are going to get upset, and will be noisy. And this, gentlemen, is how we open a domestic debate without introducing legislation or undertaking a policy review.”

      • bc says:

        Even if the debate is re-opened, as you suggest, it’s not going anywhere.

        That ship has sailed. It’s never going to change.

        As for the notion that Harper is spending money based on the idea that it is “his” money. I don’t feel that’s a valid argument. We voted for the Conservatives – yes, I know you didn’t (probably) but more people voted for him, and all of his parties baggage compared to any alternative. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that gives him the authority to decide where our foreign and domestic money is spent.

        • Jon Pertwee says:

          Doesnt give him the authority to act like he has a majority. Elected or not this government is supposed to support Canadians not the other way around.

  25. Lipman says:

    This expansive thread also proves that the pro-life radical fringe is alive and kicking and gobbling up the opportunity to spit fire on WK’s site.

  26. smelter rat says:

    If Joe and Veronika don’t want an abortion, they shouldn’t have one.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Exactly. A woman has the right to sovereignty over her own body; and whether they like it or not, there will ALWAYS be methods for terminating pregnancies – legal, illegal, herbal, or whatever. Women have been doing this since long before Christianity came about, and will be doing it long after Christianity disappears.

    • JStanton says:

      … nicely put. This, of course, is the germ of the argument.

      Their notion, that one can force one’s will on others, simply because one feels strongly, is something that, thankfully, most adults grow out of. And, of course, as one’s intelligence develops, one learns to manage the awful contradictions that life forces on us, and recognize that without compromise we cannot cope, or live usefully.

      Supporting a womans “choice” often means ending a life. There is no escaping that reality, so, in fairness to Joe and Veronika, lets aknowledge it. It’s an awfull thing; I don’t believe anyone makes that decision lightly, or is ever far from it, for the rest of their own life, despite their vilification at the hands of Joe, Veronika, or their probably well-meaning brethren.

      That, in a nutshell, is the agony of sentient intelligence. We make life and death decisons based on what we know, and what we can do, rather than simply on the basis of someone else’s ideas. We evaluate the data, and make the least awfull decision that we can manage. It’s not perfect, it’s just life.

      • Veronika says:

        No one is ‘vilifying’ women who do abort babies. But we are pointing out options for women who find themselves with child. See other posts were services are actually listed.
        But that would be too hard for many of you ardent pro-abortionists, wouldn’t it?
        It would be too hard to have a baby and ‘ruin one’s life’ or ‘body’ etc.etc.
        Abortion for many is an easy out.
        I also find it amazing how none of the abortionists actually recognize how a child is conceived. Not every pregnant woman was raped as many of you claim.
        Abortion is, to this day, still used as birth control.
        And this reflects the relativism in society.
        Who gives a shit it’s ‘just a bunch of cells’? Right?
        Man the pro-abortion arguments listed on this page are laughable.
        No point in having an exchange with you people.
        Even Camille Paglia, who is pro-abortion calls it for what it is – killing a life.

    • Veronika says:

      Good idea. Then why should we have to pay for them through tax dollars?

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Things you never talk about on the internet:

    Capital Punishment
    Abortion
    Smoking
    Breast-feeding
    Spanking

    There must be a common thread.

  28. Paul R. Martin says:

    1 to 0 Flyers after 1 period.

  29. Student501 says:

    This item definitely stuck a nerve.

    Carry on.

  30. Patagonia says:

    Any doubt that the Cons have blown the abortion debate wide open?

  31. Paul R. Martin says:

    The whole issue is such a divisive hot potato that I doubt that politicians will want to base an election campaign on it.

    2 to 0 Philadelphia after 2 periods.

  32. Cam says:

    “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world.
    – Mother Teresa, 1994

    We know her credibility is beyond reproach and so it amazes me that Pro-Life has learned nothing in the last thirty years. If Pro-Life is given to vitriol and contemptuous comments, no possibility of a debate exists. And therefore there’s little chance they can convert Pro-Choice advocates and minimal hope that moderates will ever swing to the Harper Conservatives on this issue.

    Warren is absolutely right.

    • Lipman says:

      Cam:

      Some (such as Christopher Hitchens) would argue that MT’s credibility can be called into question…

      • Cam says:

        Lipman –

        Point taken.

        Though let me say that Hitchens’ association with the Hoover Institute raises more concerns for me. Personally, I am not a Catholic though I’d readily associate with M Teresa vs Hitchens/Rumsfeld/Thatcher/Rice any day of the week.

        • Lipman says:

          Cam:

          I agree with you. Hitchens’ links to the Hoover Institute is troubling, as was his support for the war in Iraq.

          D

  33. Michael Watkins says:

    Genes originating from two sources do not combine to form an “individual” – that is merely your interpretation, not science. What first results is a chemical and biological reaction that produces a single cell, to the eye indistinguishable from the cells shed from your nose when you are sick, or the cells in your dandruff, or the cells you spit after brushing your teeth before retiring. From a purely scientific point of view I have no qualms at all in

    The resulting cell, and it all starts with two cells combining to form a single different type of cell, has unique characteristics to be sure, and may result in a human being born, but few of us would label that cell as a person. I suspect that you would.

    For many of us it is a difficult question: at which stage does that cell as it multiplies and develops warrant special protection? Should that cell and its future forms get special protection to the exclusion of the decision making process and intrinsic rights of the woman hosting the cell? If so, when and under what circumstances? I suspect you would say yes, and always.

    If I read you or Joe wrong, correct me.

    You’ve demonstrated here that for you this issue seems black and white. How wonderful for you. Hopefully you are this consistent in all areas of policy making.

    For me and it seems for many Canadians, the idea of person becomes black and white after birth, and is vague but progressively less vague concept as gestation progresses.

    Never vague or the slightest bit conceptual to me is the fact that a woman’s body belongs to her first and foremost.

  34. Catherine says:

    I’m pro-choice, a Conservative and a Catholic. Does this make me a bad Catholic, a bad Conservative? Truth be told my former Liberal MP Paul Steckle what one of the strongest pro-lifers I’ve ever met, and, I do believe there were many more among Liberal ranks(as someone said above).

    It’s an argument that neither party can win because there are divisions on both sides of the house.

    What pisses me off completely is that males have any say in this whatsoever – my body, my choice!

    • Veronika says:

      Maybe you need to revisit Catholic teaching on abortion or join another faith group that thinks abortion is ok.
      The Church is very clear on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

  35. AmandaM says:

    To “bc”, I would like to say that I think I made it clear in my comment that I actually did consider voting for the Conservatives based on my own beliefs about foreign policy issues that do not necessarily converge with those of the Liberal Party of Canada. In our Confederation, the federal government has sole discretion over external affairs matters and deployment of the Canadian Forces, and as I said, I have found myself in agreement with Prime Minister Harper on many of those issues, which had me considering a Conservative vote in the run-up to the last time an election appeared on the horizon. BC, you can choose to believe me, or not to believe me, that is your choice.

    Speaking of choice, that is the central issue that Prime Minister Harper promised he would not open in the House of Commons. However, here we are, 94 comments (I wonder if this is a record for Warren’s blog) later. The debate has been opened. It has been opened in the House of Commons by a Conservative MP who introduces Private Members Bills. Prime Minister Harper is many things, but he is not a political idiot. He knew that withdrawing funding from maternal health care providers who perform abortions in countries that Canada supports with taxpayer dollars would result in the not only opening the debate in the House of Commons, but in the hearts and minds of Canadians. OF COURSE Pro-Life groups would use the political moment to open the issue here at home. OF COURSE the Opposition would make it a domestic issue. That’s what wedge issues do – they open debate and give people pause to think what their values are and what party best reflects those values. And in this case, it became very clear to me that while I may agree with the Conservatives on some foreign policy issues, I do not believe that party reflects my core values.

    While we’re on the subject, I think it’s important to note that no one I’ve ever met, whether identifying as pro-life or pro-choice, is pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. If you’ve ever found yourself having to make that choice, you know that it is one of the most agonizing decisions you have ever had to make. It’s not simply a matter of, “I don’t want to become a mother right now”. De-humanizing the issue to the point of pro-life vs. pro-choice is not helpful – it is a very human decision, rife with difficulty and being though of as “one of THOSE people”. Don’t think for one moment that this is a decision easily made by a Canadian woman, an American woman, a German woman or a Malawian woman.

    This is one of the only areas of policy where people seem to think it is OK to instruct others on how to live their lives, and what to do with their bodies. We don’t assume we have the right to tell people not to get a tattoo, or what education they should pursue, so I cannot reconcile anyone assuming that if they cannot direct others on those relatively minor personal decisions, how it is acceptable to direct someone on what to do with their own body. The sheer arrogance of identifying as someone who feels the right to discuss and direct others’ lives is astonishing, and I do not believe that anyone with that level of arrogance would want to submit to such personal discussion and direction by another. Nevertheless, I will defend anyone’s right to their opinion and the debate.

    Here I’ve gone on for four paragraphs. Typical Liberal policy wonk. Too much explanation. I’m sure there’s been a book or two written about how to communicate. 😉

    • bc says:

      “BC, you can choose to believe me, or not to believe me, that is your choice. ” – well, yea, and I already have. I’ve just heard this convenient story before. An on-the-fence voter wildly motivated by a single issue. If you, as a conscientious Canadian voter are so heavily swayed by one exclusion in a foreign policy platform, then I seriously doubt that you were really edging towards the Conservative side in the first place.

      “The debate has been opened.” – but who opened it? All Harper said was that he wasn’t going to pay for abortions abroad. The opposition parties, feminist groups and pro-choice groups were the one that turned this into a hot-potato. Again, I’m pro-choice. Staunchly, actually. But I’d bet my house that a Harper lead government, minority or majority will never change the Canadian position on abortion. And I think deep down inside, you know that too.

      “This is one of the only areas of policy where people seem to think it is OK to instruct others on how to live their lives, and what to do with their bodies.” – absolutely. And you also can’t demand, and expect a party or party leader to FUND something that they don’t necessarily agree with.

      • smelter rat says:

        bc you are not paying attention. Who’s launched all the private members bills? Reformatories, that’s who.

        • bc says:

          Who cares what a few backbenchers do based on what they feel is a moral imperative?

          The party line is the same as always. NO CHANGE ON ABORTION.

  36. Lucy says:

    Abortion debates give a bunch of rich male politicians a chance to criticize and condemn a lot of poor, young women.

  37. Philippe says:

    The cons just don’t get it. Their “loudmouthed” “negative-energy” “bible thumping” “build booby traps around our Cities to protect ourselves from terrorists” hard-core followers agree, but they’re completely out of synch with the Canadian mainstream on this one. Now if the Liberals could just communicate that effectively…

  38. Martin Gomez says:

    This debate will never go away. Abortion has always existed in its different forms throughout history. Most societies have banned the practice, but laws come and go.
    I think that pro-choicers are deluding themselves if they think that this can be settled once and for all. I keep hearing them say: this is settled, we’ve had this debate, we’ve won. True, the laws have been changed- but by the backdoor- both in Canada and the U.S.- by the supreme court- in split, close decisions, which is not democractic, and far from unanamous.
    However, there are far too many people of all faiths and creeds who view it as a crime, and they’re view has only hardened, and gotten more organized.

    It’s a classic case of two competing rights: the right of self-determination of the woman vs. the right to life of the fetus. Both extremes don’t even want to take into consideration that there are two competing rights. Pro-choicers only see a lump of cells, and pro-lifers consider the consequences of childbirth irrelevant.

  39. Michael Watkins says:

    Given the readership of this particular thread, I wonder if any social conservatives who strongly identify as “pro-life” could comment on the not-at-all theoretical choice a Catholic nun made to save the life of a pregnant mother by authorizing life-saving measures that would, and did, result in the termination of her pregnancy.

    This story has been making the rounds over the last 24 hours – a nun who served on the hospital’s ethics committee concurred with the recommendation that terminating the pregnancy was a necessary step to save the woman’s life.

    What say you, pro-life camp? Should this mother (and her fetus) have been left at risk of them both dying? Is (less) chance for both better than (more) certainty for one? If the decision was between certain death for both or life for the pregnant woman, does the black and white nature of the decision change anything for you?

    http://www.catholicreview.org/subpages/storyworldnew-new.aspx?action=8164

    PHOENIX – A nun who concurred in an ethics committee’s decision to abort the child of a gravely ill woman at a Phoenix hospital was “automatically excommunicated by that action,” according to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix.

    The patient, who has not been identified, was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that the hospital said carried a near-certain risk of death for the mother if the pregnancy continued.

    “If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not,” said a May 17 letter to Bishop Olmsted from top officials at Catholic Healthcare West, the San Francisco-based health system to which St. Joseph’s belongs.

    • James Smith says:

      Michael,

      Thanks for that story. I guess I too would be excommunicated.

    • Veronika says:

      Michael why don’t you read the story of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, recently canonized. She was an Italian doctor and mother of 4 children who when told she was going to die in child-birth said to doctors ‘save the child’ before you save my life. Wow. Courage. Compassion. Faith. Her child lived and she died.
      But you wouldn’t get that, because it’s all about me, me, me in today’s world.
      BTW, many women do survive after being told by doctors that they will die in child-birth.

      • James Smith says:

        Veronika,
        Sincerely, I respect your POV, I believe that Abortion is wrong, but as others have pointed out, the practice has gone on forever, & will go on, your, mine or the present PM’s views notwithstanding. First and foremost this is a health issue, & the example you site is an example of a woman making a selfless choice.
        The key is SHE MADE THE CHOICE.
        Do not judge lest ye be judged.

        • Veronika says:

          So then why are we incensed when a pregnant woman drinks and smokes and harms her baby?
          Why are we angered when selective sex abortions occur, killing more girls than boys?
          After all it is their ‘choice.’

      • Michael Watkins says:

        Veronika, you should avoid insulting people when you discuss a topic, any topic, but especially a topic as emotionally charged as this.

        That you presume what I would or would not get is the height of arrogance.

        As for your story, I would say that in many circumstances a living mother can make a much bigger difference in the lives of her already born children.

        Clearly Molla was already full term. While her tale sounds remarkable and is when viewed on its own, I can’t imagine many mothers making a difference choice. It pains me to think about this but I have little doubt my own wife would make a similar choice, although I would hope that fewer full term pregnancies “on the edge” these days, almost 50 years later, result in such dire choices for mothers.

  40. buckets says:

    Speaking for myself, I’m willing to acknowledge that the prolifers’ honestly believe abortion is wrong and therefore oppose it. That is all well and good. People who believe that abortion is wrong shouldn’t have one. But others believe otherwise and they should be allowed to act in accordance to their own conscience. Freedom of religion also means freedom from the oppressive dictates of others’ religions.

    • Scotian says:

      At the risk of seeming to be making fun of this, Amen, preach it Buckets!

      Seriously, this is exactly the point. No one is forcing those that do not believe in abortion to have one, all that is being said is that for those that do have the right to have a medically safe one instead of reverting back to the old coathanger method which existed all those years when abortion was a crime. The difference between then and now is lessened additional deaths of the mothers which if your absolute concern really is about life should be a consideration taken seriously by the ardent self described pro-lifers. Of course we don’t see that consideration which underscores that they are not pro-life, they are pro-birth. The issue isn’t abortions or no abortions, the issue is abortions that are medically safe and reduce the deaths of adult women versus abortions that are medically unsafe and increase the deaths of adult women, that is what is not being considered here and being lost in all of this shrieking about when life begins and all that.

      This is what the pro-birth absolutists are unable to understand, if they have the right to impose their moral/religious views on those that disagree on this issue, they open themselves up to the same thing being done to them in other areas where they believe others have no right to tell them what to do. The whole point about freedom of choice is that it is for each to choose for themselves what they believe and what they do not and not have it imposed upon them by others, especially when those others are not the ones that have to live with the consequences of the actions taken or not taken.

  41. Martin Gomez says:

    Michael Watkins, it’s an interesting conundrum. I’m on the pro-life side, and I admit, it’s a tough one. There’s a doctrine in law called “necessity” which is a defence to committing an unlawful act for the purpose of preventing a greater harm. Various jurisdictions have their own rules on it, but in general, the necessity defence cannot be used for a murder charge. For example, in a bizzare case in England, 4 persons were stranded in the wilderness. 2 of the survivors ate the other 2 before they were rescued. The court ruled that the surviving 2 could not use the defence of necessity: they were convicted of murder.
    In my view, we’re talking about the same situation: if you’re stranded in a survival situation, should you be allowed to eat the peolple in your group to survive without their own consent? I would say no. For me it’s the same answer.

    But let’s be realistic, the situation you’ve raised is an extremely rare situation.

    • Patagonia says:

      Although I reject such a narrow framing of the issue, I can’t help but be fascinated by where some so-called pro-lifers really want to draw the moral line, the legal line. That, and the fast and loose use of the word “murder”.

      My question for Martin using the doctrine of necessity in the context of Self-Defence (which is recognized as a valid defence in law). For the sake of the argument, I will even assume that the 11 week old fetus in this (“extremely rare”) situation is a “person”. Does the woman have the right to choose to defend herself from the “person” who is killing her?

  42. John Buck says:

    Patagonia,

    It boils down to whether or not the fetus is a person. If it is, then now matter how small, or frail, or weak a person is, it has the same rights as a full-grown, healthy person. Or should rights depend on body-size, health, and intellectual ability? You could make that argument: In other words, an 85-year-old with alzheimers shouldn’t have the same rights as a 25-yearold healthy person. If that’s the case, then the slope gets very slippery indeed.
    At present in Canada, the courts do not view a fetus as a person. Thus, their rational for the legal elimination of a “lump” via surgery. Pro-lifers, like myself, do not agree, and will never agree that the fetus is not a person. The courts can say it, Parliament can say it, but it doesn’t make it necessarily true. The legal system isn’t ultimately out to enforce “truth”, it’s job is to enforce community standards. For example, marijuana could be illegal today, and legal 10 years from now. Slavery was once legal, now it is illegal. As for your argument that the woman can claim “self-defence”, then I would be willing to accept that. If abortion could be illegal except for situations where the woman is acting in self-defence in fear of her own life, then you most pro-lifers would back you in proposing such a law.

  43. Videollama says:

    I’ve been following this thread, and it amazes me how it continually goes so far off-topic, and how so many people don’t seem capable of reading each other’s message. I’d like to start fresh, with some concepts that seem pretty clear to me. Let’s see if we can discuss the actual issues without hyperbole and name-calling:

    1) Choice vs Consequences: As the father of four wonderfully intelligent and independant women (they get it from their equally intelligent and independent Mother), I *strongly* believe that women should have the right to choose – in all areas of ther lives. In showing them the difference between right from wrong, I taught them (I hope), that many choices have consequences.

    And isn’t that where choice really occurs – when we decide whether or not to rob that bank, to kick over that biker’s Harley, to have unprotected sex? It seems to me that calling abortion a “choice” at that point is, exactly the same as saying we deserve the right to choose whether or not we should go to jail for robbing the bank, or getting our a$$ kicked for knocking over the Harley. We don’t, y’know – those are consequences of our previous “choice”.

    2) My doctor – a pro-choice’er, by the way – told me that in 31 years of practicing medicine (and attending more than 2,100 births), she’s never seen a case where an abortion was required in order to save a woman’s life. Her point was that with over 100,000 “choice” abortions a year being fully funded (which by their own definition are elective surgery and not truly “therapeutic abortions”), much-needed funding is diverted away from procedures that could have preserved or extended lives that really are threatened.

    3) If not funding Africa abortions automatically equals “bible-thumping”, “forcing religious values”, “condemning women to certain death at the hands of the back alley butchers”, etc., etc., then are we not doing the same to the rest of the world’s women by not funding *their* abortions? Where does the obligation to not pay for abortions end?

    4) Or start, for that matter – in Canada, the right to abortions is enshrined, and is not going away. But why should that particular procedure be funded with public money, when others are not? For instance, I have the right to have my weight problem corrected with medical procedures (a potential source of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes…, DEATH!), but no one is suggesting that taxes should pay for those procedures. My choice to be fat? Maybe, maybe not. But apparently not the same as a woman’s choice to have an abortion. Why the double standard?

    5) Who ever said women in Africa couldn’t have abortions? All I’ve heard is that our foreign aid isn’t going to fund it, so right or wrong, left-wing or right-wing, religious or atheist…, why are the Conservatives (nope, I’m not one of those!), being vilified for it?

    OK, I’m finished. Let’s hear it.

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