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Henry Morgentaler dies; Abortion debate lives

May 30, 2013

ImageThis morning I listened to the CBC Radio documentary titled Laws and Mores  by Piya Chattopadhyay on CBC’s The Current. I had heard it in May, 2013 when it first aired. At the time I thought it was very fair and very well done. I still do. It’s excellent Radio: CBC at its best. (In case you don’t know me, I am a proud CBC Radio fan.)

This morning, hearing it a second time, I heard a few statements that deserve attention and comment and/or clarification:

I think I heard narrator, Piya Chattopadhyay say that, in the 60’s, between 35,000 and 120,000 abortions were taking place in Canada (not sure how that number is estimated if abortions were illegal). Today the number is estimated at between 100,000 and 130,000 a year. So legalizing contraception has not reduced the number of abortions, confirming the claim that abortions are being used as a contraceptive measure and not to help desperate women who have no other solution to their “problem”. It also may mean that the number of abortions has potentially tripled – so making it “legal” has made it worse. (As an aside, it’s impossible to know the actual number of abortions, because, although they are now “legal” apparently there is no reporting. Not sure why someone has not requested the numbers through the freedom of information act. The numbers must exist because they are paid for by our tax dollars. Another aside: At $500 average each- how many MRI machines would that buy?)
(And another aside: If it’s true that there are some 120,000 abortions a year, that’s about one abortion every five minutes. In the course of the documentary, 5 abortions took place in Canada.)

Also in the documentary, Morgentaler says that he wanted to help women who were pregnant for doing nothing but “having normal sex” (I think that’s the quote). As if pregnancy was not the natural consequence of having normal sex. That’s one of the natural purposes and consequences of sex. Why are people surprised when they get pregnant after having sex? That’s what’s supposed to happen. And it’s a good thing.

And then he said something about women having to “risk their lives”.  I understood he meant that pregnancy is risky.

This is a common claim of pro-abortionists. Pregnancy is not risky; not any more than “safe” abortion. Ask Kermit Gosnell’s clients. Ask all the women in the Silent No More Campaign.

And it’s definitely not more of a risk for the unborn child!

At the end of the documentary the reasons for upturning Canada’s abortion law by the Supreme Court in 1988 are clear: In half an hour, it was determined that the law was unconstitutional. It violated Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms infringing on women’s right to life, liberty and personal security. Clearly the other side was not doing anything to make the argument about the unborn child (not sure what the other side was arguing). What about the right to life, liberty and security of the person of the unborn child? That would have been the time to argue in court that personhood (and therefore the rights that all persons have, no matter whether they are born or not-yet-born) begins at conception. (Aside: But it is still a crime in Canada to cause indignity to a human body. Isn’t a human fetus, a human body?) And so here we are, not with abortion being legal (technically), but with no law because politicians are too chicken to “open the debate.”

And, can anyone tell me, what was the logic for abortion being illegal in the first place? Was it not because it was considered murder? And if it was, why wasn’t that the argument? If it wasn’t, then why was abortion a criminal act? Can someone clarify?

Despite what Mr. Morgentaler said to George Stroumboulopoulos on The Hour in 2007 , the abortion debate is not over. I don’t see the laws changing anytime soon and it’s frustrating that what’s plain to me and to alot of people is so hard for others to understand. But don’t fault Mr. Morgentaler.  He fought a good fight but he started off with some key false premises, the main one being that a human being is not a human person from the moment of conception.

That’s the heart of the argument.

All I wish is that more Canadians had Morgentaler’s conviction, passion and courage- no matter the reasons- in order to make Canada a better place for all Canadians, especially those who are most vulnerable and who have no one to speak for them.

(Photo courtesy of CNS/Mark Blinch, Reuters)

From → English, Opinion

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