Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The "A" Word

Abortion is one of the most volatile issues out there, and most people like to avoid the subject like the plague. I have to admit that it's a topic I don't like to think about because of the emotions that are quick to rise to the surface. However, over the last couple of days there were two recently released articles that brought the issue to the front-burner once more.

The first was from Canoe News which reported that, in Canada, women aged 15-19 reported 150 abortions per every 100 live births. In other words, abortion is now being used as birth control among our youth. The second article, from Newsweek, reports that in Asia there are now 100,000,000 more men than women. This disparity has resulted largely from selective abortions and infanticide. Boys are more valued in Asia and, therefore, many (most?) choose to abort girls.

I think that these two stories go together because they really show the progression of thought once we devalue human life. It was one thing to excuse people's ignorance when abortion first rose to prominence. After all, the fetus was thought to be just a blob of tissue, and certainly not a person. But as modern technology has advanced we have found out how quickly the human fetus develops within the womb.

This in itself is illustrative of the catch 22 situation in which we find ourselves. On the one hand, we're now able to do "in utero" surgery in one wing of a hospital while performing abortions on babies of the same gestation in another wing. This, in my mind, is nothing short of schizophrenic. If a child is viable enough to have surgery, how can they not be human? And if they are human, how can they not be worthy of protection?

Then we look at the situation in Asia, with 100 million more boys than girls. I've read articles where people have complained about selective abortions - that it's not right to abort based on gender - and I agree. But if it's wrong to abort a child because it's female, is it not also wrong to abort a male? What makes it wrong? It is either wrong or a matter of preference, but you can't have it both ways.

I hear and read in popular media that this issue is settled and Canadians don't want to talk about it. I don't believe that. My experience is that many people are not informed and many do want to talk about it. As stated earlier, we know a lot more today than we used to, yet we still allow almost unlimted access to abortion for any reason. My firm belief is that future generations will look back on this issue the way we look back on those who held slaves. They'll shake their heads and wonder how civilized people could ever do such a thing.
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