Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Why the abortion issue won't go away

I just finished reading an article by R. Albert Mohler Jr. on CNN's Belief Blog called "My Take: Why the abortion issue won’t go away." This was a uniquely American perspective but, as in many other issues, there is a great deal of crossover. I wanted to look at the same issue from a Canadian perspective.

If you're a regular reader of this blog you'll note that I write on the topic of abortion fairly often. I do that for the same reason that many other Canadians bring up the subject. I believe that abortion is the moral issue of our time. Other generations have had to deal with slavery, suffrage and civil rights, among other issues. In my view there is no moral issue that takes precedence over the right to life.

Since abortion was first de-criminalized in Canada in 1969, there have been over 3,000,000 abortions in Canada. Once all restrictions to abortion were removed in 1988, abortion jumped 29%. Just to clarify, in Canada there is currently no protection for a child in the womb, regardless of length of term. This was confirmed in 1991 by the Supreme Court of Canada when a full-term child whose head was outside of the birth canal was ruled not a "person" by law. Most Canadians I speak with are unaware of this reality.

Let's examine some of the reasons why this won't go away in Canada. Some of these reasons mirror the American situation, some differ.

It won't go away because the legal position in Canada is so extreme. As stated above, there is virtually no protection for a child in the womb. For those who value life this is simply untenable. More than thirty years of surveys have demonstrated that the majority of Canadians want some limit to abortion. Yet, there is no political will to address the issue. In fact, it is widely believed that to bring up the "A" word in terms of a pro-life position would be the death knell for a candidate. So the subject continues to be the subject of debate by pro-lifers while pro-choicers do their best to stifle those voices.

It won't go away because there are people on either side who are firmly entrenched in their position. As Winston Churchill said, "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." Feminist organizations have viewed the issue of abortion rights as fundamental to the rights of women, and therefore it is a non-negotiable. They will therefore fight any effort to limit abortion whatsoever, not wanting to allow a foot in the door. Women's Studies programs in Canadian Universities are notorious for their pro-abortion slant.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church and Canadian Evangelicals, among others, are equally determined to see Canada come to the defense of the unborn. Because their stance is rooted in their firm belief that the fetus is a human being and that life begins at conception, expecting them to change their mind is naive in the extreme.

It won't go away because the Canadian media, by and large, refuses to allow the issue to be brought to the forefront. This has resulted in a great deal of frustration, particularly among pro-lifers who feel as though their views are virtually ignored if not mis-represented. Every election we are reminded by some columnist or news anchor that the abortion issue is a closed debate and that the Canadian public doesn't want it re-opened. This only serves to wave a red flag in the faces of pro-lifers. What has resulted is an entrenchment whereby pro-lifers have created their own newspapers, on-line news sources, and women's organizations in order to allow their views to be heard. The growth in social media has also allowed for a more direct approach in getting the word out.

It won't go away because advancements in science and technology have radically changed what we know about life in the womb. Destroyed is the myth that an unborn baby is simply a blob of cells. Just before writing this article I saw a friend's Facebook post of a 3D image of their child "in utero." They have already named their baby and are commenting on how much he looks like his father. Yet we are still aborting babies of the same gestation in Canada.

Beyond that, now that we have the technology to determine sex earlier in the pregnancy, we see that women are aborting babies based solely on sex. The issues become more and more complicated as feminists now must either defend "gendercide" or come out against some abortions. But if abortion is wrong because it's a girl, how can it be okay if it's a boy? A baby is a baby is a baby.

It won't go away because pro-lifers recognize, as feared, that abortion was only the thin edge of the wedge. In other words, once we have succeeded in de-humanizing unborn babies, a lack of respect for life in general follows. Debates regarding euthanasia and what to do with babies who survive abortion create the belief that social engineers will continue to push an even more extreme agenda.

This is an uncomfortable issue to be sure. It's not comfortable table talk. It's not even a popular subject on this blog. But I will continue to write about it because it's an issue which deserves serious consideration. I truly long for intelligent debate on this issue. I have not heard, recently, a well thought out pro-choice position, but rather the shrill cry to "shut up!" Well, that won't happen. The issue will not be going away any time soon.

Related Articles:
The War on Women
Words of Death: "It's A Girl!"
Canada Now an Abortion Destination
The Wonder of Life
Losing Our Way

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