This article from late January by Michael Gerson gets at some important angles on the abortion debate that I had not thought about before.
It is the antiabortion movement that appeals to inclusion. It argues for a more expansive definition of the human community. It opposes ending or exploiting one human life for the benefit of another. There are heart-rending stories that prevent the simplistic application of this approach. But most of the antiabortion men and women I know have the genuine and selfless motivation of trying to save innocent lives.
Inclusion and expansion instead of exclusion and autonomy–are just some of the concepts he gets at. Worth reading.
That appears to be the case on Ryerson Campus in Toronto, where posters offering support to pregnant students caused another… kerfuffle. The student union doesn’t know what to do now, because they are worried the pregnancy support might be “anti-choice.” Does the student union understand how extreme this sounds to outside ears? Do they not believe there could even be one woman who would benefit from attention and support if she is pregnant unexpectedly and doesn’t want to abort? Have they never met anyone who was pressured to abort? These things are quite common. Must be that they live in a little ideological bubble, where all they can process are the words pro or anti-choice.
What our governments would like is for abortion to be wholeheartedly accepted and applauded. So when anyone stands up and says otherwise, they have to quash that sentiment. That’s what is happening with the new restrictions around abortion clinics and with the Canada Summer Jobs program–no one should be allowed to say abortion is a bad choice. Hence also the heavy dose of Charter talk–abortion rights are nowhere in it, but maybe if we talk about them in that way, we can make it so?
The fact that there are, in the case of the bubble zone regulations, such strong punishments associated with free speech in the bubble zone shows just how brittle the pro-choice side is. On the one hand, women going to get abortions are freestanding, independent and strong–they’ve made their decision, so pro-choicers would lead us to believe. On the other hand, a flyer, or simply seeing someone with a sandwich board condemning abortion apparently causes such distress that it can’t be had for 50 metres outside the clinic.
So which is it?
We pay for abortion. We fund pro-choice groups. We don’t give real medical information to women considering abortion (Watch the movie Hush, please). And in this climate, we say that pro-lifers need to be Even Further Stigmatized?
I think pro-lifers are more effective than we give ourselves credit for. I also think the inclination of Canadians is more pro-life than even pro-lifers realize. The stats show the mushy middle leans toward wanting restrictions on abortion in certain circumstances. Only 16% of Canadians think abortion is acceptable at any time. That leaves a whole lot more Canadians who are conflicted. And that is a scary thing for pro-choice people–got to ramp up the propaganda campaign.
The spice of life is cinnamon, by the way. Here’s a story in which I recount a fun Costco encounter, leading to a discussion of defending life in the womb. Published in Convivium.
Faye Sonier and I explain why abortion is not a right.
“Let that sink in for a moment. In Morgentaler, the Supreme Court stated that the Charter itself justifies the legislature limiting abortion access. This is a far cry from the claim that the Morgentaler decision established a right to abortion or that advocating for legislators to develop laws to protect the pre-born child is somehow anti-Charter.”
Frederica Mathewes-Green calls abortion violence and likens it to foot binding and the other ways in which we force women to conform in painful ways. Yet she is very kind and conciliatory to those who are pro-choice. You can watch her talk to a group of us yesterday on YouTube. Her story is fascinating. Today is the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade.
Central to the project of cross-border surrogacy is the ideology that legalised commercial surrogacy is a legitimate means to provide infertile couples and gay men with children who share all or part of their genes. Women, without whose bodies this project is not possible are reduced to incubators, to ovens, to suitcases. And the ‘product child’ is a tradable commodity who has never consented to being a ‘take away baby’: removed from their birth mother and given to strangers aka ‘intended parents’.”
An important read as Canada considers opening up our assisted human reproduction laws. I’d differ from Klein on some things; I would certainly categorize abortion as violence against women, which Klein does not, but I’d agree that all surrogacy (paid, unpaid) dehumanizes and commercializes human life. (The review also mentions some negative aspects of adoption, too, which I have to look into before commenting. Complex stuff.)