Tanya, a contributor to our Comments page wrote in response to my post on criminalization. Her comment:
“Even though the criminalization of abortion is not, for you, an immediate goal, the question begs to be asked; is it not reasonable to have its criminalization as an eventual goal?
Let’s parallel this human rights issue (abortion) with another one from another era, when William Wilburforce first introduced a bill to criminalize the slave trade. He was ridiculed and success seemed far off. He was always up-front with his ultimate goal. Through creative and gradual measures, by more means than simply introducing his annual bill, his goal was eventually realized.
I understand that there is much to accomplish in the mentality and practices of Canadians before a legal ban on abortion would even be beneficial. However, I would hope that every person who speaks out for the right for the unborn would have as an ultimate goal that these tiny humans’ rights be held up as equal to our own.
The point is well taken. Arguing against criminalization from a fetal rights’ perspective offers no wiggle-room and I can be accused of taking the easy way out by avoiding the question altogether. Either the fetus is a human being and deserves the same protection from harm as other human beings, or fetuses are not human and have no claim to a protected right to life and integrity. The third option, well described on our Comments page by Dave, involves getting into philosophical contortions to justify killing some human non-persons in a discourse reminiscent of 19th century slavery rhetoric. Our dismal historic track record in deciding who – or what – is human suggests that we should stop the circus act and recognize that determining humanity based on human-made criteria has embarrassed more than one civilization. Will our treatment of the unborn shame us in a few generations? I have no doubt about it, particularly in light the demographic decline of Western civilizations.
I do think criminalization is the ultimate goal. But I also think that it will happen naturally as mentalities change to recognize the humanity of the fetus. Our role as pro-lifers is not, in my view, to push for criminalization but to change mentalities. If mentalities change, criminalization will naturally follow. The same cannot be said about the reverse.