Separating fact from fiction
Dialogue continues in the student newspaper after the February flag display at the University of Victoria
By: Kevin Geenen
We often complain about the lack of media representation for pro-life news. However, sometimes an article comes our way that we can respond to, and in this way, continue to challenge culture by engaging in dialogue.
On February 27th, an article titled “Abortion: everyone’s right and nobody’s business” appeared in the Martlet, the University of Victoria’s student newspaper. The article came as a response to Youth Protecting Youth’s (YPY) flag display that took place on campus just a few days earlier.
In this article, we can see that the humanity of the pre-born is at the core of our disagreements about abortion. The article’s author, UVic student Natasha Simpson, writes: “Since the 1988 R. versus Morgentaler ruling, Canada has been one of the few countries that does not legally restrict abortion. Previously, women had to endure an intimidating process that disregarded their charter right to “life, liberty and security of the person” and denied them agency over their own bodies.”
Simpson correctly recognizes that Canada has absolutely no abortion laws. I wonder if she realizes that, in this legal vacuum, sex-selective abortion specifically targets innocent baby girls? Anyways, I digress.
The pro-life perspective maintains that every woman should definitely have autonomy. However, abortion crosses a line. A woman’s autonomy is not as important as the life of another human being.
Humanity of the fetus
“The rights of the woman cannot be overridden by any alleged rights of the fetus, because according to the Canadian criminal code, a fetus is not a human being until it is born,” continues Simpson.
Simpson is right that, legally, in Canada a fetus “becomes a human being… when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.”
In 2012, MP Stephen Woodworth brought forward a Motion to study this 400-year-old definition of a human being, but his Motion was shut down.
I think that we would all agree that the biological evidence of what constitutes a human being is far superior to any legal definition. To bring up an extreme example, in Hitler’s Germany, it was legal to exterminate Jews, was it not? Since when does legality constitute or define morality?
Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Muller write in their book Human Embryology & Tetratology that: “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.”
Don’t you just love science?
“A genetically distinct human organism exists within her”
When talking about pregnancy, we are not solely dealing with a woman’s body anymore; a genetically distinct human organism exists within her.
Simpson closes with a common argument made by pro-choice advocates. She says: “The problem is not the personal beliefs of pro-lifers. The problem is their perceived moral obligation to impose these beliefs on others.”
She continues, “Other women’s bodies and healthcare choices should not be their concern.”
- Nobody is imposing their beliefs. Pro-life organizations (like YPY) engage in rational conversation with people about the arguments why abortion is wrong. Is it a problem to question the dominant beliefs of society in a rational, respectful way?
- If one applies Simpson’s argument to other human rights injustices such as slavery, the argument does not stand. Does one have to be a slave owner or a slave in order to be concerned about slavery? Clearly not.
I applaud Simpson for trying to justify her position. However, science and reasoning are not on her side. It is hard to defend the pro-choice perspective when the ideology’s every argument is not backed by facts and fraught with inconsistency. Inconsistency with far-reaching consequences.
As the flag display powerfully showed, about three hundred children lose their lives to abortion each day in Canada. This injustice is “everyone’s business” not in a callous, trivial manner, but as Martin Luther King Jr. urged, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Blog post author Kevin Geenen is a political science and communications student at the University of Ottawa. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.