uOttawa Students For Life: The Problem of Personhood

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

The abortion debate is characterized by a mess of misinformation, fallacy, and ignorance. Objections about the quality of a child’s life, a woman’s personal choice, a child’s wantedness, and children of rape are all, in reality, surface level arguments that attempt to mask the real problem faced by pro-aborts: how do they redefine a fetus’ personhood? Most people would agree we can’t kill an 3 year old girl because her mother can’t afford to feed her; we don’t give a mother a “personal choice” to end her life because she is unwanted. A university student cannot be knifed in the back because he was a child of rape. These are not the real issues. In order to justify abortion, it must be established that they do not have any human rights; they must be denied personhood.

Denying personhood is not an easy intellectual or philosophical feat, which is why the above arguments are favorites of those defending the killing of unborn children. Science will not help them out; the evidence clearly shows that a fetus is alive, growing, and has human parents. According to the law of biogenesis, this fetus is human. It’s not a parasite, and it’s not an organ. The problem a pro-abortion intellectual faces is the redefinition of life. They must discern when, if not at conception, human rights do apply. Canada’s criminal code defines it as the moment that the child is completely born; this legal definition has no foundation, no scientific rhyme or reason, and is essentially indefensible from a philosophical standpoint. Others have tried harder to find that crucial point at which human rights apply, and have been forced form conclusions that cross accepted social boundaries. Philosopher Michael Tooney argues that in order for a human to have rights, it must be capable of having interests. Because an unborn child or a newborn presumably does not have the ability to take interest in it’s abilities or future, it does not deserve the protection of its life. Taking a similar but not identical stance, Peter Singer states that a being’s humanity is irrelevant to the wrongness of killing it; rather, it is characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that give someone human rights. He argues that infants and the unborn do not possess these characteristics, and therefore should be able to be killed. The problem is that neither of these arguments is more convincing than the other, or is convincing at all. Attempting to redefine personhood opens up a philosophical can of worms; the necessity of defining some sort of personhood in order to protect human rights in some form results in subjective, arbitary ideas of what merits human rights, as shown above.

The effects of denying personhood are tragic, inevitable, and unfortunately obvious. In Canada, from 2000 – 2009, 491 babies died after they were born alive after failed abortions. According to the Criminal Code, these babies should have rights, and the abortionists should be prosecuted for murder; however, respect for personhood has declined to the extent that there was no criminal investigation. In Belgium, Parliament is poised to allow child euthanasia for gravely ill children; in other words, the state is about to sanction the murder of sick kids. Denial of personhood does not only affect children; in the Netherlands, the number of elderly persons killed by euthanasia has more than doubled in the decade since it was legalised.

These tragedies, this complete disregard for human life, is really but the logical outworking of a dangerous philosophy. Taking the definition of personhood into our own hands and changing it to suit our subjective ideas of the what is a valued life, only leads further and further into the moral chaos described above.

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Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

84 Years after the Persons Case Canada Still has Lessons to Learn

Written by Kathleen Dunn

84 years ago today, on October 18th 1929, Canadian women were recognized as persons under the law.  Lord Sankey of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England reversed the Supreme Court of Canada’s earlier decision and ruled in favour of female personhood. “The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours,” he said.

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As a woman, I’m thankful that the Famous Five took matters into their own hands when our femininity was used to marginalize and exclude our gender. In the face of injustice, these women had the strength and courage to take matters into their own hands and fight for their personhood.

But as I reflect on the importance of this day, my thoughts are unquestionably drawn towards the preborn: the only group of Canadian human beings without the status of personhood.

Like the preborn, women were not recognized as persons, despite their fundamental human equality. But unlike the preborn, these women had their own voices and could speak up to defend themselves.  The preborn, while being denied personhood and human equality, are violently killed before even given the chance to speak for themselves.

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The pro-life movement is unique among social justice movements in that the victims of injustice are entirely unable to advance their own cause. Without pro-life voices like your own, the injustice of abortion will continue to silently and brutally snuff out these young lives.

So when you face discouragement in your pro-life activism, feeling as if your voice can do nothing, remember that the preborn have no voice but yours. Their silent screams will only be heard when we let them ring out through our own mouths, as we choose to defend them.

Emily Murphy, one of the Famous Five in the Persons Case, took these words as her motto: “Whenever I don’t know whether to fight or not, I fight.” So, as we celebrate this milestone for women, let us continually, in every moment, make the choice to fight – to be a voice for the preborn – who are entirely voiceless without us.

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University of Toronto Students for Life: Killing babies the same as abortion: Experts

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for Life by prolifepharmacist. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Really? I thought that’s what pro-lifers have been saying for the last little while, but don’t trust us! Trust the experts!

Seriously, though, this article in the British Medical Journal is callous. It really goes to show what kind of mentality arises when there is no respect for life. What stood out for me is that for a medical journal article there is a lot of talk about “personhood”, which is really a philosophical issue instead of a scientific one. And in terms of verbal gymnastics, check out this little somersault on the issue:

we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’,
to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.

Disgusting. In order to feel better about the killing of a newborn they use the euphemism of “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide”. Not only does it lessen the personhood of the newborn, it sounds nicer too. Win Win! Again, I ask why is there talk of moral status of an individual in a scientific journal? How can you perform experiments in a lab regarding personhood?

Science already has a term to describe a fetus, a newborn and a child: Human life.


Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for Life website.

University of Toronto Students for LifeUniversity of Toronto Students for Life: Killing babies the same as abortion: Experts

This post was written for University of Toronto Students for LifeUniversity of Toronto Students for Life by juvericci. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Really? I thought that’s what pro-lifers have been saying for the last little while, but don’t trust us! Trust the experts!

Seriously, though, this article in the British Medical Journal is callous. It really goes to show what kind of mentality arises when there is no respect for life. What stood out for me is that for a medical journal article there is a lot of talk about “personhood”, which is really a philosophical issue instead of a scientific one. And in terms of verbal gymnastics, check out this little somersault on the issue:

we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’,
to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.

Disgusting. In order to feel better about the killing of a newborn they use the euphemism of “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide”. Not only does it lessen the personhood of the newborn, it sounds nicer too. Win Win! Again, I ask why is there talk of moral status of an individual in a scientific journal? How can you perform experiments in a lab regarding personhood?

Science already has a term to describe a fetus, a newborn and a child: Human life.

Read the comments at the University of Toronto Students for LifeUniversity of Toronto Students for Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: Personhood: Why All Human Beings Qualify

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Marissa Poisson

 

From our neighbours to the south at Abort73:

There have been at least two other instances in American history in which specific groups of human beings were stripped of their rights of personhood as a means of justifying horrific mistreatment. African-Americans and Native-Americans both felt the brunt of a system which tried to create the artificial classification: human, non-person. This distinction wasn’t based on an honest evaluation of the evidence, but with an eye towards justifying a specific action. In the case of Native-Americans, they had land. In the case of African-Americans, they had labor. Classifying them as non-persons (even property) provided a moral framework for those in power to forcefully take what they wanted without compensation. Today, “unwanted,” unborn children don’t hold anything as tangible as land or labor, but their claims on those who would eliminate them are no less significant. They stand in the way of an unencumbered, more self-absorbed lifestyle. Once again, this notion that human beings can be classified as “non-persons” is not built on an objective assessment of the facts, but with an eye towards justifying abortion.

Check out the poster on the right about the denial of personhood.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: I’m a Person: Inside and Out

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Theresa Stephenson

A couple, friends of my family, are expecting their first child. With excitement, I have been shown ultrasound photos and told about the baby kicking and moving. At one of their first ultrasound appointments, the technician explained that the baby was sleeping. What a human characteristic! How incredible, that while still in the protection of the mother’s womb, a tiny life is able to move, to kick, to sleep, to dream, to listen. Yet despite all of these amazing, miraculous things that an unborn baby is able to do, Canadian law does not outline any restrictions for abortion. Abortion is legal during all nine months of pregnancy for any and every reason.

But, tell me, what is the difference between a sleeping child who lies inside his or her mother and one who lies in his or her mother’s cradling arms? Tell me, what is the difference between a baby who listens to sounds and murmurs of his or her parents’ voices while cocooned inside the womb and one who hears the sweet lullaby of his or her mother while lying in a crib? The difference is that one baby is “inside” and the other is “out”.

However, I would like to make the bold claim that in either case that human life is indeed a person. We have posted arguments that personhood should not be based on 1) size 2) level of development 3) environment and 4) degree dependency . Rights and liberties must be granted for all human beings regardless of the factors outlined above and any infringement of these rights is a heinous injustice.

We at uOttawa Students for Life fight against these violations and work to bring an end to abortion.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Keep it up YPY-ers!

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyvicepresident. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

For many of our club members, the summer term has started. Maybe that means summer courses. Maybe that means working. Regardless, our pro-life work cannot stop just because we’re on a break from school. My challenge to you is to not shy away from the situations, even if they may seem awkward, that give you the opportunity to share the pro-life message with people.

Sometimes it just happens in conversation that the topic of involvement in the pro-life club or positions on life issues in general arises. We need to be ready at all times to articulate the pro-life message, and answer the questions people may have.

So what is that message? Simply put, it is that all human beings, born and unborn, have inherent value and dignity, and that killing human beings is morally wrong. One must then be ready to answer all sorts of other questions that come up, but the answer generally boils down to “Would we kill a born person for this reason? No? Then why should we accept the killing of the unborn for that reason?” It all comes back to the fact that the unborn are human, just like you and me.

If you need to brush up on your pro-life apologetics, check out

  • http://www.caseforlife.com/ – a website devoted to clearly and concisely laying out the pro-life position on abortion.
  • The section entitled “The Case Against Abortion” at www.abort73.com – the case is laid out point by point with considerable detail and many references.
  • The section entitled “Defending the Pro-Life View” at www.unmaskingchoice.ca – conveniently laid out in a question and answer format.

Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.