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University of Toronto Students for Life: [Debate] Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation?

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

We’ve uploaded video from Monday’s debate between Stephanie Gray and Donald Ainslie.

Unlike Stephanie’s opponent at Dalhousie, Ainslie did not argue in favour of infanticide, and in fact argued against the notion that abortion should be a morally trivial matter. Professor Ainslie affirmed that, from the point of conception onwards, there are deep moral issues at stake.

He said in his opening statement:

We think of people as one of a kind, as irreplaceable. When an egg is fertilized there is a biological creature that’s one of a kind; there won’t be another one of those. And so the loss of that person, either spontaneously or… in an abortion, makes the world somewhat less. That’s one thing that the world doesn’t have anymore. . . . [it's] the loss of something with intrinsic value, something that’s irreplaceable, something that won’t be around again.

But Ainslie’s main argument was that, although the moral status of the pre-born is not insignificant, the pre-born doesn’t have the same moral status as you or I until some undefined later point in pregnancy (between conception and birth, which he labelled as two extreme lines to draw). Therefore, he argued that abortion is justified in some circumstances, that all abortion is morally significant but not inherently wrong. He argued that, though the pre-born has intrinsic value, that value might be outweighed by other considerations which justify abortion. Further, he argued that though there may be moral questions involved, the legal questions are separate, and since reasonable people could disagree on the moral question, abortion should be legal. In essence, he affirmed the intrinsic value of the pre-born, but put it on a sliding scale of lesser significance than the intrinsic value of you or I until some undefined point between conception and birth, of a lesser moral status meaning that some abortions are justified and that the law should leave the possibility of abortion open.

In one sense, Ainslie’s argument was weak insofar as he purposefully avoided making any claim of where or why or how the pre-born child would attain a greater moral significance at some arbitrary part along the human continuum of development between conception and birth. This is a classic case for the SLED argument.

But in another sense, I believe his argument is challenging because — despite avoiding the question of why size or level of development (essentially, our age) should determine our value — many people simply agree with this type of argument. They often can’t articulate a reason for it, but they’ll deny that abortion is inherently wrong in the first trimester while being uncomfortable or opposed to it later on, because they believe there is a greater moral significance as the pre-born child gets older.

To respond, I think we must highlight the fact that our age does not increase our value or our moral significance, and make the pre-born child more and more visible, using images of prenatal development that bring to light the undeniable humanity and intrinsic value of the youngest human beings, and images of first trimester abortions that bring into the light the horrible injustice and violence of abortion even at an early stage.

Well, that’s my take. Watch the debate for yourself on YouTube in two parts (an hour each):


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

A Busy Week

From coast-to-coast, pro-life students are busy on campuses engaging their student body on the issue of abortion.  Last night, Pro-Life at Dalhousie (PLAD) hosted a debate between Stephanie Gray and Professor Mark Mercer.   Sara Hall and Stacy Anderson, our Maritime staff member and board member, drove up from New Brunswick for the occaison.  Also present was Jennifer Derwey, from ProWomanProLife, who wrote the following on the event.

Tomorrow UBC Lifeline will be setting up the Genocide Awareness Project.  Lawyer John Carpay, who represents Lifeline, has the following article in the Vancouver Sun.

Ontario has some exciting events coming soon as well.  Friday, Stephanie Gray will be speaking at Brock University in St. Catharines.  A debate at the U of Toronto will be held on the 14th and at Queens on the 16th.  Lifefairs will be held on several campuses in coming weeks as well as the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

So stay tuned.

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University of Toronto Students for Life: Tale of the Tape: Stephanie Gray

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

Yesterday we profiled Dr. Donald Ainslie in our lead-up to our debate next Monday night! Now I will highlight Dr. Ainslie’s opponent for the evening – Stephanie Gray:

EDUCATION

2008–2009 Certification, with Distinction, in Health Care Ethics, U.S. National Catholic Bioethics Center

1998–2002 Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia

AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION

Scientific and philosophical defense for the pro-life view (basic and advanced) and approaches for effective dialogue

Debates

Christian-based motivational presentations

Strategy for the pro-life movement

Organizing and conducting visual displays (e.g., the Genocide Awareness Project [GAP])

Speakers training

Fundraising training

Other Credentials:

- President of Lifeline, the University of British Columbia’s pro-life club from 1999–2001

- Guest on television programs such as CTV, VTV, and ATV News, Global News, 100 Huntley Street’s Listen Up, and the Miracle Channel’s Insight

- Interviewed by ABC-, NBC-, FOX-, and CBS-affiliated television news programs throughout the Midwest of the United States

This is going to be an epic night. I will post all of the details of the debate tomorrow. Don’t miss it!


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

University of Toronto Students for Life: Tale of the Tape: Dr. Donald Ainslie

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

UTSFL would first like to thank Dr. Ainslie for being a part of the most spectacular spectacle (does that make sense?) that U of T has ever seen: Debate 2011! Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation? Please mark off March 14, 2011 on your calendar and join us for what promises to be a great night of debating (venue still to be determined by our fearless leader Lucy). Here are the goods on Dr. Donald Ainslie:

Education: BSc (Mathematics, Queen’s), MA, PhD (Pittsburgh)

Associate Professor

Professor Ainslie has research interests in the philosophy of David Hume, naturalism in ethics, and the foundation of bioethics.

Selected Articles

“Hume a Scotish Socrates?”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33(1). 2003.
“AIDS and Sex: Is Warning a Moral Obligation?”, Health Care Analysis 10(1). 2002.
“Bioethics And The Problem Of Pluralism”, Social Philosophy and Policy 19(2). 2002.
“Hume’s reflections on the identity and simplicity of mind”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62(3). 2001.
“Scepticism about persons in Book II of Hume’s Treatise”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 37(3). 1999.
“The Problem of the National Self in Hume’s Theory of Justice”, Hume Studies 21(2). 1995.
Tomorrow: Stephanie Gray

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

University of Toronto Students for Life: Did I mention there is a debate happening?

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

You know, it is kind of sad that pro-choicers are the first ones to advertise the debate happening March 14, 2011 on “Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation?”. We here at UTSFL have been waiting quite some time for a debate and now that time has arrived! All this week this blog will be in preparation mode for this debate and it is sure to be a great event! I will have information on both debaters, Stephanie Gray (pro-life side) and Donald Ainslie (pro-choice side) along with other goodies to get you guys ready. The venue has yet to be determined but when it is it will be posted on the blog. Until then check out the pro-choicers doing my dirty work for me in advertising:

http://www.facebook.com/v/10150093128796050

HT: Alissa Golob of the Campaign Life Coalition


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