Green Party leader Elizabeth May
weighs in on abortion
The new leader of the green party has
upset the pro-choice crowd when she shared her view of abortion. You
can read all
of it here.
Her position is simple. She believes
that “all life is sacred” but that if Canada criminalize
abortions “women would seek out whatever butcher they could
find…and they would die horrible deaths.” She goes on to say
“I’ve talked women out of having abortions. I would never have
an abortion myself.” Her approach would be to “have a
different kind of conversation? What kind of programs and strategies
do we need to reduce the number of legal abortions take place?”
I think this the approach the
anti-abortion folks should take. I think criminalization of abortion
is a poor strategy. It is unlikely to happen, it comes with serious
baggage, and ‘m not sure how effective it would be.
Some of the pro-choice zealots are
having a fit over May’s comments. I picked these up in the comments
over at Abandoned
“I think I was most disgusted
when May bragged about giving medical advice to young women she’s
totally and completely unqualified to give.”
According to this person abortion is a
private medical issue.
“I am not just expressing an
opinion, and you are not just debating my opinions. You are
questioning my civil rights; you are inviting a discussion on your
blog of of women’s right to the full personal autonomy that is due
any human being by virtue of being a human being.”
Notice how this person chooses to frame
the issue one way. This is a discussion about womens rights only.
“Elizabeth May is a garden tool
and an embarrassment to womankind. An abortion is not a tragedy, it
is a medical procedure. Nothing more and nothing less.”
“The zygote does not have the
same rights as the pregnant woman. No. The zygote has no rights. It
doesn’t even get last rites. It doesn’t have citizenship. Most
are flushed before there is anything anyone in their right mind would
call “life”. The zygote is a parasite living off the body
resources of the hostess. And if she is unwilling to be the hostess
the parasite has no rights at all.”
Keep in mind this person isn’t
referring to an actual Zygote (fertilized egg before becoming an
embryo). This person is calling an unborn human a parasite.
These commenters are sure that woman
have an inalienable right to an abortion and an unborn human has
none? How can they be so sure? What criteria can be used?
How does one determine what is a
According to the preamble of the
Declaration of Human rights they are a recognition of the
inherent dignity and equal value of all people. Another example, the
declaration of Independence finds that human rights are
self-evident truths. If human rights are inherent or self-evident
one would have to establish that a right would be commonly
acknowledged by multiple cultures and societies. If that is the case
it would be difficult to say that an unborn human has no rights after
6 months of gestation.
There is a general consensus that
humans have some rights in the last term of gestation
Most countries have laws restricting
late term abortions. Some
polls have indicated that more than half of Canadians believe
that the unborn have some value and should be protected under law.
According to a Gallup Poll in 2001 over half of all Canadians
believed that abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances.
An October 2005 Environics poll found
that a majority of Canadians favour legal protection of unborn human life. To be
fair the results of these types of polls seems to change with the
question. A Nov 2002 National Post poll found that a majority
believed women should have complete freedom on their decision to have
an abortion. In a really strange finding a Gallup poll taken in April 2005 found 20% of Canadians want
abortion laws to be “less strict”. Odd because
Canada doesn’t have any laws
The right to an abortion has not
been determined to be a “charter”
The Canadian Supreme Court struck
down an existing law restricting access to abortion but never
explicitly determined a woman’s right to an abortion. The court has
never ruled whether an unborn human has rights either.
I see two major social issues that have
arisen because the unborn are treated as if they have no rights.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
is caused by women who drink during pregnancy. FAS causes a number
of complications. The rate of FAS is very
high among aboriginals and has become issue for the health system
and law enforcement. If an unborn human has no rights, and a woman
has full rights over her body, then it would be logical to conclude
that a pregnant woman has every right to drink during pregnancy
regardless of the dire long term consequences.
In Chinese and Indian cultures males
are preferred to females. In Chinese
and Indian communities an imbalance has a occurred the the male to
female birth ratio. Males are born significantly more frequently
than females. The social complications of this are readily apparent.
If abortion is only a private medical issue then what right does
society have to stop sex-selective abortions?
I think the idea that the unborn have
absolutely no rights is short sighted. It hasn’t been proven to me.
It is the product of a society that willing to sacrifice others on
the altar of individualism.