Friday, December 23, 2011

Debating the unmentionable?

The Tory MP for Kitchener-Centre Stephen Woodworth said in a recent media release that Canadian laws governing human rights of the unborn need to be re-examined because they are out-dated. Now I read that his fellow Conservative, Essex MP Jeff Watson, supports Woodworth’s call for a debate on whether to give human rights to the unborn.

It’s about time this debate was held in parliament and each and every member stood up and stated his position on the subject.

To be clear: no government can give anyone a “human right.” Human rights are ours whether or not our government recognizes them. Furthermore, life begins at conception, period. This is a reality of biology and no man-made legislation or lack thereof is going to change that.

Our government, however, could (and should) redefine what Canada considers a “legal person” to include, at least, some of the unborn. Currently, one has to be independent of the mother’s body to be a legal person—i.e., a person has to have been “born” to be a legal person under the law. So we are not talking about biology, but legal distinctions.

In my view, an unborn baby who could survive outside the womb as, say, a premature baby can, should be considered a legal person and receive all the protections, rights and privileges the rest of us Canadians enjoy. This is probably around the end of the second trimester of a pregnancy, and terminating a child’s life after that point should be illegal.

I also believe in a woman’s right to choose. But like every other Canadian right, there should be reasonable restrictions.

A mother could still have the right to chose whether she wishes to terminate her pregnancy, but—assuming no medical reason to do otherwise—the state should assume responsibility for the child’s life, if viable, at that point. The state provides housing and other necessities of life to murderers, pedophiles and others guilty of the most horrible crimes, so why deny life to these vulnerable, parentless babies.

Just because a woman decides she does not want her pregnancy to go full-term, that does not mean her unborn child should not be given a chance to live out its life. For a woman to decide not to have her child is one thing, it’s quite another to “kill” that child.

For the record, I am not a religious person. It’s been decades since I believed in the Christian concept of God, belonged to a religious denomination or attended any church or other place of religious worship. I do believe, though, in human decency. And, to me, claiming a child is less than a human being just because it has not been “born” is barbaric and nonsense.

If a mother allows a child to be removed through Caesarean section before the 39th week it is considered “born.” But if a woman demands an abortion before the 39th week the child is legally not born and can be destroyed. We really should be ashamed of ourselves.

Bring on the debate.

© 2011 Russell G. Campbell


  1. I want to know when pregnancy went from being a blessing to becoming a disease that requires a cure.

  2. This debate should definitely NOT be brought into the House of Parliament, and I among many others,will lobby my MP to see it stays out.

    The main effort of government and Opposition politicians should be working on ways to keep Canada from falling back into another recession/depression, not pandering to proponents of a "cause".

    The PM was right in refusing to reopen this discussion,and the gay marriage debate. They've both been settled.

    All those persons to whom abortion IS an important issue should remember that if you bring the Conservatives down over this, you will find yourselves dealing with a much less friendly government after the next election. Vote in an NDP or Liberal government ,and you will really know the meaning of "marginalized".

    Leave well enough alone.

  3. Disagree about life begins at conception, but do agree that Canada should recognize that once the fetus is independent of the mother's body e.g. about 25 weeks, it should be against the law to abort unless the mother's life is at risk. Then, it's her call.

  4. Although I fully agree with Stephen Woodworth, we have to remember that PMSH clearly stated that the abortion debate would not be reopened. It is just too divisive and would be seen as a confirmation of the "hidden agenda" card the Liberals were smearing him with for years. The public trusts him now, and you want to screw that up?

  5. I wish they had left this alone. I am against abortion but I think government should leave the issue alone.

  6. It appears that for some abortion is like health care in that we must prevent any kind of debate and that the debate is limited to either or. With health care it comes down to the idea that either we keep our failing system or we adopt the American system. This fails to consider that there are many other options from which to choose and that actually work better than what we have or the American system. For abortion it is the same in that either we place absolutely no restrictions on it or it is made completely illegal. I suggest that most Canadians are not in favour of allowing third term abortions and even more are opposed to state funding of abortions.

    I also totally disagree with the statement that both abortion and same sex marriage have been settled. One could only claim this had there been a national referendum on them.

  7. Alain, I agree on both accounts.