by Kamilah Thorpe
Last year around this time, YPY members participated in “Choice Chain” on the campus of UVic. Choice Chain is a display of graphic images which show the horrors of abortion. Many people were offended and disgusted by the horrible images of aborted fetuses that we chose to expose to the public that day.
I myself am horrified and disgusted by the images and will be the last person to deny that they can be emotionally traumatizing.
But they are true.
The reason that I participated in Choice Chain that day despite my discomfort with the images was because I believe that people need to know the truth. I cannot allow the bodies of those dead children to be left hidden behind clinic walls and disguised under idealistic mantras that cry “pro-Choice”. I want people to see with their own eyes what that “Choice” really is.
If we deny the truth we will never change and we will never heal. That is why I held that sign last year and that is why I would hold it again and again until everyone knows the truth about abortion.
I look forward to the day when people will remember those terrible pictures as something horrible that used to happen in our country.
But today it is still happening, and that is why YPY continues to fight to expose the horrors of abortion to the public, despite any opposition we might encounter.
By Kamilah Thorpe
I took this picture of my desk last year at around New Year’s time. I took it out of humour because I couldn’t help but laugh at the extent to which my desk had fallen into disarray. It was so extreme that I felt I had to capture it. But the main reason I took it was to remind me never to let such a mess happen again.
Last night when I was sorting through photos on my desktop and came across it again, I was struck by a rather philosophical idea: Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? Why is it so necessary for us to feel like we have a fresh start—a new chance to change for the better?
I think one reason is that we feel the need to learn from the past and move on.
And the beautiful thing about life is that every New Year—every day really—we get a fresh start to take a snap shot of what went wrong and put it behind us, moving towards a better future.
In my experience being a part of YPY, but also in many other outreach and service-related things I’ve done, I have met many people who suffer the pain caused by choices that they had made in the past. I would venture to say that some of the deepest pain I have seen has been the pain experienced by women who have lost their children.
Abortion is a tragedy in that it ends the life of a child, but it is also a tragedy for that child’s mother. The choice to have an abortion is very often a choice that is accompanied by hurt, rejection, and fear, regardless of the quick relief that it might bring to an extremely stressful situation.
This last year has left thousands of women hurting from abortion and I sincerely hope that each one receives the love and support that she needs to heal. I truly hope that this New Year can be one of healing and new life for every woman who has had to experience the trauma of abortion.
We all know that giving gifts to those we love brings joy. Every Christmas parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles lavish the children in their lives with Christmas presents—small or big, expensive or inexpensive. Giving gifts is a sign of love.
I’ve experienced working in a toy store and had the pleasure of seeing many adults come in and pick out the perfect gift for a child, putting thought and affection—not to mention an economic investment—into their gift. The children who receive those gifts at Christmas are loved. They are wanted.
I ask myself why it is that some children are not.
Why is it that some children in the womb are awaited with joyful expectation while others are considered a curse to be rid of? Does the number of presents under the tree decide which child has worth and which child is worthless? Do wanted children have more of a right to life than those who are unwanted?
Abortion takes away the life of a child because that life is not wanted.
My wish this Christmas is that each child be loved regardless of the sacrifice it might take to give them a chance at life.
My wish this Christmas is that all children be wanted for who they are, regardless of the circumstances in which they come because every child is precious.
This parasitic notion of pregnancy is disconcerting at best, but the fact remains that there have previously been misunderstandings surrounding the distribution of nutrients and energy to the fetus during a pregnancy. The medical definition of parasite is compound, i.e. a definition with two necessary parts. It implies not only that an organism is “living in, with, or on another organism” – a point that would apply in the case of a fetus, but also that that existence entails a degree of harm or is a detriment to the host, i.e. a parasite as a cause of disease.1 The parasitic notion of pregnancy is based on the misconception that the needs of the fetus take precedence over those of the mother, thus putting the mother at risk of inadequate amounts of energy and nutrients. For any human being, an inadequate absorption of nutrients is at the root of many diseases and health complications. If the precedence of the fetus were the mechanism at play during pregnancy, there would be a possibility that the presence of the fetus were causing a degree of harm to the mother, and the argument for a parasitic notion of pregnancy could be re-assessed. However, this phenomenon has been scientifically disproven.
The nutritional status of a pregnant woman is determined first and foremost by the foods and supplements that she ingests. Her needs are fulfilled prior to the allocation of nutrients to the fetus. Some very interesting studies on this topic have been conducted based on the statistics of the Dutch famine of 1944-45. The disruption in the nutritional status of the mothers was, on average, no more severe than that of other non-pregnant women who lived through the famine. However, the adverse effects on the fetuses carried by these pregnant women had long-term consequences which are under study to the present day. Even at critical windows of fetal development, the required nutrients were not delivered to the fetus until the mother’s requirements had been fulfilled. Many consequences have been identified as a result of the allocation of nutrients to the bodies of pregnant mothers before the children in their wombs.2, 3
So what does all this mean to the pro-life cause? Is the fact that the fetus is not a parasite one more set of attestable facts we can add to our reserve of pro-life apologetics? Does it boil down to the reassurance that science is “on our side”? Although these and many other compelling facts about fetal development are invaluable to the movement, the bare truth remains that abortion is not only about facts. It is about people. It is about human beings. Most specifically, it is about two human beings – a woman and the child within her womb. When a woman finds herself in a crisis pregnancy situation, it is not likely Dutch famine statistics and nutrient battles that overwhelm her thoughts. It is the stress of her present situation, the undeniable attachment to her child, and the questions about the future of herself and her child. She may be struggling with very real personal difficulties, to which we may or may not be able to relate. As pro-lifers, we must not judge and condemn, but rather offer our compassion and support. The real and ultimate goal of our efforts is that mother and baby will both make it through those nine months – alive!
1 Parasite. Merriam-Webster Dictionary online
2 Prenatal nutrition and the human fetus. Nutr Rev. 1971 Sep;29(9):197-9.
3 Effects of prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine on adult disease in later life: an overview. Twin Res. 2001 Oct ;4(5):293-8.
Re-blogged with author’s permission from uOttawa Students For Life
Some time ago, the We Need A Law campaign released this graphic showing the results of a survey. Canadians were asked “As far as you know, when can an abortion be performed in Canada?” Only 8% answered correctly: abortion can be legally performed in Canada “any time up to 9 months.” Babies aren’t recognized by the law until they proceed entirely from the birth canal, actually; there is no abortion law in Canada. And judging from a recent local firsthand account, this lack of regulation does indeed result in relatively late abortions, right here in Victoria.
Why might we find abortions that happen later in pregnancy more distasteful? We might expect the results of earlier abortions to be less graphic and recognizable to view because the unborn baby is less developed. On some level, this is true. However, it’s worth noting that by 3-4 weeks, the baby’s brain, spinal cord and heartbeat are present, and the woman might not even know she is pregnant yet.
But when we forget that each unborn baby is human and start focusing on his or her level of development, we begin to lose our respect for all human life. With that said, we can still use the huge gap between what Canadians believe about abortion law and statistics and the reality as a starting point for conversation. When we bring an important and controversial issue to light, it’s helpful to establish common ground with those who we hope to educate. And with so few Canadians well-informed about these issues, there’s plenty of opportunity for dialogue.
Monday, January 28, 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler v. The Queen decision in which the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s last law restricting abortions, effectively declaring open season on pre-born children and leaving them to defend themselves. Since that time abortion has been fully legal in Canada through all nine months of pregnancy, from fertilization until the child “ But who has been paying for , and what has it cost them?
Pe-born children have been paying the price for this supposed fundamental human right. According to Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, at least 2,263,482 pre-born babies have paid for our “right to choose” with their lives since the Morgentaler decision. Many more deaths are unaccounted for, due to lack of reporting. Because of their age and level of development, they don’t have a voice of their own, and their silent screams have gone unheeded; the horrific images of their broken bodies are their last cry for us to stop paying the bills with their lives. But even with all of their blood, there have been expenses yet unpaid, and others have been forced to cover the costs that remain.
Next on the list of people who have paid for the consequences of this court decision are the women and men who have been affected by abortion. Though organizations such as Silent No More Awareness Campaign have been established to support those who now regret their abortions, countless women and men have been forced to silently endure the pain of realizing what abortion meant for their pre-born child.
Lastly, we as taxpayers have by and large been the ones to front the money for abortions in our respective provinces. With the exception of Prince Edward Island, where abortions are not performed, Canada’s provincial governments pay for abortions with taxpayers’ money, and it is conservatively estimated that $80 million is spent each year to pay for the one hundred thousand or so abortions that are performed nation-wide annually.
Bearing these things in mind, let us critically consider whether or not the purchase has been worth its price, because the cost will keep rising unless we change things, and we know who will have to keep paying the tab.
One hundred thousand. For some people this number is a reminder of the number of minutes from now until they graduate at the end of this semester. For others, this number is a reminder of approximately how many people live in their hometown, be it Lethbridge or Chilliwack. Personally, this number reminds me of the approximate number of pre-born children that will be killed this year by abortion.
As someone who tries to answer the silent scream of these innocent victims, I sometimes find myself sitting behind Youth Protecting Youth UVic’s Clubs Days table (happening today and tomorrow) inviting my peers to join me in taking a stand for the most vulnerable members of our society. Sometimes I find myself organizing fundraisers to support local crisis pregnancy shelters, or filling out UVic’s application form to submit our $1000.00 bursary for single mothers on campus. And still other times I find myself behind a 3’x4’ “Choice” Chain sign, engaging passers-by in conversations about abortion. What would it look like if our pro-life activities were in direct proportion to the injustice being committed?
What would it look like if for every child that will be aborted this year we had someone sign up for our club? Well, we’d have every UVic student register for our club at least five times, and the line-up at our table would stretch around ring road multiple times. What would it look like if we offered a bursary for every family that will abort their child this year? We’d give away over one hundred million dollars. And what would it look like if there was a “Choice” Chain sign held for every child that will be aborted this year? Unless things change, there would be a consecutive string of unique signs stretching from Victoria to Nanaimo. You would need to drive for almost two hours to see each child’s image.
These statistics are not meant to intimidate those who are considering joining the pro-life movement, nor are they stated to discourage those who are already active within it. These facts should remind us that we have work to do, and that if we work together we can end abortion. Let 2013 be the year you choose to help end this injustice.
On March 13 and 14, 2012, members of Youth Protecting Youth were out distributing surveys to UVic students. Here are the answers and appropriate references.
1) When does human life begin?
a) At the moment of fertilization
“Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote(original emphasis). This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual,” (Moore and Persaud, 2013, Page 13)
b) At birth
c) When the child is no longer physically dependent on the mother
d) When the child is conscious and self aware
2) When does the fetal heart start beating?
a) At birth
b) Somewhere between the 24th and 25th week of gestation
c) Somewhere around 22nd day of gestation
“Major changes in body form occur during the fourth week…. The heart produces a large ventral prominence and pumps blood.” (Moore and Persaud, 2013, Page 76)
3) During prenatal development, the pre-born human…
a) Is a part of the mother
b) Is completely independent of the mother
c) Is a unique individual, but completely dependent on the mother until around 22 weeks gestation
“Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote (original emphasis). This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual,” and “There is no sharp limit of development, age, or weight at which a fetus automatically becomes viable or beyond which survival is ensured, but experience has shown that it is rare for a baby to survive whose weight is less than 500g or whose fertilization age is less than 22 weeks.” (Moore and Persaud, 2013, Pages 13 and 94)
d) Is simply a parasite
4) The Canadian Law on abortion states…..
a) All clinical abortions are illegal
b) Only clinical abortions in performed in the first trimester are legal
c) There is no abortion law in Canada. Though few doctors will perform late term abortions, abortions are legally permitted during all 9 months of gestation (Morten, 1992)
d) Clinical abortions are legal only when the mother’s life is in danger
5) Every year in Canada there are approximately…
a) 2 000 000 clinical abortions
b) 200 clinical abortions
c) No clinical abortions
d) 100 000 clinical abortions
Statistics Canada 2005
Legal Abortion in Canada. AbortionInCanada.com. Retrieved from http://www.abortionincanada.ca/history/legal_abortion_canada.html.
Moore, K., & Persaud T.V.N. 2013. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (9th ed.). Elsevier Saunders. Canada.
Morton, F.L. 1992. Morgentaler v. Borowski: Aboriton, the Charter, and the Courts. McClelland & Stewart Inc. Canada.
Induced abortions, by age group, Canada, provinces, and territories. Statistics Canada. Retrieved from http://www.abortionincanada.ca/stats/Annual%20abortion%20rates%20pdfs/Canada%20abortion%20rates,%201988-2005.pdf.