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Defending the Dignity of All Human Life


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“Abortion is a Human Right” — Only When There Are None

by Kamilah Thorpe 
 
MP Niki Ashton recently put forward Motion 5-10, asking parliament to vote: “in the opinion of the House: a women’s right to choose abortion is a fundamental question of equality and human rights.”
 
This rather bold statement calls into question the human rights of the unborn child, but it also made me reflect on why anyone would be so bold as to say that the right to choose abortion is a fundamental human right.
 
I think that abortion is only ever seen as a “good thing” when all the other options seem worse. For this reason, I think that abortion can only be disguised as a human right in a society where women do not have any rights at all, and so abortion is seen as desirable because it offers what appears to be a quick fix to a much deeper social problem.
 
The sad reality is that there are places in the world where women really have no rights. There are places where a woman will be killed, banished, or dishonoured for conceiving a child out of wedlock. There are places where a woman is expected to bear children for her husband, despite any grave physical, emotional, or financial strain this might cause her. 
 
Canada, thankfully, is not one of these places. Here a woman can, and should, receive any aid she needs in pregnancy. If Canadian women feel the need for abortion, it is because we have failed to remedy underlying societal problems.
 
Abortion is a “Band-Aid solution” that offers women a quick fix to pregnancy, but if we really respected women and their bodies we would stop sweeping pregnancy under the carpet as something gone wrong. We would see it instead as a beautiful reality of womanhood, and of hope in the future of our country.
 
A woman who feels the need to be rid of her child because of external pressure is a slave to oppression. A woman who feels supported, respected, and honoured to be carrying the next generation inside her body is a woman who is truly free.
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Canadians’ Awareness of Abortion Law

 

 

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.

WeNeedALawGraphic

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.