OK. I feel somewhat guilty for dismissing what is certainly a very contentious debate in a few lines yesterday. And abortion is one topic I really never wanted to touch here since I don’t see it as a political issue at all – the issue is dead in Canada right now despite Martin’s attempts to revive it during the last election. And any talk of abortion on a blog should be of this form:
Compare the two statements, both made May 31st, 2004, one my a back-bench opposition MP, and one by the Prime Minister, and determine which one led to TV commercials saying that Stephen Harper would “take away a women’s right to choose”:
A: “independent counseling would be "valuable” for women contemplating abortion because people who take part in it may only be seeing one side of if it."
B: “It is a huge problem. The issue is obviously one of consulting and of comfort.”
Anyways…Rebecca takes me to task with a her first post, as best I can. Obviously, being, uhh, male, I’ve never had an abortion so take my view with a grain of salt. Of course, I’ve never invaded Iraq or mismanaged a sponsorship scandal and I still enjoy commenting on that, so I guess my opinion is as good anyone’s.
Rebecca’s primary contention comes from this passage in the Morgentaler CTV special.
'And let's face it, society's changed. Women no longer die as a result of abortion. Fewer children are born who are neglected or abused. There are few young men who have a rage in their heart; consequently there's been a decrease in crimes of violence.
Now, here are her key points:
1. I get the fewer children are born part, but certainly can't see the reduction in abuse or neglect: Basically, women who have abortions are usually in terrible situations. Teenagers, single mothers…the fact that they don’t want the child sort of indicates to me that they’ll neglect it. I mean, I’m more likely to take good care of a puppy if I really want it, than if I’m forced to take care of it against my will.
2. Here's the part I laughed out loud at - "There are few young men who have a rage in their heart; consequently there's been a decrease in crimes of violence." Yeah, I don’t get this either.
3. I think young men and women are angry about losing brothers and sisters that they didn't even have a chance to know because a man with his own painful past decided that abortion is a human rights issue. This I don’t see as a big issue. Conceivably, if my parents weren’t fans of birth control, I could have had a lot of other brothers and sisters.
4. I think that there are many, many women out there who have had abortions and regret their decisions - deeply. Not to trivialize the situation but, I once went to this restaurant that served great chilly dogs. So I ate 5. And boy, I really regret that decision. But we shouldn’t ban chilly dogs. Back on topic, women should be made aware of the consequences of their decision, sure. But I’m willing to wager there are many more women out there who don’t regret their decision than those who do. Just because some people who have abortions regret it, does not mean they should be banned.
5. We have weakened leaders with elastic morals. No, they have different morals. Or, they don’t believe their morals should be imposed on others.
Now, the basic argument used by Rebecca is that aborting a fetus is equivalent to killing a baby. Now, to me, that’s like saying burning an acorn is akin to cutting down an oak tree. But, even if we accept that the fetus is a person, that doesn’t exclude abortion. People can kill in self defense.
A famous example in this debate is JJ Thompson’s violinist example. I’ll adapt this example slightly here. Say Stockwell Day becomes seriously ill. Now, the Stockaholics determine that CalgaryGrit is the only person in the world with a compatible blood type so they kidnap me and hook me up to a machine. I’ll need to stay hooked up to this machine for 9 months to save Stock. Now, it would be good of me to stay hooked up and I probably would since Stockwell is such an entertaining politician who has given me so many great moments, but is it my duty to do so? As certain as we are that Niagara Falls flows south to north, the answer is no.
Like I said, abortion is an icky issue and I promise to never ever bring it up again. From a pure policy perspective, you need to have legal abortions or else you've got coathangers in back alleys. But hey, I think pot and prostitution should be legalized so don't listen to me.
I swear, my next post will be no more than five lines and will take a cheap shot at Ralph Klein, Paul Martin, or Stephen Harper. My only issue is with people who try to impose their morality on everyone else. I firmly believe that it’s wrong for people to dress their dogs up in sweaters, but I’m not going to condemn those who do so.