Some things matter...

Adhering to a faith does not make one a fanatic
Naomi Lakritz
Calgary Herald

To mark the 20th anniversary next Monday of the Supreme Court of Canada's removal of all legal limits to abortion, a group called LifeCanada wants Canadians to ask themselves if things have gone too far.

We shouldn't have to ask. The answer is self-evident. It's not just the staggering fact that in the past two decades, nearly two million abortions -- the equivalent population of two cities the size of Calgary -- have been performed in Canada. In those 20 years, the strangest attitude has grown up around the term "pro-life." To be, literally, "for life" is to be vilified as a nutbar or fanatic. Should we then be "pro-death"?

I am not using that term as a substitute for "pro-choice," but merely pointing out how ludicrous the opposite is, if "pro-life" is such an awful stance to take.

Pro-lifers, we are told, are crazies who shoot up abortion clinics and kill doctors. Pro-lifers ought to put their money where their mouths are and help all the unwanted, neglected children in the world. Pro-lifers are religious fanatics.

The reason for all this name-calling and ridiculous stereotyping is that it is anathema to insist that women have as much duty to responsibility as they do to choice. To suggest they take into account the life of the fetus will only net you catcalls of derision. If one were to advocate for women's unassailable choice to drive through red lights and break all the rules of the road, the reaction would be quite different. "Why, you could kill somebody that way!" they'd say.

It's OK, however, to kill someone when the only difference between him or her and the pedestrian crossing the street is that the former individual is unborn.

It might help to throw out a few myths here. Pro-lifers do not advocate shooting doctors and bombing clinics. Those are the actions of a lunatic fringe and they have been roundly condemned by the pro-life movement.

Since abortion is wide open in Canada because no laws restrict it, those "unwanted" children the pro-choice faction see all around us were born to mothers who were never denied access to abortion. Nothing stood in the way of them terminating their pregnancies, but for whatever reason, they chose to have their babies.

Pro-lifers do indeed care about these children -- one of the staunchest pro-life women I know has spent years fostering children with fetal alcohol syndrome.

These kids were all born to mothers who could have had abortions, but didn't. Nobody forced them to have these babies. Some of them had four, five or six infants taken from them over the years by child welfare authorities.

Pro-lifers are not religious fanatics. Adhering to a particular faith does not make one a fanatic. What it does is anchor a person in certain moral values, among them the belief that human life is sacred, regardless of where it is on the continuum from before birth straight through to old age. Since when is it fanaticism to place a value on human life?

I am often puzzled, in conversation with pro-choicers, at the inevitable sneers that arise whenever I mention that adoption needs to be promoted more than it is. I don't understand their objections. After all, in adoption, nobody dies.

Even though it's a basic scientific fact that by four weeks gestation, before a woman knows she is pregnant, the fetus has brain waves and a beating heart, the pro-choicers don't believe that someone dies during an abortion. Thus, they argue it would be too traumatic for a woman to give up her baby to an infertile couple who have been waiting years to have a family. Strange. The choice of giving a person life is too traumatic, so killing that person is better? I fail to see the logic -- only the monstrous selfishness.

Here's another example of how the meanings of words surrounding this issue, in the last 20 years of unrestricted abortion, have been skewed.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler is often referred to as a "hero." How very odd.

Heroes pull people from burning buildings or rescue them from drowning. A hero saves lives. Morgentaler is being called a hero for taking lives. Whatever else Morgentaler is, he is not a hero.

The question, Alice in Wonderland said to Humpty Dumpty, is "whether you can make words mean so many different things." If we're ever going to turn things around so that Canada is no longer the only western country where abortion is a free-for-all, then we must start with the words and have them mean the truth.


© The Calgary Herald 2008


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