Canada’s all or nothing abortion debate

The Conservatives didn’t want to open debate surrounding Bill M-312. MPs weighed in anyway

Abortion's system of selective mercy

Adrian Wyld/CP

Rona Ambrose is the minister for status of women. She is also the new enemy of the Canadian pro-choice movement, because she voted in favour of M-312 last week, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s controversial motion that would allow for an all-party parliamentary committee to revisit the question of when exactly a human life begins (read: hopefully in the womb, not outside). The motion, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper voted against, was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 203 to 91. Critics have called Woodworth’s motion disingenuous; he didn’t officially reopen the abortion debate, they argue, but he tried to start a conversation that might have led us down that path. Lately, however, the question is less about Woodworth than it is about Ambrose: should a champion of women’s rights, especially the federal champion of women’s rights in Canada, be supportive of any legislation that could potentially bring abortion laws back to Canada? (In 1988, the Supreme Court struck them down.)

A lot of people think not. In particular, Ambrose has raised the ire of women’s groups and certain politicians, most notably the official Opposition. NDP MP Niki Ashton practically called for her resignation on the web (“time for a new minister,” she tweeted) and a number of online petitions followed suit—one of which, on the activist website, has more than 15,000 signatures. Janet Currie, a board member of the Canadian Women’s Health Network, told me last week the abortion debate “should no longer be in the public domain” and it’s “contradictory that a minister who’s supposed to be defending women’s rights” would try to reinstate it.

But things are not always as they seem. Ambrose has been fairly quiet in the wake of the backlash, but she did reveal, in less than 140 characters, her actual motivation for voting yes on M-312. “I have repeatedly raised concerns about discrimination of girls by sex-selection abortion,” she tweeted last week. “No law needed, but we need awareness!” In other words, Ambrose isn’t interested in legislating against a woman’s right to choose. Rather, she would like to have a discussion about the motive behind that choice, more specifically, the choice of aborting a fetus because it’s female. M-312 may have died last Wednesday, but it left something behind: the awkward reality that the reproductive rights feminists fight for are the same rights used to discriminate against female fetuses via sex-selective abortion.

Margaret Somerville, the founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, pointed out this apparent contradiction—and hypocrisy—in the Globe and Mail last week. Pro-choice activists like Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, she wrote, are “willing to selectively sacrifice unborn female babies to keep the ‘purity’ of their ideology, at least in terms of ‘choice.’ ” Somerville is right. Such a position is both hypocritical and extreme. But perhaps it’s the only viable one out there.

The problem is the slippery slope. Once you deviate from an absolute position and start debating which abortion choices are repugnant and which ones aren’t (gender selection vs. mentally handicapped vs. conceived by rape, etc.), you’re no longer debating that the fetus is a person. You’re arguing that some fetuses, let’s say females, are persons, and others, let’s say kids with Down’s syndrome, are not. It’s pretty obvious, especially from Ambrose’s pro-life moment last week, that the public’s indignation is stronger when it comes to sex-selective abortion than a Down’s abortion, or any other kind of health-based selectivity. Which isn’t to say that one day Canada will or should legally restrict some forms of abortion—that some choices should be permitted and others shouldn’t—but that the abortion debate reveals something reflexive about our society: that when it comes to moral dilemmas, we often operate on a utilitarian grading system disguised as compassion—a system of selective mercy that reveals who we value and who we value less.

What this debate has crystallized for me, however uncomfortably, is something simpler: that abortion is an all-or-none paradigm. The only good-faith way of approaching it is to ask whether or not a woman has the right to dominion over her own body. If she doesn’t, all bets are off, and we’re headed back to the days of the pre-1988 therapeutic abortion committees that determined which abortions were kosher, and which were not. If she does, however offensive we may find it, nothing about the sex, physical condition, or for that matter, the shallowness or depth of the mother’s reasons for aborting, have any bearing on the argument. Your personal feelings may be mixed, but her choice must be absolute. The compensations have to be the imperfect ones of a free society: censure, comment, persuasion—but not a law. For me, the most eloquent expression of this idea comes, ironically, from another member of Parliament, one who voted for M-312, Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber. “I am, in my personal life, pro-life,” he wrote in an opinion piece on the Huffington Post. “I struggle with the notion that a fetus, not completely exited from its mother, is not human life. As I am tolerant toward individuals who feel differently, I am prepared to allow them the freedom to choose differently than I would if in their circumstance. In that regard, I am pro-choice. I am not prepared, as a legislator, to impose my opinion on others; although, ultimately I would hope that they will choose life.”


Canada’s all or nothing abortion debate

  1. if ambrose is going to go forward with this discussion that abortions allow for the anti-feminist sex-selective abortion of female fetuses, then she should look into the stats of it. the stats, in no uncertain terms, say that sex-selective abortion is not an issue in north america. i’m not sure where if canada has stats on this, but the states’ center for disease control actually shows that male to female ratio is showing a disfavour for males. in 1983, 1,052 boys were born for every 1,000 girls born in the us. in 2009, 1,048 boys were born for every 1,000 girls (i’m not sure if posting links here is allowed, but a google search will get you the source if you like it).
    so we’re willing to cut off women’s ability to control their own bodies and lives because of an imagined problem? nope.

    • Absolutely. It’s a made-up problem. I’m not the only one to observe that the anti-choice discussion about sex-selective abortion has some really disturbing racist overtones.

      • Really…..hmmm….do you think Canadians are asking for sex-selection abortions or do you think they are asking for abortions based on the fact that they aren’t wanting to procreate no matter what the sex. Listen, I have total confidence that our physicians are not performing sex-selection abortions or unnecessary 2nd term abortions but given that the Canadian Journal of Medicine warned of people shopping for sex-selection abortions, I believe there are people out there asking for them.

      • It’s racist to point out that some cultures don’t value girls as they do boys? Wake up and live in the real world…or do you think calling you out on your ignorance is racist too?

        From a brown Canadian

  2. Yeah… an emotionally charged debate that was settled almost 15 years ago is not one that should take priority now…

    I smell cheap, yet sadly efficacious, wedge politics. Expect this to continue.

    • It wasn’t settled…the SCOC in striking down the abortion “law” in 1988 suggested action be taken by parliament…The “cheap efficacious” politics came from the likes of Jean Chretien and his stable of yes-men & women who parroted the “social peace” canard.

      • Indeed. Do you think that this discussion should be taking precedence over other issues? I can think of several other things I would rather have the government involved in. Considering all of the economic, energy and environmental concerns that the nation and world are going to face in the ensuing years this is pretty close to the bottom of the list.

  3. “MPs weighed in anyways.” Lousy grammar, Maclean’s!

  4. If Rona Ambrose wanted a different debate than the one that was proposed in the motion, she should have made it clear she would not support the motion until it was changed to reflect the debate she wanted. So she ended up supporting an anti-abortion motion and has no one to blame but herself.

    Sommerville is a reactionary crackpot who once wrote a few decent pieces but got on the train to crazyville over gay rights and abortion.

  5. Oh come on now, let’s not be disingenuous. There’s a distinct difference between someone who just doesn’t want to have children, and someone who does but has chosen to indulge prejudices concerning the children they plan to have.
    I think most people find the latter appalling, even if they support “choice” as an imperfect answer to an imperfect world.
    The answer is simple. Don’t tell people the gender of their baby until the end of the second trimester, or if you prefer, not at all. In any case we could certainly have that debate without reopening the discussion of principle surrounding abortion itself.

    • My guess Phil is that you don’t even have to wait until the end of the second trimester to tell people the sex of the baby. Canadian physicians aren’t stupid. It is fine to say I simply cannot have a baby right now. It is a different matter to say, I don’t want a girl baby. That leads to the question of “why?” If you truly believe boys are better than girls, you shouldn’t live in this country because we believe in equality of the sexes and that is a belief enshrined in law. We won’t be using taxpayer money to rid you of all your girl fetuses in hope that the NEXT ONE will be a boy. How asinine. No Emma’s reasoning is faulty. A person can argue that they are ill equiped to raise a child with Down’s Syndrome and society can arague that a child with genetic defects cost the system untold dollars with no hope of any return. How can a citizen possibly argue that raising a girl-child is not feasbile and how can society say a girl will not give us a return on our investment. This is feeding into the worst kind of bigotry and it is completely inaccurate. If you believe this crap, don’t live in Canada because we won’t be subscribing to it…..there are limits to our cultural sensitivity.

      • I don’t think you fairly represent Emma’s point. Which is that the choice is absolute. Of course we can come up with other ways to greatly minimize the number of sex-selection abortions that occur in Canada. I don’t think Emma is saying not telling the sex of a fetus before the second trimester, as an example, invalidates a woman’s choice. Because the choice isn’t whether to have a boy or a girl, it is whether to carry a fetus to birth.

  6. If the right to choose is solid, the reason for the choice is unassailable and irrelevant. Some cultures value males over females, to their eventual extinction. Who are we to make that choice for them?

    • “Some cultures value males over females, to their eventual extinction. ” Inaccurate about the extinction part, because they are encouraged by their religious establishment (and not cultural) to covet women from other cultures. Essentially, statistically speaking, they will assimilate other cultures at this rate.

    • It may that some cultures make this choice but the Canadian culture does not and it won’t be happening here. Anyone who believes that Canadian physicians and hospital boards who are obviously vital players in the process are going to participate in gender-selection abortion are completely naive. Apparently only 8% of Canadians are in favor of this “anti-girl” type of way of designing a family. It isn’t going to happen. It is not like an equal amount of boys will be aborted.

  7. Yup, she needs to go. Sorry, but you can’t say you support women’s rights and also be pro-life. Doesn’t work like that.

    • Sure you can. Unless you believe that women’s rights and children’s rights are mutually exclusive. She’s hardly the only women’s rights advocate to also be pro-life.

      The fact that you disagree with her on this one issue (assuming she is being disingenuous) does not negate her being an advocate on women’s rights – though it may negate her being YOUR advocate, if abortion is the only issue that matters to you.

      (Mind you, I think all the CPC need to go… though for many reasons, not just this one.)

  8. Recent vote on abortion: a small step forward for conservatives, a bit step backward for Canada.

    Also, who aborts on the basis of gender in Canada? Just another convenient lie by the conservatives, just like the alleged 700 new meet inspectors. In fact the union representing inspectors has stated that not a single new slaughter inspector has been added under the conservatives. Fortunately for conservatives, hardly anyone in Canada actually cares… unless few hundred people have died, that is.

    • Huh…didn’t you hear Chantell Ebert……last vote….BIG step for pro-choice. Of course there are people asking for sex-selection abortions but our physicians and hospital boards are the gate-keepers and they aren’t occuring.

  9. I actually kind of like this article, and I agree with the main point. Abortion is indeed all or nothing if you want to be logically consistent: either (a) the fetus is part of the woman, in which case no amount of discomfort with her reasons or the type of abortion she chooses gives one the right to intervene with her bodily choices, or (b) the fetus is a separate individual with his/her own…for example….gender…in which case no amount of discomfort with the awkwardness of the mother’s situation justifies the murder of the child.

    That said, (1) it’s odd to me that this is occurring to Teitel for the first time. It’s pretty blindingly obvious to anyone who’s thought about the issue for a few minutes. Maybe that’s the problem, given that Teitel has probably always assumed the issue was too cut and dried to be worthy of any thought.

    Also, Teitel misleads by suggesting that the Supreme Court struck down any law against abortion in Canada. The Supreme Court struck down the abortion law of the time because it had problems, but the Court invited Parliament to draft a new law. Parliament just happened never to heed that invitation (well, they did, but that one died on a tie vote in the Senate). So if anything, Woodworth is the one acting most in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision, not the pro-choice movement. (My guess is that Teitel isn’t being intentionally misleading here, but is unaware of this history, likely having never bothered to look it up, and never having been exposed to it in any educational setting)

  10. What bull that you can’t be a feminist and pro-life! Ever hear of the group Feminists for Life or the Susan B. Anthony List? Such early feminists as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton opposed abortion. They felt that it was an evil that society forced on women. The debate didn’t end in 1988 because the issue wasn’t resolved. The Supreme Court struck down the old abortion law but made an allowance for a new one. In 1991, the Canadian Senate failed to agree on a common law. Polls show that when the issue is explained to them(most Canadians don’t know that the lack of a law allows for abortion during all 9 months), a majority of Canadians want some abortion restrictions.They are shocked to find out that Canada is the only country in the western hemisphere that doesn’t put some restrictions on abortion. In 1969, Trudeau legalized abortion. Should Trudeau have been ordered in 1968 not to touch the abortion issue because Canada had always previously opposed abortion? Much of this opposition is really about social liberals who don’t want any of their policies questioned. How many of our pro-abortion friends here were big pro-long gun registry supporters? How many of our pro-abortion friends here oppose capital punishment and make every excuse for why a go soft on crime approach is the way to go? Don’t hurt a killer but knocking off an innocent child(whose only mistake was to arrive at an inconvient time) is okay? The compassion of you progressives is such phony garbage.

  11. Funny, even socialist western europe has abortion laws. Most western european countries restrict abortions after 12 weeks to only certain circumstances. The Canadian left always wants us to adopt the economic and social policies of leftist western europe but draws the line on abortion. Like the long gun debate, the abortion debate shows that there is a significant social conservative movement in Canada. It may not be as big as in America but it does have some pull. Look at the free speech adjustment that Harper made to the Human Rights Commissions, the government opposition to euthanasia, and the rise in the age of sexual consent as some examples. In addition, with the large scale arrival of immigrants from tradtionally conservative countries in Asia, this group should increase in size over the next couple decades. For proof, compare the influence of social conservatives now compared to the virtually nonexistent influence when Joe Clark, kim Campbell, or Mulroney were running the PC’s.

    • You’ve raised some good observations Dan.

      Embracing Europe’s gestational approach to this matter is however not the way to go.

      As for the writer’s concluding quotations, there is nothing more repulsive than such tripe from a mugwump politician.

      • Europe’s approach is a middle-of-the-road, compromise position. Abortion on demand up to the first X (where X is likely between 12 and 20) weeks, and with restrictions thereafter. Canadians are well known compromisers and middle-of-the-roaders. As well, polls seem to suggest that this approach is favoured by a majority of Canadians. So I find it difficult to understand why this approach should be dismissed out of hand.

  12. Nice article Emma.

  13. The debate was about when life began not about cultures who choose to abort girls Rona. Two different issues. I don’t think ultrasound technicians should reveal sex of child to cultures who knowingly abort girl babies, but that wasn’t the issue you voted on Rona.

    • You think that medical professionals should withhold certain information from some of their patients depending on their race or culture? Seriously???

      • I think that physicians who are consulting with women about abortion are going to have to judge whether or not it is a gender-selection abortion or not and whether or not they want to participate in this kind of procedure. The fact is that abortions are performed almost exclusively in the first trimester. The information about the sex of the baby isn’t always easy to determine in that first trimester. Let the physicians and the hospital boards do their jobs.

  14. If it’s not a human being in utero, then what is kicking and moving around in the stomach?

    What majically makes it human just because it’s now out of the womb? Some have said it’s attached to a woman by the umbilical cord, if that’s the case, then what is placed on the woman’s stomach before the cord it cut?
    And how would defining it a human being in utero, change a woman’s right to choose? What do you think you are carrying?

    • 1. A foetus develops in the uterus, not the stomach. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which would dissolve a developing human in less than nine months.
      2. *magically
      3. /Some/ have said? The umbilical is unambiguously linking the woman to the foetus. This is an undeniable fact.
      4. Defining a foetus as a human being is intrinsic to the abortion debate.
      5. A parasite.

      • Number 5 is an odd word choice. You could characterize any dependent organism as a parasite. Heck, even newborns and really old people. And people on welfare. And me and you. A parasite is a parasite at any stage of its life-cycle.

  15. Women’s groups obviously don’t speak for women, because when interviewed half of women are opposed to murdering their babies in the womb, and probably 3/4 of the other half would be sick for years if they were forced to look at their chopped up baby after an abortion..

  16. Men must stay out of the decision-making when it comes to the issue of a woman’s right to choose whether she chooses an abortion or not. A man will NEVER have to make this decision therefore they DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOICE THEIR OPINION ON THIS MATTER and roam public streets with vile signs of aborted fetuses shouting that abortion is murder. They control womens’ lives enough without continually controlling womens’ bodies and womens’ thinking processes which ultimately influences womens’ decision making. Often these are Christian hypacrites who have broken all of the 10 commandments and have no right to bully women who have the right to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies. Men, mind your own business!

    • I assume then that you believe if the woman chooses to keep the baby, she has no right to force the father to support the child; that his support must be voluntary? After all, if a man has no voice in the woman’s decision, then she in turn should have no voice in his.

      (I actually support a woman’s right to choose, but there is plenty of hypocrisy on both sides of this debate – the idea that only a woman has a voice in the decision but can then force the man to pay for years for a child he didn’t want – if her choice is to keep the baby – being one of them. Post-conception reproductive rights must be available to both sexes, or we have a Charter breach: discrimination on the basis of sex. Obviously the way the rights are expressed must be different, but if the woman has the right to walk away, then so too must the man; a repudiation of all parental rights should likewise grant him freedom from child support.)

    • Yeah! And gentiles had no right to oppose the Holocaust, and whites had no business opposing slavery in America!

      Seriously, do you think at all before regurgitating talking points?

    • People have gender, not arguments.

  17. In this day and age to have all this controversy about a fact that everyone knows is true – life begins at conception. I’m not saying I’m against or for abortion; or for that matter for or against women’s rights over their body; what I am saying is that life is present at conception and if we in the free world say we value life and rights, then why are we not protecting the life within women’s bodies.

  18. The pro-choice movement is on the defensive. It needs to be proactive instead if it wants to stave off attacks on this wedge issue.

    The stance that a baby isn’t human until it exits the womb is untenable. It goes against biology and common sense. It is akin to creationism or believing the earth is flat, and it hurts the credibility of the pro-choice side.

    It is time the pro-choice side champions a bill that recognizes the rights of both women and the unborn, but gives primacy of rights to the woman as long as the child remains within her body. She would have the unfettered right to chose, but at some point (I would suggest third trimester), once she elects to see the pregnancy through, certain legal rights and protections would be engaged for the child.

    This would eliminate the absurdity we currently have where humanity is determined by geography. It would give us a workable law rather than our current legal vacuum. It would remove the element of hypocrisy from the pro-choice position while removing a wedge issue from the pro-life’s arsenal.

    It’s time the pro-choice side stopped running from the debate and the very idea of abortion laws, and instead take a stand that will make people like me – people who believe in a woman’s right to choose but who think that, if the choice is to have the baby, then the child deserves certain legal rights in utero – will be less conflicted over our own position.

    • Though I agree with your proactive/reactive comment, it is somewhat unavoidable for the pro-choice side to be on the defensive. Since the SCoC decision back in 1988(?) and with Parliament’s inability to pass replacement legislation, the pro-choice side has all the choice they want without any legal restrictions – they’ve got nowhere to go that doesn’t involve a loss of some sort, so almost by definition they are on the defensive.

      Not sure that I agree that the pro-choice side should necessarily champion a bill that gives rights to the unborn, basically because I suspect that it is possible to fill the legal vacuum that you mention through other means, although I grant you that doing so would at least blunt that wedge issue. Further, I tend to believe that “legal vacuum” overstates the magnitude of the problem that we have today without an abortion related law.

      Yes, the pro-choice side should stop running from the debate (if their position is truly worthy, which they believe stronly, then it will withstand the scrutiny), but I wouldn’t be as quick to suggest that they should stop running from supporting the limited abortion law that you seem to be talking about.

  19. Of course, a woman has a right to her use own body as she likes (except not wearing a seat belt while in a car or shooting heroin, which are both against the law). The question is, does she have a right to end the life of a baby in her womb – which has a unique DNA to hers? It is difficult to understand how people think this is her body. If she does not want to procreate as Health Insider says, then she should not engage in sex because procreation is the purpose of sex.

    • You’ve heard of porn right?
      I’d be willing to wager the procreation is not the purpose of sex a hell of a lot more than it is.

      • That’s because you’re failing to distinguish between the purpose of the participants vs. the purpose of the biology. Sex is designed to put sperm cells in the vicinity of an egg cell so that the egg can be fertilized, forming a new human being. Its natural purpose is procreation regardless of what the participants intend, just as the natural purpose of your eyes is to allow you to see things and the purpose of your brain is to allow you to understand them, even if you choose to use these organs for alternate purposes.

        • You do realize that nature, being not human, has no purpose whatsoever?

          Humans can have purpose. Even some animals can have purpose.

          But nature?

          Moreso, sex is an action. There is no inherent purpose to it other than that which causes the action — ie, the motive of the person doing it.

  20. Someville says: “Pro-choice activists… are willing to selectively sacrifice unborn female babies to keep the ‘purity’ of their ideology, at least in terms of ‘choice.’”

    What a revolting statement. It’s a cheap false dichotomy – Somerville claims that anyone opposed to these recent anti-abortion moves must be pro-sex selective abortion.

    The author of this piece writes: “Somerville is right. Such a position is both hypocritical and extreme.”

    Gosh, it seems to me that we could address sex-selective abortion in other ways. Maybe make it illegal to reveal the gender of a child prior to birth. Perhaps it makes more sense to impact ultrasound rights than to impact abortion rights.

    Emma Teitel: you’re welcome to disagree with my preferred remedy to the supposed problem of sex-selective abortion. But the fact that alternate remedies exist mean that I’m not a hypocrite and that you’ve fallen for Somerville’s cheap sophistry.

    By the way, is sex-selective abortion a problem? I have yet to see a single useful data point. Maybe that would be a useful exercise for a journalist.

    • Even if it wasn’t happening in Canada, it would still be wrong. The dichotomy you tried to dismiss is about the ethics of aborting on the basis of certain characteristics. Of course what’s actually happening in Canada is important, but we’re not just talking about our current situation, we’re arguing about ethics. If it’s okay to abort on the basis of other characteristics, why do think abortion on the basis of sex is wrong?

  21. The right to do want we want with our bodies is already limited – male or female. If what we choose harms someone else’s body, that choice is often illegal – drinking and driving, theft even the new SCOC decision on the need to inform others of an HIV positive status, for example. In fact laws are all about limiting our choices that harm others.

    To continue to insist that anyone should have a right to kill someone else because they are female is not only anti-choice but the highest form of sexism legal in our country. You should be ashamed to call yourself a feminist.

  22. There is no law stating that a woman have reproductive rights. It is the years of rhetoric from government funded womens groups that claim that there is. And that abortion law that was unconstitutional was so because of the long waits imposed on women that needed a pregnancy terminated may put them at risk. Furthermore the “health reasons” for abortions was also ruled as too broad. The Criminal Code still has laws protecting the “child” before as after birth and becoming a “human being”. The courts have not thrown out these laws yet so really they are in contempt of s.238. In that 1988 decision they ruled that s. 223 (the law that defines when the child becomes a human being within the meaning of the Act) was not raised by the Attourney General, so it was not considered. The issue of protecting a human being arose in Sullivan Lemay case, as they were charged with manslaughter, a law protects “human beings”, not the “child”.

  23. All that the pro-life lobby needs to do is put up volunteers who are willing to have these unwanted fetuses implanted until maturity and then pay for their upkeep.
    Unfortunately there are too many disadvantagd, abused and unwanted children on this planet already as there is no likelihood of there ever being any legal or ethical means worked out to prevent irresponsible reproduction.
    The real issue is not abortion — it’s educating people to take responsibility for their reproductive capabilities: emotionally, intellectually and financially.

    • That’s like saying you can’t oppose sex slavery without taking in every sex slave. The fact that there are disadvataged, abused, etc. children doesn’t justify killing unborn children.

  24. “The only good-faith way of approaching it is to ask whether or not a woman has the right to dominion over her own body.”

    Wrong question. The first question to be asked it whether pregnancy involves another human being, with a body of his or her own.

  25. The Bible’s viewpoint: American King James Version [Ecclesiastes 11:55]: As you know not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so you know not the works of God who makes all.

    • And?

  26. These discussions all begin with the notion that a law will somehow prevent human behaviour. Forgotten is the reason many people uncomfortable with abortion nonetheless voted to make it legal. Legalizing it ended the weekly (sometimes daily) instances of not only the fetus’s existence being ended, but also the mother’s as some desperate girl sought out ANY means to end a pregnancy she couldn’t deal with.

    • No, quite a few of them begin with the notion that some human behaviors are morally wrong. You’ve probably noticed that a great number of the arguments here are as much about convincing people one by one that abortion is wrong as they are about changing the law.

    • By that logic why should we have any laws?

      Should we make laws to protect people who rape, so it is safer for them to do it?

  27. I certainly believe in a woman’s right to choose. But at some point she should also take responsibility for her actions. And no matter how a woman gets pregnant, failure to take action quickly to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is a kind of action as well. I think it is quite reasonable to place a time limit on a woman’s right to ‘choose’ an abortion, say the end of the 1st trimester, or 16 weeks, or whatever limit is determined through public debate. After that, an unwanted child can always be put up for adoption.

    In this scenario, there is still the option of terminating unwanted
    girls, but it very difficult to determine gender in the 1st trimester.

    A partial birth abortion is a murder. Why should this be a ‘choice’? There are no ‘absolute’ choices in any other aspect of life. How have we allowed this to happen with respect to abortion?

    There is more than one ‘slippery slope’ to worry about. The pro-choice movement is just one way in which society could be progressively devaluing life. After all, if it is OK to abort a partially delivered ‘fetus’, why not just throw the baby in the garbage after the fact? I have actually read libertarian articles suggesting that parents should be able to dispose of an unwanted baby for 10 days after birth. Why not a month? A year?

    There clearly needs to be some end to ‘the right to choose’ and this is well worth doing in a public discourse, something the ‘womens movement’ is fighting tooth and nail.

    • Drawing a line a 16 weeks pre-birth is no different in principle than drawing a line 2 weeks post-birth.

    • So are you, what’s your point?

  28. Why are we Canadians NEVER permitted to have an open discussion on this matter? Who is always muzzling free speech to prevent contrasting viewpoints from being heard?

  29. last time i checked a fetus isnt male or female…its a potential male or female…not a human life yet…so this cant be discriminating unleess…maybe it is a living thing…aborrtions are worse then the holocaust…only difference is the jews had developed feet to run on

  30. what a proud society we live in: killing our most defenseless citizens for convenience and in the name of a woman’s right to choose

  31. whats the bonus?