Another vote for Motion 312

by Aaron Wherry

Brent Rathgeber explains his views on abortion and why he’ll be voting in favour of Motion 312.

There is a vacuity in Canadian law which I believe Parliament must address.  When the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988, the issue was, in fact, not settled.  The then law was struck down due to procedural inconsistencies from varying Hospitals’ Therapeutic Abortion Committees.  The Court expressly invited Parliament to draft an abortion law that was fair, reasonable and consistently applied across the country.  Parliament attempted this seemingly impossible task in 1991 and although a bill passed the House of Commons, it was narrowly defeated in the Senate. A void exists in Canadian law regarding this issue; Canadians are perhaps unique among western democracies in that we have neither sanctions nor regulations approving abortion or the rights of fetuses.  The void in Canadian law means there are currently NO LEGAL restrictions regulating the process.  Theoretically, a very late term procedure, if performed, would not attract criminal sanction.

Governments and Parliaments have been reticent to deal with this issue given how controversial and divisive the issue can be. Families and even political parties, who normally agree on everything, find themselves in bitter disputes debating the rights of the unborn versus the rights over one’s own body. Accordingly, given how divisive this issue is, I concede that if the matter were settled, it ought to remain so.  However, this matter has never been settled in Canada; at least not since 1988 when the SCC ruled in R. v. Morgentaller.  So Parliament must do what the Supreme Court invited it to do in 1988: fill a vacuity in Canadian law, no matter how divisive and polarizing that debate will be.




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Another vote for Motion 312

  1. Amazing.

    Canada is in the midst of several global crises….and our politicians are devoting their time to long-settled issues from the past. Abortion, ties to Mama England, the flag, separatism, foreign ownership, seal hunting……

    We’re going to get left behind in the dust, and wonder why.

    • Tut, tut, Emily: the government is focused on JOBS and the ECONOMY.

      Now about that first line of the national anthem …

      • LOL yeah they keep saying that, but I haven’t seen a shred of evidence for it.

        Wouldn’t surprise me if the anthem was discussed next!

      • You mean “Our home on Native Land?” I’ve always had a tough time with that one.

        • More like ‘God save the Queen.’

        • I have no problem with that line, I was born in Canada, so were my parents, theirs too. So it is my home and native land, if however we are talking about where are ancestors came from I belief the first human came out of Africa, so I guess we could all say that Africa is are native land, but it does not seem to make much sense that are native lands depend on where are ancestors come from.

  2. And in the 25 years since the court struck down the law, we’ve learned that leaving the decision to a woman, whoever she may choose to consult, and her doctor, is the best solution.

    • So if Hitler was a woman would what he did be the best solution? Ripping humans apart is murder. Doesn’t matter if it is done behind closed doors or out in the open. British Law 400 years ago allowed slavery..why don’t we have slaves in Canada? We MUST obey outdated laws right?

      Use your brains people. Why are the Mp’s so afraid of science all of the sudden? Will it prove them wrong? They wanted science but now they want to vote against the evidence. Idiots run this country.

      • Stop it.

      • Perhaps, if Hitler’s victims has been living INSIDE of Hitler’s body, then yeah, we could draw a comparison.
        It’s not an outdated law. It’s constitutional. A woman should be able to make her own decisions about her own body, even if a potential human being is inside it. If you disallow abortion, you are taking away a woman’s rights.

        • I don’t quite get the “women’s rights” thing. My rights are taken away all the time. For eg, I don’t have the right to drink and drive, ride a bicycle without a helmet, or even cut a tree down in my back yard. Arguably this is good, and the government has determined that certain actions simply aren’t safe; either for myself or for others. This is why women should not have the right to abort their pre-born children. It’s not safe for the baby (it dies) or for themselves (it solves no problem, but rather introduces many more). History has shown the tragedy of excluding certain classes of humans simply because it was desired that they remain under the control of another class.

          • OKay….we’ll let Parliament decide on circumcision, vasectomies and viagra.

          • If it makes you feel any better, no woman has the right to drink and drive or ride a bike without a helmet either. I can’t comment for certain on the issue of cutting down trees in the backyard.
            But when you, a man, say women should not have the right to abort their pre-born children, due to “The tragedy of excluding certain classes of humans simply because it was desired that they remain under the control of another class,” I have to ask – have you always been this funny?

          • Actually, I think you can drink and drive as long as you do it on private property… Helmets and seatbelts you could make an argument for, but again, if you are on a public road, the public decides the rules.
            Thing is, as a pregnant woman, you shouldn’t drink or smoke, or eat raw things, or spend time with certain pets, or play hockey, and so on… Should the government actually revoke those rights for pregnant women?

          • Okay, first, it’s not the government that’s determined this, it is society.

            And yes, society has determined that we limit various freedoms to promote safety of the group.

            Here’s where your argument first falls down. Limiting a woman’s freedom to terminate a pregnancy does nothing to promote the safety of the group. If anything, it endangers the group as it endangers the life of a current member of the group (the woman), if she seeks back-alley abortionists or a DIY miscarriage. To say it solves no problem in our society where child-care is not free, where single mothers are not well supported (if at all), and where there remains a social stigma against single mothers, is to be either profoundly ignorant, or wilfully malicious. I’ll let you choose which one you are.

            2nd, your argument fails because it presumes allowing abortion excludes a certain class of human. However the truth is that disallowing abortion privileges a certain class of human, the unborn, by declaring that the unborn, and only the unborn, are allowed to make use of another’s person’s organs regardless of that person’s wishes. We give no such rights to the guy who needs a kidney, or who needs bone-marrow transplants. Why give only the unborn those rights then? By privileging one class, you are excluding *everybody else*.

            If you’re willing to assert that the government should be able to compel organ, blood, and tissue donation wherever needed, your position is consistent. Otherwise, it’s hypocritical.

          • Thwim: Single mother here. First of all, haven’t experienced much ” social stigma against single mothers”, there being so many of us. And that’s not a good enough reason to off the baby. This is a good country in which to raise a child, even as a single parent. I’m not downplaying the difficulties of single-parenting, but it’s not the reason to resist 312.

            312 forces Canadians to face the facts about the nature of the unborn, whether or not we like the answer. Most probably they meet all the criteria to be defined as alive.

          • If you acknowledge there are difficulties involved in single-parenting, you acknowledge the point I was making, that there are problems which an abortion does solve.

            Are they insurmountable? No. Thousands do it every day. Does that mean Mike’s argument of “it solves no problem but introduces many more” is sound? Not a bit.

          • Thwim: No, abortion replaces one problem with another. At any other stage of their lives the problems of raising or caring for children is not dealt with by terminating them. Parents who don’t, for any reason, want to continue as parents or who cannot or should not continue as parents do not have the option to solve the problem by terminating the child.
            Much of the reaction to 312 has not been about the scientifiic question, is the fetus a human being/when does life begin, but about the possible social outcomes of even addressing the question. The one is a matter of facts, the other a matter of supposition.

          • Whether parents are allowed the same measures or not is irrelevant to the point being made: Abortion solves some problems, specifically for the individual having it. Mike’s statement is shown to be false.

          • Thwim: What you have not addressed is whether or not the fetus qualifies as a human being, which is the point of 312. We don’t accept termination of life as a solution to those same social or personal challenges with a born infant.

          • You’re right. I haven’t. Because it’s irrelevant to me and my arguments. I’m pointing out Mike’s faulty logic.

            However, I will point out that a born infant is no longer making use of the organs of another person.

          • “The moral test of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members”.

          • First, we already have one Tony Adams, and he already does a fine job of being a mindless copy-paste machine. If you seek to be equally mindless, take it elsewhere, the position is filled here.

            Second. Bullshit. The moral test of any society is how it treats all its members. If it treats any of them preferentially, it’s not a moral society. Saying that people can be forced to provide the use of their organs for the unborn, but anybody else who might need an organ cannot do so is unfair and immoral.

            Either the government can compel *all* of us to donate organs, blood, etc or none of us. My vote is for none.

          • A little judgemental? The point is still valid. Our society does try to protect and assist the vulnerable, except in this one respect. The 1988 Supreme Court decision anticipated that there would be further discussion and new legislation. Instead the debate has been shut down. What do we have to lose by facing the true nature of the unborn? Perhaps we could become a better society. Isn’t it at least worth considering the evidence?

          • I’m sorry, I’m unclear on what point you think is valid? That how we protect our most vulnerable is what makes us moral? That’s a belief statement, so it has a tenuous connection with validity at the best of times. However, I also believe it’s wrong, in that what makes us moral is bigger than that — it’s how we protect everyone, as I stated above.

            If you’re trying to get to my opinions on 312 specifically? They are thus: I don’t give a crap one way or the other. For me, far more fundamental is the idea that nobody and nothing has the right to use my body if I do not wish them to. The government therefore has no right to compel me to provide my body for some other entity’s use — even if that denial causes the other entity to die. Further, that this applies to everyone equally.

            My only objection to 312 is that we have not formally recognized the fundamental nature of one’s possession of one’s own body, and that without such recognition, our definitions of “human” and “murder” can trample that.

          • So we cannot persuade each other, each arguing from our respective belief statements. You make an interesting point, one I had not heard before, that to deal with the human nature of the unborn would lead to compulsory organ donation. That’s a new one, and perhaps stranger things have happened – the trade in organs from Chinese prisoners for one. But what if, instead, now the motion has been safely defeated, we look at the possibility that there is a better way for us as a society than terminating babies.

          • There might be. But so long as that way infringes on the right of a person to control the use of their own organs, I’m not interested.

  3. Not that the idea of consistency isn’t risible in the CPC, but somebody in the media might find it interesting to see if Rathbeger has always been so eager to put (what he sees as) court decisions into practice…did he ever speak about Insite, for example?

    • In fact, Rathbeger has a press release regarding the court’s determination on Insite which is far, far, less deferential to our judicial system.

  4. Don’t forget this bill will also require that “men do not wear hats inside a church” and ladies “Only wear white shoes between Memorial Day and Labor Day.” The calendar will be turned back to 1951, anyone writing with their left hand will have their knucles severly wrapped by an angry nun.

    On the upside all food will be produced organically as Monsanto will not exist yet.

  5. Well, so much for that “but this isn’t about abortion” lie. What we have here are some people saying, “well, if those women won’t do as they’re told regarding terminating their pregnancy, we’ll just make it so they’re forced to do as we tell them throughout the entire nine months, whether they wanted an abortion or not.”

    • It’s a pretty terrible lie. Are they suggesting the point of the motion is to have people say, ‘oh, a fetus is a human being??? How interesting!’ – and then everything continues as it was? That would make for a pretty stupid motion.

  6. A conservative asking for regulation? Oh my.

  7. Never knew how many Atheists were afraid of science. Ironic eh? First its a religious thing and they oppose it because there isn’t any science and now they oppose it because science proved them wrong. God proved you wrong and so did your trusted scientists. Just get out of the way an let Canada get up to date with the truth.

    • Science is pro-choice, doofus.

    • Which god proved who wrong about what and how? And you think you know what science is… lol.

  8. A woman’s rights shouldn’t trump human rights. When a human being’s life is at stake, we should at the very least have a discussion. That’s all Motion 312 proposes. I urge all MPs to support Motion 312.

    • So, what rights would you give a fetus? Does a pregnant woman need to eat properly, refrain from strenuous activity, do the bed rest thing with legs in the air, stop smoking and drinking, etc? Should the government decide on how she lives while pregnant? Wouldn’t that be going too far? And… isn’t it kind of the same thing?

      • At the point when a fetus could be removed by caesarian and carried to term in a neonatal unit in a hospital, should abortion still be an option? Legally it is now to the best of my knowledge, and the point where this is possible is getting earlier. Personally I feel abortion might be preferable to putting them in a foster system. Others may differ. It’s a conversation worth having.

    • If a pregnant woman drinks throughout her pregnancy should she be charged with criminal negligence? If she deliberately throws herself down a flight of stairs and miscarries, is it homicide? Where does it begin and end???

    • Last time I checked a woman IS a human being….and her life is in danger.

      The only people who need to ‘discuss’ it is the woman and her doctor,

  9. Well apart from going over tired ground that gets everyone nowhere, I would point out that Rathberger’s motivativation is a crock of pot … We haven’t had criminal sanctions for almost 25 years now and we have found that it works very well … unless there is some rash of late term abortions going on that nobody knows about … Stephen, you promised your doofuses wouldn’t do this and oh look – there they did …

  10. im still pro-choice on this…always will be always have been…this is a decision you cannot make for some one else…

  11. Unfortunately, there is no “grey area” here. Either abortion is legal or it isn’t. I think, due to many of the arguments listed below, we really have no choice but to continue to support a woman’s right to choose. Let’s move on.

  12. Well it is a good point that there should be some law regarding abortion probably. That’s not to say that 312 is it, but there should be something. That said, party leadership must be kicking the person who introduced this private member’s bill because from a political strategy standpoint, all you can do on this issue is lose (and hence why noone has wanted to touch this in 20 years, either to enshrine right to choose or restrict abortion).

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