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Who wants to have a debate about abortion?


 

Underneath the headline number here, Angus Reid finds the following.

There should be laws which outline when a woman can have an abortion in Canada 51%
There should be no laws on this matter—a woman should have the unrestricted right to have an abortion at any time up to the moment
of birth 37%
Not sure 12%

Angus Reid finds majority support in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and the Prairies and a plurality in Quebec.

This may aid Stephen Woodworth’s cause.


 

Who wants to have a debate about abortion?

  1. There should be laws and the laws should say it is a matter between a woman and a doctor. Duh.

    • We have that law. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarentees people (including women even!) “the right to life, liberty and security of the person”.

      • That is a possible but by no means clear or definitive reading of the relevant caselaw (Crown v. Morgentaler).  Described above is the current situation, possibly protected by constitutional common law but not by statute. 

    • The problem is that doctors are killing women, what does law say about that? 

      CBC News ~ Jan 2012: 
      A fetus’s gender should not be revealed until after 30 weeks of pregnancy, says an editorial in the Canadian Medical Journal.This change in procedure for a fetal ultrasound, where the sex is usually disclosed to parents at 20 weeks, would help prevent female feticide, says Rajendra Kale, editor-in-chief of the CMAJ.

      • Since there’s an obvious solution that doesn’t require legislation, I’d say use that first.

        The best way to prevent abortions is education and other equally sensible measures.

        • The best way to prevent abortions is stop performing them. 

          • Yes, back allies and coathangers are so cool.

          • Nonsense. A huge part of the support surrounding decriminalization of abortion came from the medical community in a bid to stop the death and mutilation of women who were going to get abortions anyways.

  2. Still a stupid, distracting, and time-wasting non-debate. There is no debate, just impotent uni-directional screaming. 

  3. This doesn’t really tell us anything though does it? It’s so vague as to create the semblance of agreement where none may exist at all on the substance of what those laws may actually entail.

    Over the years I’ve seen all sorts of polls, and discussions and whatnot on this topic. What I’ve drawn from it all is the following:

    Most people support a woman’s choice, but expect that choice to made in a timely and respectful manner. Lo and behold, most abortions happen with weeks of a woman finding out she’s pregnant.

    Most people support an abortion in the case where it is deemed medically necessary, and again, the vast majority of abortions happening later in pregnancy are for just this reason.

    For me this comes down to: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Especially since you’re very unlikely to get a consensus on the timing of such things.

    I mean what’s the cut off and why? Breathing reflex? Heartbeat? Brainwaves?

    And what do we allow as an argument? Is the possible existence of the immortal human soul coming up here? And if so, does that actually argue for, or against?

    Some people are against abortions even in cases of incest or rape, on the basis of “god’s will”. Is that a serious thing to consider against the very real right of self determination? Oh, god “told you” he didn’t like this? Oh well then, I guess all the real people here should just suck it up then! Errr…

    I wonder what the purpose of this poll was? Who paid for it? Why was this the question? Does it represent an agenda, and if so, whose?

    If one wants to polarize society even further than it is this day, what better topic?

    I say just leave it well enough alone already!

    • Some people might argue that abortion in the case of rape/incest is God’s will, but the far more common argument is that:

      1) the son/daughter shouldn’t have to be executed for the crime of the father. 
      2) the resulting child is also the kith and kin of the mother and her family, not just a foreign entity in the mother as if her womb was a pot for a plant.
      3) an abortion does nothing to lessen the fact that the rape and incest didn’t happen but merely compounds the tragedy with death.

      Now, you could ask what business is it but the woman’s and her doctor.  You could also ask that in the case of euthanasia.  You could also ask what business is it of the average citizen whether capital punishment is legal and shouldn’t it be between the victims, the accused and the court of law?

      However, if you believe that injustice is being done, you will feel compelled to speak up.  You will feel compelled to act against this form of injustice through social, political, and cultural action.

      I will also say that the cause of justice has never been helped by attempts to stifle the debate of whether what we do as a society is just.

      P.S. Are you sure that most late-term abortions are done for reasons of health?   There are a lot of abortions done for reasons of sex selection and eugenics (around 90% of Down’s Syndrome infants seem to be aborted for example), and that’s something you can generally only tell around the 5th month.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_syndrome#Abortion_rates

      • First of all, let’s stop with the inference that the debate is being “stifled”.  It essentially hasn’t stopped since Trudeau decriminalized it. What we’re talking about is the feasibility of creating legislation people can live with and whether it’s even necessary or desirable in the first place, given that the current situation effectively mirrors public opinion fairly well. 

        As far as statistics, I would like to see Canada collect better, more recent and more reliable statistics, but that doesn’t mean we don’t generally have a good idea of what’s going on. 

        “… 90% of abortions in Canada are performed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and just over 9% of abortions take place between 12 and 20 weeks of gestation. A mere 0.4% of abortions take place after 20 weeks of gestation… A very small number of abortions occur after 20 weeks of gestation primarily because the fetus is gravely or fatally impaired, or the woman’s life or physical health is at risk, or both…” 
        http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/postionpapers/22-Late-term-Abortions.PDF

        Supporting Statistics Canada Data Set
        http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/StatsCan-gestation-times-1995-2003.xls

      • Stupid comment system. How many copies do we need? And I can’t erase them?

        • Down’s Syndrome would fit the fetus being “gravely impaired” would it not?   That’s the thing, there are a lot of abortions that occur for medical reasons that aren’t because the fetus couldn’t have a proper quality of life, but because the resulting infant would require significantly more care and responsibility, bring about social stigma to the family, or both.   Lumping fetal health with maternal health in the statistics makes me suspicious.

          As for just 9%, that’s still aproximately about 9,000 abortions a year, and 0.4% is still 400.  One shouldn’t minimize the scale with statistics.  I will accept the point that most people have abortions for reasons of convenience because it is the natural result of people having sex without being willing to accept the natural biological result of sex.  I never meant to dispute it.

          As for being legislation that people can live with, I’m always confused why the left generally makes abortion the exception.   Completely reorganize our economy so that all wealth is redistributed?  Sure why not?  Significantly remove ourselves from carbon-emitting sources of energy within a decade or two?  We have no choice but to try!    Put restrictions on abortion in line with every other western developed nation in the world?  Impossible and a recipe for chaos.

          • I’m not sure how you compare these other political issues, which do not impose on anyone’s basic human rights, with abortion. I think very few people would disagree that abortion is a much more serious topic than any of those you mention.

            I should also point out, that I’m not necessarily against codifying a series of controls to better scrutinize late term abortions. In fact I’d think most people would be more than comfortable with that.

            The fact remains though that based on the current statistics, it won’t effectively change anything, and could be entirely redundant. A woman is already greatly scrutinized when seeking an abortion over 24 weeks, and in fact you can only get one in a hospital. Most doctors won’t even do them for anything other than medical necessity.

            Beyond that, when one is discussing forcing a woman to have a child, essentially overrulling her right to control her own body, one should be able to demonstrate an extremely exceptional reason to justify it.

            All things considered, the only remaining argument I see, once the actual occurences are considered, is the suggestion that the potential for life early in pregnancy should be equated as an existing life.

            To me that seems an awfully weak argument to balance against taking away someone’s right to self determination, the removal of which in this case results in a lifetime imposition of responsibility.

          • So just out of curiousity, when medical science advances to the point where a fetal transplant to an artificial womb is just as probable as an abortion, should the mother still be allowed to terminate it as a matter of choice?

            As for whether a fetus (or even a blastocele or zygote) is a seperate lifeform, of course it is.  There is nothing potential about it, as a basic knowledge of embryonic biology shows.  It is also no other species than human, so it is a human life.

            So given that, what do we do when there is no longer the “I’m not my child’s keeper” argument to fall back on?  What value does a vulnerable human being’s life have?

          • @8070786956a13baf8e6aaa2a9db834d4:disqus And what makes you think we’re discussing “life”?

            We kill many “living” things everyday. We don’t suppose them to have equal rights with a human being. Should we be giving cows equal rights? Dolphins?

            If that’s where you want to go with that argument, good luck.

            Just because an ovum has been fertilized and a biological process has begun that results in a child about 66% of the time, does not make it a child before it is so.

            It is merely the potential for a child, ie a child will often develop from the process if left to its own devices.

            Using that as an excuse to over-ride someone’s right to self determination and impose upon them a lifetime of responsibility is ridiculous in a society that let’s children suffer on a daily basis.

            I mean good grief!

          • @8070786956a13baf8e6aaa2a9db834d4:disqus “…when medical science advances to the point where a fetal transplant to an artificial womb is just as probable as an abortion, should the mother still be allowed to terminate it as a matter of choice?…”

            Should society have the right to take a fertilized ovum from someone and insist it be allowed to grow to a human being?

            Absolutely not, no. My DNA is my DNA, and the government has no business interfering.

            While I agree there’s an expectation of responsible and timely decision making, and that a variable threshold may possibly be determined governing what that means, there is certainly no absolute right on the part of the government to determine such things.

            However, by then the arguments may be completely different. By then it may be that accidental pregnancies will be an extreme rarity, in which case, the debate changes.

            I have no doubt we’ll still be having that debate at that point, and having it now is silly. You’re reaching.

          • Phil King wrote:

            “We kill many “living” things everyday. We don’t suppose them to have equal rights with a human being. Should we be giving cows equal rights? Dolphins?If that’s where you want to go with that argument, good luck. ”

            You’re conveniently ignoring the distinction Yanni made between “life” and “human life”, although I’m sure your answer will be not all “human life” is equal.

            “Using that as an excuse to over-ride someone’s right to self determination and impose upon them a lifetime of responsibility is ridiculous in a society that let’s children suffer on a daily basis.”

            Someone so quick to dismiss “weak” arguments really shouldn’t be using the “some children turn out bad/don’t have the same quality of life as others so preemptively denying them that life is justified ” one. It really amounts to the “kill them all and let god sort them out” type of argument.

            “Absolutely not, no. My DNA is my DNA, and the government has no business interfering. ”

            But, of course, the courts do, since it’s the courts that are wholly responsible for the abortion status quo in Canada.  As between unelected, unaccountable judges who, being human beings, have their own personal biases deciding fundamental social issues and politicians who can be removed if they don’t respect the will of the voters they represent, why do you (presumably) prefer the former to resolve these basic, fundamental issues (and before you answer, try to fast forward 2 or 4 or 6 years, when Harper-appointed judges will be the ones making decisions on these types of issues)?

          • “…Down’s Syndrome would fit the fetus being “gravely impaired” would it not?…”

            Since the test is done at 14 weeks physicians aren’t generally inducing late term abortions in response to this.

            At this stage you’re still talking about potential rather than actual in my opinion, in which case you have to tackle that hurdle first, ie do we have a right to over rule someone’s self determination and impose a lifetime responsibility on this basis.

          • 4-5 months is a pretty late term abortion.   My wife got the test done for downsyndrome at 15 weeks, and was given the impression that an abortion is perfectly standard procedure if the test comes back positive and not really much of a hurdle anyone worries about.

          • @8070786956a13baf8e6aaa2a9db834d4:disqus The general accepted cut off is 24 weeks. That may change over time, but for now that is what it is.

            These tests used to be very late in pregnancy. As time passes we can make them earlier and earlier. The standard is now 14 weeks but will soon be 12 weeks or earlier.

            Does that change your position?

          • Yanni, why on earth would a woman have THAT test if not to determine whether or not to abort based on the results?  There is a clear and present danger that the baby will be aborted as a result of the amnio — again, one would only take that test if one planned to abort a fetus identified as having Down’s.

          • Patchouli said:

            “why on earth would a woman have THAT test if not to determine whether or not to abort based on the results”

            How about “to find out in advance she’ll be having a child with special needs so she can better prepare”?

        • @GreatWallsofFire:disqus Certainly not all “human life” is equal, or it would be a capital crime for men to masturbate! LOL

          As far as existing children, I’m simply pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of trying to give new rights to that which merely represents a potential child, when we don’t even take proper care of the ones we have. I have great respect for the potential of procreation, but certainly you see my point?

          As far as the courts, they’re simply another pillar of governance. They serve a different function than parliament. Their job is to interpret the law, often in the light of the constitution.

          Not only are they guided by centuries of jurispurdence in general, as well as by contemporary precedent and the principles of the constitution, but a large group of them have to agree. Even then the dissenting opinion gets a clear airing.

          I also don’t have any issues with the appointment of judges by any particular Prime Minister. Given that our system is primarily meritorious, there’s really only so many choices for the supreme court, and generally I’ve found judges to very honorable and focused on the law primarily, regardless of their political leanings.

      • “…the son/daughter shouldn’t have to be executed for the crime of the father…”

        The potential resulting child would be a constant lifetime reminder of the father and how that child came to be. Good on those who would take this on, but forcing someone to do so is just another rape and a justification of the abuser.

        “…the resulting child is also the kith and kin of the mother and her family, not just a foreign entity in the mother as if her womb was a pot for a plant…”

        A woman’s womb is not a repository for violent criminals to plant their seed, and with the help of society, force a woman to bear to fruition.
         
        “…an abortion does nothing to lessen the fact that the rape and incest didn’t happen but merely compounds the tragedy with death…”

        Again, a potential human is not the same thing as an existing human, and compounding violence with enforced servitude is not an appropriate answer, and neither is assuaging our conscience at someone else’s cost.

        Add to this the questions related to the rapist in terms of parental support and parental rights as well as the psychology of the resulting child that would come to know what he/she was born of and is the child of.

        And all of this is being forced for the sake of what again? The personal opinions of those not faced with the potential of having a child? I think Galileo said it best:

        “I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.” ~ Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

        Frankly, I think every child that comes to be should be brought into the world with the greatest care and consideration. Insisting that others view what “could be” as being the same as “what is”, while so many actual existing children live in such dire straits, is a position I find very troubling.

        According to my religion god keeps the souls of the unborn close to him until they are born. Frankly, he can hold onto them until a more suitable vessel can be found.

        • Oh yes, we wouldn’t want a woman to reminded of her rape, because obviously she falls into blissful forgetfulness otherwise.   Frankly, the pressure of society to expect an abortion if she is raped is just a repeat of the violation of her body, not a cure for it.

          Also, nobody is suggesting that violent criminals should be punished for rape.  But people act as if the child is only the rapists.  It isn’t.  That child is still the son or daughter of the mother.  It will never be a just thing to do to kill your own gestating offspring.

          As for your religious belief, it is philosophically incoherent.  The soul, properly defined, is the animating force of the body.  We know from basic biology that the human person is alive from conception, not formless mass.

          So whatever extra thing you think a soul is that is seperate from a living organism, I’m not really concerned about it.  I’m concerned with the actual organism that I can perceive with my empirical senses, and who I can see with a basic ultrasound is alive and human.

          • “…Frankly, the pressure of society to expect an abortion if she is raped is just a repeat of the violation of her body, not a cure for it…”

            Wrong. Under pro-choice she gets a CHOICE.

            Under your scenario she doesn’t.

            That says it all right there.

            And incidentally, you fell for the obvious trap.

            The second you called my belief “philosophically incoherent” you delve into the fact that belief isn’t a proper way to determine this debate because it’s SUBJECTIVE.

            And I agree wholeheartedly.

            Incidentally, my religion is Christianity. I’ve studied the bible for over twenty years, both in university and otherwise. The entire basis of both Judaism and Christianity is the philosophy of Moses that he learned as an adopted son in the house of the Pharoah. One of the best educations of the time period, and upon which he based the ten commandments. His position is the only existing one in the bible on that topic, and the law he gave to his people stipulates that if a pregnant woman is attacked and she loses her baby, compensation is to be paid.

            From a guy who preached an eye for an eye for things like murder, that doesn’t exactly sound like he thinks it’s murder, does it? And that’s the only reference you’ll find. Those who lean on the bible in this discussion, don’t have a leg to stand on.

            If you want to get into THAT argument, then by all means, go for it.

  4. OK, let’s have a debate.  Right now the pro-choice side has a really strong position.  What will the anti-choice side give up to get some of what it wants?

    • You mean besides the fact that any compromise will probably result in the continued death of what we know to be human lives?

      • Who’s “we”, do you have a frog in your pocket.  Speak for yourself, pal.

      • Again, you’re demonstrating the weakness of your argument, not its strength.

        Is the potential for a child equal to an existing child or not?

    • How about some minor political capital (if the survey cited above, which is consistent with virtually every other survey on the issue over the last 20 years, is to believed) to enact a new law?

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