‘The purpose of this is to be able to save lives’


Lawrence Cannon told the Foreign Affairs committee that contraception won’t be part of the government’s commitment to maternal health in the developing world.

In no uncertain terms, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon yesterday ruled out any kind of family-planning programs being included in Canada’s “signature” initiative at June’s G8 summit – a strategy to improve the health of mothers and young children in poor countries. “It does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning. Indeed, the purpose of this is to be able to save lives,” Mr. Cannon told the Foreign Affairs committee.

For the sake of argument, here is a USAID fact sheet which states that access to family planning options reduces the number of abortions, limits the spread of HIV and “could prevent 25 percent of maternal and child deaths in the developing world.”


‘The purpose of this is to be able to save lives’

  1. I've heard that the government is also considering sending in JTF-2 to poke holes in condoms distributed by aid organizations.

  2. This opposition even to contraception is what I really don't get.

    I mean, I can understand the view that making abortions safe is not the focus of this health plan, in that there is an argument for not focusing on that that seems consistent with the policy initiative.

    But opposing contraception is pretty black and white. Women and children are dying in the millions because of a lack of contraception. Not only that, but it is a clear and fairly obvious solution that will have an immediate, direct and notable impact on women's and children's health.

    This is taking ideology too far.

    • It's shameless pandering to the base instead of good policy. It's cheap politics and one of the major reasons why I could never support these Conservatives.

      • "pandering to the base" maybe.
        I disagree. Consider that Catholic voters have historically been part of the Liberal base. Guess who has been making inroads into this Liberal base.
        recall Ignatieffs abortion push.
        Catholics do not support this type of family planning either. Not to suggest that Catholics vote over this issue but certainly pandering to the base would be an incomplete assumption.

        • There was no abortion push. There were questions about whether Harper was going to sneak in a change in our international policy that goes back decades without a debate and whether he was going to exclude contraception and abortion from consideration. He was on both counts. We are only talking about contraception because he raised the issue.

          As for Catholics, I would suggest most Canadian catholics do support contraception, including in the largest Catholic demographic of Quebec.

      • "pandering to the base" maybe.
        I disagree. Consider that Catholic voters have historically been part of the Liberal base. Guess who has been making inroads into this Liberal base.
        recall Ignatieffs abortion push.
        Catholics do not support this type of family planning either. Not to suggest that Catholics vote over this issue but certainly pandering to the base would be an incomplete assumption.

  3. There's considerable dispute as to whether the promotion of contraception reduces the spread of HIV. For example, the sole African country to see a dramatic drop in HIV transmission during the 90's was also the sole African country to abandon the aggressive promotion of condom use in favour of "zero grazing": i.e. monogamy or at least faithful polygamy.

    The dispute alone is sufficient reason to avoid promoting a dubious policy that may do more harm than good, but there is an even stronger reason: many Canadians are morally opposed to artificial contraception – if possible, therefore, it is better to provide aid without getting into contraceptives than to use public funds for a controversial purpose that has no national imperative associated with it.

    • Plain wrong. Uganda promoted the use of condoms ALONG with a concerted effort to change the culture around casual sex. Their ABC program had it right there in the slogan: Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms.
      I was there, I saw the signs all over the place, including many bulletin board advertisements meant to shame the practice of older men taking young mistresses. But condoms were very much a part of it.
      I also worked in a Catholic AIDs hospital in Tanzania. The nuns running the hospital did an amazing job but they also spread disinformation about the safety of condoms. Speaking with village leaders (all Catholic), they begged for foreign aid groups to supply the region with condoms outside the hospital and church channels.
      There are many ways to improve the health of women in Africa- and Bush increased health aid in tremendous ways- but ignoring condoms, or disinforming about condoms, is counter productive and takes lives.
      May I remind you that those many Canadians who abhor condoms still haven't stopped us from discussing them with our own children in our public school systems. Should we allow them then to condemn others to death?

      • I think you missed the key words "aggressive promotion of condoms". Uganda emphasized abstinence and faithfulness before condoms while other countries emphasized condom use. Uganda saw a dramatic drop in HIV infection rates while other countries saw increases.

        "May I remind you that those many Canadians who abhor condoms still haven't stopped us from discussing them with our own children in our public school systems. Should we allow them then to condemn others to death?"

        Indeed. Leaving aside the obvious problems with forcing taxpayers to fund a public school system rather than having a school voucher program, let's just say that Canada's HIV infection rates have started increasing since 2003 after a prior decreasing trend. You are not helping your case here.

        • Gauny baby you may want to read the link you provide which actually explains the slight increase since 2003. In fact, the educational policies have been around for decades, not just since '03.

    • You are wrong, as Big Dave points out.

      You are also wrong to think that we should change our existing international policy, one that would if incorporated here save lives, because of a few.

      Even if you want to argue that, then let's have that debate, open and transparent, instead of sneaking in arch-conservative policy through the back door.

    • Lots of Canadians are also against vaccination. Would it be best to provide aid without vaccines to avoid the controversy with those who are morally (regardless of medical research) against such initiatives?

      • I know lots of Canadians who are opposed to getting vaccinations. I don't know any who are morally opposed to providing them.

        While you're suggesting that's it's all good to promote controversial practices as part of foreign aid so long as they produce some good health effect, perhaps we should also start including religious indoctrination. I mean, devout Christians and Muslims are far less likely to contract HIV than the general population, right? Do you see the problem now? Even if some particular form of foreign aid would reduce HIV (and with contraception, as I've pointed out, that is in dispute) we shouldn't be using public funds to pay for it unless there is broad public consensus that this is a good thing to do.

    • Wrong, wrong, wrong, for a billion reasons. Ugh.

    • …"many Canadians are morally opposed to artificial contraception"…

      Please, let us not confuse religious proclamations with morality.

    • Wrong, wrong, wrong. You can't isolate education and the use of condoms to the 90's.
      AIDS has decreased in most parts of Africa and it is directly attributed to education and use of condoms.

  4. This story along with the one about how the Haiti relief matching funds not necessarily going to the charity you donated to (what happened to that story? It seems to have fallen into the memory hole for some reason) just reaffirm my suspicion that this is a Government that cannot control their partisan impulses.

  5. There's actually conflicting studies on how useful contraceptive promotion is in Africa – some say it works, some say it doesn't and that abstinence promotion works better there. I wouldn't object to the money being spent on contraceptives, but there are certainly equally valuable things money could be spent on to promote health, like the $5 bed-nets to prevent malaria and treatments to prevent mothers passing HIV to their children. Frankly, there's a lot to be done, no single country can do everything (though we should be doing more), and if Canada choses to focus on areas other than contraceptives, that doesn't mean that no other country or organization will provide them. It's not as if there's a shortage of non-contraceptive-oriented areas where the health of women and children could be improved.

    We should be less focused on the specific focuses of our foreign aid, and more focused on ensuring that the things we're doing are actually useful and changing our methods on the ground.

    • What Katherine said.

    • Cite your source Katherine.
      The ONLY information I've read that is "conflicted" is that directly from or funded by the pro-life lobby.
      There is definitive proof that contraceptives not only save lives, but improve familial health overall and economic status of families using contraceptives.

      You don't leave this to "other countries" Katherine. If you're funding maternal health then you fund it, contraceptives, access to safe abortions and all.

      This government is a disgrace to bring the religious ideology of their base and themselves into foreign aid.

      • The survey was reported on the BBC a year or so ago, but I can't find it now. The question is not whether condoms, if used correctly, would improve the situation, but whether a focus on promoting them rather than promoting abstinence is more effective in African specifically. If you have a study showing that the problem in Africa is lack of access to condoms, rather than lack of use of them by men, I would be interested in seeing it.

        What does "funding it all" mean with regards to maternal and child health? There are literally hundreds of programs that can improve maternal and child health. The government is spending a specific amount of money on this. We cannot fund "everything" – we can give selected programs set amounts of funds. I am more interested in whether the money we give goes to things that are effective than in making foreign aid a debate over social conservatism or social liberalism. If all of the programs the government gives money to are useful ones that contribute effectively to improving maternal and child health, I don't see why the issue should be whether we're funding one specific approach to improving it. If the money isn't going to programs that work, then the focus should be on that. Either way, foreign aid shouldn't be an area for partisan games.

  6. I imagine they are excluding all family-planning programs because they want to exclude abortion programs, but don't want the media attention that goes along with singling out that issue. Since abortion is considered to be a horrible act by many Canadians, it is the correct decision to exclude its funding from foreign aid.

    • Well, I think it's a horrible act to bring religious ideology into domestic and foreign policy.
      I have a whole bunch of Supreme Court decisions that would agree with me.
      While we don't call it separation of Church and State in Canada, we DO have it.
      Harper has been pushing the envelope on this to keep people like you happy.
      But, guess what? He's really ticking off the vast majority of Canadians who don't happen to agree with you.

      If you think abortion is a "horrible act", then don't have one. Aside from that, it's none of your business and IS part of a comprehensive maternal public health program, along with contraception. Your personal beliefs on the matter are irrelevant.

      • Hey that looks easy – let me try: I think _your_ personal beliefs are irrelevant and that abortion _isn't_ part of a comprehensive maternal public health program. Did I convince you?

        • Here's an idea; a panel of women will decide whether they will force you to have a vasectomy or whether they will allow you not to have one. They will, of course, base their decision on their personal moral beliefs, on your looks, on your class, and on your past behaviour. You will have no appeal from their decision. Are you willing to accept such a judgment?

          • I get the impression that you may want to perform the procedure yourself.

  7. So the leaders in the Catholic are ALL men. Men are making decisions about women. I think the Vatican should clean up their own house before lecturing.

    Life is so important to them? Why do they make it hell and abuse children?


  8. Except Cannon is speaking specifically and narrowly about contraception. So you are incorrect.

  9. I see your point, I don't know how strongly Catholics oppose family planning though (although to be fair, my personal position as a pro-choice, leftist Roman Catholic might obscure my impartiality here ;)

    • Just as an FYI Catholics believe abortion is excommunicatable. Full stop.
      Condoms on the other hand are not so straight forward and has some debate within the church but mostly a condom is a contraceptive and thus a sin. And should not be promoted in the third worlds.

  10. There is no evidence to suggest that family planning has a positive impact on the short-term and long-term health of women and children. Except for every first- and second-world nation on Earth, of course. Outside of those countries however, there is no possibility that family planning will have a positive affect (or effect) on maternal and child health.

    • Compare the health of women and children in countries like Malta and Lichtenstein, which eschew "family planning" (by which of course you mean artificial contraception and abortion, not actual "planning", but anyhoo) with the health of women and children in Canada and the UK. It's not nearly as clear cut as you seem to think it is.

      • Action/decisions taken today with consideration for outcomes in the future is planning, right? Whether it be abstaining, the pill, abortion…

        Malta and Lichtenstein have incredibly low birth rates for countries that eschew family planning (must be a lot of abstaining going on! although crime rates don't show that :P ). The low birth rate, low infant mortality rate, high per capita GDP and high life expectancy fit the pattern of industrialized nations that have enjoyed multi-generational control over the size of their families, generally speaking, and also enjoy greater equality between the genders and high rates of literacy.

        On the other hand, countries with high birth rates, high infant mortality rates, low per capita GDP and low life expectancy don't have much access to any kind of family planning, lack gender equality and have low literacy rates.

        Countries in transition have deceasing birth rates as all the other indicators move towards those of first-world countries.

  11. You misunderstood my point. I believe they are excluding contraception so that they don't get attention for excluding only abortion funding. In fact, this is the same conclusion of the "maternal-health advocates" in the story: "Maternal-health advocates worry that the government's desire to steer clear of the abortion issue … is also pushing it to rule out all other family-planning programs, like distributing contraceptives."

  12. That makes it way worse. If they are willing to sacrifice real lives for political optics, playing political games with people lives, then they are even lower than I would have put them. Even I prefer to think they are taking an ideological position on this – one which I think is ignorant – rather than think they are taking a political optics position on this – on which I think would be disgusting.

  13. If it is a choice between funding "family-planning" programs that include abortion, or not funding those programs at all, then I think they made the right choice, as I said in my first comment. They could have chosen to exclude only abortion programs, and I think that would also be a reasonable decision. The idea that this is playing games with peoples lives is a little ridiculous. After all, they are not decreasing the funds, they are just excluding certain programs. I could just as well say that any government spending (which inevtiably involves political considerations) that's doesn't include family-planning programs is playing with peoples lives.

  14. The article takes an uncomfortable stab at it, yep, and pretty obviously won't address the elephant in the room: education.

    The educational policies have been around since the 90's so far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong – this would be interesting). One would expect that if they were effective, all other things being equal, they would lead to a reduction in new infections starting a few years after implementation. Instead, we seem to be seeing an increase. Go figure.

  15. Oh heavens no. There are plenty of people just like me who see value in faith but also adhere to a leftwing political viewpoint. Something some people should keep in mind before they engage in blanket mockery of religion.

    The Catholic faith is not monolithic, it's just the hierarchy that wants you to think so. ;)

    • Good point. Not all lefties are atheists. Case in point, moi.

  16. There was reduction. Education programs have since been cut back, partly as part of general cutbacks, partly because of the early and quick success of such programs, partly because the issue of AIDS prevention also benefitted from being constantly in the public eye which it no longer is.

  17. But they are creating the program, Luke. It is up to them to decide to fund contraception or not. So there is no straw man choice between funding family planning programs that include abortions and not funding contraception at all.

    As you say they could have chosen to fund and excluded abortion programs. They didn't. I think they didn't for ideological reasons. I don't think they are playing political games with people's lives but what you are suggesting implies that they are: i.e. we don't have a problem with funding contraception but we don't want to be perceived as funding safe abortions or anything like that (because of how our base would react) so no money for contraceptions. If what you are saying is right, then they are indeed playing domestic political games that will indeed cost lives.

  18. Harper and Conservatives have to avoid the contraception route since they will have to write a procedural paper and present it on the application of the contraceptive and no one in the Conservative ranks knows how one of these things goes on, or where to put it for that matter! And who are they going to ask, their Catholic and or western conservative base?

    Now they could ask the NDP, or the Bloc, or even the Liberals but then they would have to admit that they were seeking help from the opposition parties with a government policy issue! No, I'm afraid the Conservatives will have to just steer away from the Contraceptives issue, there's really no way for them to claim they have helped third world countries by themselves through their policies if they go the contraceptive route.

    To bad, though! I have a bunch of unused/semi-used condoms that I was willing to send to Steve as my charitable donation for this G8 governments initiative!

  19. No your wrong Ignatieff wanted to "include" abortion and contraception to promote maternal and child health care.
    Yes catholics may support contraception but it certainly is not part of teaching.

    • Reproductive choice is a part of maternal health care. Anybody who wants to improve maternal health care needs to include reproductive choice in their programs.

  20. Having an abortion might be excommunicable, believing that others should be allowed the option however, is not. Remember, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion.

    (you seem to be conflating the beliefs of the Catholic hierarchy with that of lay Catholics. The tension between the two groups have been around pretty much since the days of Peter ;)

    • The Catholic hierarchy though does believe they have the right to interfere with domestic politics and excommunicate those politicians who would vote contrary to Church dictates. At least when it comes to abortion. For some reason, that policy only seems to apply to abortion.

  21. Yes your right I'm pointing out what the Catholic church believes as part of what is taught.
    I'm not, as you suggest saying all ALL Catholics follow ALL rules-were sinners after all- like their all robots.
    But if you think Catholic teachings do not influence the flock, you would be mistaken.

  22. This isn't politcal games so much as it is just politics. The government is trying to run an effective foreign aid program while avoiding political difficulties at home. They might not be succeeding, but presumably they thought the best approach was to avoid family-planning programs altogether, so as to avoid a debate on abortion. This might not be the best approach, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me – it's a balancing of interests. Anyone who wants to see foreign aid without politics is going to have to write a cheque.

    • Maternal health must include access to contraception and access to safe abortions. Lots of women die in childbirth, along with the child, where an abortion could have saved the nother. Maternal health, right?

      • Sorry, but there is not reason why maternal health care must include either contraception or abortion. Unless of course you define maternal health care as "access to contraception and abortion", and I think most people would consider that a pretty narrow definition. Right?

      • It over-complicates the argument if you put contraception and abortion into the same category. Giving out condoms and teaching people now not to have babies when they don;'t want them is never a bad thing by any standard; so too with abortions that are demanded by a medical emergency. Encouraging the use of abortion to stop unwanted pregnancies is where the argument gets hot and heavy.

        • So if a 10 year okld child is raped and impregnated by her father and it is obvious that carrying a child to term will kill her and the child as well, you would both refuse to allow her to have an abortion, so you could pretend to have some moral superiority.

          You know nothing of the real world. You will let girls and women die because of your ignorance.

          • I think your example just might be a bit of a corner case. So let's say for the sake of argument that I accept abortions in situations where it is necessary to save the mothers life. In such a case, would you be willing to accept restrictions on abortions in which the mothers health is not at serious risk? I expect you would be happy to make this agreement, since my understanding from you (never having been there myself) is that in the real world, abortions only happen in the most desperate of situations.

  23. I tried to reply to you were with a link to a Pew Poll…which seems to have caused the post to be buried down the intensedebate hole…allow me to recap my point (and if my original post shows up eventually I apoligise :)

    I certainly wouldn't disagree that Catholic teaching influences the flock to some degree, but I think one should be careful not to overstate that influence. A recent poll in the United States found that a slim majority (51%) of Catholics actually believe that abortions should be legal under all circumstances. And I think we can all agree that abortion is much more of a front-burner issue down south as it is up here :)

    Simply put, I don't think Catholicity is much of a political motivator in North America, I don' think it has been for quite some time.

  24. If the controversy is Christian (or Muslim, etc) values versus medical and social research, then we are on the edge of a slippery slope argument, are we not?

    It is difficult to debate values based on faith due to the arbitrary nature of belief systems.

  25. I'm not debating faith, and I'm not juxtaposing religious values with medical research. I'm pointing out that if we're just going to go all in for whatever statistically reduces HIV transmission, then we'd be better off making our foreign aid include Christian or Muslim indoctrination since such beliefs tend to inhibit HIV transmission. Yet we can all see that this would be a very bad idea.

    The point was this: if the adoption of some religious doctrine leads to reduced HIV transmission, does that mean we should promote that religious doctrine in our foreign aid? Of course not. Why not? Because we would be using public funds to support something that the public does not support, with no national imperative to do so. This is inherently unjust.

  26. This isn't just about us. Our batsh*t crazy government will be trying to convince the weathiest countries on earth to follow our lead. The fact that all of this is just a cynical ploy to distract international opinion from our emerging pariah status on the environment makes it even worse.

    Harper and his crew are lost on the seas of modernity, but are incapable of admitting it. It's time for them to walk the plank.

  27. Do we have any prooof that the Canadian public doesn't support contraception?

  28. But it isn't religious doctrine that is reducing HIV transmission; it is aspects of that doctrine promoting abstinence and faithful monogamy/polygamy, which no one disagrees with and can be part of an effective campaign.

    The bugaboo of the conversation is that family planning cannot be part of the health discussion, regardless of the benefits to health (and society) of such programs. Which is a shame, but not unfamiliar.

  29. So even Mr. Cannon agrees – condoms suck.

  30. Nobody ever died because they didn't have access to contraception. You can make an argument that it may be a contributory factor in some number of deaths, but when someone dies of syphilis, you don't write down "didn't use a condom" as a cause of death, you write down "syphilis".

    As for the argument about HIV transmission, the diseases that are now categorized under AIDS may all be separately caused and have separate treatments, none of which are related to contraception.

    It is specious to connect "family planning" with focussed efforts to improve how women during and after pregnancy and infants can be treated. Waving a condom at a sick infant or a woman suffering post-natal complications is unlikely to help and the government should ignore this noise.

  31. Revisionist government at its worst. But I give them credit for adapting the message on the same Bushian policy to trick a lot of Canadians into thinking that they're concerned with the life-and-death issues that affect women and children in the third world.
    Of course, one could say their sly shift shows their disinterest in Africa.

  32. Yeah, something that irks me to no end. I guess priests, like politicians, sometimes say (and do) the darndest things :)

    (can't vote 'em out though…sigh.)

  33. Lots of women die in childbirth precisely because they did not have access to contraception. Welcome to the real world.

  34. The un-conceived are not alive. Family planning alternatives – contraception – do not harm those who are not alive.

    As to the conceived and as yet born, that remains a matter between the woman and her family. Who does this government think it is to deny information and technology which has made our live better to those less well off?

  35. No – they did from lack of appropriate treatment.

    • They died because they were pregnant; maybe not by choice; maybe they were to young or too old to have a baby healthily; mayb e they were too malnourished; or too damaged by gang-rapes or by mutilation; or by self-induced abortions because they could not handle having another baby. And maybe they could have lived if they were able to get safe abortions. And maybe their orphaned children who are already alive will also die for lack of a mother.

  36. Well obviously not being pregnant lowers the risk of dying in childbirth…and yes, people do go on having babies when the last one died.

    The reason people die from malnutrition is not directly caused by a growing population, otherwise we could not explain how Europe, North America and other such places managed to largely eradicate hunger while growing their populations a hundred-fold.

    Hunger, privation, and premature death in Africa have many causes. Why is everyone so focussed on contraception?

    And I dislike being categorized a a pro-lifer simply because of their dogmatic denial of abortion as a valid medical procedure. But I am a great fan of babies and I have not yet seen one that I didn't think deserving of all the medical help we can give it. If we take of the mothers and babies, I suspect that the issue of contraception will take of itself.

  37. That is the crux of the abortion debate: at what point does a "mass of cells" become a baby? After all, each of us can still accurately be described as a mass of cells. It is convenient to pretend that this is a simple question, but I think it is not. Maybe it is simple for you – if so, please enlighten me.

  38. If only it was! I am as conflicted as anyone can be on the subject of abortion. Either way, I don't see it as helpful for governments to drive the issue one way or another. The current compromise in Canada seems acceptable, but it is hard to see how this can be exported.

    Whatever funds and efforts that are to be expended should be directed towards helping mothers and babies through the dangers of birth. Let's keep out of the rest if it!

  39. But you're not considering the rights of the life that would otherwise exist if not for contraception.

    Ok, just kidding. I never intended to make an argument for or against distributing contraception. I guess Bill Simpson was right when he said in another comment that the two issues are complicating the discussion.

  40. "Every sperm is sacred
    Every sperm is great
    When a sperm is wasted
    God gets quite irate."


  41. Contraception and abortion are part of helping mothers and babies. Again, look at the real world.

  42. Funding is limited.
    Better to have unlimited supply of electrolites availble to save babies lives,
    than have the cost of contraceptives limiting the supply of life saving drugs.

    The only way to set a target and successfully reach it (which has been the problem) is to focus,
    not go a little bit here and there, amounting to alot of nothing.

    If this global group picks up all the cost of clean water, post natal care form mother and child ,
    other ngo agencies can focus on family planning.

  43. And you men have no choice in this matter and no right to judge.

  44. Here's a novel idea – let's ask the countries we're donating to if they want access to safe abortions and artificial contraceptives. If they say yes, fund abortions and artificial contraceptives. If they don't want access, they don't have to use the funding for those things and promote alternatives.

    Isn't it presumptuous of the Government (notice how I'm not using party affiliation? I'm trying to be impartial here) to say abortions/contraceptives are ineffective and undesirable? The same could be said if the Government FORCED people to get abortions and use condoms.

    In my opinion, we shouldn't deny funding for condoms and artificial contraceptives because some people will want access to them and some people won't. The people who don't want them won't get them because THEY DON'T WANT THEM. Why should we punish people who, in their own minds, are trying to act responsibly?

  45. Not at all. It is the woman's choice and her choice only, and all of you self-righteous ignorant men have no say in the matter whatsoever. It is none of your business. Keep your grubby hands out of our wombs.

  46. For what it's worth, I understand why people believe having control over their own bodies is a fundamental right and needs to be protected vociferously, and this is a powerful argument against abortion restrictions. But the question of when life begins and the value of an unborn child needs to be considered. Few people would disagree that a child even just a minute old has innate value and deserves the same protection afforded to the rest of society. Maybe to you it is clear that this value only comes to the child at the moment he or she is separated from the mother, but this is certainly not clear to me. There were nearly 100,000 abortions in Canada in 2006. These were not all performed on 10 year olds with incestuous fathers. Like it or love it, this is a serious and complicated moral issue.

    • Few would disagree? That is false, many would disagree with you. At any rate, a woman is born first and her life comes before that of the foetus; and the life of her children who are already born come first as well, since they need a mother who is alive and healthy and able to care for them. And you have no right to tell any woman what to do with her body at any time. Your moral beliefs are irrelevent. No one is forcing you to have an abortion.

      • I wasn't clear. When I said "Few people would disagree that a child even just a minute old has innate value…" I meant a minute after birth, not a minute after conception. The point I was trying to make is that at some point there is a child involved. And once a child is involved, it is no longer just an issue of a woman's control over her own body. Nearly everyone (I think and hope) would agree that the child does not suddenly go from value-less to valuable the instant the umbilical cord is cut. And as I mentioned in another comment, this is the crux of the matter.

  47. Absolutely patently false Bill Simpson. Contraceptives lower the risk of dying in childbirth, which is extremely high in developing nations and increases exponentially with each birth. A smaller family also increases the likelihood that they will all get proper nutrition. That means fewer of them die from disease related to malnutrition. This is WELL documented. Are you suggesting that women in developing countries should have as many children as nature allows? Do YOU plan to feed them all? Because most women in developing countries certainly can't.

    Your HIV statement is too ridiculous to even address. If you don't spread HIV, then you don't develop AIDS.

    You silly pro-lifers care nothing of life. You only care making sure a mass of cells grows into a baby. Then your job is done.

  48. Well, but a fight against contraception is another story all together, isn't it? The policy outlined by Cannon does not amount to "we must protect the right of a mass of cells to become a baby", it's, "we must not do anything to prevent the mass of cells from forming".

    I could almost stomach a policy that left abortion to one side for moral reasons, but CONDOMS?!?!? I don't think that you'll ever convince me that a mass of cells is deserving of having it's "human" rights protected, but I can GUARANTEE that you'll never convince me that individual cells have a right to be able to mass unimpeded. You may be able to convince me that at some point a fetus has certain inalienable rights, even prior to birth. You'll never convince me that sperm has an inalienable human right to an unobstructed path to the egg.

    Human life may arguably begin at conception. It most certainly does NOT begin BEFORE conception.

  49. And it doesn't matter whether their decision affects your physical health, your mental health, or your self-esteem.

  50. No, the woman is the crux of the matter; focus on the woman.

  51. That would be a simpler approach. But at some point there are two – a mother and a child – and the rights of both must be considered.

  52. The woman comes first.

  53. Ok, but I hope you can understand why some people might reasonably feel different than you about this, and may not want to be complicit in these procedures through their tax dollars. And such people do not necessarily have to be "self-righteous ignorant men" who "know nothing about the real world". Maybe these people really do think there are two people involved, and that the rights of both need to be considered.

    • No, they just don't think women have any rights.

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