Monthly Archives: February 2010

Choice maybe, but informed choice?

by Elizabeth Tanguay

Abortion has often been described as an important reproductive health care service. Pro-choice advocates seem to believe that abortion is a sort of treatment that many women need in order to live normal lives.

As a nursing student, one compulsory component of the program is a course entitled “Philosophical Issues in Health Care”. One of the main chapters in this section is about consent-based health care (as opposed to paternalism, but I don’t need to bore you with details). The basic idea is that the patient needs to give consent to the treatment that the doctor recommends for it to happen. So if the patient doesn’t agree with the particular treatment then the doctor cannot perform the treatment, even if the doctor believes it to be in the patient’s best interests.

For consent to be genuine, it must be informed, given voluntarily, and the patient must be competent to make such a decision. Since this isn’t a philosophy paper, but a blog, I’ll focus on the informed part of the consent.

In order for consent to be informed, the patient must be told the nature of the treatment, the possible risks associated with such a treatment, the perceived benefits, and possible alternatives to the treatment. How often does this happen in the abortion setting? How many women simply don’t know of the numerous risks of abortion, including breast cancer, infertility, depression and greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse? How many are not aware that they do have a choice other than abortion? That it is OK to place the baby for adoption of they feel they are not ready to be parents quite yet. How many are aware of what exactly the procedure entails, such as injecting a saline solution into the uterus to burn the baby alive, or dismembering the unborn baby with a vacuum or forceps, or that it may entail an operation? How many truly give voluntary consent to their abortion? How many women are forced, coerced or pressured to have an abortion from their boyfriend, family, and peers? How many more women must be taken advantage of before we do something? Everyone has the right to be informed about abortion. For more details concerning abortion and informed consent, please CLICK HERE.

As a side note, for those who are following Baby Isaiah’s story, the parents have three more weeks before the court decides Isaiah’s fate.

What a doctor says about the issue.

S.L.E.D. Part 2: Level of Development

by Garnet

It’s time for another instalment in the S.L.E.D. Test Series.  For the other articles in the series, click here.

It is often said that unborn babies are less developed than born babies, and for that reason should not be considered persons.  “It’s just a clump of cells,” people say.  Some refuse to use the term “fetus” to refer to an unborn child, preferring “blob of tissue” as a more accurate name.

This is another attempt to dehumanize the unborn, which makes abortion excusable.  If what is inside a pregnant woman is indeed simply a blob of tissue or a lump of cells, as many in the abortion trade would have women believe, then it’s no big deal to just get rid of the problem.  It would be the same as getting rid of a tumour.

How do prolifers address this?   Of course, we need to say that calling the unborn “clump of cells” is a lie. For example, right at the moment of conception, when the sperm implants the egg, that baby has a gender.  This probably sounds obvious, but some people don’t think about that fact.  Five weeks into the pregnancy, the baby’s heart begins to beat.  At this point, some women might not be 100% sure they’re pregnant!  There are so many other facts that show the humanity of an unborn child, but that will have to be another post.

We can grant the objector’s point that a one-month old unborn child is less developed than a nine-month old born child.  But how does this fact affect the personhood of this human life?  For example, a toddler is not as developed as a kindergartener.  Does that mean the kindergartener has more of a right to life than a toddler?  In fact, human beings are on a continuous line of development our entire lives.  But we do not attain more of a right to life as we develop.

The choice of the moment of birth as the defining moment where a child is valued is incredibly arbitrary.  Some babies are born after 38 weeks, some are born after 42 weeks.  Why, all of a sudden, when the baby leaves the uterus his or her mother, are they developed enough for our standards?  There must be another factor.

Stay tuned for the next instalment about Environment.

OSFL General Meeting – This Wednesday

A special presentation on how to help women dealing with crisis pregnancies or the aftermath of an abortion.

Come on out to the second General Meeting of the year. Help the club by providing input, ideas, and suggestions. This meeting with also feature a special presentation by Vicky Green who will be training us on how we can respond to and help women in difficult situations: crisis pregnancies and the aftermath of abortion. As usual, there will be refreshments afterwards.

Where?  Monpetit Room 103

When? Wednesday, February 24, 2010 – 7:30 p.m.

Pro-Woman. Pro-Life., starring Andrea Mrozek

by Dante De Luca

Allow me to take this opportunity to present to you a new entry in the annals of film. Andrea Mrozek stars in this all-new production of Pro Woman. Pro Life., which also features a guest appearance by our own Reita S. Filmed by Amanda Henessey and edited by Dante De Luca, this educational video is a must-see for pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike.

Objective Personhood

by Theresa Stephenson

It amazes me how subjective our view of the “unborn” is and how quickly it changes according to our circumstances.Think of a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy that eagerly tells all her friends that she is expecting a baby. Generally, her friends respond with excited congratulations! Now, think of a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy that fears the reality of a baby, keeps her pregnancy a secret, and considers abortion as a “way out.” Notwithstanding any details regarding the lives of the mothers, the major difference between these two situations is being “wanted”. The first baby is perceived by the mother to be a blessing while the second baby is perceived to be a burden. But does personhood depend upon the perception of another (in this case a mother)?

A woman in Kentucky is being charged for “endangering the life of her unborn baby by using cocaine while pregnant”. The Grand Jury of Franklin County concluded that the mother’s drug use wantonly endangered her unborn child. The Jury’s decision was objective: it did not assign value to the fetus according to the mother’s perception of her child’s personhood. Read the full story at LifeSiteNews.com.

It is wonderful that this baby’s rights are being defended. But what makes this child different from every other innocent life that is ended by abortion?

Newsflash: Women do not give birth to cats

by David Beking

In recent news, Stephen Harper has been preparing for the G8 summit coming up in the Muskokas and has made improving maternal and infant health in developing countries one of the topics for discussion. As one of the millenium development goals set by the UN, maternal and infant health is an important topic that needs to be addressed. In response to Harper’s plan, Michael Ignatieff – liberal opposition leader – stated that abortion rights must be included in any Canadian plan to improve infant and maternal health in the developing world. This came as a shock to many in the connection Ignatieff made between maternal/infant health and abortion. As Bishop Henry states in the first article below, “I thought it was pathetic for a political leader to suggest that abortion is somehow tied to the health of women and children”.

For the full story on Ignatieff’s position, click here.

In response to this statement from Ignatieff many religious leaders and journalists responded in opposition, most notably David Warren from the Ottawa Citizen. As stated below in his article Warren advocates that “Women do not give birth to cats” and that abortion can’t be considered anything but the slaughter of an innocent human beings. If maternal health is a concern, the method to deal with that health issue is not murder.

For the article, click here.

In Canada there exists no law about abortion.  The supreme court struck down the abortion laws in 1988 (R. v. Morgantaler) to allow for the protection of mothers in extremely rare circumstances where their life is at risk. However, only 5% of abortions preformed today are conducted for that reason. The other 95% of those aborted have been performed against section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom which states, among other rights,  that everyone has the right to life. If Ignatieff believes that we have been successful in improving maternal and infant care in Canada, abortion has not been one of the factors in this improvement. The issue of infant health will not be solved by ending their lives, but instead through public health improvements and better health care for pregnant women as proposed by Stephen Harper. As Warren puts it so well in his article “Killing a baby in no way improves its health”.

Here’s a letter to the editor responding to some of the issues.

The struggle for pro-life clubs

by Garnet

It seems there is no end to the struggle of pro-life clubs on Canadian campuses.  Here’s a quote from a recent McGill Daily article:

The final motion, on banning discriminatory groups on campus, was led by statements from authors Maddie Ritts and Liam Olson-Mayes explaining their choice to single out pro-life groups, stating that they are necessarily discriminatory and that “by allowing pro-life groups, we condone and accept their position,” and targeting the Silent No More campaign. After extensive debate and votes on multiple amendments, including one to strike direct reference to pro-life groups in the resolution, the entire resolution failed to pass.

Phew. The motion failed to pass.  It’s scary because this kind of attitude is expected from our Student Federations.  Who exactly is being discriminated against?  Oh, the irony.  The fact that Silent No More is targeted shows how deplorable their intentions are.  “Oh no, women are speaking about their negative abortion experience.  We must silence this discrimination against women!”  Absolutely outrageous.

And then on the other side of the country, at the University of Victoria, Youth Protecting Youth has lost funding and club status. Again a Student Federation is trying to bully a pro-life club into silence.  What are these people scared of, anyway? Check out this news report:

Some other news to note: Lakehead Life Support has regained club status after a long struggle.  They do not, however, get funding from the LUSA.

Ottawa Students for Life enjoys relative freedom when planning events and operating as club (except for the fact that our posters get ripped down almost right away).  We’re glad to operate as the pro-life witness on our campus, and give our support to other pro-life clubs that struggle to be recognized.

Momentum is Building

by Daniel Gilman

From coast to coast students are initiating resource drives to provide material support for mothers in difficult circumstances. Future doctors, politicians, and businessmen are being equipped to promote and protect the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. We’re hosting lectures and facilitating debates, raising awareness and making a difference.

Women and men who have been impoverished by abortion are increasingly informing the public of their experiences, and many mothers are carrying their pregnancies to term. While mainstream media traditionally ignore pro-life initiatives, new media is empowering the populace to be factually informed. Pro-life momentum is building.

This isn’t the first time that popular support has been mobilized. Back when I was a very young child there was also growing momentum. In response to the devastation caused by the law regulating abortion being struck down in January of 1988, there was significant support mobilized in favour of varied initiatives to protect the unborn children. But the momentum fizzled, people quarrelled, some were alienated, and many moved on to other things. I write this post because we face the possibility of the same thing today.

While much work has been done on campuses throughout Canada, many campus club leaders are graduating this year. The opportunities to make a difference on our campuses remain, but in order for the good work to continue new students must become involved. In order for the club to make a difference, we need more than just people interesting in helping out as time permits. We need students to make time. We need people to take on specific responsibilities by filling the executive and co-ordinator positions.

OSFL will be having its annual election in just a few weeks. If you’re interested in putting your name forward, please contact us at ottawastudentsforlife@gmail.com.

In the name of choice…

by Rebecca Richmond

Like many others, I was very interested to watch Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl commercial featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. Weeks before the Super Bowl, the ad generated about as much buzz as Janet Jackson’s infamous 2004 “wardrobe malfunction.” Some feminists and women’s groups immediately went on the warpath to prevent CBS from letting one woman who chose life despite difficult circumstances tell her story. Note that they hadn’t yet seen the ad.

The entire kerfuffle was in many ways tragic to the point of ridiculous. Did anyone else find it ironic that women’s groups, in the name of choice, were trying to silence a woman’s story of her choice? Did someone rewrite the definition of choice and forget to tell me?

The commercial, when I finally saw it, was cute, positive and utterly benign.

It appears that these women’s groups may have actually ended up shooting themselves in the foot since they brought the issue to the headlines and got America and Canada talking about abortion. They also demonstrated how their position is, in and of itself, contradictory. If women have the right to chose and the right to freedom of expression, they sure shouldn’t be shot down for talking about their choice – whether it’s Pam Tebow who chose life or the women of Silent No More who proclaim that they regret their abortions, as another example.

Someone directed me to an interesting article by Sally Jenkins, a pro-choice columnist who also found the Tebow controversy silly. She writes:

Let me be clear again: I couldn’t disagree with Tebow more. It’s my own belief that the state has no business putting its hand under skirts. But I don’t care that we differ. CBS owns its broadcast and can run whatever advertising it wants, and Tebow has a right to express his beliefs publicly. Just as I have the right to reject or accept them after listening — or think a little more deeply about the issues. If the pro-choice stance is so precarious that a story about someone who chose to carry a risky pregnancy to term undermines it, then CBS is not the problem.

For the full article, click here.

While it must have been difficult for the Tebows and for Focus on the Family to endure the onslaught of angry women’s groups, the entire debacle may also have helped our cause by revealing the absurdity of the pro-choice claims. If pro-choicers want to be consistent in their claims, they need to start supporting all choices, and not just their preferences.

Watch the full story of the Tebows.

Abortion not in sync with women’s health

by Paul T

This past Friday, Ottawa Students for Life hosted Andrea Mrozek from the popular blog “Pro-Woman, Pro-Life” to come and speak to students on how the pro-life position and a pro-woman stance converge on many different levels. Andrea started by simply stating the fact that having an abortion is in no way more associated with a woman’s femininity than in her choice to carry a child to term. The importance Mrozek associated between a woman’s biological identities against the common feminist current clearly illustrated a contrast between what women are told to believe, and what they want to believe. Mrozek noted 5 key points to why being pro-woman is perfectly in sync with the pro-life stance.

This brings a sharp new reality when trying to interpret Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s statements on the “availability of a full range of reproductive products to women” incorporated into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement on development of maternal health initiatives for the world’s poorest and most under-developed countries. Mr. Ignatieff seems to state, without any regard or respect towards the culture of life in many of these countries, that Canada has the right to take advantage of the frailty of some countries by imposing ideologically divisive ideals that aren’t even supported by a majority of people here at home, instead of supporting uniting collaborative action for the benefit of the entire society. This radical and extreme stance against life must be taken for what it’s worth, a shameless attempt to score political points off the lives of unborn children.

If you want to find out 5 reasons why being pro-life is being pro-woman, I encourage you to stay tuned for the video footage from Andrea’s talk that will appear on the blog soon.