Tag Archives: by Garnet

S.L.E.D. Part 4: Degree of Dependency

by Garnet

Time for the final installment in the S.L.E.D. Series.  I’ve dealt with the first three common pro-choice arguments, all attempts to dehumanize unborn children based on either size, level of development or environment, and so make abortion excusable.

The last argument has to do with the degree that the fetus is dependent on his/her mother.  Some people say that since the fetus is so dependent on his/her mother to survive, and would not survive on his/her own, the mother has no obligation to keep the fetus alive, and thus may abort it.  The fetus, they say, cannot survive on its own, so it must not have a right to life, since it can only survive as part of the mother.

This argument breaks down in a number of ways.  Unborn children are not the only human beings dependent on another for survival.  A newborn cannot survive without a caregiver.  A diabetic cannot survive without insulin.  A person with a heart condition cannot survive without a pacemaker.  Does this dependency make them less of a person?  Of course not.  Dependency is not a criterion for determining the value of life for born individuals, and it should not be applied to the unborn.

An embryo is very dependent on its mother at the beginning of pregnancy, and gets less dependent as the 40 weeks go by until it is ready to leave the comfort and warmth of the womb and face the cold, harsh reality of this world. The umbilical cord can be cut, but does this end the baby’s dependency on Mother?  No.  From what I understand, a mother’s responsibilities toward that baby grow exponentially after the baby is born.

In addition, humans continue to become less dependent on others as they get older.  Toddlers are less dependent than babies; teenagers are (read: are supposed to be) less dependent on parents than toddlers; adults are less dependent than teenagers.  So the trend of a lessened dependency begins in the womb and continues throughout life long after birth.  Birth, actually, is quite an arbitrary point to say that babies are sufficiently independent to be given rights as persons.  Often at the end of life, elderly people become more and more dependent on others, but this does not take away their right to life.

Essentially the argument to say the unborn have no right to life because of its dependency is age discrimination, and should not be tolerated.

Update: Bill C-384 Defeated

by Garnet

The motion to move the Private Members Bill C-384 to committee stage was defeated today in a vote of 59 in favour and 228 opposed, which means this bill is defeated.

This issue, however, is far from being decided in Canada. We must continue educating our peers about the dangers of euthanasia and assisted suicide. We must remain steadfast and resolute in our fight for the dignity of human life — from conception to natural death!

Bill C-384 Vote Today

by Garnet

Our elected Members of Parliament will vote this evening on Bill C-384, the “Right to Die with Dignity” bill proposed by Bloq MP Francine Lalonde.  This vote will decide whether the bill is suitable to move to the next stage in Parliamentary procedure: the committee stage.  Five or six of us were in the House of Commons yesterday to hear the final debate on this bill during Private Members’ Hour.  Here are a few reflections.

The house was a lot emptier than I expected it to be.  Very few cabinet ministers attended the debate, but we did see two of our pro-life heroes MPs Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott.  After a discussion about representation by population (or something) was finished, the speaker of the house was asked to recognize that the clock was at 5:30 p.m., which meant the Private Members’ Hour was to begin.

Liberal MP Mauril Belanger from Ottawa-Vanier spoke first. He called for more dialogue on the issue, and will vote in favour of the bill going to the committee stage.  He also called for clearer definitions of terms like euthanasia, assisted suicide and “dying with dignity”.

Next was NDP MP Bill Siksay from Burnaby, BC.  He pledged his support for the bill, insisting that the right to die would not turn into the duty to die.  He is committed to providing choice for those that wish to end their lives.

Bloq MP Nicole Demers from Laval, QC also spoke about providing choice.  She said,

As long as one has a life to live and wants to live it, life should go on. However, when an individual can no longer endure the pain they are suffering, I want them to have choices.

MP Nicole Demers

After hearing just about enough choice rhetoric, Conservative MP Tim Uppal from Edmonton spoke with the voice of truth.  He is opposed to the bill and does not believe that doctors should be given the authority to end a life.  I was waiting for him to mention the Hippocratic Oath, but he didn’t.  He also expressed concerns with the bill itself, saying the scope was much too broad, and the safeguards for informed consent were not sufficient.

Liberal MP Mike Savage from Dartmouth, NS, spoke next.  He told an emotional story about his parents, who both died of cancer six weeks apart. Even though his parents suffered, he said, they were still able to be in control of their lives until the end.  I liked his emphasis on palliative care:

Let us focus on palliative care and home care. Let us provide the supports that people need in their time of need. Let us be very mindful of people with disabilities, particularly people who are not always able to make decisions on their own and who rely upon others for support, guidance and the everyday aspects of their lives.

MP Mike Savage

NDP MP Jim Maloway from Winnipeg, MB also spoke against the bill.

I am concerned about the point made by some members that if we were to adopt this measure, it would cut back the impetus to improve palliative care. As long as assisted suicide is illegal, the pressure will still be on governments and jurisdictions to develop palliative care as quickly as possible. If we passed legislation like this bill, then the pressure would be off.

MP Jim Maloway

He also expressed concerns with the way the issue has developed in Holland, where the minister who introduced the euthanasia bill to the Dutch Parliament has since changed her mind.  He advocated for increased support for palliative care programs.

The last MP to speak before Ms Lalonde had the floor to respond was NDP MP Charlie Angus from Timmins, ON.  He also opposes the bill.  He also advocated for increased support for palliative care.

It is possible to treat people with dignity right through the final moments. However, that has to be a decision we make as a society and a commitment we make to each other that we will be there as a society, we will be there with the medical system, we will be there as family and we will be there as a community.

MP Charlie Angus

Then Francine Lalonde had an opportunity to respond.  She spoke quite passionately about the issue.  For Lalonde, someone who has fought cancer herself, this issue is somewhat personal.  She concluded with this:

I can tell you that when I wrote that [newspaper article in 2005], I did not know what unbearable pain was. Now I do and I have learned that medicine, with all its progress, can only provide help with side effects such as hallucinations or other terrible effects to the body. We have to have the right to choose. I am speaking on behalf of the vulnerable. They are the ones who need this type of legislation the most because only this type of legislation will allow them to be the people they choose to be. There are currently many places where people can die and with all the instruments available to doctors, it is possible to help people die without them having to ask.

MP Francine Lalonde

It is the vulnerable that have the most to fear if this bill passes. As is seen in European countries who have legalized euthanasia, the “right to die” can easily become “the duty to die” and “the expectation to die”.  This is symptomatic of a devaluing of human life.  I hope this is not happening in Canada, but so much of what I hear and see tells me it is happening.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier in a letter to the editor in the National Post yesterday says it best.

. . . the slippery slope has definitely materialized in jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is administered routinely to patients who are not terminally ill but rather have chronic diseases or psychological distress; to patients who are incapable of consenting or who are capable but were not consulted; and to children, including newborns. Dying with dignity should indeed be a right for all Canadians, but Ms. Lalonde’s proposal of allowing doctors to kill patients is the worst possible way of reaching this goal.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier

We will be going back to the House this evening to witness the vote.  I hope our politicians will have the courage to stand up for the dignity of human life and oppose this bill.

*quotes taken from a transcript of the debate on OpenParliament.ca.

Someone had to say it

by Garnet

Here’s an excellent article by Kelly McParland that appeared in today’s National Post that exposes the hypocrisy of pro-choice people objecting to sex-selection-abortion.

In order to support “a woman’s right to choose,” you have to believe that a fetus is not human in the moral sense. This judgment — or lack thereof — is encoded in Canadian law, which permits abortion for any reason, or no reason at all.

If you believe a fetus is not a human life, the fetus becomes no different from any other unwanted appendage on a woman’s body. There is no moral difference to removing it than there is to removing an unwanted mole, or an unsightly wart. It’s just a bunch of flesh, with no human soul or spirit to it, so what’s the difference?

Why, then, would abortion proponents object to women having abortions because they don’t like the sex of the fetus? If a fetus is not human, a woman has the right to abort it for whatever reason she chooses: because she doesn’t feel like going through the process; because it might interfere with her career plans; because she doesn’t like children in general; or because she loves Starbucks and someone told her she’d have to give up caffeine during the pregnancy. What, no latte?

Well said, well said.  Once again, the abortion debate comes down to the humanity of the unborn.

S.L.E.D. Part 3: Environment

by Garnet

I guess I better continue the SLED series if I want to get it done by the end of the term.

When I travel from place to place, or even room to room, does anything about me change?  Or think about yourself: Are you a different person when you enter different surroundings?  For some reason, the idea that environment dictates value gets applied to the unborn.  In fact, it’s quite extreme: on one side of the birth canal, the unborn child has no rights whatsoever (in Canada), but on the other side the child is a person possessing full rights.  So what changed within that child during the birth process?  Not much, even though labour is probably very distressing and traumatic for the baby.

“Oh, but the unborn doesn’t even breathe air, like all humans do”, someone might say.  Even if this were essential for the right to life, it’s not as if the unborn child is not receiving oxygen.  In fact, from the moment of conception, respiration, or air exchange begins to happen.  And as the baby develops, he will start to “breathe” amniotic fluid in and out of his lungs, something that would actually kill us!  If you wouldn’t survive in the unborn baby’s world, how can you expect the unborn baby to survive in yours?

Some babies are born premature or early.  Some are born late.  The moment of birth is such an arbitrary moment in time. Just because you can’t see the unborn, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the right to life.

This argument is another attempt to devalue the life of the unborn child.  Again, we see that it simply makes no sense.

Liberals’ Motion Defeated!

by Garnet

The Liberals’ motion concerning the Government’s G8 initiative was defeated. 138 MPs voted in favour of it and 144 MPs voted against it.  Yesterday the government took a stand against the anti-life ideology so prevalent in Canada, and opted for the truth: that abortion does not help women.  The Canadian government is committed to helping women and children in impoverished countries, and for that we’re proud.

MPs’ email inboxes and mailboxes were flooded with messages from Canadians like you urging their MPs to vote against the motion.  Thank you to those who took the time to let your MP know how you feel about this issue.  You truly made a difference.  This is proof that MPs listen to their constituents, so do it more often.  I will be writing an email thanking my MP for voting against the motion; it’s good for our politicians to hear positive feedback too.

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.