This Thursday, January 24, Stephanie Gray will be presenting The Abortion Debate: A Scientific and Philosophical Review in Ottawa. The event starts at 7:30 pm and is at Dominican College, 96 Empress Avenue. Thanks go to Saint Paul Students for Life for organizing it. This is a great opportunity to hear an experienced speaker lay out the arguments surrounding abortion clearly and cohesively. See you there!
Love wants the highest good for the other person. As such, love is not self-serving, but is oriented towards the other. It is more than a onetime proclamation or commitment, but rather is revealed in our daily actions as we serve others.
by Kate Larson
If, like me, you were unable to attend the Silent No More event on Feb. 2, I direct you to their website where you can listen to or read stories from women who have regretted their abortions and found healing. The stories are short, but there is a lot of pain in them, pain in the circumstances leading up to the abortions, pain in the procedures themselves, pain in the fear, self-loathing, depression and other negative emotions many women experienced before, during and after the abortions, pain in their regret at the decision, and pain in the healing process. The stories, however, end hopefully. While the regret at choosing abortion does not go away and has led these women to speak out, the stories describe finding forgiveness both from others and from themselves, and experiencing a sense of being set free from the past.
The latter cannot be said of the comparatively few testimonies I have come across from women who apparently do not regret their abortions. They may genuinely feel this way, or genuinely believe they feel this way. They are entitled to their opinion. What strikes me about these stories, however, is how much more negative they are than the stories of regret, despite being considered “positive” experiences of abortion. I don’t just mean negative in the obvious sense of considering that there is nothing regrettable in ending a human life. I mean negative in the sense that they detail all the pain of the stories of regret without the redemption.
Many of the “no regrets” stories describe women being in the same situations and experiencing the same fear, anger, shame, and pressure upon discovering they were pregnant as they do in the stories of regret. Both types of stories describe women having similar reactions during and after their abortions, such as crying, hatred of themselves and those around them, initial relief, and emptiness. The main difference is in how most of the stories conclude. The stories on the Silent No More website end with the admission that, though the hurt caused by abortion never goes away, healing is possible. Many of the so-called “positive” stories of abortion conclude that the author has no regrets because she considers herself undeserving or unfit to be a parent, because she has made and sees herself continuing to make bad decisions, or simply because she did not know of, or wish to know of, any other option at the time. Far from proving that the negative consequences of abortion are either non-existent or inconsequential, the “no regrets” stories show women in pain and as in need of healing as the women of Silent No More. The real difference is that the women of Silent No More have found healing and want to help others begin that long process.
by Theresa Stephenson
Abortion advocates say that I require an operation to be equal to a man. Apparently, a woman must have free access to abortion in order to exercise the same freedoms as a man.
But, as a young female, I ask: why do I need to divorce myself from my fertility in order to be equal to a man? Why do I need to deny the essence of my womanhood? Why do I need to destroy my natural dignity as a woman for the sake of so-called “reproductive rights”? Why should I change myself to be a man to be equal? I don’t. Functioning female anatomy intact, I am equal to a man.
My equality and my liberation are not dependent on the ability to kill my child. I don’t need that “choice.” I don’t want that “choice.” It degrades me.
This entire debate is wrapped in ambiguity and abstractions. The pro-choice world is obsessed with ideas of “reproductive rights” and “choice”. But what do those ideas represent? What concrete, physical reality do they reflect?
When you only think in such terms, it’s easy to forget that that the “choice” to “terminate” is actually stopping the beating heart of a child in the name of “reproductive rights.” But, abstractions aside, abortion – the willful termination of pregnancy – infringes on the right to life of another human being. When we discard those ambiguous terms we will see what is actually at the root of abortion: murdered babies and wronged women.
I won’t allow proponents of abortion to rob me of my personhood, my identity as a woman. I refuse to submit to the idea that my sexuality must be “reigned in” or mastered by means of a surgical procedure. I don’t need a surgical procedure to exercise my liberty as freely as a man. But a woman’s dignity will only be secure when the dignity of all human life is protected. Both mother and child are equally endowed with the inalienable right to life. And that is equality worth fighting for.
by Elizabeth Tanguay
As I was trying to find the uOSFL group on Parliament Hill while at the March for Life, pro-choicers were handing out pamphlets entitled, “10 Lies that Anti-Choice groups are telling you about abortion.” I kept it because I figured it needs to be refuted. Eventually I plan to write a rebuttal and send it back to them (studies and all), but for now here it is as some “food for thought”.
To contact them about their pamphlet:
P.O. Box 2663
Station Main, Vancouver, BC
On a completely different note, sign up to support this excellent documentary that is having its premiere in New York this week: Blood Money Film.
Local resources available for students and everyone facing these and other circumstances:
Facing an unexpected pregnancy can be a difficult as a student, but there are some really helpful organizations in the Ottawa community, not far from the University of Ottawa, that exist to help and support you. One which stands out for its respectful, compassionate and non-partisan support is First Place Pregnancy Centre.
First Place provides compassionate support and assistance to anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy, and is truly a safe and secure place to explore your options. All services are free and confidential. Information on abortion, adoption and parenting are available so that you can make an informed choice about your future. For those that have already made their decision: post-abortion support, birth parent support, and pregnancy support are also available.
First Place is non-profit and not affiliated with uOttawa Students for Life, nor is it partisan in anyway. For more information about First Place check out their website, or give them a call at 613-228-7475.
by Marissa Poisson
It’s been a beautiful Easter weekend and signs of spring abound. There are buds on the trees, the birds are chirping and Canadians have emerged from hibernation. Yet I can’t help but think about the new lives that aren’t welcomed into the world. Abortion may not be a pleasant subject to contemplate on a sunny day, but recent events remind us that we are all involved whether we like it or not.
Abortion funding has been receiving a lot of attention lately with the United States’ health care reform and Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative. There was much debate in the U.S. about whether abortions should be publicly funded under the new legislation, and in the end Barack Obama signed an executive order against using tax dollars to pay for abortions, though it was seen as a largely symbolic gesture. It bears remembering that in Canada, where abortion is legal at any point during a pregnancy, publicly funded abortions are standard practice; taxpayers are billed over $80 million for the 100,000 abortions performed every year. However, we don’t stop at funding abortions domestically. The International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world’s largest abortion provider, has received $18 million from Canadian taxpayers over the past four years. Ottawa Students for Life has supported a petition that calls for the Government of Canada to cease this funding. The G8 maternal and child health initiative should be a noble, straightforward effort to provide women and children in developing countries with access to clean water, nutrition programs, inoculations and trained health care workers. Any aid dollars used to export abortion would be aid dollars taken away from those goals.
Interestingly, public funding of abortion doesn’t fit with some of the pro-choice rhetoric. If abortion is all about choice, why are those who oppose it nevertheless forced to fund it? Is an abortion really only between a woman and her doctor when it is paid for by the public? Of course, the financial cost should be the last reason used to oppose abortion. But we can’t say abortion doesn’t concern us when we’re funding it. By remaining silent, we remain complicit. Canadian tax dollars should be used to provide real support to women who are faced with challenging pregnancies because women and unborn children deserve better than abortion in Canada and around the world. This spring, let’s work together to celebrate and support life even when it is born of difficult circumstances.
by Theresa Stephenson
Here in Canada, euthanasia is on the forefront of bioethical dispute. Bill C-384, which will soon go through its second debate in the House of Commons, seeks to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. “Active euthanasia” is the intentional premature termination of another person’s life by direct intervention.
We live in a time when medical treatments are advanced, and we have the ability to provide pain relief to enhance the quality of life for patients. Palliative care provides a comfortable end of life experience for those who are nearing death. Rehabilitation centres prove to be effective alternatives to help disabled patients recuperate. Euthanasia, however, offers doctors another option; instead of treatment, they have the power to give a lethal injection that ends the patient’s life.
The Hippocratic Oath provides basic moral rules for doctors to guide their actions. The first mandate is a clear prohibition of killing their patients. The laws against euthanasia, which are currently in place, are there to prevent an abuse of power; mandating doctors to provide health care and not executions.
We’re being constantly bombarded with rhetoric of a “right to die”. Does this translate to a “right to kill”? Doctors are given the power to administer a death sentence to those who have no “quality of life”. This leads to the victimization of those with an illness, be it physical or mental. Indeed, a “slippery slope” exists in the euthanasia debate, where the inalienable right to life is denied especially to vulnerable groups.
The act of euthanasia itself devalues human life. People’s lives should not be judged as “worth living” or not, but instead must be treated with respect and dignity — from conception to natural death.
by Rebecca Richmond
Now, I’ll admit that I have mixed feelings about the fact that there’s pretty much a day for everything under the sun. I mean, there’s Towel Day (think Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Pi Day, International Cat Day, World Rubber Day, World Turtle Day and the ever popular International Talk Like a Pirate Day to name a select few.
But regardless, let’s take the opportunity and better appreciate, celebrate, and honour women. I’m all for that. And while we’re doing that, let’s face a grim reality: missing women. Sex-selective abortion has resulted in a countless number of missing women in the world. In my mind, sex selective abortion is one of the manifestations of the way in which abortion oppresses women. It offers parents the “right to choose” to keep or kill their child on the basis of their child’s sex. China and India are two countries where this constitutes a major problem. But it’s also not illegal in Canada. You don’t need a reason to abort. And, by that logic, no reason to abort is wrong. There are laws in Canada that prohibit discrimination against women in employment, but no laws touch on killing your unborn child because she’s a female.
Hmm…. What wrong with this picture?
To borrow feminist terminology: abortion is a mechanism through which gender discrimination and oppression (a.k.a. patriarchy, although the term for feminists represents a more radical vision than the more commonly held conception) reproduces itself as a system that devalues women and violently intervenes within the mother’s womb to alter the composition of the family and the demographics of society.
Abortion hurts women. Not only the individual women who undergo abortions, not only the female babies whose lives are sacrificed on the altar of choice, but women in general. And so, today, Monday March 8th, I’m taking a moment to reflect. Yes, I’m tired and a bit worn out, but I can’t afford to take a break from pro-life. Too much is at stake.
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.