Abortion: In life and public policy, truth matters

19/04/2014 / blog posts 

by Peter Ryan

I have dedicated my working life to the cause of life since 1977. I got involved because my only two siblings miscarried. I am the lone unborn survivor. I know I might not be here.

If I supported a woman’s “right to choose,” I’d be saying it’s okay if my mother had aborted me. I can’t say that. Who can? I have a right to life! So does everyone. It began before birth.

I am father of seven, grandfather of fifteen including two about to be born. When our pregnant daughter emailed us an ultrasound photo, we did not react, “Our grandfetus!” Who does? It’s a baby.

The Canadian Medical Association says the life of “a baby” begins at conception. Calling it a baby is no religious statement. It’s fact.

It’s wrong to play word games when the baby is unwanted. Terms like “clump of cells” are dishonest when the intent is to dehumanize. To differentiate the unwanted from the wanted is to travel the same road that leads to genocide.

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10,000 babies have died at the Morgentaler Clinic since it opened. That’s no religious statement. It’s undeniable truth.

Please note I have not even touched upon the issue of abortion’s morality. I have merely stated an important fact.

Surely that fact is relevant to the public discussion about using tax funds for the clinic. Arguments about “abortion access” that fail to note what the access is to – killing thousands of children – are at best superficial, at worst disingenuous.

In both life and public policy, truth matters. History is too full of examples where evil flourished when truth was suppressed or succumbed to word games like apartheid and “the final solution.” In public policy and life, integrity means facing up to the truth. Putting blinders on is unworthy of us.

Some will retort, “But abortion is legal.” As if that settles the argument. It does not, for three reasons.

First, the argument is a non sequitur. It is legal for me to build a rocket ship and fly to the moon. It does not follow the government has to pay for it.

Second, there is no Canadian legislation defining abortion’s legality. The 1988 Morgentaler decision by the Supreme Court addressed the criminality of abortion, not public funding. No Canadian court has ruled the Charters of Rights requires a province to fund unrestricted abortion at a private clinic. It is an open issue.

Third, it is dishonorable to hide behind the law. Slavery was once legal. It was legal for Nazis to kill Jews. That did not make those activities just. Those who argue “abortion is legal” must explain why that is just, and cannot skirt the truth that abortion kills a child.

Again, some clinic supporters protest, “But the Canada Health Act has decided the matter. New Brunswick is in violation.” That is less than truthful. The Act is silent on abortion. The Act defers to the provincial constitutional power over health care, allowing each province to decide what it funds under the Act’s insurance provisions.

New Brunswick is within its legal right to not fund unrestricted abortion at private clinics. The fact most other provinces fund clinics does not mean they alone follow the Act. Critics who try to shame New Brunswick for standing apart act like bullies.

To be pro-life is not to point a finger at women who abort. Such women are in a panic over pregnancy; they often act under duress.

Our government and community should partner to better support women with relevant resources when they feel pressured to have abortions, as so many do. Our Women’s Care Center provides no-pressure, resource-based (including early ultrasound) support. A social environment where women are empowered to freely choose life is a desirable, achievable public policy goal.

Peter Ryan is the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Right to Life Association and this article is published here with his permission.

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