Guest post by Alison Hyndman
The following letter was written to the editor of Canadian Living magazine after an article celebrating abortion in Canada. This letter was sent 4 times, twice to the editor herself (February 27th and March 20th), and then to another contact (on April 10th and April 30th) I was given after phoning the magazine to cancel my subscription and inquire why I had received no reply. In my April 30th e-mail I included that I would post this letter publicly if I did not receive a reply within two weeks, which led to a prompt reply from the editor the following day.
Her reply indicated that they were “passionate about sharing stories of women with a variety of opinions (pro-choice and pro-life), experiences and causes.” I followed up by asking when an article of the pro-life persuasion would be published. I requested a reply by May 9th, and I have yet to receive one, therefore I am making this letter public, to increase the pressure on Canadian Living to follow through with publishing a piece that reflects pro-life choices and experiences of Canadian women.
Dear Jennifer Reynolds,
I was shocked to see the infographic in your “State of the Sisterhood” piece of the March edition pertaining to reproductive rights. The stats you give on maternal mortality rate are encouraging for those of us who live in developed countries, and yet reveal the hard truth that women in other parts of the world still face a huge risk when they become mothers. I find the contrast with your information on Abortion to be both misleading and lacking in equality of human rights. How can you expect me to be glad that fewer women are dying during childbirth in Canada (1 in 5200 over their lifetime), and at the same time be glad that we are killing pre-born humans at a rate of one in four pregnancies. I am glad that our medical advances are increasing women’s survival rates, yet I am deeply saddened that advances in the same field are being used for genocide of the tiniest humans (some who could otherwise grow up to be mothers themselves one day).
Your piece paints a rosy picture of abortion in Canada, implying that we are a great place to live because we’re “advanced” (both medically and socially) enough to give women access to abortion. Your piece also suggests wagging a finger at countries where abortion is illegal, regardless of circumstance. There are many negative consequences of abortion, which are too often swept under the rug in public discussion, including your magazine. Women aren’t made aware of the many physical and psychological effects abortion can produce, only to be discovered once they are experiencing them. I won’t elaborate on this point, but encourage you to visit http://www.deveber.org/complications to read more on the other negative health outcomes after abortion.
Your piece is also extremely misleading, both in the categories you created, and the way you represent your figures. By grouping together Canada and 55 other countries where there are “Few or no restrictions (gestational limits may apply)” etc. You have glossed over the fact that only three countries have NO limits whatsoever, and the other 53 countries have some limits (click here for a link to their infographic). You do not explain what those gestational limits may be, and in many Western nations, abortion is illegal after the first trimester (including: Austria, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and Czech Republic). Some of these countries also include waiting periods (Netherlands, Germany), approval by a committee (Czech Republic, Denmark, UK) or mandatory counselling to try and convince the woman to continue her pregnancy (Germany).
The sad truth is that the other two countries with NO limits are North Korea and China. I hardly think anyone would say that equality with North Korea is to be desired, as they are grave violators of human rights. China as the third country with no abortion laws brings me to my argument that your figures are misleading. Instead of arranging your pie chart by number of countries with certain restrictions, you have weighted it towards percentage of world population. As China is in the same awful boat as us, and they have the largest population of any one country, this makes it seem like access to abortion is the most popular choice, when in fact more governments around this world have decided against allowing their tiniest citizens to be murdered.
In 1988 when the Supreme Court ruled on R. v. Morgentaler, they expected Canada to rewrite the laws, they even indicated it in their decision. By having zero laws it’s actually contrary to human rights. Other countries have gestational limits BECAUSE it’s obvious, through science, that a preborn child is actually a human (and not a clump of cells). If other countries choose to have limits it’s actually empowering, because it is recognizing human rights for all people – in the womb and out. It’s actually better that there are gestational limits and the fact that Canada has none is showing that it doesn’t value human rights as much as it says it does.
Are women’s right important? Of course they are. But when we decide that one person’s rights are more important than another person’s rights, we don’t have universal human rights. And when life is devalued at its most innocent stage, it becomes a slippery slope to devaluing human rights whenever anyone else’s existence is an inconvenience for us. I am glad to live in Canada for many reasons. This is not one of them. I am ashamed that my country allows this genocide to continue, and I am appalled that Canadian Living flaunts this “right” as if we should be proud. I request that a piece be published in the soonest possible edition of Canadian Living presenting the other side of such a sensitive issue. I am aware that this is a very charged, emotional and political issue, but you opened the can of worms yourself, and this cannot be ignored now. Should you feel that this issue is bigger than you can handle, I can recommend someone with more knowledge and literary eloquence than myself who works to support pre-born humans in Canada. I’m sure she would love to contribute to your magazine. Her name is Niki Devereaux and she can be reached at [email protected].
Thank you for taking this issue seriously. I otherwise enjoy reading your magazine, but am reconsidering my subscription pending your response,
For more information and the source of my stats, please see weneedalaw.ca