Friday, May 27, 2011

Abortion incrementalism

I love the Americans. They talk about abortion. A lot.

Every day, day in and day out, my Google alerts tell me this. Americans are always blogging about abortion and there are always new abortion laws in the works.

But Google alerts hardly ever show abortion discussion in Canada. And as far as new abortion laws...well of course...we have no abortion laws. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

And every time an MP introduces any bill that would in any way restrict abortion, well the government comes out and says it won't support the bill. Like what happened with Roxanne's Law introduced last year by MP Rod Bruinooge. (Bill C-510 which would have provided additional protection to a woman from being coerced into having an abortion she didn't choose to have.)

Fine. If Stephen Harper doesn't want to support private member's bills on abortion, that's his choice. Hopefully his refusal to debate, discuss or even think about abortion, doesn't affect how other MPs vote. Because clearly such bills are a matter of conscience.

But what I can't understand is this. Why would we get opposition to such a bill from people who are actually in the pro-life community?

Apparently it's because some people are against the philosophy, that if we can't protect all babies, well then, they won't support a law that would protect only some babies.

In other words, some pro-life people do not support abortion incrementalism.

Here are two excellent discussions on this idea of abortion incrementalism (from an American of course), Dr. Gerard M. Nadal here and here.

The way I see it, is this. The next time a back bench MP introduces a private member's bill on the subject matter of abortion, we have two options:

A) We all support such a bill that restricts abortion in some way. We save some lives. (a recent poll commissioned by Sun Media taken by Abacus Poll Inc told us that 27% of Canadians believe that human life should be protected from the moment of conception, 21% believe human life should be protected after three months of pregnancy, 11% believe human life should be protected after six months of pregnancy. So we know that there would be public support for such a bill)
B) We wait for that perfect law that criminalizes all abortions.

I say we choose option A. At least some of our pre-born children might have a fighting chance at life.

Or, we can wait for option B. But just between you, me, the lamppost and this side of heaven--it isn't going to happen.

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