Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In her own words

Joyce Arthur says that :
“I have never said what Jeff Watson claims I did in his survey. He’s tried to sum up what he thinks our position is, but he’s put his own anti-choice spin on it,” she said. “He’s inserted this phrase ‘at any time, for any reason — including for sex-selection or birth control’ as if it’s part of my position and it’s not."

If her position on abortion is not an any time, any reason position, including for sex-selection or birth control, then what exactly, is her position?

I've put together a few choice quotes from Ms. Arthur herself, to help readers see if they can figure out for themselves, what those gestational limits might be, and for what reasons, that Ms. Arthur would not condone abortion.

From here

From Point 3:
"It is senseless and cruel to restrict or ban abortion because giving rights to fetuses or banning abortion does nothing to 'protect the unborn' or women."

From Point 4:
"Historical and medical evidence clearly shows the negative and often catastrophic results when the state interferes and imposes restrictions on the reproductive rights of women in the interests of “protecting” fetuses,[16] [17] as if women are incapable or irresponsible. But the only person who can make conscientious and informed decisions on behalf of an embryo or fetus is the pregnant woman herself. The state’s only role should be to ensure that women have the resources and supports they need to achieve the best pregnancy outcomes – which may sometimes include having an abortion. We can trust women to know what is best for their families and themselves, which means there’s no need to re-open the abortion debate in Canada."

From Point 6:
"If late-term abortions were restricted by law, it would penalize women in the most tragic circumstances by making it difficult or impossible for them to obtain desperately needed abortions."

And from her comments below about sex selection:
"Yes, sex selection can be a sexist act, but it's nonsensical to protect women from discrimination by restricting their rights. In India, laws against sex-selection abortion cause women to resort to unsafe and illegal abortion to avoid having a girl, and some may even face abuse and violence from their families if they bear a girl.
"Of course, abortions are not something women want to do -- they make this difficult decision for one reason or another -- family needs, their personal circumstances, their health, or their own inability or reluctance to be a parent. As blogger Jane Cawthorne explains, having an abortion for reasons of sex selection is not much different than having one for financial reasons, or because the baby will be disabled. The answer is not to coerce a woman into giving birth to an unwanted girl just "to make some sort of anti-sexist point." Instead, we must strive to "make the world a place where little girls are as wanted as little boys, where the systemic discrimination of women is a thing of the past."

And here are some excerpts from her article, "Canada does not need an abortion law":
"Most anti-abortionists confidently state as “scientific fact” that human life begins at conception and therefore embryos deserve legal protection. The question of when life begins is a philosophical issue, not a scientific one, and there can be no consensus. The moral value of a fetus is also a matter of personal opinion, so it must be left up to individual women to decide what their fetus means to them, if anything. But even women who believe abortion is murder often need abortions, so the nature of the fetus and its moral status are ultimately beside the point. Women’s lives, health, and basic human rights depend on the availability of abortion, and those are the only factors necessary to justify abortion.

"A common anti-abortion claim is that there’s no difference between a newborn and a 9-month fetus, therefore a fetus should have legal rights. But a fetus is inside the woman and completely dependent on her, which makes all the difference in the world. A pregnant woman cannot hand over her fetus to someone else to take care of, like she could with a newborn. Further, pregnancy has a major effect on a woman’s body and emotional state, and every pregnancy carries some risk of serious complication or death. The crucial decision to take on that risk—no matter how small—can only be decided by the pregnant woman herself."
"Women now have well-established constitutional rights to life, liberty, conscience, security of the person, and equality. Such rights cannot be easily removed or compromised, and all are directly implicated in the abortion issue.

"Some commentators simply presume that since all other developed nations have abortion laws, Canada should have one too. But this ignores the historical context. Legal restrictions in liberal countries are a relic of patriarchy and religious tradition – they evolved from total abortion bans that were in place earlier in the 20th century. Canada is lucky, in a sense, that the revised abortion law we had in place from 1969 to 1988, was so bad that our Supreme Court threw it out as unconstitutional. Other countries took a different path, with legislatures tinkering with the original abortion law. For most of the 20th century, people could not comprehend the idea that women should or could exercise a right to abortion on request. As a result, existing abortion laws were revised on the unquestioned and false assumption that some kind of abortion law was necessary."
"The abortion debate will probably never be resolved on a philosophical level, because the anti-choice movement is strongly motivated by religious ideology. Their fixation on the fetus, with their foregone conclusion that fetuses are full human beings with rights, cancels out any competing claim for women’s rights. Underlying all the pro-fetus rhetoric is the unquestioned assumption that women were made to have babies, this is their God-given natural role, and the law must enforce that. "
"But access to safe and legal abortion is a fundamental human right for women, not something that should even be up for debate, let alone negotiation or compromise. This is not about “a woman’s right to choose,” which just trivializes the issue. It’s about a woman’s right to life. Because the right to life means more than just mere physical survival, it must be backed up by democratic rights and freedoms, including the right to pursue happiness on one’s own chosen path."
"On the abortion issue, Canada has shown that women and doctors act in a timely and responsible manner, without punitive criminal laws to control them. Canada enjoys a low abortion rate compared to the rest of the world, and most Canadians support women’s rights and equality. This gives Canada a special responsibility to be a role model to the world. Let’s demonstrate that abortion practice can be successfully managed as part of standard healthcare, and that having no law is better for women."

And excerpts from her article, "We Don't Need a Law Against Abortion" where she talks about funding:
"Let’s be clear — There is absolutely no justification for regulating abortion via criminal or civil law. That is no “radical feminist” proposition, but one based on evidence, common sense, and the widely-accepted belief that women deserve equality.

"As the only democratic country in the world with no legal restrictions against abortion, Canada serves as a valuable model for other countries."
"There’s another important reason we should not pass any abortion restrictions—to protect women’s rights. Only women get pregnant. Therefore, any regulation of pregnancy is inherently discriminatory, because such laws place a special burden on women that is not placed on men. This also means all abortion care should be fully funded under the Canada Health Act as “medically required,” just like childbirth. After all, we fund the costs of delivery even though women choose to get pregnant for socio-economic reasons, not medical reasons. Unless all pregnancy outcomes are funded equally, the government holds the "right to choose" instead of women—poor women in particular. That's discrimination, and a violation of women’s constitutional equality rights. "

"The case for repealing anti-abortion laws":
"All anti-abortion restrictions are unjust, harmful, and useless because they rest on traditional religious and patriarchal foundations. Laws kill and injure women, violate their human rights and dignity, impede access to abortion, and obstruct healthcare professionals."
"A fetus is not innocent, as anti-choice people claim. Although an unwanted fetus has no ill intent, it is exploiting the woman's body and endangering her life and health against her will. Bringing a pregnancy to term is far riskier than having an abortion, and any pregnancy has a profound effect on a woman's whole being, mentally and physically. Therefore, a woman has the right to defend her life and health with an abortion."

In this article, she calls decriminalizing abortion, taking the "moral high road":
"The Canadian pro-choice movement will do all it can to ensure that Canada never goes back, and we encourage other countries to embark upon a similar journey. When women can make their own reproductive decisions without interference from the state, society takes the moral high road -- one that saves lives, raises women's status and potential, and ultimately benefits everyone."

So can you tell us then, Ms. Arthur; in your own words, please. What are those specific reasons, and your position, on when you would not condone abortion? We're all dying to know.

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