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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Breast cancer prevention

Not only does the Breast Cancer Industry receive 36 times more money from donors than colorectal cancer, but those dollars have little impact on breast cancer prevention.

On page 38 of Charity Intelligence Canada's report Cancer in Canada there is a graph that identifies the Opportunity for Donor Impact of the top cancers in Canada.

Under the prevention column you see there are no dollar signs for Breast Cancer. According to the legend on the graph, this means there is:
"Limited or no opportunity for donor impact".

Page 41 says:
"Breast Cancer in Canada: Donor opportunity for impact – Very Low, due to saturation and past success"

And yet we know there is evidence that points to a possible link between breast cancer and abortion, a link the Breast Cancer Industry refuses to acknowledge.

The report also summarizes some of other cancers and their donor impacts:
"Pancreatic Cancer: Donor opportunity for impact – Very High
Lung Cancer: Donor opportunity for impact – High
Colorectal Cancer: Donor opportunity for impact – High
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Donor opportunity for impact – Moderate to High
Ovarian Cancer: Donor opportunity for impact – Moderate to High"

On page 41 the report summarizes breast cancer funding in this way:
"Breast cancer is the most funded cancer – receiving 28% of all Canadian cancer funding, despite representing fewer than 10% of cancer deaths or PYLL [potential years of life lost]. Breast cancer receives 3 times the average of the other 9 top killers: more than $10,000 per breast cancer death. With 45 charities focused on breast cancer and high support from general cancer charities – and the resulting high survival rates – breast cancer has a low funding need relative to other cancers."

If breast cancer "has a low funding need relative to other cancers", why do we see that little pink ribbon on so many consumer products?

So, let's go out on a limb here.
Let's assume just for one tiny moment (work with me on this), that yes, there just might actually be an increase in the incidence of breast cancer for women who have had one or more previous abortions.
If we then started telling women about this evidence, letting them decide for themselves if it had merit, I wonder what might happen?

Maybe some women might opt out of choosing to have an abortion. Maybe some women might choose to keep their baby. Maybe some women would choose to put their baby up for adoption instead.

I wonder how much breast cancer prevention we might see then?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Breast cancer industry won't tell you about ABC

The Ottawa Citizen's Randall Denley tells us that:
"colorectal cancer killed an estimated 9,100 Canadians last year. It’s the second-deadliest cancer, after lung cancer. Breast cancer took 5,400 lives and has an 89-per-cent survival rate, and yet breast cancer received 36 times more money from donors than colorectal cancer."

Not only does the breast cancer industry get all that money from individual donors, but all manner of household products now endorse the breast cancer industry with their pink ribbon logo.

The breast cancer industry also refuses to inform women about the possible link between breast cancer and abortion (ABC). So I've decided to start boycotting these companies when I see the pink ribbon on their products.

Recently I sent an email to Kruger and to Country Harvest Bread because of the pink ribbon.

This is what I wrote to Country Harvest Bread:

I used to purchase your bread products frequently.

However recently I note that all of your bread products support the Breast Cancer Industry with the pink ribbon logo on your packaging. So I have decided to boycott your products because of this, and will encourage others to do the same.

You see, the Breast Cancer Industry refuses to acknowledge the possible link between abortion and breast cancer (ABC). Many studies have shown evidence for a link between abortion and Breast Cancer, evidence the Breast Cancer Industry continues to dismiss. For further information please see:'t%20Go%20Away.pdf

Should you decide to
a) stop supporting the Breast Cancer Industry,
b) acknowledge the possible ABC link,
I will again start purchasing your products.

Patricia Maloney

Friday, May 13, 2011

Crippling free speech on campus and in Parliament

(An edited version of this article appeared in the March/April 2011 issue of LifeCanada News)

There is a disturbing parallel between what is happening to university pro-life clubs, and politicians’ refusal to debate abortion in Parliament. In both cases, those in authority are censoring freedom of speech and freedom of expression as it relates to abortion.

In an interview with CBC's Peter Mansbridge in January, Stephen Harper was asked if his government received a majority in the next election, whether he would "reopen the abortion issue". Mr. Harper responded:
"No, no, no. Look Peter, I've spent my political career trying to stay out of that issue. It's one on which people, including in my own party have passionate views, they're all over the map, and you know what I say to you know, many people I know are pro-life...what I say to people, is if you want to diminish the number of abortions you've got to change hearts and not laws, and I'm not interested in having a debate over abortion law."

But Mr. Harper doesn't seem to get it. Changing laws, and the necessary debate that the legislative process involves, is actually a very powerful mechanism for changing hearts, as one of Canada's most vocal abortion proponents herself admitted.

A few years ago MP Ken Epp introduced a bill C-484 in Parliament, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act (1). The bill created heated discussion in the media, both from the pro-life side and from the pro-choice side. Many so-called "pro-choicers" argued vigorously against the bill, most notably, Joyce Arthur, head of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Arthur let slip her real motivation behind her opposition to Bill C-484 when she said:
"If the fetuses are recognized in this bill, it could bleed into people's consciousness and make people change their minds about abortion".(2)

Arthur was worried about what effect legal recognition of the value of the fetus would have on the public's perception of abortion, even though Bill C-484 did not in any way criminalize consensual abortion. The bill only offered protection to the pre-born child in one very narrow circumstance (i.e., when the pregnant mother is the victim of a crime and her baby is intentionally harmed as well).

But Arthur was afraid such a law would do exactly what Mr. Harper said, and hearts would be changed against abortion.

Even if a law on the subject matter of abortion does not in fact pass, the discussion and debate it generates is a crucial means to changing hearts. It is difficult to fathom the Prime Minister not recognizing this connection.

Now let’s look at what is happening to pro-life groups on university campuses, and the latest pro-life group casualty, Carleton’s Lifeline. This is just one more campus pro-life group, in a long line of many, which is being silenced across our country.

Last fall these pro-life students were charged with two counts of trespassing each: one count of engaging in prohibited activity and one count of failing to leave the premises when asked.

Why were they charged? Because they planned to display the Genocide Awareness Project (the GAP exhibit compares abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide) at Tory Quad, a large outdoor area on campus with high traffic.

Lifeline is now suing the University (3). Lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos says about the lawsuit:
"If universities begin to censor students on the basis of their political belief, universities will become centres of indoctrination as opposed to centres of learning. Freedom of expression on a university campus is essential to its integrity.”

So why did CUSA want to prevent Lifeline from showing the GAP project?

It's the truth behind those pictures. Graphically showing abortion destroys the euphemistic label "pro-choice". A picture really is worth a thousand words: "Pro-choice"=bloody killed fetus. There really is no nice way to say this. If University students see these pictures, they see the truth--the result of abortion. They do not see "pro-choice".

If CUSA allows Lifeline to show these graphic depictions of abortion, young impressionable university students might turn against abortion. They might have a change of heart.

CUSA and other anti-prolife student unions are learning from our political leaders that censorship and quashing of debate on abortion is acceptable. This disturbing ripple effect encourages students to discriminate against pro-life students because some people have decided they don't like the message.

We reap (in our universities) what we sow (in our Parliament).

Canadians must become engaged in the political process at all levels. Because censoring debate, whether in Parliament or on university campuses--is not freedom of speech. And it is not democracy.

(1) This bill would have created a separate offense for intentionally harming or killing an unborn child during the commission of an offense against the child's mother. The bill passed at Second Reading in the spring of 2008, but it died before it could get to the Third Reading vote because an election was called in the fall of 2008.
2) "Fetal rights stir debate on abortion," by Charles Lewis, National Post, March 1, 2008
3) Statement of claim

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Make late-term abortions illegal and defund abortions

The Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, David Krayden, called on Harper to open up the abortion debate, on CFRA's "Lunch Bunch" yesterday.

Krayden says late-term abortions should be made illegal, and abortions should be defunded.

Krayden also says:
"Harper has the opportunity to create a true conservative majority in Canada, and that means being principled conservatism, it doesn't mean being pragmatic on all means believing in something, and that's why people are going to follow conservatism in this country."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Abortion excludes the unborn from the rights and protections accorded to all other human beings

In his scholarly article Abortion and Catholic Social Teaching, Father THOMAS D.WILLIAMS, L.C. talks about abortion as a social justice problem.

Father Thomas gives six characteristics to illustrate the uniqueness of abortion:

"1. Abortion deals specifically with the destruction of innocent life. This differentiates discussion of abortion from many other related social justice issues. We are not discussing the killing of enemies, as in war, or “guilty life,” as in capital punishment, with all the moral considerations that must be brought to bear on these cases. This is why then- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in June 2004 wrote: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”18 Though all life is precious, moral theology has always differentiated the destruction of “innocent life” as particularly heinous and always and everywhere worthy of condemnation. 19 No one can “in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being.”20 No one is more innocent and defenseless than an unborn child.

2. A further distinguishing factor of abortion as a social phenomenon is the sheer magnitude of the problem. Though completely reliable statistics are unavailable, conservative estimates place the number of legal abortions performed worldwide each year at 25–30 million, a figure that alone makes abortion a social problem of staggering proportions. “Humanity today offers us a truly alarming spectacle,” wrote Pope John Paul, “if we consider not only how extensively attacks on life are spreading but also their unheard-of numerical proportion.”21 An isolated murder would be a social problem, but one of reduced proportions. A serial killer would pose a more serious social problem still. But yearly killings in the millions cry out for immediate and decisive action. The volume of abortions underscores the social nature of the problem, and makes abortion one of the most serious social-justice issues not only of the present day, but of all time.

3. Unlike other instances of massive killing of human life, like terrorism or serial killing, which stand clearly outside of the law, abortion enjoys legal sanction. Abortion involves the systematic, hygienic, legal elimination of human life. Pope John Paul II wrote of the novelty of this menace, due to its internal nature. “They are not only threats coming from the outside,” he wrote,“from the forces of nature or the ‘Cains’ who kill the ‘Abels’; no, they are scientifically and systematically programmed threats.”22 Later, he remarked on the peculiarity of abortion as a legal right. After listing a series of terrible threats to human life, such as poverty, malnutrition, war, and the arms trade, he then contrasted them with a new class of threats on life. Not only are these attacks on life no longer considered as crimes, he wrote,“paradoxically they assume the nature of ‘rights,’ to the point that the State is called upon to give them legal recognition and to make them available through the free services of health-care personnel.”23

4. A fourth distinguishing aspect of abortion is its arbitrary division of human beings into those worthy of life and those unworthy. Abortion deals not with the random killing of unrelated individuals, but the circumscription of an entire class of human beings (the unborn) as non citizens and non-persons, excluded from the basic rights and protections accorded to all other human beings. In this way abortion mimics the great historical tragedies of all time, which always began with the denigration of an entire class of people as unworthy of life or freedom. Historically the greatest social evils perpetrated on humanity—genocide, racism, abortion, anti-Semitism, sexism, slavery—have always violated the principle of equality, relegating an entire sector of the human family to an inferior status, with a dignity lower than the rest. Since human rights flow from human dignity, once dignity is called into question, equal rights cannot but share in the same fate. If human dignity depends on anything other than simple membership in the human race—be it intelligence, athletic ability, social status, race, age, or health—we immediately find ourselves in the situation of having to distinguish between persons.

5. Abortion even distinguishes itself from related bioethical questions such as euthanasia and assisted suicide because of the absence of the possibility of informed consent. The status of the unborn as voiceless and most vulnerable adds a further dimension to the discussion of the morality and gravity of abortion. Here the bioethical category of“autonomy” cannot be applied, since unborn children have no way of speaking for themselves.

6. Finally, abortion differs from other major social ills such as unemployment and divorce because of its relative invisibility. Not only are the victims themselves voiceless, those who perpetrate abortion have no interest in speaking publicly about it, and neither do the women and girls who abort. It takes place behind closed doors and relies on persons and institutions uninvolved in the process to speak out. Yet even legislators are squeamish about frank discussions of the phenomenon of abortion, and pro-life advertising is banned from most network television. Abortion takes place behind closed doors, and is hushed in public. As in the case of slavery, the social injustice of abortion relies on the courage of persons and institutions uninvolved in the process to speak out."