Hello. The venue for the upcoming event has been determined (after much blood, sweat and tears mostly shed by Clarissa). See you all at 40 St. George Street, Bahen Centre for Information Technology on the U of T campus, room 1170.


Canada being choosy with women’s rights?

An article in Life Site News caught my attention the other day. The Center Against Forced Abortion (CAFA) in Texas is taking measures to ensure women know they are legally protected against coerced abortion. Their efforts will involve the distribution of a letter to women and to parents of women, outlining their legal rights. The letter explains how the 1979 US supreme court case ruled that it was a criminal offense to

force, coerce, or exert undue pressure

in order to persuade a women to have an abortion. This was supposed to be a good news blog, but I did a little reading and realized that there was no such court case, no bill or law that was protecting Canadian women from coerced abortion. The C-510 bill, or Roxanne’s Law was tabled at the house of Commons on April 14th, 2010. An article in the National Post describes how the coordinator of the Abortion Rights Coalition in Canada didn’t think there was any need for the law as abortion clinics screen for this sort of thing anyway (um, does she have that under good authority???) and wouldn’t perform an abortion on someone who seemed to be there against their will. She also mentioned that she felt this law was

an attempt to open the door to recriminalization of abortion in Canada

Did she just change the subject? Where we not talking about women’s rights, like five seconds ago? Can we please go back to talking about women’s rights, Canada, or do you have to put all your efforts into defending abortion? You’ve made it legal, now please keep an eye on it and don’t let it get out of hand. Women should not be forced to have an abortion. Period.

Why would you join a movement that tried to ensure your mother could kill you?

This post from Jill Stanek is too good not to share:

Newsweek posted an interesting piece on April 16, “Remember Roe!”, with the byline, “How can the next generation defend abortion rights when they don’t think abortion rights need defending?”

How ironic. As I commented to a millennial who wrote an article at RH Reality Check attempting to refute Newsweek, “Elise, just one question: What in the world draws you to join a movement that tried every way possible to ensure your mother could kill you, unrestrained by any law or regulation whatsoever?”…

I wonder how you’d turn that into a recruitment slogan…

And some highlights from the article itself:

NARAL president Nancy Keenan had grown fearful about the future of her movement even before the health-care debate. Keenan considers herself part of the “postmenopausal militia,” a generation of baby-boomer activists now well into their 50s….

[W]hat worries Keenan is that she just doesn’t see a passion among the post-Roe generation – at least, not among those on her side.

This past January, when Keenan’s train pulled into Washington’s Union Station… she was greeted by a swarm of anti-abortion-rights activists. It was the 37th annual March for Life, organized every year on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe. “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,” Keenan recalled. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.” March for Life estimates it drew 400k activists to the Capitol this year. An anti-Stupak rally two months earlier had about 1,300 attendees.


Millennials also came of age as ultrasounds provided increasingly clear pictures of fetal development. “The technology has clearly helped to define how people think about a fetus as a full, breathing human being,” admits former NARAL president Kate Michelman. “The other side has been able to use the technology to its own end.”…

[W]ithin the abortion-rights community there’s a growing consensus on a promising path forward: start an open discussion about the moral, ethical, and emotional complexity of abortion that would be more likely to resonate with young Americans. “It’s a morally complex issue that both sides have tried to make black and white,” says Greenberg. “We have to recognize the moral complexity.”

Abortion-rights activists have traditionally hesitated on this front, viewing it as a slippery slope toward their own defeat. Instead, they often go to extremes to fend off even the smallest encroachments, opposing popular restrictions like parental-notification laws and bans on late-term procedures. Lately, though, Keenan has been more convinced that NARAL must adopt a more nuanced stance. On the 35th anniversary of Roe… she bluntly told a crowd… in Austin, TX… that “our reluctance to address the moral complexity of this debate is no longer serving our cause or our country well. In our silence, we have ceded moral ground.”

Of course, though abortion is often extremely complex emotionally, psychologically or even practically speaking, it’s not morally complex—is the unborn a human person or not? The reason that abortion advocates are so hesitant to address the moral complexity is that it’s hard to admit there’s anything wrong with abortion unless we’re talking about the unborn as a human person, in which case… how can we justify elective abortion to begin with?

Oh, and one other thing worth pointing out regarding NARAL: the last surviving founding member is now pro-life.

Michael Coren on Abortion as Canada’s National Shame

Back in February, Queen’s Alive hosted a talk by Michael Coren—Abortion: Canada’s National Shame. Well worth a listen when you have a chance (looks like roughly an hour and a half—9 parts on YouTube). The week after the talk, Coren wrote about the pro-choice students who showed up to protest in an article entitled, Rebels without a clue.

By the way, check out the fantastic Queen’s Alive blog!

“Having the right to die gives me the control I need to have a peaceful death.”

Here’s quick answer number four from COLF‘s “quick answers to common arguments” about euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“Having the right to die, even if I never exercise it, gives me the control I need to have a peaceful death.”

A peaceful death comes from acceptance not control. It is important that those people who are suffering are given compassion and help on their journey towards acceptance, until their natural death.

Focusing on controlling the circumstances of one’s death seems like a bit of an exercise of futility and resistance—not the most peaceful of approaches.

Requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide are often made out of a profound sense of despair. They are generally a call for help. At the heart of such a request is a profound fear of the pain the person may have to endure and of being alone in that suffering. Such a desire is typically transitory, especially when we respond to it with true compassion.

I was suprised when I first learnt this. Alex Schadenerg speaks out this in detail.

Our society has always reached out to suicidal citizens who need help in living, not help in dying. It would be quite a contradiction to continue funding distress centers and suicide prevention programs while legalizing assisted suicide. If people chose to die while temporarily depressed or in intense pain, instead of receiving proper medical attention, they will potentially be deprived of many good years of life.

Killing people is a lousy cop out, when people really need care. Telling someone, “oh, you need help? Sure! We can kill you!” is not providing them with a real solution to their problems.

Dying patients who are no longer competent to make their own decisions may find that physicians and members of their families take control and decide to end their life. For example, this could happen if a person has prepared a living will clearly stating his or her desire to be euthanized under certain circumstances, but no longer wishes to be killed once the time comes. The so-called right to choose death could become the right of other people to force your choice on you once you have become incompetent.

I think this is one of the most important points: legalized euthanasia empowers no one. Barbara Kay concludes that article, addressing one of the letters to the editor from Alex McKay in support of legalisation:

Ironically, if euthanasia and/or assisted suicide are legalized (philosophically it comes to the same thing), by the time Mr. McKay’s “wonderful life” has become less wonderful to the point of chronic pain and suffering, he may find, to his surprise, that against all logic he wishes to “cruelly extend” his life. But he may also find — nothing could be more logical — that others around him reproach him, saying no, “life is for the living,” and therefore it is unconscionable for him to have such expectations.

And thus, as is so often the case with those who privilege “logic” over human nature and the natural law, Mr. McKay, and others who are so smugly sure they know in advance what their late-life wishes will be, may be chagrined to discover that the words “deny me my dignity” and “against my will” have taken on a whole new — and rather macabre –meaning.

It is a false choice. It’s not about control—euthanasia is a public safety issue.

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