Are pro-lifers self-righteous?

So, it looks like my post from last week has some critics. I thank Christine for the post and I was hoping for a little discussion on equality and rights for the unborn, but maybe next time (I guess debating the personhood of the unborn is tough?). In the comments section Christine said something interesting:

…and if my side is reactionary, yours is nothing but self-righteous…

That got me thinking. Are pro-lifers self-righteous? Do we feel morally superior to pro-choicers? Are we so absorbed with the rights of the unborn and abortion that we fail to find common ground with pro-choicers and work with them?

First, it is important to note that I am pro-life because I believe the pro-life side to be true. There is no other reason for me to be on this blog unless I am convinced that the unborn are persons and that others need to come to this realization, as well. Therefore, it is not a matter of I am right because I am so smart and wonderful, but rather it is a realization of the truth of the pro-life side and a desire to spread that message of the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.

Furthermore, I am not pro-life so that I can put other people beneath me and tell them what to do. I respect everyone’s freedom and choices because we are all human beings with free will. However, and I think even pro-choicers will agree with me, when that freedom impedes or harms another person, then you have crossed a line. Pro-choicers believe that by outlawing abortion we are impeding and harming women. However, any society that has to resort to abortion has failed women. If a woman has no support, is frightened and has no other alternatives then abortion is not a choice but rather a necessity. The last thing authentic pro-lifers want to do is to put women down or to make them feel even more scared than they may already feel. We understand that an unplanned pregnancy is a difficult situation to face for any woman. Therefore, there are pro-lifers who run crisis pregnancy centres so that women can have the support and care they need to ensure they choose life for their children. Crisis pregnancy centres have gotten a bad rap recently but, minus the media bias, they do more than Planned Parenthood when it comes to taking care of mothers and their children.

Now, I will grant the pro-choice side the fact that they truly want choice. I just want to ask a question: What are pro-choicers doing to ensure that pregnant women actually have a choice? I do not know of any pro-choice pregnancy centres but if they are helping pregnant women in any way, please let me know.

I think pro-choicers may also believe we are self-righteous because there are some pro-lifers, although not all, who disagree with birth control. Not only are we taking away a woman’s right to choose, but we are telling her what to do in the privacy of her own bedroom (nevermind the fact that there are pro-choicers in the States who would like to keep us out of their bedrooms but pick up the tab, but that will be for another post). The University of Toronto Students for Life has no opinion on birth control (unless, of course, they can act as abortifacients) but you cannot deny the link between birth control and abortion. In fact, the United States Supreme Court had this to say in the 1992 ruling of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey:

But to do this would be simply to refuse to face the fact that, for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.

In other words, abortion has to remain legal because for the last few decades it has been available as “back-up birth control”. It is quite logical once you think about it. However, pro-lifers bring it up because it is true not because we are so wonderful at self-control and we think that women who use contraception are heathens.

In addition, pro-lifers are not trying to solely work through the courts to get rid of abortion. We are, primarily, trying to raise awareness on the ground level through dialogue and education. We do this in sun or rain and whether it is warm or freezing cold. We realize that raising awareness for the rights of the unborn is something that needs to be done not for our sake but for the sake of those who do not have a voice.

Finally, the reason pro-lifers usually do not try to find common ground with pro-choicers is that we believe in the personhood of the unborn and they do not. If you truly believe that the unborn are human beings who have rights then abortion can never be a choice. How can you justify murdering someone when you acknowledge that they have rights like you and me? Does that mean it is okay for someone to murder you for any reason? If pro-choicers, for example, want to help at crisis pregnancy centres that is great. However, we will not allow anyone to tell a woman that if all else fails then it would be alright to murder her child. That should never be a choice. The most bogus claim is when a person says that they believe that the unborn are persons but they themselves should stay out of the woman’s “choice”. That is not acceptable. If your neighbour was beating his wife every night would you say to yourself, “spousal abuse is wrong but I am going to stay out of it.”? I would hope you would have the courage to call the police. All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Again, it is truth that drives us to speak up against abortion, not that it makes us feel good and mighty.

I hope I have done a good enough job at pointing out why pro-lifers are not self-righteous. If I have missed anything, please comment :)

Tale of the Tape: Stephanie Gray

Yesterday we profiled Dr. Donald Ainslie in our lead-up to our debate next Monday night! Now I will highlight Dr. Ainslie’s opponent for the evening – Stephanie Gray:

EDUCATION

2008–2009 Certification, with Distinction, in Health Care Ethics, U.S. National Catholic Bioethics Center

1998–2002 Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia

AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION

Scientific and philosophical defense for the pro-life view (basic and advanced) and approaches for effective dialogue

Debates

Christian-based motivational presentations

Strategy for the pro-life movement

Organizing and conducting visual displays (e.g., the Genocide Awareness Project [GAP])

Speakers training

Fundraising training

Other Credentials:

- President of Lifeline, the University of British Columbia’s pro-life club from 1999–2001

- Guest on television programs such as CTV, VTV, and ATV News, Global News, 100 Huntley Street’s Listen Up, and the Miracle Channel’s Insight

- Interviewed by ABC-, NBC-, FOX-, and CBS-affiliated television news programs throughout the Midwest of the United States

This is going to be an epic night. I will post all of the details of the debate tomorrow. Don’t miss it!

Tale of the Tape: Dr. Donald Ainslie

UTSFL would first like to thank Dr. Ainslie for being a part of the most spectacular spectacle (does that make sense?) that U of T has ever seen: Debate 2011! Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation? Please mark off March 14, 2011 on your calendar and join us for what promises to be a great night of debating (venue still to be determined by our fearless leader Lucy). Here are the goods on Dr. Donald Ainslie:

Education: BSc (Mathematics, Queen’s), MA, PhD (Pittsburgh)

Associate Professor

Professor Ainslie has research interests in the philosophy of David Hume, naturalism in ethics, and the foundation of bioethics.

Selected Articles

“Hume a Scotish Socrates?”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33(1). 2003.
“AIDS and Sex: Is Warning a Moral Obligation?”, Health Care Analysis 10(1). 2002.
“Bioethics And The Problem Of Pluralism”, Social Philosophy and Policy 19(2). 2002.
“Hume’s reflections on the identity and simplicity of mind”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62(3). 2001.
“Scepticism about persons in Book II of Hume’s Treatise”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 37(3). 1999.
“The Problem of the National Self in Hume’s Theory of Justice”, Hume Studies 21(2). 1995.
Tomorrow: Stephanie Gray

Did I mention there is a debate happening?

You know, it is kind of sad that pro-choicers are the first ones to advertise the debate happening March 14, 2011 on “Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation?”. We here at UTSFL have been waiting quite some time for a debate and now that time has arrived! All this week this blog will be in preparation mode for this debate and it is sure to be a great event! I will have information on both debaters, Stephanie Gray (pro-life side) and Donald Ainslie (pro-choice side) along with other goodies to get you guys ready. The venue has yet to be determined but when it is it will be posted on the blog. Until then check out the pro-choicers doing my dirty work for me in advertising:

http://www.facebook.com/v/10150093128796050

HT: Alissa Golob of the Campaign Life Coalition

A Satire on a Woman’s Right to Lose

My fiancee’s cousin, Leah D’Ettore, has a lot of writing talent. Here is one of her poems that I want to share (I hope she does not have this copyrighted!):

A Satire on a Woman’s Right to Lose
O, Statesman of justice and reform!
O, merciful terror of the unborn!
Justice is that which fills your life with ease;
Bull in a china shop, aiming to please;
You staunchly defend the strong from the weak
By silencing those with no voice to speak.
So your feminist polls begin to bloat
‘Cause the lives that matter are lives that vote!
 
O! Bah! Maock all those wretches who object
To your platform of murder and neglect.
Dismiss them as hateful, behind the times!
Don’t give them a chance to denounce your crimes.
 
‘But!’ you slyly cry, ‘it’s her right to choose!
And she has no right to cause her to lose
Her career, her life, her independence!’
O, hero of truth; slayer of infants!
‘Her happiness is my concern,’ you lie,
As all her chances for happiness die.
 
Hitler and Stalin – they would envy you!
Yours is a holocaust just, and cleaner too.
No chambers of gas, just hospital beds,
Where innocents to the slaughter are led.
Where, in the name of woman’s sacred right,
You will extinguish woman’s sacred light.
-          A One Time Foetus

Choice: Carleton-style

Unfortunately, this is not surprising. If you followed the news that Blaise posted on Friday regarding Carleton Lifeline’s correspondence with the University you may already know that Carleton University decertified the pro-life group. The National Post ran a story Monday on this shameful action by the University:

The student association at Carleton University has decided that any club that is opposed to abortion has no place on campus and would have its funding as a student club cut off.

On Monday, Carleton Lifeline, an anti-abortion group, was told by CUSA, the Carleton University Student Association, that it was in violation of CUSA’s anti-discrimination policy.

Isn’t Carleton Lifeline being discriminated against for their belief in equal rights for unborn children?
Therefore, because of CUSA’s commitment to choice, Carleton Lifeline can no longer promote activities on campus or even lobby in any way that would go against a pro-choice position.
The president of Carleton Lifeline, Ruth Lobo, had a good response to the position of CUSA:
It is ironic that they support choice and do not see that they not having an abortion is a choice,
CUSA does a wonderful gesture, however, and gives Careleton Lifeline a saving grace (sarcasm off):
We invite you to amend your constitution to create one that respects our anti-discrimination policy as laid out above. If you are able to resubmit a constitution that meets our criteria by Thursday, November 18th we will be able to certify your club for this semester
So….how will this work? Either unborn children have human rights that need to be respected or they do not. A pro-life group cannot say in one breath that the unborn are human and are worthy of the right to life and then say “but if you really want an abortion you can go ahead”. I think actual choice and free speech are foreign concepts when it comes to the CUSA.