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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Plenty of hypocrisy and dishonesty can be found on both sides of the abortion debate

The abortion debate was effectively settled in Canada by a 1988 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the previous law pertaining to it as unconstitutional. Since then, Canada has no criminal law on the books regarding abortion, despite the best efforts of anti-abortion activists to re-impose one. 

The final nail in the coffin of the movement to re-criminalize abortion came when Stephen Harper declared in 2011 that his government would not reopen the abortion debate nor bring forward any legislation on it.

Harper is as conservative a Prime Minister that Canada has had in many years. Some might reasonably argue that Paul Martin was more conservative on fiscal matters, but overall Stephen Harper is the best that Canadian "small 'c' conservatives realistically could have hoped for. And Harper came to the conclusion that legislatively touching the abortion issue is suicidal. That should have told the anti-abortion movement something. Evidently they haven't heard it.

I know quite a few people who are adamantly opposed to abortion. Some are exceptionally bright and are motivated by a belief in the sanctity of, and respect for, human life. Others are batshit crazy, have had abortions they regret, and became so wracked with guilt that they subsequently devoted their entire beings to taking a choice away from others because they lacked the foresight to understand the ramifications of a choice they made. I'm firmly of the opinion that having the abortions didn't make them unbalanced, it just provided a convenient scapegoat on which to pin their angst. Talking to that kind of sanctimonious anti-abortion activist is as tedious as listening to an ex-alcoholic who demands universal temperance because he couldn't handle his booze.

Both sides in Canada's abortion debate exhibit tidal waves of hypocrisy, so before we get further into the subject, let's deal with the dishonest way both sides characterize, not their opponents, but themselves.

Both "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are bullshit terms coming from the people who lay claim to them.

Evan for someone who supports legal abortion,
this campaign looks moronic 
I know way too many self-described "pro-life" people who are adamantly in favor of the death penalty for that term to reasonably apply to them. 

The same strain of hypocrisy runs even stronger in the so called "pro-choice" camp. When, ever, has anyone seen an allegedly "pro-choice" activist campaign for any choice in the matter but to have an abortion? I've never heard of one campaign for the right of women not to have forced abortions, as China and India imposed on some women.

In fact, there's a campaign going on right now to remove ads from Toronto's public transit system which encourage women to consider adoption if they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. The ads, which promote an alternative choice, are incomprehensibly characterized by pro-abortion activists as "anti-choice."

I can only surmise the people behind that campaign are actual imbeciles or have some mental illness by which they're emotionally invested in the destruction of human fetuses and feel they get a point for each abortion, commensurate to a point in a debating contest. 

So let's call things what they are. People aren't "pro-choice" or "pro-life." They are either pro-abortion or anti-abortion, and I say that as someone who is pro-abortion, in that I support a woman's legal right to have a safe abortion.  But just because I'm in favor of legal abortions doesn't mean I'm not disgusted by the far-left's efforts on campuses and in the public sphere to try to deny anti-abortion activists their right to free speech and to make a moral case.

The moral argument against abortion, particularly late-term ones, is frequently persuasive. The way the law, or more precisely the lack of one, stands right now, you can destroy a fetus ten seconds before birth and it's a medical procedure, but ten seconds later the same act is murder. In practical terms, it's virtually impossible to find a doctor in Canada who would perform an abortion that late in the pregnancy unless the mother's life were threatened. But legally, there's nothing to prevent it from happening. 

However, for me, the 'life begins at conception' argument is not particularly persuasive. Technically, that may be true, and yes, there is a little heartbeat at five weeks of gestation. But as far as that goes, I've been responsible for hundreds, maybe thousands of deaths of living beings far more sentient and with more practical intelligence than a human fetus. There are innumerable chickens, tuna, salmon, cows, pigs and a few other animals that are no longer alive because I think they're tasty if cooked properly. (Although I pretty much eliminated pig from my diet after I saw Babe.) I'd be willing to bet real money that most anti-abortion activists are not vegetarians. The comparison between a human fetus and a living cow will no doubt offend some no end, but there you have it.

For me, what's more offensive are laws that some people are trying to impose on women telling them what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. You have the right to make any moral case you want, but trying to invoke the power of the state in that circumstance is as much a violation of basic rights as it would be if the state forced people into being live donors for organ and tissue transplants. 

What the activists who want to re-criminalize abortion fail to realize is that not only have they lost the war, but by continuing to fight a losing cause, they have become so toxic that they are harming their own side in other causes they would want to see succeed. The anti-abortion movement has become hemlock in Canadian politics and no serious conservative politician who is trying to be a leader wants to drink it.

If there's a battle for the anti-abortion side to fight, it's the fight to be able to exercise their rights on campuses and elsewhere to free speech. Even as someone who supports legal abortion, that's a battle in which I side with them, and one they might actually win.


Neil Flagg said...

To clarify the anti-abortion/pro-capital-punishment logic: it's about protecting INNOCENT life and punishing GUILTY life (first-degree murderers with absolute proof of crime). I find it to be a very consistent position. Capital punishment should be extremely rare and only for first-degree murder with no shred of doubt. Abortion should be 99.99% unnecessary, as medically-necessary abortions to save the life of a mother are almost eliminated in this era of advanced obstetrics. Further, the adoption option for infertile couples has become almost impossible "thanks" to mass free unlimited legal abortion.

Skippy Stalin said...

"In practical terms, it's virtually impossible to find a doctor in Canada who would perform an abortion that late in the pregnancy unless the mother's life were threatened. But legally, there's nothing to prevent it from happening."

Hence, there's demonstrably no need for a law. Legislating purely as a means of making people feel better is not a function of government.

There are any number of folks on both sides of the political divide that question the competence of government, but are awfully selective about it. On our side, they scream that government can't regulate the business cycle, but is uniquely qualified to determine when life begins.

My distrust of the government has, in recent years, extended to the death penalty. For the longest time, I deflected anti-capital punishment arguments by saying that I would join their team when they showed me an innocent person that has been executed. I'm now aware of at least one.

Besides, Okalahoma has proven that the government is unequal to the task of humanely smoking you when you're strapped down to a fucking gurney, and everything!

As to Neil's point about the need for the death penalty being rare, that would necessarily make it arbitrary, which poses some constitutional problems under the American Eighth Amendment. The US death penalty wasn't abolished by the Supreme Court in Furhman v. Georgia (1972) because it was "cruel", but because it had become "unusual."