Wednesday, September 26, 2012

M-312 Aborted, Questions Live On

If a pregnant woman with a 38 week old fetus is violently attacked and survives but the fetus dies there is no charge of murder. Is that just?

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth proposed Motion 312 ostensibly to update the archaic definition of when life begins in the Canadian legal code, but more realistically his intention was to re-open the debate on abortion. Though today M-312 was defeated, the questions it asked still need answers.

The question of when life begins is important but answers are distorted from both sides of the abortion debate.

Pro-life advocates mistakenly cling to the idea that life begins at conception, ignoring scientific evidence on the necessary development required for life to be present. Pro-choice supporters on the other hand just as mistakenly point to the moment of birth as the start of life, that somehow a fetus arbitrarily moving two feet down the birth canal magically changes its biological composition enough that it can finally be deemed alive.

Both of these groups are wrong of course because the development of life is a complex process made up of  diverse gradations. Life does not begin at conception, nor birth, and it is just as false to believe either.

The reason for this polarization is that each side's enemy is the slippery slope. When the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) met in August, reaffirming their position that life begins at birth, they did not cite evidence, instead they cited the fear of the slippery slope eroding womens' rights.

This irrational fear has led the CMA to hold contrary positions; where the Association has stated life begins at birth, it simultaneously will not condone abortion after 20 weeks gestation, except in the most rare and extreme of circumstances. Now if life really did begin at birth, performing abortions on 21 week old fetuses should not be prohibited and womens' rights should not be infringed upon.

The fear of the slippery slope can only be overcome with knowledge, unfortunately it is very likely that science will never be able to give a specific point in time for when life starts. We can however hope that a better time frame, something more accurate than somewhere in the third trimester is found.

Yet today pro-choice supporters can rejoice that this motion proposed by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth was defeated, but they should be cautioned that the questions on when life begins still needs to be answered.

But perhaps the question of when life begins is like the very process it seeks to investigate and it will only be answered through a long complex process of gradual changes and development. The defeat of M-312 was just the conception, to determine the proper legal definition of when life begins is the labour.


RuaidhrĂ­ said...

I could implant Albert Einstein in you, Nobel Prize Medal and all (That bit might be uncomfortable) and it wouldn't change your right to say: "Get him out of there, I don't agree to do this".
That is why you're wrong about the need for these "questions" to be answered. said...

Ruaidhri, I'm not really sure what you are trying to say.

If I make the stretch and assume you are suggesting that a pregnant woman with a fully developed person has the right to terminate the fetus, I'd point out that the Canadian Medical Association disagrees with you.