A Woman’s Right to Choose: The First Question

~~ The first installment in a heated debate ~~

Today in the Canadian government, Tory MP Stephen Woodworth put forth a motion that a committee examine a section of the Criminal Code that deems babies to be humans from the moment they have fully emerged from the birth canal.

This motion has sparked outrage from pro-abortion MPS of all stripes, and in the Canadian community at large, as it is an unapologetic attempt to criminalize abortion.  Since 1989 under Brian Mulroney, abortion has been entirely unrestricted, legal throughout the 9 months of pregnancy until birth and funded publicly, through a taxpayer-funded health system.**  We are one of the only Western nations without any laws governing this practice.

The anger in parliament and in Canada is understandable, considering the belief that it is “a full-frontal assault on a woman’s right to choose” (Quebec NDP Francois Bouvin).  Women have fought long and hard for the rights we have – the ability to vote, own property, receive the same rate of pay for the same work, among many others.  In a world where women’s bodies frequently are considered the property of men, we have also fought for the right to control our own sexuality, for the dignity of determining who, how and when the most personal and private parts of ourselves are shared.  These rights are pivotal to our freedom.  They are pivotal to our nature.  And they are pivotal to our humanness.

This, however, is the problem: we always respond to abortion as an issue of women’s rights.  That is not the first issue.  Before we can look at abortion as the right to choose, we have to determine one other thing: is the fetus a human being?  At what point does it become a human being?  Who determines if it is a human being?  For if it indeed is a human being before birth, then the very humanness of that fetus precedes the rights of the woman.

Woodworth admits that this is an attempt to criminalize abortion.  That is no secret.  He also, and very reasonably, said, “those who believe that a fetus becomes human at the moment of birth should have the courage of their convictions and be willing to expose them to an examination of the evidence.”

Why are pro-abortionists afraid to broach this very first of questions?  Could it be because there is a reasonable argument stating that the fetus is a human being prior to exiting the birth canal?  Is it that there is a scientific and logical argument that suggests life may begin before the first breath?  This is the first issue, before a woman’s right to choose – is a fetus a baby?  If pro-abortionists could seriously, scientifically, and reasonably assert that a fetus is not a human being, then there should be no issue of losing the woman’s right to choose.

I would suggest that the government and pro-abortionists, then, examine scientifically the nature of human life and its definition before suggesting that a woman’s right to choose is preeminent in the abortion debate.

 

** Note: Abortions are legal in Canada throughout 9 months of pregnancy, but statistically very few are performed after 20 weeks, the majority occurring up to the 13th week (the first trimester) of pregnancy.  Abortions performed after the 23rd week are usually chosen due to abnormalities in the baby or significant health risks to the mother.

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