Why Pro-Lifers “Still Exist”

Samantha Dellapina, staff writer for The UTSC Messenger, wrote an opinion piece a few weeks ago entitled “Pro-lifers still exist?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’ll just tackle it line by line.

Legalized abortion and a woman’s right to choose is a topic that has been under fire by religious-based organizations for years.

Religion is the focus in the opening sentence, yet watch how little it has to do with the topic of the article, and who’s bringing it up when it’s mentioned. Nevermind the fact that most campus pro-life groups — the primary subjects of her article — aren’t religious organizations.

Perhaps it used to be the popular opinion that abortions should remain illegal, but it also used to be a popular opinion to keep slavery alive in the United States.

Comparing a push to make slavery illegal with a push to make abortion legal? This betrays incredible intellectual dishonesty, or an incredible void of historical knowledge. If anything, the comparison between abortion and slavery weakens the pro-choice stance. The stronger comparison is between those who sought to outlaw slavery and those who seek to outlaw abortion.

Slavery was justified by denying the personhood of slaves, as abortion is justified by denying the personhood of pre-born human beings. Through all of the legal and political challenges, it was this denial of personhood that upheld the institutions and legality of slavery for so many decades in the United States. (“In the eyes of the law…the slave is not a person.” -Virginia Supreme Court decision, 1858)

In the case of slavery in the United States, human beings were denied personhood because of the colour of their skin or their racial background. In the case of abortion, human beings are denied personhood because of their size, or location, etc.

In both cases, dehumanizing rhetoric serves to justify dehumanizing treatment. The n-word wasn’t just offensive, but it was dehumanizing language that serves to support slavery or other civil rights atrocities by attacking the humanity of the African American. We don’t commonly use cold, scientific terms to describe human beings after they are born, but before birth, pro-choice advocates stick to terms like fetus, embryo, blastocyst to dehumanize pre-born children.

This dehumanizing rhetoric and denial of personhood is a common denominator to the worst human rights abuses, and especially to slavery and abortion. To take a subsection of the human population and say that these are human beings but not persons is the very formula of a human rights abuse.

I could go on, but Dellapina’s article gets more absurd (and we’re only two sentences in!).

What is right and what is wrong is subject to the individual, as opinions will always vary, which is why Canada has legalized abortion.

Moral relativism as a defence of abortion is not surprising, but as a defence of slavery? Moral relativism didn’t and couldn’t abolish slavery. (“No one is forcing you to own a slave, but you have no right to impose your morality on others and prevent them from owning slaves if they want to!”) Slavery was abolished because the abolitionists made an objective, moral argument. It didn’t matter that some Southerners believed slavery was okay. The abolitionists said it was objectively wrong — wrong in the North, wrong in the South. They challenged the legality of slavery with moral arguments, in defence of the humanity of those whom society, the courts, the government would deny personhood.

If what is right and wrong is subject to the individual, we have no right to make slavery illegal. The comparison of abortion to slavery does not bode well for a pro-choice argument which relies on moral relativism to succeed.

Samantha, if Canada legalized abortion because “what is right and what is wrong is subject to the individual,” and “opinions will always vary,” then why shouldn’t Canada legalize slavery?

This allows individuals to make their own personal and private choices in the matter, without having a law make it for them.

Just like the law denied individual slave owners to make their own personal choices about their own property. But we created laws to deny them that right because we recognized that slaves should not be treated as property, but as persons. Abortion is not a personal or private choice either — it involves denying the personhood of another human being and ending an innocent life.

What pro-lifer’s need to understand is simple: what happens in my womb has nothing to do with them.

What abolitionists need to understand is simple: what happens on my plantation has nothing to do with them.

The property arguments of slave owners only worked for so long. It’s ironic that Dellapina would employ a property-based argument right after comparing abortion to slavery.

I had almost begun to believe the debate had retreated into the background, with more important topics taking the forefront, like the war in Afghanistan, global warming, cholera in Haiti, or Sarah Palin’s new reality television show. It appears however, that in Universities across the globe, pro-lifer’s still exist!

Has Dellapina not been following Canadian politics? Or campuses? Has she searched the web? There was just a vote in the Canadian parliament on a bill to explicitly outlaw coerced abortion (the vote was after the article was published, but the bill was tabled months ago), the Liberal Party was freaking out earlier this year over the Harper government’s approach to exclude abortion from its maternal health initiative, the “biggest-ever” March for Life took place this past year on Parliament Hill with an estimated 15,000 participants, and pro-life campus clubs have consistently received media attention in their freedom of expression battles with university administrations and student unions across the country, with support of organizations like the BC Civil Liberties Association.

It can be helpful sometimes, as a writer, to make the reader feel smarter than you, but not to give the reader the impression that your head is firmly buried in the sand. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt here and assume it was a poorly executed joke.

On October 4, 2010, five pro-life students were arrested after attempting to set up an exhibit within the heavily populated Tory Quad of Carleton University…

Ah, right, the peaceful demonstrators who were hand-cuffed and hauled away in a police van for trespassing on their own publicly-funded university campus.

… After watching the arrest on YouTube it is clear the group was looking for confrontation when they were given many chances to simply move their display. Perhaps they took the arrests as a way to publicize their anti-abortion argument, and in a way, it has worked, because here I am writing about it. Though how much it has worked in their favour has yet to be seen.

Watch the video yourself. There’s a big difference between not backing down when you’re being bullied and denied freedom of expression, and “looking for” confrontation.

Carleton Lifeline was not looking for confrontation with the administration, and certainly didn’t expect the police to be called in to arrest them for peacefully demonstrating on their own campus. But they weren’t willing to let the administration intimidate them into silence (or “protesting indoors only” — which is practically the same). They were willing to risk confrontation with the administration and stand up for their rights (and the rights of others), but they didn’t go looking for the police.

About a month after the arrests, CUSA made another huge stride in silencing LifeLine, by completely denying the group status and funding. The decision to cut the club comes directly from Khaldoon A. Bushnaq, Vice-President of Internal Affairs for CUSA, explaining that the club’s constitution is in violation of CUSA’s Discrimination on Campus Policy, which supports a “woman’s right to choose.” Enraged, Ruth Lobo—president of LifeLine—said, “I will never get over the shock that there is a discrimination policy that allows them to discriminate against us.” No Lobo, there is a discrimination policy in place to prevent you from discriminating against women.

The CUSA discrimination policy says that people and groups with a particular political view — that abortion is in any way unacceptable at any time — are denied privileges that other students have, while still being forced to pay dues to the student union. That sounds like discrimination to me. Holding up GAP signs may challenge or offend, but it doesn’t actually exclude anyone from anything.

I recommend reading Carleton Lifeline’s first response to CUSA on this issue [PDF]. Aside from having a discrimination policy that discriminates against pro-life students, they didn’t even follow their own procedures outlined in their own constitution. If this isn’t resolved within the university, it’s likely to be resolved in a courtroom [PDF].

The revoking of the club’s status has caused a stir within Pro-Lifer’s across North America, who are using it as a platform to argue for their equal rights. Not surprisingly, the Catholic Civil Rights League has condemned CUSA’s move “as a violation of freedom of expression.” A Christian faith-based website, Wintery Knight, has outwardly called CUSA “left wing fascists.”

Ah, the only mentioned of religion aside from the opening of the article. But, Dellapina seems to suggest that the only concern is coming from fringe groups or “religious-based organizations.” A quick web search finds the following articles which, at the very least, take the freedom of expression issue seriously:

It’s hard to tell if Dellapina is pretending that only “religious-based organizations” are concerned about the freedom of expression issue, or if she simply didn’t search the web. Also, last I checked, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association didn’t report to the Vatican.

Perhaps LifeLine should have seen this coming and kept their little display contained in Porter Hall.

Their “little” display? That Dellapina feels deserves her attention, in Scarborough, two months after it happened in Ottawa? It’s just pettiness seeping through here.

It was only in April of this year, that the University of Calgary notified eight members of the Campus Pro-Life student group that they have been found guilty of a major violation under the Non-Academics Misconduct Policy… The CPL President, Alanna Campbell, has told the press that she would “rather be expelled as a principled person than graduate a coward.” The Messenger presses Campbell to continue to challenge the verdict in hopes that she will discover the imbalance in her life’s priorities.

If only the University of Calgary were so confident. They’ve already lost a big case on the question of whether the Charter applies on campus — a case that they’re appealing, because it spells disaster for their conflict with Calgary Pro-Life. But even the University of Calgary, for all it’s done to intimidate pro-life students, hasn’t had them dragged off campus in handcuffs.

… The Canadian Government closed the books on the debate over a woman’s legal right to abortion in 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Morgentaler that the existing laws were unconstitutional and therefore struck them down.

That’s… not exactly true. I’m not sure Dellapina understands the difference between the legislative (Parliament) / executive (Prime Minister, Cabinet, Government Departments, Civil Service) branches of government, and the judiciary (the Supreme Court of Canada, in this case).

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing laws as unconstitutional, due to the “manifest unfairness” of an awkward administrative procedure involving committee approval required by the old law. Parliament attempted to pass a new law, but it was defeated in the Senate in a tie vote. No subsequent government has revisited the situation as of yet.

In other words, no one closed any books on any debate. The Supreme Court did not determine that any law on abortion was unconstitutional, but that the old law was unconstitutional. Parliament has attempted to pass a new law, and could try again, but has been unwilling or unable to do so successfully, and thus, Canada is one of only a few nations with no legal restrictions on abortion. It’s an absence of a law, a void — but no one has “closed the books.”

Today in Canada, Medicare covers the costs and the law requires clinics to be funded across provinces.

Right after trotting out the old “debate is closed” line, Dellapina reminds her readers that abortion is publicly-funded with taxpayer dollars… meaning, it’s absolutely a legitimate subject of public, political debate.

What strikes me most about LifeLine, Students for Life, and Campus Pro-Life, is that they intend to take away a legal right in a country that is supposed to represent liberal culture. The desire to remove this fundamental right from women seems equal to taking away their right to vote, or freedom of religion, and then where does it end? All I can say is… don’t you have a paper to write or an exam to study for?

It’s so odd to open the article with an invocation of the fight against slavery, and then to make arguments like this.

First, women were denied a right to vote because they weren’t considered persons under the law — same as slaves, same as the unborn. To equate “freedom to kill your unborn child” with “freedom of religion” is utterly ignoring the second person affected by in the act of abortion. No one is threatening anyone’s right to cast a ballot, because casting a ballot doesn’t involve dismembering an innocent human being.

Second, it’s not a legal right, but an absence of any legal barrier. There is no positive affirmation of some legal right to an abortion in Canada, nevermind as a “fundamental right.” There’s only a lack of any legal obstacles.

Third, Dellapina invokes liberalism right after she brushed aside freedom of expression issues that are on the radar of civil liberties associations across the country and applauded the “huge strides in silencing” political views she disagrees with. Last I checked, freedom of expression was a fundamental right in a true liberal democracy.

The University of Toronto has yet to lay down its own law against its own pro-life club…

Erm… which law would that be?

The club failed to respond to The Messenger regarding the recent events at Carleton University, among other questions, but fortunately for us they have a website.

Yes, we did. Sorry. Seeing the final product of Dellapina’s article, I can only imagine how our words might have been twisted, but, honestly, there was no deliberate attempt to avoid comment. We honestly missed the email until recently, well after the article was published. We were busy, you know, writing papers and studying for exams. Our mistake, but not an intentional snub.

This past Remembrance Day, the group staged a protest downtown…

I guess it wasn’t clear from the website, but for the record, the protest was on Wed Nov 10 — the videos went up the next day.

… I was able to breathe easy watching the video posted on the Students for Life website once I could hear the overpowering voices of pro-choice students silencing the pro-lifer’s.

Our megaphone-wielding friends shouting slogans from the 70s certainly aren’t surprised to find pro-life opposition on campus, since that was the probably the 15th or so public pro-life demonstration I’ve participated in since beginning my studies on the St. George campus in 2005.

As much as I oppose the pro-life opinion, believe it is backwards and should have no place in politics, I still believe everyone has a right to have an opinion.

That’s kind of her, not to question are right to… uh… think for ourselves?

Though, within the walls of a University, I do not believe there should be any room for these opinions.

Spoken like a true supporter of liberalism and academic freedom.

Keep them in your house, talk about them over a beer, join a pro-life group that isn’t affiliated with an educational institution, have a baby when you get pregnant, but get off my campus!

Hey, kind of like don’t ask, don’t tell, but for your political opponents!

The Messenger wants to know what YOU think. Email your opinions to utscmessenger@gmail.com with the subject: ABORTION.

Email us! Because the debate is over, and you should keep your opinions to yourself!

Samantha, I’m sorry we didn’t answer your request for comments earlier. Maybe we’ll take up the questions in another post soon. You said in your email to us, “I think your voice is important regarding this issue.” I’d like to think you meant that (and not just when we keep our opinions to ourselves). But if our voice is important on this issue, why are you so eager to applaud the efforts to silence the voices of Carleton and U of C pro-life students? If you were really a supporter of authentic liberal democracy, and of universities and academic freedom, you wouldn’t be applauding the silencing of people with whom you disagree.

If you take an honest look at abortion in light of slavery, I think you might understand our perspective a just little bit more. The debate clearly is far from over, as evidenced by your article, as evidence by events at Carleton, as evidenced by events on Parliament Hill. As confused as it may be, I think your voice is important in the debate too, and I certainly wouldn’t applaud anyone seeking to silence you. As a supporter of a true liberal culture, you may want to reconsider rooting for those who seek to silence expression with which they disagree.

As long as innocent human beings are denied personhood, dehumanized and killed, pro-lifers will exist. As long as pro-choicers seek to silence any dissent on the issue, pro-lifers will take a stand — on this campus, and across the country.

18 Comments on “Why Pro-Lifers “Still Exist”

  1. Oh Blaise, to go through your response line for line would require me to actually think your attack on my article was significant, but I was emailed by one of your pro-lifers, Lucy, who informed me about your blog post, and also added, “I’m not going to lie, it may or may not take apart your entire article, and as a writer I know that can be the worst thing in the world”… Well Lucy, I completely disagree, I find it incredibly amusing actually, and always love any attention, positive or negative, to my writing… I understand when a writer puts herself on the web expressing her opinion there’s always the chance for disagreement. I would say, to each his own, but I know this is something this website DOES NOT support (especially when it comes to the personal choices of women).. ha ha ha.

    I will say this, you continue to compare my one line regarding the abolishment of slavery to strengthen your points about the rights of the unborn, but what you fail to mention are the rights of the pregnant woman, who is an already BORN human being. It seems that I could copy/paste your entire argument and replace the ‘unborn’ with the ‘woman’ and make a very different point.

    See, here is where you just don’t get it, slavery allowed plantation owners to treat their slaves like animals as they had no rights, and were banned from becoming literate. By making it impossible for a woman to get an abortion (if she so chooses) you are placing her next to someone (slave as an example) who is given no legal right to what happens in her womb. And honestly, I must tell you that your ignorance really came through in your rant when you compared MY WOMB to a PLANTATION.

    Do you get it yet?
    I believe a living breathing human is more important, legally, than “the unborn.”

    I stand by my opinion to have all pro-life groups banned from Universities in Canada, because I do not think that it belongs within civil society. Basically, I think there should always be the right to get an abortion, and if you oppose this then it should be a personal opinion.

    What I mean by this is – abortion is a personal choice. Just like homosexuality, or wait, do you oppose homosexuality as well? I have a question: Do you support bigots who are politically active in reversing the rights homosexuals have gained in this country too? Because I DO, and I think that pro-lifers attempting to put a law in place to forbid the option of abortion is just as horrible. Which is what I do not understand about pro-lifers, why are you trying to take the rights away from pregnant women and place it on the unborn. It seems pretty ridiculous to me, considering the whole UNBORN part. I don’t know…

    I also know that just like religious debate (oh there I go MENTIONING it again)… I will hit a closed-minded brick wall even discussing this with pro-lifers.

    I appreciate the attempt to dissect my article.

    Happy Holidays,

    Samantha Dellapina

    ps: You can go ahead and dissect this comment now if you think it will succeed in making pro-choice women feel inferior to your staggering intelligence on this issue. (Oh and Blaise, what I just did there… its called sarcasm… something you should have some knowledge of when dissecting my opinion pieces in the future)

    • Hi Samantha,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. Sorry I’m late.

      “I will say this, you continue to compare my one line regarding the abolishment of slavery to strengthen your points about the rights of the unborn, but what you fail to mention are the rights of the pregnant woman, who is an already BORN human being.”

      That’s because no one is threatening to kill born women here, only unborn women. Elective abortion is often psychologically, practically, or socially complex, but it’s not morally complex — inconveniences, or even extreme hardships, do not warrant the killing of an innocent human being. In a true liberal democracy, killing innocent people would not be a proper solution to other people’s problems. If the unborn isn’t human, no justification of elective abortion is necessary, but if the unborn is a human person, to justification of elective abortion is adequate.

      Women are not be threatened with the prospect of slavery if they aren’t able to kill their unborn children — even though women in crisis pregnancy situations absolutely need more love and support than we as a society have generally offered them — yet pre-born human beings are being dismembered and thrown into trash cans by the thousands each year.

      Which do you think is a fundamental violation of human rights? The prevention of killing, at the expense of autonomy, or killing for the sake of autonomy?

      Nevermind the fact that the strongest comparison point between abortion and slavery is the legal means used to justify both — the slave/unborn is not considered a person under the law.

      Please, point me to another case where human beings were denied personhood that history hasn’t judged to be a gross violation of human rights.

      We can’t ignore the rights and needs of women in crisis pregancy situations, but no crisis pregnancy can justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being, stripping that human being of the most fundamental human rights.

      “By making it impossible for a woman to get an abortion (if she so chooses) you are placing her next to someone (slave as an example) who is given no legal right to what happens in her womb.”

      How is preventing a woman from killing another human being comparable to enslaving her? No one is trying to prevent a woman from controlling her own body — only, not controlling it in such a way that it would kill another human being.

      You can’t exercise your legal rights to your fist by putting it through my face. Even if someone were trespassing on your property, or doing something to violate your rights, you couldn’t simply kill them to assert your legal rights over your body or your property, unless it was in self-defence.

      In the case of elective abortion, a woman’s autonomy over her body may well be limited, but it should be limited only insofar as needed to protect the autonomy of another human being. Your legal rights over your body should not include the unqualified legal right to tear someone else’s body to pieces.

      “And honestly, I must tell you that your ignorance really came through in your rant when you compared MY WOMB to a PLANTATION.”

      Please. An analogy is not an equivalence. In the analogy of slavery and abortion, a womb and a plantation are analogous only insofar as they are the setting for gross human rights violations.

      And in both cases, it’s due to property-based arguments. Pro-choice women say “my body, my choice,” ignoring the rights on the unborn and treating that human being like their own property. Slave owners did the same with their property — trampling over the rights of another human being, treating him or her as their own property to be dealt with as they pleased.

      “I believe a living breathing human is more important, legally, than ‘the unborn.’


      Why is a born human being “more important” than one who hasn’t been born yet? Is this importance conferred at the moment of birth, or does it simply grow over time? Are you more important than someone half your age, or half your size? Or is it instant magic, a rite of passage through the magically importance-granting birth canal that creates importance where it didn’t exist a moment prior?

      And what about partial-birth abortion — is the child only half-important when he or she is half delivered?

      I’m honestly interested in knowing how and why you confer importance on to some human beings and not others. Isn’t this the question at the heart of it all? What makes a human being important?

      “Which is what I do not understand about pro-lifers, why are you trying to take the rights away from pregnant women and place it on the unborn. It seems pretty ridiculous to me, considering the whole UNBORN part.”

      You write “UNBORN” as if it’s a synonym for inhuman, unimportant or undeserving of rights. Err… why? Why does a trip down the birth canal make a difference?

      There are only four differences between a born and unborn/pre-born child: size, location, level of development and degree of dependency. We wouldn’t accept those criteria as a reason for denying fundamental human rights or personhood in any other area. Why do you suggest it here?

      Do persons need to be a certain size? Or in a certain location/environment? Or do they have to be a certain age, or have a certain measure of independence? And, what’s the difference in size, dependency or development a few minutes before birth compared to a few minutes after?

      I don’t think you’ve though this through very thoroughly…

      “I also know that just like religious debate (oh there I go MENTIONING it again)… I will hit a closed-minded brick wall even discussing this with pro-lifers.”

      There’s nothing wrong with mentioning religion. It’s just, you’re the one bringing it up — not the campus pro-life groups you want banned.

      “I stand by my opinion to have all pro-life groups banned from Universities in Canada, because I do not think that it belongs within civil society.”

      Ok, this still confuses me immensely: if you don’t think the pro-life view belongs within civil society, why ban it from only universities? From only “educational institutions” (as you said in your original article)? I’m not sure I follow you here…

      But yes, that’s a very liberal and democratic approach to opinions you disagree with — have them banned. ninek said it best: “George Orwell just called, he wants his totalitarianism back.”

      Also, you seem a little bit confused with what the anti-freedom of expression pro-choice side is arguing (I make the distinction because the BC and Canadian Civil Liberties associations are pro-choice, but also pro-freedom of expression).

      University administrations have never questioned a pro-life groups right to exist, they’ve just sought to silence or keep indoors more controversial expresses of that opinion. Most conflicts between pro-life clubs and university administrations have been simply around the use of graphic images depicting abortion, and usually just over the terms and conditions on which they can be displayed, not whether they can be displayed at all. Administrations, like McGill, have taken actions against pro-choice students who sought to disrupt legitimate, university sanctioned pro-life club events.

      As for student unions, they too will say, when embarrassed in the media, that they aren’t and don’t have the power to ban pro-life clubs from campus, even though that’s effectively what they often want to do. They’re simply trying to deny student union — funding, campus space– resources to specific clubs they don’t agree with politically. (And this is where being a tuition-paying student also factors in — student union dues are almost always collecting along with tuition, and mandatory, i.e., students that the union seeks to silence don’t have a choice to not paying dues and not to be a part of that students union, which is supposed to be representing them.)

      So, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “banned” either. You’re kind of alone there.

      Care to explain?

      “Basically, I think there should always be the right to get an abortion, and if you oppose this then it should be a personal opinion.”

      Let me play: that’s just your opinion. I think there should always be a right to public debate and freedom of expression, and if you oppose this, then it should be a personal opinion.

      I might add: Don’t force your morality and your own personal opinions on me.

      (I don’t actually believe that. I believe that the best response to bad speech is more speech — i.e. responding to your article, rather than trying to get it taken down or something because it questions my fundamental Charter freedoms.)

      Democracy: you’re doing it wrong.

      Just like homosexuality, or wait, do you oppose homosexuality as well? I have a question: Do you support bigots who are politically active in reversing the rights homosexuals have gained in this country too?

      Err… You’re assuming that because I have a certain view on freedom of expression and abortion, I also have another specific undefined view on a totally different topic. If I disagree with you on same-sex marriage — like, for example, Barack Obama does — then I would be a bigot, like Obama is apparently a bigot. And, if I disagree with you on abortion, I should stay in the closet.

      And I’m the bigot?

      Are you utterly unaware at how intolerant, undemocratic and totalitarian your views are? Do you actually not see it?

      You seem to be someone who wants to support tolerance and liberal democracy, yet on the topic of abortion, you’re doing precisely the opposite.

      Samantha, liberal democracy is not about silencing or shouting down those with a different political opinion. The real measure of tolerance is how you treat those you disagree with.

      Thanks for being a part of the conversation here, at least.

      Happy new year.


  2. Do you support bigots who are politically active in reversing the rights homosexuals have gained in this country too? Because I DO,

    because I DON’T********** is what I meant by that. WOW thought I would correct THAT before that was blown out of proportion too.

  3. “What I mean by this is – abortion is a personal choice. Just like homosexuality, or wait, do you oppose homosexuality as well? I have a question: Do you support bigots who are politically active in reversing the rights homosexuals have gained in this country too? Because I DON’T, and I think that pro-lifers attempting to put a law in place to forbid the option of abortion is just as horrible.”

    I would just like to point out that an argument for homosexuality is that it is NOT a personal choice. Also this argument has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  4. Here’s my two cents, It’s not worth much but It’s worth two pennies.

    Choices, choices, choices. It’s the impulsive, unreflected ones that one’s I’m against. Heck, we’re all against choices like this. At least I’m 99% sure we are.

    Most pro-choicers are well like this sadly, but not all. They’re under the idea that the quickest most simplest solution to a woman in crisis is abortion. They’re also under the idea that most pro-lifers are religious. It’s so rude to assume that pro-lifers are incapable of philosophical inquiry if they are religious. It’s the pro-choicers that have hit the close minded brick wall. It seems that at that protest outside of Robarts, and they were not up to careful reflected reasoning about a fundamental choice about life.

    Rather, they were tyrannizing the pro-lifers. Attempting to silence the pro-lifers’ voices. How uncivil of the pro-choicers to act this way. Is this the liberal and democratic society that we live in? We shout down those who have different opinions? We don’t take the time to discuss the issue at hand? This to me is the core of the unreflected pro-choice movement. Hypocritical if you ask me.

    Yes the woman has the right to choose, but you’re not really giving them a choice when you push abortion on them AS THE ONLY CHOICE. All under the guise of “they’ve got a right to their own body”. I mean you’re really acting insidiously when you’re giving them the illusion that they have a CHOICE, when you clearly you’re not giving them alternatives. Respect in this sense is out the window, I mean you’d just be begging the question in this case. I’ve unleashed the caps lock here because you haven’t mentioned the other choices out there not involving abortion.

    Do you really value choice as the ultimate answer to the permissiblity of abortion? Mere choice doesn’t justify an act. We need to determine what entails this making choice. Particularly, the circumstances in how the crisis came about. The alternatives. Not alternative. Note the ‘s’.

    Don’t we value the choices made of carefully reflected adults? Is a woman who’s had abortion pushed on her really making a carefully reflected choice? Probably not cause she’s being deceived about the nature of the act.

    Well, I hope my two cents bought a few minutes of your time. There’s probably holes in my reasoning, but then again I’m writing this as I’m procrastinating.

  5. “I ain’t gunna’ diss you on da’ internet, cuz’ my Mama taught me betta’ than that!”
    -Destiny’s Child

  6. Ah, Dellapina responds with her ridiculous functionalist arguments. “Living, breathing human being” you say? Give me a break. So, to be considered a “person,” an individual has to pass your arbitrary criteria before he or she is given the right to NOT BE KILLED? Pro-abortionists like Dellapina don’t have anything but straw man arguments, slogans, and excuses. There is no science or logic to back up their claims. Either you ARE a person, or you are NOT. You do not BECOME a person magically. Viability, “breathing,” “thinking,” well, my gosh, there are some BORN persons who don’t meet this criteria. What my studies in biology taught me (when I was “pro-choice,” before I opened my eyes) is that our unborn babies have their own DNA, their own hearts, brains, fingerprints. They are persons separate from the mothers, and are not the mother’s property. The unborn are not part of a mother’s body. They are not tonsils, or gall bladders, or tumors. They are humans who deserve the right to live.

    Oh, and Dellapina? I’m just a regular old agnostic vegetarian pro-lifer who supports gay rights. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  7. “As much as I oppose the pro-life opinion, believe it is backwards and should have no place in politics, I still believe everyone has a right to have an opinion.
    Though, within the walls of a University, I do not believe there should be any room for these opinions.
    Keep them in your house, talk about them over a beer, join a pro-life group that isn’t affiliated with an educational institution, have a baby when you get pregnant, but get off my campus!”

    Wow, George Orwell just called, he wants his totalitarianism back, lol! So, in summary, all opinions are equal, but some opinions are more equal than others.

  8. I’m an American student who was forwarded this article on e-mail and the response to it. Samantha: you are a fascist and so are the leaders of your University. Do pro-lifers pay taxes and tuition to the University? End of story.

    • So just because someone pays tuition they’re entitled to do whatever they please? Are they also allowed to create a group on campus discriminating against students of another race, because they pay tuition? Flawed argument.

      • Creating a group discriminating against students of another race would be creating an unsafe environment for those students on campus, leaving it wrong to have said group on campus (not including other various immoral reasons). Pro-life displays are merely students using their freedom to protest on campus. Pro-Life students are acting within their rights as students on campus- racist groups are breaking student codes of conduct.

      • “So just because someone pays tuition they’re entitled to do whatever they please?”

        No one is saying that paying tuition is a free pass to do what you want. You’re misrepresenting the argument.

        To say that a student is trespassing on his or her own campus because they’re expressing a view that the administration is uncomfortable with is really tortured logic, and a sign that the administration is stretching itself to find a way to silence that speech. Universities have tried the non-academic misconduct route — dealing with a campus matter on campus — but haven’t been successful. So, now, they’re escalating to the point of charging students with trespassing on their own campus if they’re saying something the administration doesn’t like.

        That’s pretty extreme, pretty tortured logic, and quite possibly a violation of university policies, human rights codes, and/or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

        And it’s not like we’re talking about threats of violence, or anything that could be reasonably considered “hate speech.” This is the type of debate that happens in the newspapers of our country, in our House of Commons, and the type of debate that you’ve engaged in right here in our comments: from the point of conception up to birth (the range that abortion is legally permissible in Canada), when should we allow for an unborn human being to be killed?

        You seem to think that scientifically and logically sound pro-choice argument should have something to do with consciousness. Fair enough. Apparently, you disagree with our countries policy of legal during all 9 months then? Or at least, recognise that it’s a legitimate thing to discuss, to debate, to expression an opinion on.

        It’s a controversial topic that might well offend some — extreme pro-choicers who believe there should be no legal restrictions on killing unborn children whatsoever (whether it’s through elective abortion or a double homicide), or pro-lifers who believe that the state shouldn’t sanction and fund the killing of innocent human beings. But because some people might be offended by views, on either side, does not make the expression of those views illegitimate. Simply being offensive is not a high enough standard to supersede the freedom of expression in our liberal democracy.

        No one is saying that paying tuition lets you do whatever you want. But for a university administrator to accuse a student of trespassing on his or her own campus simply because they’re not comfortable with what that student is saying because it might offend some people — quite frankly, that’s insane.

  9. The problem here is the differentiation of when a fetus can be considered a legal person. Do you pro-lifers believe that a single cell (the zygote) before it divides is also a human with rights? Because eventually that cell divides and does become human, that doesn’t mean that it should have rights.

    What about considering when the fetus gains some form of consciousness?

    “Consciousness requires a sophisticated network of highly interconnected components, nerve cells. Its physical substrate, the thalamo-cortical complex that provides consciousness with its highly elaborate content, begins to be in place between the 24th and 28th week of gestation.”

    So in response to Augusta up there, yes, pro-choicers have science and logic backing up there arguments.

    “they are persons separate from the mothers” – they’re not really separate from their mothers until they’re born are they? As a woman, I don’t appreciate being delegated as some sort of breeding cage.

    As you mention – “they are not tonsils, or gall bladders, or tumors.” – okay, tumours are basically a large mass of cells, which is basically what a zygote is for a time, so again, when is that zygote a human being?

    Also, we do have free speech in this country, but the thing with free speech that people don’t realize is that in a civil society, it has to have its limits to a certain point before it starts infringing on other people’s rights. See this case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Keegstra – if he had been preaching to his friends or whatever, that’s fine, but he was teaching his flawed opinions/beliefs in a classroom. An educational setting is different from other social situations. Discussions in classrooms, that kind of thing, fine, but a group like this on campus sends a message that choosing to have an abortion is wrong and suppresses the individual rights of female students.

    Finally, this idea that abortion is being forced on women – really? What’s stated over and over is the CHOICE. Show me where pro-choicers are saying that over adoption or keeping a baby, abortion is the BEST option for EVERYONE EVERY TIME.

  10. Pro-choicer,

    Would you remove life support from a comatose family member or friend if a doctor told you they were guaranteed to make a full recovery within a few days or weeks? Or would you pull the plug because they are not currently exhibiting consciousness and have become a temporary inconvenience?

    The unborn, if left alone to develop and not killed, will exhibit full human consciousness–therefore a mute point.

    Secondly, there is a major moral difference between removing a part of a human body–like a toenail or appendix–and separating a human body–a full, living human organism–from another.

    A person who happens to be a conjoined twin is also “basically a large mass of cells,” but you would never recommend separation if they relied on the other for survival and were killed in the process.

    What we are basically dealing with here is a case of conflicting rights. One involves bodily autonomy and the other is the most basic and natural of all rights–the right to life–or the right not to be killed. One of these rights must take precedence, and this is the debate.

    If you knew of people who were scheduled to die–by no fault of their own–but instead, because someone–let’s say a judge–said they lived in a certain part of the world–let’s say in the inner city ghettos of a major metropolis–you would advocate for their right to not be murdered by an unjust and inhumane ruling even if it meant others were not allowed full range and development of the city.

    And if not, I would hope that you would at least advocate for the right of others to speak on their behalf.

  11. she’s just not up to the task, she absolutely does not want to go thugroh with it. Her saying “no” means that the patient will die (be destroyed.) You may think this woman is an awful person, but it would nevertheless be immoral to compel her to do it. No doctor would agree to force her, because it would violate his code of ethics and this is for a comatose patient that is fully developed! Why does this woman (though our scenario could just as easily apply to a man) have the right to refuse to endure discomfort for the patient to live? Because, gut wrenching as it must be to experience this scenario (or a real life unwanted pregnancy,) she is a fully alive, fully functional person in a way that the patient is not. He *could* become so one day, but she IS one right now; and his potential (again that troubling word) cannot trump her rights and freedoms because her freedom is (look out, I’m going constitutional!) an INALIENABLE RIGHT. You cannot morally revoke her freedoms and rights for the sake of the other human being. Even organ donations (from the dead!) are not mandatory, even though it could save many lives. A doctor cannot remove an organ from a DEAD BODY to save the life of a LIVING HUMAN BEING patient unless the dead guy gave permission before he kicked! It’s just not right to force someone – even to give up organs they’re too dead to use – to save a life. The heart that could save a indisputably human being gets put in a box and buried, because we don’t have the *right* to take it by force (or force of law.) Maybe one day they’ll change that law & make it mandatory, but they’ll never force a living person to donate an organ. (and we don’t even agree that a blastocyst IS a human being in the first place) Perhaps your argument about becoming a human being via “ the natural order of things” is your criteria. Man, the natural order of things is so played out. If the western world followed the natural order of things, my wife would have died two years ago from cancer. I wouldn’t know anything about it because I would’ve died when I was 8, thanks to a burst appendix. This internet that lets me to debate with my cherished friends over the ocean; unnatural. Psychology, philosophy, metallurgy and the clothes on our backs come on. One of my teeth is actually an implant, I will likely need a hearing aid one day. I’ll take an artificial heart if it’ll save me in fact I’m prepared to become a full-blown cyborg if it let’s me live this wonderful life in this exciting world a bit longer! The natural order of things, while respected, is not always good or right (or bad or wrong.)Tsunamis are natural, but we don’t lie down and die for them. We sure as heck don’t criminalize people for wanting to resist them.Of course this blog is about how elements of our advancement has, in fact, damaged nature, and we need to take that seriously. I am in deep agreement with that. I’m certainly not saying ,”Natural, bad. Unnatural, good.” I’m saying that it is a bogus principal on which to define something as right or wrong. As you say, “The cells from my nose will not become a human being if left alone to the natural order of things.” But in the hands of a genetic scientist they *can* become babies, and that *absolutely* *is* *valid* (as valid as a blastocyst) because scientists go beyond the natural order of things to save my life and my wife and my kids and yours. Bottom line: The Natural order of things does not make any substantive differentiation between the 150-cell blastocyst and 150 nose cells, because we do not live according to that order. Not in the world we live in today, thank goodness.

    • Not really sure what to reply to here.

      You talk about an inalienable right… yet you seem okay with violating the inalienable right to life?

      Were you suggesting abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother sometimes? Not so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysl1tRnk-ig

      Were you suggesting pro-lifers are saying something is right because it’s natural? We’re just saying: maybe, don’t dismember and decapitate babies, you know?

      When exactly is it, in your opinion, okay to decapitate, dismember and disembowel another individual human being?

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