Saturday, August 30, 2008

Calgary Herald: Killing abortion debate unhealthy

The Calgary Herald says:

But, since 1988 when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the abortion law of the day, Canada has simply had no law. Successive Parliaments have never had the will to touch this hot stove. Thus, neither late-term abortions, nor selective abortion to favour male heirs, are illegal.

This policy paralysis operates even though abortion is paid for with funds for which elected representatives are accountable, and despite the fact that roughly two-thirds of Canadians say they reject abortion on demand.

The small lobby, and its sympathizers in the medical profession, sidestep their lack of wide public support in two ways.

First, they oversimplify the issue. The prime minister was correct when he called abortion a complex issue, yet feminists have successfully cast those against abortion, as against women. This is logically flawed: It cannot be anti-women to object to the selective abortion of female babies, for instance.

I don't think they oversimplify the issue. I think they oversimplify the nature of opposition to abortion. There is a difference. Feminists have a "either-you're-for us-or-against-us" mentality when it comes to abortion. In their minds: either you support abortion on demand 100%-- no questions asked-- or else you in some measure patronize women.

The reason they think this way is that they give no consideration to the unborn child whatsoever. To them, the unborn child is a non-factor in the abortion debate. That's why they characterize people who oppose abortion as trying to control women. In their minds, it's impossible to conceive that an unborn child could have any rights, certainly not the right to live, when their existence is inconvenient to their mothers. They therefore doubt the sincerity of pro-lifers. Pro-lifers could not be serious about recognizing the rights of the unborn. That's just a pretext. Feminists imagine that the real motives of pro-lifers is to control women and treat them as incubators and baby-making machines (never mind that there are many pro-life women themselves who would not allow themselves to be treated that way).

Most people don't believe in the equality of the unborn child. However, most people believe that the unborn child, at some point in the pregnancy, has some value and should be legally protected to some degree.

But since most people believe that abortion should be legal at some stage, the pro-choicers have co-opted this support. It doesn't mean that the public wouldn't support restrictions on abortion.

Second, they cast it as a religious issue, smearing even reasonable opponents as bigots attempting to stamp their religious views on secular Canada. Thanks to the poor understanding in Canada of what separation of church and state really means, that works; though Canadians are uneasy about it, abortion has effectively become a marker for a suite of other supposedly tolerant positions they regard as sophisticated.

It's a religious issue only when you support fetal rights. Even if you argue on a secular basis, it's still a religious issue.

In the minds of secularists, there's no such thing as an underlying philosophy of a religious belief. There's no separation of philosophy and religion, if you will. That reduces secularism to anything that traditional religions disagree with.

But all of the world's major religions have a philosophical tradition-- that is, of seeking truth outside the sphere of revealed religion. In fact, it seems that the decline of religion has inaugurated the decline of philosophy.

Now why would a religion seek the ways of reason? Because understanding logic and the functioning of universal laws of thought and human behaviour contribute to a better understanding of Revelation. God is both the author of faith and reason. So neither of these can contradict. If you understand truth through reason, then you can better understand faith. God did not reveal all truth. Therefore, humankind is left to seek to understand through pure reason.

Without God or an overarching absolutist philosophy (like say Objectivism), there's less of an impetus to seek to understand through reason. It's all relative, right? Human nature is not stable. Therefore there are no immutable laws of behaviour, i.e. morality. Morals, rights-- whatever ideas that become predominant in a society-- it's all man-made in the eyes of the leftist.

Philosophy doesn't have a role. If the human mind can't really "know" universal laws, and laws aren't universal anyway, then what's the point?

The pursuit of rights then becomes the pursuit of desires, which are deemed "principles".

You can't evaluate emotion and desires. The left won't allow you to, in any case. You can't say "this moral principle is wrong". That doesn't make sense to them. There's no absolute principle to measure it by. If there is a principle, it's based on arbitrary notions.

Pro-life advocates have won a majority of Canadians heads, but they have yet to win their emotions. This, they must accomplish: No party will agree to commit electoral suicide in a fruitless gesture.

We can do it.

We can't do it by remaining isolated. We have to create more groups, more cultural output, engage in more educational campaigns.

We have to become a culture unto ourselves. Until we do this, we will not be successful.

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