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Monday, August 27, 2007

Some uncomfortable questions about abortion

One of my sons has just dawn my attention to this thought-provoking, six-minute-long YouTube posting, featuring a polite, off-screen interviewer asking anti-abortion activists at a demonstration in the U.S. earlier this summer a very good set of questions, which can be summed up as:

1. Do you think abortion should be illegal? (The answer was invariably Yes).

2. OK, then, if abortion becomes illegal, what do you think the penalty should be for a woman who has an abortion?

It's a logical and pertinent question, but not a single one of the demonstrators had a well-thought-out answer. Most of them initially suggested that the woman would have to answer to God, but then later displayed some discomfort when the interviewer pointed out that if abortion were simply a matter between a woman and God, then there was no reason to make it illegal.

It should be noted that one of the demonstrators suggested that the interviewer talk to the event's organizer for a detailed policy response. Either the interviewer failed to do so or he chose to omit the interview from the posting.

The demonstrators showed admirable honesty and also displayed commendable empathy for women who find themselves in so deep a personal crisis that they choose to abort their children. Nevertheless, I was taken aback by the obvious gap in the pro-life platform when it comes to sentencing. Indeed, I cannot recall hearing the issue discussed in Canada, for example, in the decade and a half since the Senate killed the Mulroney government's abortion-regulation bill. And I have to admit I personally haven't given it much thought.

So, are pro-lifers hypocrites for, on one hand, calling abortion "murder," but on the other hand appearing to not have the fortitude to demand murder-like sentences for women who abort their unborn children? If so, does this signify that the abortion question is really a moral one, not a legal one?

Is the more culpable criminal in an abortion actually the abortionist? If so, is the mother really another victim?

I'll be discussing this with pro-life activists in the weeks and months ahead. For now, I'd like to hear what Shotgunners think.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 27, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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What's the big deal about severing the baby from the mother's womb, limb by limb?

Now, if it was Michael Vick's dogs being killed by having their limbs severed by other dogs - well, that's something that should really draw our attention, don't you think?

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-27 4:23:14 PM

Thing is, if you imprison women, while they are in their baby-making years, you further decimate the population.

Given the fact that only about 25% of the population is breedable at any given point in time, and only fertile women get abortions, by virtue of the math, and the fact that about 100,000 women get abortions each year, that would mean alot of time would be taken up in the courts.

If they are charged like "murder" then they would get life, which would mean that when they got out, they would be well beyond their baby making years.

Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

As I said before, abortion occurs as a result of social problems.

No one took the challenge and said they would like to come up with the money to support these unwanted pregancies, and then they come up with statements that it ought to be treated as murder.

Well, if only ten percent of the illegal abortions were caught, that would mean that after ten years, there would be a hundred thousand women serving time. Add the fact that it costs about $60,000 to keep each woman in jail, and you have a bill of 80,000,000,000 per year (including inflation) just to keep those women in jail.

Add the fact that they would not be having babies, and each could have many more after having an abortion, and you have a major problem.

I, for one, as a tax payer, would rather pay for the women to have their unwanted babies, and encourage adoption options, and give them places and support, while they are pregnant, that is away from where they might get eprsecution, rather than see anyone forced into such a perdicament, that they have to chose abortion.

I don't think that, no matter how much someone might like to make the act illegal, that prison would solve the problem. I believe it would make matters much worse.

Fact remains, where are the incentives for women to ahve children?

For every child that a woman has, she falls behind economically. She loses ground in her career, and she ends up slaving away, if she tries to do both with the kind of excellence that she believes she ought to do.

I would not mind taking some of that surplus, and placing it into ways in which women could have their babies. makes perfect sense. if we here in canada, do not do something about this problem, we are going to be hurting ten times more, within the next two decades, than we are now.

Abortion is not the problem--people are.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-08-27 4:42:09 PM

The official pro-life lobby in Canada tends to be against jailtime because the woman is considered to be a victim.

Personally, I think *eventually* women will have to answer for the killing of the unborn child. Maybe not in the beginning, because the first goal is just to have it illegal. Period. But as the population becomes more cognizant of the fact that unborn children are equal human beings, eventually, women will pay a penalty, as there will be no excuse for abortion. Note, though that before the advent of legal abortion, women were excused from prosecution by agreeing to testify against the abortionist.

Posted by: SUZANNE | 2007-08-27 4:55:14 PM


The Israeli laws are very particular in regards to Abortion--the grounds are labelled and married women are not permitted to have abortions for convenience.

Check them out and let me know what you think?

Posted by: Lady | 2007-08-27 5:00:04 PM

The question is definitely a tough one. I think that most anti-abortion people would agree that while it's murder, it's not MURDER. And we think of the woman who suddenly finds herself on this assembly line process – the man has buggered off somewhere, but she has to go through with it. What struck me about these people (other than the interesting fact that they hadn’t thought it through) was their willingness to understand and forgive. Christian love, as they say – hate the sin but not the sinner.
The fact is that on the abortion issue there isn’t any easy answer and, unless you’ve been involved in the actual reality of it, it’s easy to talk.
On the one hand, it’s obviously a teeny-tiny human – even if it’s two gametes joined together (I mean it’s not a potential whale or mosquito) and we shouldn’t kill them without reason.
On the other hand, a casual act (or a rape or some other involuntary or result-of-stupidness nightmare) shouldn’t condemn the woman to a different future life possibility.
There is no simple easy answer. The foetus is not a fingernail clipping. But it’s not a fully-formed human either. But what I find missing in the debate is the statistical fact that in Canada, 32.2 of 100 live births are aborted (that’s 24% of pregnancies -- Statscan, 1998; down slightly to 32.1/100 live births in 2002).
That seems to me to be rather a lot, given that birth control is widely available and pretty effective.
Abortion as an exceptional response is one thing, but abortion as a means of birth control is another.

Posted by: chester | 2007-08-27 5:02:27 PM

In this enlightened 21st century there should be less abortions instead of more.
We have a firm knowledge of what causes pregnancy, and plenty of information and aids to prevent it.

What to do about it will be debated forever given the present lifestyles and anything goes morality.
Humans have less scruples than the lowly animals.
Late term abortions and using the procedure as birth control should be severely dealt with. Questions are who and how? The Church has no power and Governments treat the issue as personal
and out of their jurisdiction. It will never change. IMPASSE.

Posted by: LizJ | 2007-08-27 5:05:05 PM

If a woman has an abortion, the abortion should be legal only upon therapeutic necessity, verified by a panel of physicians, and because of the therapeutic necessity, the woman should be therapeutically rendered unable to become pregnant again for the good of her health.
(and for the good of society)

If the abortion is not for therapeutic purposes alone, and is not proscribed by being illegal, it is elective surgery and should be paid for privately as any other elective surgery is.

Birth control, or rather pregnancy control, has been available for over 80 years. If it is economically inconvenient for a woman to bear a child and she can abort for that reason alone why should the economic burden of a child which a woman chooses to bear be forced upon a man when it is economically inconvenient, and at the mere fiat of a woman with whom he has had consensual sex if the reverse, that the man can demand an abortion of the child, should not be permitted?

Society has decided to give all of the choice to the woman and none of it to the man, but decided to extort the economic burden from the man, at penalty of the law as far as possible, while not insisting that single mother hood is unacceptable, but rather since the 1980s, actually encouraged as a lifestyle choice open to women.

I dare say, that if society were as ready to press the sole responsibility of human reproduction on women alone, as it has the powerful 'choice' of life and death, that fewer unwanted pregnancies would occur in the first place and therefore fewer abortions.

It is this idea that men must be responsible where woman are not, foisting the economic burden upon the man while denying women bear responsibility equal to what is placed upon the man, that creates the conditions of convenience as a consideration for a motive to abort at all.

In addition, if a women has the power to abort for the sake of convenience, why should she draw a line after the baby has been born at killing the child when it becomes a crashing, stifling, day to day inconvenience?

This is why I think more mothers kill the children, at older ages, today.

By the way, in case anyone has had difficulty following my reasoning, I am against abortion and against unplanned pregnancies.., but the decision, to become pregnant or not, should occur before sex, not after pregnancy has already occurred.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-08-27 5:10:51 PM

A very interesting question to pose Mr. O'Neill.

I believe it is a reasonable situation to bring forward. I also believe that answering "hypothetical" questions leads to all sorts of ridiculous scenarios. Politicians avoid these types of questions all the time.

First of all if abortion was not legal and against the law, there would naturally be penalties attached to people who break that law. Hope fully by the time abortion became illegal, women would not want to have them and doctors would not be committing them.

I only needed to see the picture of one aborted child to know that it was not a right and good thing to do. Society has allowed this barbarism to become legal and society can just as easily make it illegal again. Today we think that keeping slaves is wrong and would not hesitate to put slave owners in jail. There was a time that slave owners were the finest most upstanding citizens in any community.

We penalise people for killing toddlers today, why discriminate against younger children just because they are not born?

The entire world condems the "legal" killing of 6 million jews in the Holocaust vowing never to let it happen again and yet almost 3 million Canadian children have sufered the same fate right here at home.

Pro-lifers need to get past the soft approach of not wanting to hurt people's feelings on this issue. If, as is undeniably true, abortion kills a member of the human race, then perhaps we need to come to grips with the reality that doing so is wrong and start drafting some laws to save those children's lives.

Again this is a purely hypothetical question because the other side of the coin is that Canada has absolutely no restriction on abortion at all. A mother can have her child killed up to the moment of delivery if she can find a willing medical practitioner to committ the deed.

One more question that could be asked here is Should "fathers" or "men" who harm or kill their unborn children, be charged with the crime of doing so? There are enough examples of men who beat the crap out of their lady friends to try and make them abort "wanted" children. Why should only women be able to make the decision to kill and get away with it?

Because of Canada's laws today they can actually get away with murder.

Posted by: YHS | 2007-08-27 5:21:30 PM

It's really not as hopeless and as difficult a question as some here seem to indicate. Suzanne made extremely good points when she noted that "before the advent of legal abortion, women were excused from prosecution by agreeing to testify against the abortionist."

That seems to be the focus demanded.

Recently, NRO held a symposium on the question. A bunch of experts came up with really great answers. Check it out at

If the link doesn't work in the comment box, Google "NRO One Untrue Thing"

That should get the article for you.

It'll probably save a lot of thrashing about in this comment box.

Posted by: Eric Alcock | 2007-08-27 5:25:19 PM


That makes no sense at all.

Women have been inducing abortions for thousands of years. There are a whole host of methods that have been used. I see no correlation between a person who requires a therapeutic abortion and therefore requiring sterilization.

The taliban do not permit women to have abortions--even if their lives are being threatened immediatley, as they believe it is up to GD to save them. They abort themselves from the responsibility of helping someone, when that person is in need of being helped, and help can be done. I see no rigtheousness in sacrifice like that. Also, I do not see any righteousness in sacrificing any possible children in the future. Plus, I would prefer it if there were the kinds of supports, so that the women can be helped through their difficult time, without having to abort their babies, and also to give them up for adoption. There are many people who would be so very very happy to have their babies.

And women already have the sole responsibility of the next generation. We need to build a bridge inbetween, and not burn down the house.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-08-27 5:27:35 PM

Well, if abortion ever becomes illegal you can be sure that I'll have bought into those coathanger companies stock. Their price will go out of sight!

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2007-08-27 5:48:28 PM

I don't see a problem. Simply deny them further opportunity to become pregnant. Kill your baby, be sterilized. Except for legit reasons such as to save mothers life, or in the cases of rape or incest.

If we diminish the 'breeders', so be it.

We can jail the abortionist as a murderer. No problemo there.

What say you?

Posted by: John | 2007-08-27 5:55:52 PM

Have you ever been really really angry at somebody?

Do you own or have access to a hand gun or a rifle?

If there was no law against murder, would you have killed anybody as yet during your lifetime?

But there are laws against murder, and probably most of you have decided to let your anger pass.

Lady, who frequently provides a wealth of information in support of her opinions, also regularly falls into the shallow thinking of typical governmental "static analysis" discussion of possible outcomes from changes in laws or economic conditions.

The fact is, if you change the law and make abortion illegal (i.e. premeditated murder), then a whole lot of women won't have abortions. The 100,000 women in put in prison each year will turn out to be zero per year.

But how could that be? Well, option #1, keep your legs together; option #2 have the baby; option #3 get married to the father and have the baby and pretend you are a normal human being; there are probably other options too.

I'd like to know a bit of demographics about the folks with opinions posted here regarding this (and similar) questions; do YOU have children of your own, OR are you merely COMPLETE EXPERTS, like Lady?

I try to be nice. I try to make friends, but it just goes all wrong, when I'm forced to pretend that I don't think Liberal arguments or "thinking" isn't just a bunch of stupid crap.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-27 7:27:21 PM

P.S. Once you correctly identify the true character of an act, e.g. premeditated murder, the penalty goes along with the category of crime.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-27 7:30:08 PM

Lady's views are driven by her ethnic interests. For her, like Abe Foxman, it is still 1939. It will always be 1939.

" ADL Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Against Nebraska Abortion Law

New York, NY, June 28, 2000 �The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down a controversial abortion law in Nebraska.

"The Supreme Court's decision strongly affirms that women have a right to make their own reproductive choices," said Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Once again, the court has rejected sweeping restrictions which anti-abortion activists have invoked in their attempt to chip away at the constitutional rights of Americans.

"The court's decision affirms our belief that the government should not interfere in matters of individual conscience. In a country of varied religious and personal beliefs, the Constitution clearly mandates that the government should not pick sides and impose one view on all citizens."

The Nebraska law placed a ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions." In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the law's ban on abortions was overly broad because it imposed an "undue burden" on a woman's decision to end her pregnancy."

In their war against Christian Euros, (aka Nazi facilitators) liberal Jews like Lady and Foxman, will support a perverse agenda because they believe discrimination is indivisible.

Gloria Steinem;

"True idealism," as Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, "is nothing but the subordination of the interests and life of the individual to the community. . . . The sacrifice of personal existence is necessary to secure the preservation of the species."

Does this begin to sound familiar? It should—because the second flaw in the fervent condemnations of pro-choice advocates as Nazis is that Hitler himself, and the Nazi doctrine he created, were unequivocally opposed to any individual right to abortion. In fact, Hitler's National Socialist Movement preached against and punished contraception, homosexuality, women whose main purpose was not motherhood, men who did not prove their manhood by fathering many children—and anything else that failed to serve the need of preserving and expanding the German state.

A return to a strong family life, women's primary identity as mothers, tax penalties for remaining single, loans for young married couples and subsidies for childbearing, prohibition of prostitution and homosexuality, contraception, and abortion: all these were issues that the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Center Party, and the Nazi Party could agree on. And once Hitler came to power, popularly elected in part by the patriarchal backlash against feminist successes, he delivered on his promise to restore male supremacy."

It is 1939. It will always be 1939.

Posted by: DJ | 2007-08-27 8:19:16 PM

...when is a human a human?

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-08-27 8:21:15 PM

when they cannot become anything else.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-27 8:37:04 PM

More black Americans have been killed in abortion clinics than the KKK could ever hope for.

Is it a woman's right to kill another human being?

In some Asian cultures, a child is considered to be one year old at the time of his birth in recognition of the fact that it was a child in the womb.

Can a question on the theory of evolution be decided by a dozen hillbillies?

Can a question on the sanctity of human life be decided by a dozen flawed human beings?

Are man-made laws superior to natural laws?

Is the way to salvation through obedience to man-made laws?

What is the lesson of the Pharisee and the Publican?

Posted by: set you free | 2007-08-27 8:37:23 PM

DJ -

Your research is helpful as usual (for me, at least). The wisdom of Jewish people, even purely political advocates-rganizations like Foxman's ADL, carries considerable weight (I probably disagree with them 90% of the time).

I'd much prefer citations of statements from purely religious Jewish sources, which I expect that I'd agree with 90% of the time.

I don't think Lady is anything like Mr. Foxman.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-27 8:52:01 PM


I tend to believe the abortion question is more a moral question than a legal question.

There are many areas of morality the state encroaches into and, for the most part, have proven to be less than adept at.

Former Alberta premier Ralph Klein had an answer whenever the question was broached:

It's between a woman, her doctor and God.

It certainly is not a question that I, a man, can answer with any type of first-hand knowledge.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-08-27 8:58:55 PM

I didn't bother to read all the comments, so don't know if this was mentioned:

I am completely against abortion as it is murder, however when you look at the sentencing side (if it were made illegal) should we really be charging the mother with murder, or the 'doctor'? Nobody ever attacked mothers wanting abortions, but instead bombed the clinics themselves. It is those performing the abortions who are benefitting from this culture of death, and can much more easily be charged with criminal activity (actually performing the murder). In this way, should the punishment be befitting of the crime, nobody would be willing to do the disgusting 'procedure'. (as it is, many doctors do not want to perform such an abomination to their practice)

Glancing at the Klein quote, it's true. The woman may request it, but both her and her doctor are involved and will one day answer to God. Every man must decide for himself and be willing to accept the consequences of his actions.

Anyone else see it this way?

Posted by: Eldon | 2007-08-27 10:01:39 PM

I tend to agree with the Libertarian point of view. Do not let the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Governments get involved, since this is a private issue for the individual involved. Plus each case is different, requiring different decisions.

Most Christians would probably want it to be a law for which can be punished by the Government, if violated. However, would the Government be stepping closer to a Theocracy, since making it illegal is something both Muslims and Christians share. And do we really want to be like the Muslims in Countries (an issue a lot of people on this site are passionately against), who have made it illegal?

As long as we do not become like Americans, where this is the wedge, who debate it on a Federal stage. Should at least be a Provincial matter if made illegal.

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-27 10:40:32 PM

As long as we do not become like Americans, where this is the wedge, who debate it on a Federal stage. Should at least be a Provincial matter if made illegal.

to this:

As long as we do not become like Americans, where this is the [wedge issue] for those, who debate it on a Federal stage. [It] Should at least be a Provincial matter if made illegal.

More proofreading needs to be done.

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-27 10:47:47 PM

Veterinarians will apparently backstop health services in Ontario due to the shortage of family physicians - what would a Vet's defining criteria be for performing an abortion on one of their regular patients?

Posted by: philanthropist | 2007-08-28 12:29:08 AM

If abortion were once more illegal, most doctors would not perform them. Many who do abortions now don’t like to, but either haven’t the principles to say no, or fear the possible career implications. I believe many doctors would love to be able to say, “I can’t do that; it’s illegal and it would be the end of my medical career.” I also believe these same doctors would love to be free to explain what’s going on in the womb, show fetal models, encourage the Moms, and point them to whatever help is available to get through what previously seemed impossible. Medicine could begin to recover its dignity and conscience, and the repercussions could eventually grind the ‘slippery slope’ to a halt. Such gradualism is not an option in the minds of some, but I believe anything else would end in civil war.

What about men in certain ethnic communities who force wives to abort if the child is not the preferred sex? This is a huge question, because where can those women flee to? If the husband was charged with aiding or compelling, the community would likely turn against the wife, and so these women do not even have access to supposed “choice”. The decision will never be theirs to carry those ‘wrongly-gendered’ babes. They live in bondage in a supposedly free country. Why aren’t the liberal poor-choicers fighting for their rights? Because it’s neither babies nor women they care about. Immigration decisions over the years have not considered whether it’s even possible to confer upon such women the freedoms the rest of us have enjoyed. But these patriarchal communities cannot continue to be a law unto themselves. It used to be called treason.

Back in 1967 abortion was illegal. Unfortunately, I knew just where to take my friend who was being seriously pressured by her boyfriend to abort their child. Had she had no other options, I know she would have gotten through it, and probably be a Grandma, enjoying life, thankful that there was no choice. I say this because I had two crisis pregnancies, had no choice, and bore two wonderful children, both now with children of their own – my grandchildren. I can’t imagine the pain and loss she’s had to carry.

If abortion were made illegal one can only imagine the revolt by women who would see it as having their ‘rights’ denied them. Try telling them it never was right, and shouldn’t have become a right. Many women would be terribly angry, having for years tried to convince themselves they did the right thing, having lived with that awful lie, and suddenly forced to face the issue again. You truly might have a civil war on your hands.

But if truly informed consent became mandatory, with the truth being taught in schools, churches, doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals, with women knowing their right to sue for injury from an abortion, or for being aborted uninformed, then doing this ‘procedure’ would become so risky for doctors, very few would do it.

Yes, the wealthy could travel elsewhere to kill their progeny, for there are many countries that have traded their reproductive freedom for food or medicine, or some perceived freedom. They are a dying, lonely breed who have bought the lie that there will be “more for the rest of us”. Indeed, their punishment is upon them, without the act being illegal. Murder has consequences, whether by divine law or natural law.

Unfortunately, there is a prevailing mindset that says, “We can’t control this thing anyway, so we might as well make it legal.” Why do you think crime is so low in Sweden? Hardly anything is illegal! Do you think those things still go on? Of course. But what is there to protect those who know it’s wrong? Or the victims? What about medical personnel whose consciences won’t allow them to help with abortions, or to withhold the truth from someone about to make a very bad decision? How much of this privacy garbage is more about secrecy?

When women seeking abortions had to face a committee to prove their justification was their health, there were fewer abortions. I know someone who is alive because of that committee. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. It delayed the possibility, giving some women more time to get out of the crisis mode, often finding they maybe could get through this.

Many scream, “ Yes but, what about rape?!. That’s another big topic. Having been raped and not become pregnant, it’s a little easier for me to imagine that double horror than for some people. But let’s begin – and for now, end – by talking about the punishment of the perpetrator, assuming there is unequivocal doubt of his guilt, (two reliable witnesses + DNA testing + + + ). He should be castrated, branded, and jailed with no chance of parole, and no perks like computers, TVs, education opportunities, voting privileges, conjugal visits (oh, alright), workout room or sports equipment. When criminals are guaranteed twice the food budget of seniors in institutions, I think our elders are the ones doing time.

The pregnant victim of rape needs much support, understanding, and not to be made to feel victimized again, by having to carry this “horror” – for that’s how she feels – to completion. Neither should she be rushed off for a D & C or given an abortifacient, rather, as soon as possible connected with women who have been there, and found a way to get through this without doing more violence, some who have even given birth, keeping and loving the child. You simply can’t say to an unregenerate society, “we are unequivocally pro-life and we think you would be a murderer, and it would be wrong to abort that human life inside you, and there is no way out of this except to have that baby.” It is uncompassionate, and I think that as an unbeliever in that situation I might have lost my mind. I maintain that to allow an out while doing everything possible to support and dissuade from abortion, would result in virtually no abortions in that circumstance. I hope my ‘no exception’ friends will forgive me, but right now we stand by while 110,000 a year are butchered. We will not be satisfied until it ends, but could we not rejoice a little if next year 50,000 were spared, or must it be all or nothing? Perhaps some strategic, gradual changes might save your grandchild! We certainly aren’t doing much out and out rescuing where I live.

Chemical abortions must be made illegal, and the production or importation of them punished by fines and imprisonment. The woman is, for the most part, the duped consumer, as are some of the boyfriends/husbands. She suffers enough from her bad choice(s). The liars like Planned Barrenhood and various tax-funded NGOs, the colleges and universities with their anti-family agendas, must be defunded, and the Truth allowed free reign.

There is much that could be done if abortion became illegal, by punishing the crime at its source, for starters. It would take a lot of pressure off women who are expected to deal with their ‘problem’ and get on with life. Peer and societal pressure to do right are not all bad. That’s part of civilization.

Posted by: Elaine | 2007-08-28 12:37:12 AM

Thank you Elaine for your post. Abortions should only be allowed when the mother's life is truly in danger. Sadly that is almost never the case, for it has become after-the-fact birth control.

The pro-abort side likes to trot out the case of rape, but again this is seldom the case either.

The woman in these situations has often been pressured into it by the father of the child in which case she becomes a victim. There are almost always several responsible players involved and most women are uninformed concerning what actually takes place. How else could anyone knowingly agree to the "partial birth" abortion?

Also true is how medical personnel are often not free to refuse to perform or to participate in abortions. Add to all this that provinces are forced to cover the cost even in private clinics under their health care. Ridiculous since abortion is the opposite of health care.

The end result in most of the West is that we no longer have a self-sustaining population.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-08-28 1:05:29 AM

This is actually a simple question, devoid of emotion (as the law should be).

If you believe that abortion is murder, then the mother should be faced with a charge of murder. Unless she has been coerced/forced to have an abortion, then she has thought the act through, and has decided that the death of the unborn child is the best solution (satisfying the mens rea and actus reus of murder).

That is, of course, if you believe that abortion should be illegal.

Posted by: Siscoe | 2007-08-28 1:16:40 AM

This is not a direct response to Elain and her informative post, which I managed to read in full. Rather, it is the opinions I have formed from reading comments here and searching on the net, in order to see the issue from all sides.

We can all agree that abortion is here to stay, whether illegal or legal. Just like Porn, Prostitutes, Gambling, and many other vices. It is deep in Human history just like the many other vices stated above. I am not trying to say abortion is a vice, either.

After having Googled the terms/phrase "abortion illegal countries. I have found out that in countries where abortion is illegal, there are many many more unsafe abortion methods performed, causing maternal deaths. On the contrary, in Countries where it is legal the amount of unsafe methods are reduced because women can go to facilities where there are competent Doctors, in facilities with all the equipment required to use safe methods.

Another point that seems to conflicting with a lot of views on this thread is that having abortions should be a Womens right.

I could go on but then the likelihood of my comment not being read will increase, which would be a damn shame lol.



http://tinyurl.com/235tv8 (warning: may contain a pic that may offend you. It certainly shocked me).

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-28 1:27:47 AM

By the way, the last link I provided, claims to be in support of womens rights. However, like many things that is for you guys to judge. I certainly did not like seeing the PETA-esque sensationalizing of the webpage.

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-28 1:33:24 AM

Then again this is one of those moral/ethical issues that should not be politicized.

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-28 1:54:42 AM

The straight-answer-to-blather ratio in the thread is higher than I would have anticipated, but it's still not very high.

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2007-08-28 1:58:59 AM

More-on Abortion:

I do not think any of us can claim to be across the board Pro-life or across the board pro-choice. This issue is just too iffy, for the lack of a better term.

Posted by: Edmontonian | 2007-08-28 2:01:12 AM

Am I missing something here? Is it not the doctor who is guilty? Pregnant women do not perform abortions, do they? They may request or approve but you can hardly punish them for a crime they do not commit. Go after the doctors. They are the murderers.

Posted by: Herman | 2007-08-28 8:27:40 AM

Edmontonian @2:01:12AM, I agree with you!

Posted by: LizJ | 2007-08-28 8:49:15 AM

When there is not much light, put the light on. Who can read in darkness?

Read the Word of God.

Who is the owner of people, the Creator?

So He is the one to decide. If He said: kill the babies on particular circumstances, I would obey. If He said never, we should obey.

The light is in the book of

Deuteronomy 30:14,16 and 19

But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.

In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days.

It is a solemn appeal to choose life. The people are called upon to make a decision. The law lay at everyone's door.

We can already see the results of not having children.

Teachers are loosing their jobs.
Is it a blessing?
Mothers are suffering traumas.
Is this a blessing?
Doctors are ashamed of themselves.
Is this a blessing?
We have to bring in muslims and other kinds of problematic people.
Is it a blessing?
We are worried that too many people will retire and not enough working people left to pay for retirement.
Is it a blessing?
We are worried of the effects of having too many old people and the consequences for the economy. Is it a blessing?

Killing the babies (or whatever names one tries to invent for unborn babies),
Is it a blessing?

As for me and my house, we shall choose life and obey the Lord.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2007-08-28 8:53:57 AM

There's a good article published yesterday on this same subject by Matt Abbott located at
It's called "The abortion-seeking woman: perpetrator or victim?"

Posted by: Vote Life, Canada! | 2007-08-28 9:13:06 AM


I believe in the equality of the unborn child. The only time a pregnancy should foreseeably (but not intentionally) result in the death of an unborn child is when there is a danger of death, and the unborn child should be removed, his body whole, not torn limb from limb.

However, Israeli laws would be a vast improvement over what we have now,which is no law whatsoever.

I would like to address the argument that "arguments are going to happen anyway so they might as well be legal".

No law stops all crime.

This is about whether one believes an unborn child has rights or not.

If a person believes that an unborn child is equal and deserves the same right to life as born people, all the arguments about rape, the health of the child, economic circumstances, demographics, etc are all moot. They do not address the heart of the issue.

Posted by: SUZANNE | 2007-08-28 9:19:23 AM

What is called "pro choice" deals only with the choice of the mother. What about the choice of the child? The choice is made at the time of deciding to get into unprotected sex. After that it's too late.

Abortion in Canada is largely a belated birth control procedure at taxpayers expense and with horrendous consequences for the mother as well as the child. Doctors should only abort a baby if the life of the mother is in danger.

I agree with Remi and Suzanne. God never intended sex to take place outside of marriage and His blessings tie in with this plan.

It's not like there is no info on contraception these days. If anything, schools tend to go overboard in their zeal to teach children about sex. Yet we have promiscuity, AIDS, STD etc.

Posted by: Herman | 2007-08-28 10:02:10 AM

If scientists can predict the weather 100 years in the future, could they also do a study and what would the results have been if no abortion was legal. How many doctors, nurses, laborers, teachers, scientists etc would be in our population today. How many of these babies would have been killers, dropouts, or successful contributors to society. If they had been born would we have the labor shortage we have today.
When this topic first started, one of the arguments in favor was the savings to the taxpayer in future years, with no family allowance, health care, old age pension etc. Never were the arguments that if allowed it would have a huge effect on the economy with businesses that catered to the young.
Abortion will always be with us, but perhaps we should have a law that only one/woman will be paid for, and the repeat users have to pay for it themselves.
When one sees protests for abortion, with hundreds of women, and you think that most of those have killed their child, no wonder we have such a violent society.
As for sterilizing women who have abortions, only if the father is also sterilized.
If any woman is to be sterilized, perhaps it is the woman giving birth to a baby with aids.
Does anyone remember the promises by the liberal government of the day stating under no circumstances would abortion be allowed in Canada.

Posted by: MaryT | 2007-08-28 10:20:27 AM

Elaine -

You have been blessed by your difficult life experiences, and it would seem, redeemed by your actions subsequent to your unfortunate error in judgment at an earlier time in your life.

Of course you share with each of us the experience of finding that which you so feared and worked to avoid turned out to be the best thing in your life or a most fortuitous event (it is a humbling experience, one I've had so often, I think, because I have so little Faith in God).

The Roman Catholic Church wisdom on this issue holds that abortion is absolutely wrong in ALL circumstances, and particularly that in the (rare) case where it is truly a choice between the life of the baby or the mother, that the baby should be saved and the mother should die. There is a specific religous reason(ing) for this decision rule, but even without any "religion" by eliminating ANY chance of a (false) "acceptable reason" to perform an abortion, you ensure that NONE occur and also that NO mothers actually ever do die (as the heroic focus of medical practice operates without ANY easy excuses).

Without ANY religious considerations, if government is not set up first to protect innocent human life, then it is unfit to exist in service to a free people. And if a people cannot withhold from the power of government, the ability to sanction murder, then there is absolutely zero restraint upon that government from becoming a Totalitarian monster.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-28 10:21:58 AM

Conrad ~

"if government is not set up first to protect innocent human life, then it is unfit to exist in service to a free people'

. . . and for the same reason, the citizenry must be allowed to bear arms to protect itself from criminals who would kill or maim them.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-28 10:31:20 AM


Rights exist, not because anyone believes in them, but because the government says so.

Rights are not things that exist separate from reality--in any ethereal sense of the word.

Therefore, rights exist if the law is written, and the laws says it is so.

The fundamental issue with the premise of rights in the first place, is that they are legal, constitutional and there is the requirement of one of two things (corporations aside). There is the requirement of either, a person OR a group of people. Both criterias require that a person or group of persons are living, individually free bodies, whether registered or not. Fact is, an unborn baby cannot be registered as a separate person--therefore you can discuss unborn rights all you want, but untill they are living, breathing people, who are separate from the mother, then the law applies to the mother, in lieu of the unborn.

So, the answer to the problem is not in rights at all--but something else altogether. It lies in duties--as in the duties a person has to one that is totally dependent. It is lies in relation, not just what duty a government has to its people, but in what people have to eachother. Only here can a law be written that ascribes a person to ahve a duty to that which has not been born.

There are categories of people, and people are either those who can biologically carry a baby to term, and those who cannot. Therefore, the laws must pertain to duties, in the event that what is being carried, could, on the basis of biological fact, if all things are go, be a person. Duties, therefore, are to the one who is unborn--by the mother, and duties belong to those who empregnated her, those who are, in some way, shape or form, parents or grand-parents, and even to the extent that no child can grow up in a vaccuum, extended family.

Rights are not inherent--duties are.

The failure of a person, to provide that which is essential, to them who are not yet born, and who are in womb, is fundamental. You can bark rights all you want, and you will never get anywhere in this framework.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-08-28 10:43:10 AM

Lady -

Where is it codified that I may think whatever I wish?

In all of human societal experience, the thought precedes the act. Humans are primarily spiritual beings, of thoughts and ideas, which often gain strength and power as we age or otherwise even become less animated.

Our rights don't come from government, they are innate to our humanity, e.g. Natural Law, etc.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-28 11:06:04 AM

Our rights don't come from government, they are innate to our humanity, e.g. Natural Law, etc.

Not in Canada, Conrad.

Posted by: atric | 2007-08-28 12:03:02 PM

Even in Canada, atric - just not recognized by the government.

Posted by: obc | 2007-08-28 12:06:40 PM


You can think whatever you want--clearly, and that is not because your government says you have the right to do that.

And yet if you think that you have a right to be the President of the United States, no one will stop you from thinking that, unless you try to gain entrance into the White House--on which you will be greeted by many, who will tell you, without a doubt, that your natural inclinations and thoughts, are not respected in the manner to which you would like to become accustomed.

Although your thoughts are not codified, the respect to what you think are your rights, in relation to what government does or does not provide you, are in fact codified in law.

Now, as a counter arguement, you may well suggest again, the spiritual aspect of what constitutes a human soul--and this has been debated, and continue to be debated. Typically, a human soul is considered to be one who is separate from another, and can breath on their own...and there are medical blah-blahs that go along with that. And because there is so much debate, and no resolve, I have come to the conclusion, whether or not you agree it is a spiritual one, is besides the point, that in order to protect those who are not born yet, that there is a necessity to encode duties in relation to the unborn, in order to protect those who are not recognized as having any of the pre-requisites of personhood.

You may well say that a potential person, is a person--in which case you would have to prove that a potential person is a person--which you would have to use the materiality that pertains to what a person is, and where the discussion sits in relation to current definitions of personhood. And, being a person does not mean that just because you think that there is a person, that there is a person, as thinking is not the same as ising. In other words, it is not until it is. If it is not, then how can you have a right, when you do not exist yet? Prove verbatum that a person is, in spite of the fact that they are not yet recognized according to law, to exist, then you might have a leg to stand on. Until a baby is separate from the mother, the baby is not considered a person with rights as are all other people.

So, because the unborn (note, I have switched to group here, and not individual) are incapable of becoming, without others having duties towards, it is necessary that codes be formulated in regards to what others can and cannot do, to them who are not yet born.

If you can think about that for a moment, without getting your knickers in a twist, then perhaps you might be able to see that there is a definate connection. And then you could define according to one of the phases of life--such as the fact that all people, became people, first by having the phase, as an unborn. Then you could say that there may well be an acceptible criteria that could be codified, in which a person would have that duty to the unborn-person, in that no person could have ever become a person, without someone respecting that essential aspect to life.

With the particulars defined according to duties to he unborn person, the debate is simplified.

If you remain in the area of rights, you have a problem, in that no one can really represent legally a person, who is not born yet. Could you see it in the coutrts? It might go like this.

"Your honour, I am council for the unborn-person, Mary-Joe".

"Council, what has your unborn-person requested of you?"

"Your honour, it is not clear, but I think she kicked me in the head the other day, so I know she exists..."

"Council, please approach the bench...you have failed to show proof that you in fact represent someone. Could you please show us some identification for this said unborn person you so named Mary-Joe?"

"Your honour, you know that I cannot in fact prove that the unborn is actually a person, as in reality, at this point in time, other than belief that there will be a person fairly soon, as the mother who is carrying the unborn-person, is three months pregnant..."

"And what does she does she say about the matter that is being presented?" (judge speaks to other council of the mother?)

"Your honour, my client objects to the imposition of council, and states her unborn person can never actualy ever become a person, as the unborn has no skull behind her head, and the brain is flailing around in a sack."

"And you have medical evidence?"

"Yes, your honour, there is medical evidence, that there will be no such person, so named by the other council, as Mary-Joe, your honour."

Judge looks at other council for the unborn and says, "So, you say that the unborn-person will be a person, and yet there is clear medical evidence that no such person will exist, I see no basis on which you can make a claim for an application of duties to the unborn-person--case dismissed!"

Sure, it would be different--and yet could you imagine the courts being tied up per claim?

If, the unborn person had no problems, and was viable, would you think differently?

And yet just because you think they might have rights, does not make any difference in relation to the discussion.

So, to me, the reality is that there may well be no such thing as a right to life--but rather, a duty to life, so long as it is viable. parents have a duty to their children, to provide them what they can--where if there are no parents, the state has that duty--therefore you want a solution to the killing of potential people, I recommend you go where you can actually make a difference.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-08-28 12:42:06 PM

Now back to the original question about punishment for women who abort. It just occurred to me that we don't allow bank robbers to get away with their crime because they are poor and need the money, or because the have three children already, or because they want to finish college or high school, or even if they don't want stretch marks for their trip to Hawaii. Why then would we allow these mitigating circumstances to be used as an excuse for allowing someone to commit the crime of abortion? (When it becomes illegal) A quick question to add here for discussion purposes. What should be done with the serial abortionists who committ multiple terminations? [3-5 is not uncommon. the record I have heard about is 27 previous gravida (pregnancies) presenting for #28]

Posted by: YHS | 2007-08-28 1:32:00 PM

Lady -

Once the human sperm cell fertilizes the human egg cell the result is a being which is defined in every single respect as to what he or she will be physically (and spiritually). All that is needed from that point forward is time and nurishment-protection.

If a human baby is born and reaches it's first birthday anniversary, it is a being which is defined in every single respect as to what he or she will be physically (and spiritually). All that is needed from that point forward is time and nurishment-protection.

During the one years and nine month span of time nothing has changed with respect to the child, especially vis a vis the operation of any court of law.

Human society is hugely involved in operations and activities which are conducted for and about persons who are "not there" in the courtroom or in the bank or in the stock brokerage office, etc.

All of those people are primarily important players because they have rights, human rights, natural law rights. VERY secondarily, we discuss the "duties" of the other parties, and mainly only when there is a FAILURE of someone to perform. NOTHING is said of the duties when they are performed properly.

Lady, you are a big government Liberal. And yet, I like you, and I am glad to hear and think about your ideas and your point of view. : - )

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-08-28 3:03:21 PM

Hate to disagree with you OBC but our innate rights were abrogated by that Commie Trudeau.
Notwithstanding the fact that I still have the capacity to free-thought, expressing said free-thought comes with government restrictions.

Posted by: atric | 2007-08-28 3:21:28 PM

I like your posts but must point out that in Catholic hospitals in Alberta and indeed in other parts of Canada D&C procedures are carried out if the physical life of the mother is threatened. My wife, a nurse and trained in Catholic hospitals in Quebec and New Brunswick, has taken Catholic medical ethics courses at the undergrad and graduate level. She tells me that permission lies in the idea of the cause of double effect. You are trying to save the mother rather than to kill the child. It is, of course , a very rare occasion.

Posted by: DML | 2007-08-29 12:22:07 AM

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