Abortion IS A Rights Issue
I’ve been involved in several contentious discussions recently about abortion. Here in Canada, the leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, has mandated that all candidates for election on his ticket MUST be pro-choice. There has of course been some wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over this. I for one applaud JT for making this stand. I am not a fan of him or his party, or most of their policies, and I am personally uncomfortable with the idea of late term abortion. In this case however, I support him 100%, and will detail why… (Edit: Forgot to mention JT has since cowardly backed away from this requirement)
Women have legal rights, a zygote/fetus/unborn child does NOT have legal rights
“Rights” is a legal term. It has a definition. Rights are defined and enshrined in the constitution. You may assert you personally approve or disapprove of something all you want. That does NOT make it a right with constitutionally mandated protections. When you say a fetus has rights that override rights of the woman carrying it, you are either mistaken or deliberately LYING.
Late term abortions are a small percentage of the total number of abortions
Statistics are difficult to find, but from what stats I can find, 537 of 22,668 abortions for which relevant data exists (2010) were later than 21 weeks. This is about 2.369%. Multiply that by the total number of reported abortions in Canada of 64,641 and we get a guesstimate of 1531. Now how many of these were extended past 21 weeks by difficulty in obtaining and funding the abortion? Even though the numbers are small, restrictions on access may in fact be CONTRIBUTING to late term abortions. And in Canada, total abortion numbers are falling, likely as a result of better sex education and access to birth control.
Anti-choice rhetoric is based on emotion and not science
The anti-choice forces like to display graphic pictures of what is purported to be aborted fetuses because it is an appeal to emotion. This is what one does when they can’t muster a rational argument. As stated above, late term abortions are a small number, probably artificially inflated by restrictions on access. Nor are these appeals necessarily honest. (No need for me to rehash what has already been done: Fake abortion photos)
Another emotional appeal is that abortion stops a beating heart. A beating heart is simply an indication of a rudimentary circulatory system. It does not in any way indicate nervous system development, ability to feel pain, consciousness, viability of the fetus, and is not even uniquely human.
Then there are risks to the woman. While abortion in a clinical setting is a very safe procedure (the earlier the procedure, the safer it is), no medical procedure is totally without risks. Are those risks greater than the risks posed by pregnancy itself? Probably not. Up to 275,000 maternal deaths are recorded as a direct result of childbirth or complications every year worldwide. To force a woman (especially in poor countries where the risks may be as high as 1 in 7 pregnancies ending in maternal death) to choose between the risks of pregnancy and childbirth on one hand, and illegal ‘back alley’ abortions on the other is a gross abrogation of rights to personal autonomy and security of person, as well as denial of basic human dignity.
The anti abortion lobby is rooted in outdated religious concepts with no basis in reality
Make no mistake: The great majority of the anti-choice forces are religious. Their objections to abortion, or the birth control that could help reduce abortion, are almost entirely founded in religious doctrine. I have yet to hear an anti-choice argument that didn’t include, either explicitly or implicitly, a basis of ‘religious morality’; an oxymoron if ever there was one. It is one more way the religious lobby attempts an end run around separation of church and state in their desire to implement their version of sharia. They have no problem with trampling women’s rights because in religious doctrine, those rights don’t exist. And a small minority are so convinced in their religious fervor, they have shown they are capable of horrible and destructive behavior, up to and including murder, in attempts to enforce their grim vision. All life is sacred, as long as it is obedient and fetus friendly. Otherwise it is liable to termination. This is the intolerant, narrow minded barbarism of illiterate, superstitious, primitive, desert goatherds. It has no place in the 21st century.
Anti abortion forces are uninterested 3rd parties that have no legal or moral standing
You can argue against abortion rights all you want. You are entitled to your opinion. I will stand with you and defend your right to do so. Where opposition crosses the line is when uninterested third parties attempt to intervene in court cases, or deny physical access to medical facilities. If you aren’t pregnant, aren’t the father, won’t raise the child, have no financial interest, and are in no way penalized or inconvenienced, what could possibly make you think you are entitled to interfere? Should ‘right to life’ groups monitor anti-choice advocates to make sure sex is only for procreation and they never use birth control? And why should anyone care if abortion offends your personal views? Offense is an imaginary injury that miraculously heals the instant you stop imagining it. So STOP imagining it.
Anti abortion is pro poverty
One of the best ways to raise levels of wealth and education in a society is to empower women to make their own reproductive choices. When given the authority and autonomy to make the choice, women generally choose to have smaller numbers of children. These children have better access to scarce resources such as food and education. The mothers live longer and healthier lives, and can continue their education or enter the workforce sooner after raising fewer children, with positive contributions to family income and well being. And so begins the rapid climb from impoverished and illiterate patriarchy to modern, wealthy, egalitarian society.
Additional questions for the anti choice side
Even if we disregard the previous points, you still must pass this test: Answer how you can force a woman with legal rights to carry an unwanted fetus with no legal rights to term, bearing all risk and expense, and force her to care for it for a minimum of 18 years… or alternatively force the state to take the responsibility and expense post birth… without infringing upon her constitutionally guaranteed right to security of person?
Can you guarantee the pregnancy will NOT spontaneously abort, be stillborn, or cause a medical emergency necessitating a choice to abort to save the mother? If not, you risk taking away the rights of women, and possibly endangering their lives, for NOTHING.
And further, why should this be considered in the best interests of the pregnant woman whose rights are being infringed upon and forced to take the medical and financial risk, the best interests of the state, or in YOUR best interests?