(SNN) - We’ve all have been asked the question and for many the answer is easy; a simple yes or no. Many believe their position to be the only good, right and true choice and wonder about the morality of those with the opposite view. Unfortunately, the problem is that the wrong question is being asked. The question I am alluding to is “Are you in favour of abortion.”
The issue with the question is that it doesn’t allow for a nuanced response. This is not a simple yes or no situation. Surely there are compromises acceptable to the majority but it seems no compromises are allowed for those who have strong, but not polarized feelings about the subject. Unfortunately, it seems our elected officials are too afraid of public opinion to even mention the word “abortion”. Apparently being in power is more important than being responsible. As a result Canada does not have a law against abortion of any sort whatsoever. None. If a woman decided her eight month old “foetus” was too much of an inconvenience, she could have it vacuumed from her life. That is the effect of our lack of legislation.
Even though my opinions about abortion hover somewhere in the middle of the continuum, I am appalled by this fact. I am equally dismayed that, of the 50600 babies born in Alberta, (2008 figures) there were 12537 abortions performed here; a staggering full quarter of the live birth statistic. Canada-wide, that number climbs to almost 30% of the total births.
One of the cornerstone arguments for abortion is, of course, the right for a woman to have dominion over her body. I believe everyone should have that right. I also believe along with that right come responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to avoid being a drain on the healthcare system by taking care of ourselves. Eating properly, exercising moderately and not engaging in high risk sexual behaviour are good examples of that.
Parenthood is definitely something we want people to enter into with intent, not after they’ve gotten pregnant and are trying to decide what to do about it. It’s like picking a designated driver after everyone is already impaired.
Have we, as a culture, made too much of the fact that irresponsible intercourse leads to disease and not enough that it leads to pregnancy? Do we see pregnancy as a disease to be cured? It must be so because our government pays for this type of “elective” surgery in this province and the procedure eats up millions dollars of our overtaxed health care budget.
Proponents of unbridled abortion access will say that $5 million is a pittance compared to how much it would cost to deal with 12,000+ unwanted babies on our straining social services system. However, by allowing this practise, we provide a way for both guilty parties to shirk their personal responsibilities. All it costs them is a few minutes in a doctor’s office and a lifetime of guilt.
So what limitations can we make that would bring some much needed legislation, not to mention sanity, to the system? Obviously, if the pregnancy is threatening the life of the mother, this would be one such instance. That only accounts for about 3% of the abortions that are performed, though, and leaves the other 97% being chalked up to a woman making a personal choice. Let’s start with the timing.
I understand that, for a number of fundamentalists, there is no point after conception when it would be acceptable to abort the new life. It is doubtful, however, the majority of Canadians would really have a problem with the removal of a small mass of cells, even if they have the potential to be a human being someday. However, I also think the majority face tremendous struggles at the thought of procedures that rip apart babies in the womb advanced enough to survive had they been born and not aborted, which is legal in Canada currently. Where, then do we as a society draw the line?
How about the point at which we legislate a person becomes a person is when they would be viable outside the womb? If not, then use the point scientists deem the brain to be functioning on a human level. Perhaps a group of bio-medical and bio-ethical experts could be convened to make a learned opinion. Just stop doing nothing. It is repugnant to me and, I suspect, most Canadians, that they allow abortions in the third trimester especially, given that by then, we are talking about fully formed humans we are destroying.
It’s one thing to be proud our politicians are “progressive” and feel abortion as solely a female issue. However, it is another thing all together when our leaders refuse to lead and provide, at least some, reasonable limitations to an act that many feel are entirely without reason.
Unfortunately, in the abortion wars, there is never talk of limitations. It seems like it’s all or nothing; Draconian measures to criminalize all abortions like we once had or the complete lack of any limitations on abortion, indeed even funding the procedure from our taxes, as we do now. Why can we never discuss the middle ground?
DISCLAIMER: The above article is OPINION.The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Opinion and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.