Human rights are universal and inalienable. Human rights are inherent to all humans regardless of gender, race, age, nationality or social status and cannot be revoked by governments or courts. All people have human rights simply by virtue of being a part of the human family. The most basic of these include the right to life, liberty and security of person. Here in Canada, the 400-year-old definition of when human life begins is at complete birth. How this law should stand as is with our current understanding of prenatal development I do not understand. By the eighth week of development an embryo has all of the basic organs and has its own distinct heartbeat and yet this unique human being has zero protection under the law.
- 36.6% of abortions occur between 4 and 9 weeks when the baby’s heart is beating, brain waves are detected and ultrasounds show them waving their arms and legs (at 7 to 9 weeks).
- 49.5% occur at 9-12 weeks when the baby has fine hair on his or her head, is 8″ to 10″ long and can hear.
- 9.6% occur at 13-16 weeks when a fetus has fingerprints, urinates in utero, squints, swallows, wrinkles his or her forehead, sleeps, wakes and exercises.
- 4.4% occur at 16 weeks to birth when the child can be startled by a sudden noise and can survive with proper care outside of the womb.
The abortion numbers in Canada have remained rather steady over the last decade or more with around 100 000 per year. In the US, the abortion provider Planned Parenthood had a profit margin of 112 million dollars in 2006. In Canada, the majority of provinces publicly fund private abortion providers. It is hard to believe that those who are financially benefitting from this industry would desire it to shrink let alone become illegal. Therefore any expertise they spout should be taken with a grain of salt.
The other side of this debate usually attacks the pro-life arguments with the trumpeting of “women’s rights”. They argue that limiting or denying abortion access is trampling on women’s reproductive rights and their right to autonomy. It is a fact that there is no law stating that abortion is a “right” either in Canada or in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is unethical and just plain backwards to hold a perceived “right” on a higher pedestal than the individual’s inherent right to life. As stated above, inherent human rights are inalienable and so cannot be removed or denied for any reason. I believe that all women have rights the same as men but with rights comes duty and responsibility. If we are claiming our own rights as human beings we are claiming them for all. It is not enough to simply scream about what we are entitled to, we must fight for all members of our society.
The abortion discussion has come to the forefront in Canada because the Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth has brought forward motion M-312 to discuss whether our current laws that determine when life begins are satisfactory. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and PMO are trying to shut down the debate which is a complete disgrace. We should never fear a discussion but rather welcome it for it is the only way to bring light to the truth. If you are reading this and find you agree with most of what I say then follow this link and do what you can to inform your MP of your views. I believe it is going to take an incredible amount of moral courage from Canadian citizens to bring about any change since it is not easy, comfortable or fashionable to talk about this. Trust me, I have felt the temptation to just be quiet and let sleeping dogs lie. What do I gain by engaging in controversy? However, my values and beliefs and not to mention my conscience will not allow me to remain silent and I encourage everyone out there to speak out against all injustice even if the battle seems to have already been lost. I have listed links below that I used to put together this post plus some other great resources.
Above image source http://www.artakiane.com/ titled ‘Beginning’.