Public Policy & Legislation

Ultimate legislative goal

The ultimate legislative goal for life issues is to enshrine in law full human rights, including the right to life, for every person from the moment of conception.

Abortion-choicers are quick to restate this goal as a negative, i.e. "you want to take away a woman’s right to choose". It is important for pro-lifers (and pro-life politicians) to always reinforce that we are interested in the protective nature of such laws, rather than the restrictive nature.

Our desire is to PROTECT all innocent human persons from being unjustly killed. We are not interested in taking away anybody’s freedom. It is true that re-criminalizing abortion will restrict freedom, but only in the same way that laws against rape limit the freedom of some individuals to commit sexual assault. In both laws, the goal is to protect someone who is weak from being harmed unjustly by someone else who is stronger. This is a reasonable limit on our freedom.


If laws change what happens to women who abort illegally?

Again, abortion-choicers deliberately fear monger when they claim that pro-lifers want to lock up women in jail. This is a deceptive ploy. There are many legislative options available beyond the caricature of reality which abortion-choicers try to paint.

First of all, heavy criminal sanctions can be focused primarily on the physician who violates medical ethics by committing abortion, whereas lighter penalties of a deterrent nature can be applied to the mothers who actually get abortions. In fact this was the approach taken by courts prior to 1969, before abortion was legalized. Out of compassion for the woman, and recognizing the desperation often felt during these situations, the courts had already been applying lesser penalties to women back then.


The "Coat Hanger/Back Alley" Argument

Anti-equality advocates always use a fear-mongering, emotional appeal to the effect "if you make abortion illegal again, women will die from unsafe, back alley abortions".

There are 4 possible responses to this red-herring that is frequently used by anti-equality-advocates.

First, that statement begs the question: is the unborn a full-fledged member of the human community? If so, then the question of whether or not somebody is going to break the law is irrelevant. We cannot sanction the murder of innocent human beings just because a few people are willing to commit illegal acts. Are you also in favour of sanctioning slavery just because a few people today still do abduct, and hold other people, as sexual slaves?

Second, the claims of "thousands" of women dying from "unsafe abortions" were largely invented back in the 60's. The truth is, at the time when abortion was criminal, most of the illegal abortions were already being done in the "safety" of a doctor's office. Dr. Bernard Nathansan, the founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, today admits that he and other abortion-activist leaders invented the figure of "5000 to 10000 deaths per year". They knew it was a big enough number to win public sympathy. Whenever abortion is recriminalized, some unethical doctors will no doubt, continue to do illegal abortions.

Third, nobody would use a coat hanger. Suction tube technology is very simple to use, inexpensive and takes only 15 minutes. There is no reason why illegal abortions in the future would not be committed using the same "clean" and "safe", suction tube technology that abortionists use today.

Fourth, it is up to a just society to build supportive networks around women in unplanned pregnancies so that she never desires the un-choice of killing her child, whether illegally or otherwise.


What's the pro-life strategy today?

Unfortunately only a minority of MP's in parliament today are pro-life. A sizable minority, but a minority nonetheless. In order to succeed with any serious motion to define the right to life for unborn children, it is necessary to first elect a majority of pro-life MP's in parliament. On the other hand, MP's who put forward right to life motions for the purpose of stimulating dialogue, even though they know it does not have sufficient votes to pass, ought to be encouraged. Changing hearts and minds in the general public is a worthwhile goal in itself.

Until we have a majority of pro-life MP's, focusing on incremental legislation will begin to build respect for the dignity of human life and reduce the number of abortions.