Tag Archives: Abortion

How the left censors free speech in Canada

Denyse O’Leary, a Canadian journalist, gives a helpful round-up of the latest news in the war against free speech in Canada. Did you know that it’s dangerous to disagree with certain special interest groups in Canada? If you say something that they find offensive, it can land you in front of a kangaroo court. It’s sort of like the secular equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, because you are almost certain to be found guilty. You can be forced to apologize or pay fines, or pay off your accuser. If you don’t know what’s happening with the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, Denyse’s post is a good place to start.

UPDATE: WOW, Denyse has the full transcript of Mark Steyn’s speech during his Human Rights Commission trial. She even transcribes Steyn’s answers to the questions afterwards. You do not want to miss this post!

UPDATE 2: Things are even worse that I thought. It turns out that you can’t even disagree with pro-abortion activists at taxpayer-funded campuses in Canada any more. If a campus organization books a speaker, the other side can just show up and shut it down by screaming and shouting like banshees every time the speaker tries to get a word in. Here is a video of what happened on the campus. Here is an article from the The Chronicle Herald describing the incident. A radio interview with the pro-life speaker on Calgary’s CHQR 770 radio station is here.

UPDATE 3:  The Calgary Herald takes a stand against the Human Rights Commissions here. The Chronicle Herald defends the free speech of pro-lifers here. And this article from the Calgary Herald is the best one of all, it includes a link to the video of the pro-life speaker, Jose Ruba, being shouted down while he tries in vain to politely reason with the enraged protesters.

UPDATE 4: A Toronto Sun article on Mark Steyn’s vicious denunciation of the Human Rights Commissions and their war against freedom of speech.

UPDATE 5: National Post is reporting that the University of Calgary is going to ban the pro-life club.

The pro-life position on abortion explained in plain English

Now, you may think that the view that the unborn deserve protection during pregnancy is something that you either take on faith or not. But I want to explain how you can make a case for the right to life of the unborn, just by using reason and evidence.

To defend the pro-life position, I think you need to sustain 3 arguments:

  1. The unborn is a living being with human DNA, and is therefore human.
  2. There is no morally-relevant difference between an unborn baby, and one already born.
  3. None of the justifications given for terminating an unborn baby are morally adequate.

Now, the pro-abortion debater may object to point 1, perhaps by claiming that the unborn baby is either not living, or not human, or not distinct from the mother.

Defending point 1: Well, it is pretty obvious that the unborn child is not inanimate matter. It is definitely living and growing through all 9 months of pregnancy. (Click here for a video that shows what a baby looks like through all 9 months of pregnancy). Since it has human DNA, that makes it a human. And its DNA is different from either its mother or father, so it clearly not just a tissue growth of the father or the mother. More on this point at Christian Cadre, here.

Secondly, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the unborn that is not yet present or developed while it is still in the womb, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, it does not deserve the protection of the law.

Defending point 2: You need to show that the unborn are not different from the already-born in any meaningful way. The main differences between them are: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependence. Once these characteristics are identified, you can explain that none of these differences provide moral justification for terminating a life. For example, babies inside and outside the womb have the same value, because location does not change a human’s intrinsic value. More at Stand to Reason, here.

Additionally, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the already-born that is not yet present or developed in the unborn, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, that it does not deserve protection, (e.g. – sentience). Most of the these objections that you may encounter are refuted in this essay by Francis Beckwith. Usually these objections fall apart because they assume the thing they are trying to prove, namely, that the unborn deserves less protection than the already born.

Finally, the pro-abortion debater may conceded your points 1 and 2, and admit that the unborn is fully human. But they may then try to provide a moral justification for terminating the life of the unborn, regardless.

Defending point 3: I fully grant that it is sometimes justifiable to terminate an innocent human life, if there is a moral justification. One of the best known justifications is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “violinist” argument. This argument is summarized by Paul Manata, one of the experts over at Triablogue:

Briefly, this argument goes like this: Say a world-famous violinist developed a fatal kidney ailment and the Society of Music Lovers found that only you had the right blood-type to help. So, they therefore have you kidnapped and then attach you to the violinist’s circulatory system so that your kidneys can be used to extract the poison from his. To unplug yourself from the violinist would be to kill him; therefore, pro-lifers would say a person has to stay attached against her will to the violinist for 9 months. Thompson says that it would be morally virtuous to stay plugged-in. But she asks, “Do you have to?” She appeals to our intuitions and answers, “No.”

Manata then goes on to defeat Thomson’s proposal here, with a short, memorable illustration, which I highly recommend that you check out. More info on how to respond to similar arguments is here.

For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

UPDATE: I found a neat video over at Tough Questions Answered of a 12-year old girl making the case for protecting the unborn. This is better than I can do!