Monday, May 22, 2006

Supporting a Woman's Right to Choose

I was going to post something on Gwyn Morgan (thanks Mac), but something else caught my eye.

According to the Star, it seems that Alberta Conservative backbencher Leon Benoit is planning to introduce a private member's bill which would make it a separate criminal offence to harm an unborn child in cases where a pregnant mother is assaulted or murdered.

The bill was initiated over the story of Olivia Talbot, a young Edmonton woman, who had chosen to keep her child and raise a family. An ex-boyfriend brutally shot and killed her and then shot and killed her unborn child. The baby's grandmother held the little boy in her arms briefly. He was 27 weeks along. She said that other than the bullet wound, he was perfect.

So Olivia had chosen to allow her baby to live, rather than aborting him. Her boyfriend took away her right to choose.

It should be interesting to watch how far this bill gets in the House of Commons.

53 comments:

Riley Hennessey said...

Joanne,

Such an interesting post. While I support a woman's right to choose, I have always hoped legislation would be in place to protect a fetus from harm. Everyone has heard of stories where a woman has been stabbed and lost a baby, etc. The guy gets off with a couple months in jail and thats it.

If I were an MP, I'd find it hard not to support legislation protecting a fetus from prowlers. I do not think it would be a slippery slope and think it would be a step forward in protecting both mother and baby.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thank you, Riley. I appreciate your candid comments. This after all, does support a woman's right to choose, so I see no contradiction. I think even the SCC would have a hard time disagreeing.

vicki said...

This grandmother/mother was very active during the election campaign...of course MSM didn't follow her...it was on the blogs...a pre-born baby needs recognition and protection for sure.
joanne...looking forward to what you say about Morgan.

Mac said...

It will be interesting to see how the various parties deal with this one. They may have to try to define that fine line between a glob of cells and a viable fetus... and that's no easy task.

Roy Eappen said...

The horrible thing in Canada, is a baby has no rights until it is out of the womb. An Ottawa woman shot herself at 32 weeks and nothing could be done because the baby was not a person. Only lawyers could argue that a baby that could survive outside a motrher's womb is not a oersin

Anthy said...

Hey Joanne,

I completely agree with your concerns on the women's right to choose. The father of the child does not have the right to overmind the decision of the woman regardless of the outcome. And this must be protected.

Sara said...

The father of the child does not have the right to overmind the decision of the woman regardless of the outcome. And this must be protected.

What?

No one has a right to kill a child while in a womb.

The father has a right to the child though... not to kill it no! But it takes 2 to make baby and fathers are forced to pay child support whether they wanted the baby or not... None of this makes sense to me, a woman can have a right to choose but if a man says too bad I don't want the baby the courts put him in jail for not paying child support...

uh oh here comes another touchy subject for yah jo...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yes, this is extremely complex. If a woman has the right to choose, and she chooses to allow the pregnancy to continue, and then someone else aborts the child by murder, shouldn't that be some kind of crime?

Red Tory said...

Thin edge of the wedge...

Anonymous said...

Why should women have the right to choose when some people in government are advocating harvesting organs from accident victims without consent, if no one has the right to their bodies, then women don't deserve that right either.

hunter said...

This right to choose in the childcare arena, means you can only choose daycare, but the right to choose killing your child is only the women's right? Dad's and other family members do not matter.

This should pass easily in the House if MP's are honest. I will be watching this vote with great interest. Have already emailed my MP that I wholeheartedly support it, and he should too. MSM should get some emails from us as well, seeing as they are all about ratings.

AY said...

I think the wrong (and somewhat prejudicial) term has been used here, under duress.

"Child": under prevailing laws in Canada (as far as I know), a foetus is not a child.

Unfortunately, that's the way it is (at the moment).

Using the wrong term, 'child', suggests an emotive bias.

If the issue is to go far, let's keep the emotions out of it, and stay on the course of using science/law to change the status quo.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anonymous, what an interesting argument. It made me think of the possibility where a woman might die for whatever reason, but near-term baby somehow is able to survive. Should the baby's fate be decided by whether or not the woman wanted him? What if she had decided that morning to abort, but she was killed later that day? Should the baby therefore be allowed to die rather than be saved if it were possible?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hunter, excellent point. Let your M.P. know exactly how you feel about this. It is a pro-choice initiative after all.

Aussie Yam, yes I must confess that I used the term "child" on purpose. Shamelessly biased that way. You can be free to substitute the word "fetus" or "uterine matter" or "unwanted tumour" or whatever pleases you.

Sara said...

to a pro-lifer the foetus is always a child, and a pro-choicer it is a foetus...


that is the difference

Joanne (True Blue) said...

But what is it to the mother, Sara?

vicki said...

The use of the word fetus, again attempts to downplay the life in the womb. Fetus is merely medical terminology for the stage of growth, the same as 'infant' 'toddler' 'preschooler' 'teen' 'adult' and 'geriatric'...all human stages of development and growth.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good point, Vicki. How about "infant in-utero"?

Riley Hennessey said...

I'll tell you what it is... it's a life inside someone's belly.

When does life start? Start's when the egg gets hit with sperm. Bam you got a life-force growing in you.

I'm pro-choice and I think we should be debating this with level heads in the public sphere. I'd rather have a woman be able to go to a clinic and abort her fetus medically then grab a coat-hanger (sorry if thats descriptive).

I also think that when a woman makes that decision, she needs to know what she's doing. We spend too much time preaching to young men and women rather than educating them. It wasn't that long ago when I was in jr. high (ok like 9 years) and I had sex-ed. You think they taught us about pregnancies and abortion and what it all involves? Heck no. They lightly skimmed everything over and we giggled, and away we went. Nobody gave a darn or valued the class, that includes teachers and students both.

Instead we need to educate students about actions and consequences. We need to teach love and consulation so that young girls don't feel the need to run away or lie to their parents about pregnancies. We need an open debate rather than shoving this under the carpet every couple years.

What makes everyone nervous are the Elsie Wayne's of Canada. The ones that scream with tears in their eyes "you're killing babies!" or "you're a sinner" We need to tone down the rhetoric, and tone up the discussion.

I'm of the firm belief that if more young people knew what pregnancies and abortions really mean for their lives, the life of the child, and the lives of the people around them, we would have less abortions and those that did abort would do so in a healthy, humane way.

That's my 8 cents.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Excellent points, Riley. I agree that the emotional zealots on both sides of the argument do nothing to further their cause. We need constructive, cool-headed debate. Right now, this topic is barely allowed to surface, because there is such a climate of fear associated with it.

vicki said...

yes...pre born baby.
This will be a real hot topic for sure...legal definitions will be the name of the game...sad it has to come to this.

Anonymous said...

If saving fetuses from this kind of violence is their real goal, it might be a better idea to introduce legislation that rectifies the 100% vs. 0% monopoly that a woman has on this desicion. Both parties entered into this situation, but only one gets to decide the outcome? Sure a woman should be able to choose what happens to her own body, but I'd wager this type of crime would vanish if we stopped making the father finacially liable for the decision of the mother. The same could go for the other way around. If a father wants to keep a child against the will of the mother, then it would be his responsibility. At least under a system like this the parties could come to an agreement rather than one side imposing its will on the other.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"Sure a woman should be able to choose what happens to her own body, but I'd wager this type of crime would vanish if we stopped making the father finacially liable for the decision of the mother."

Anon - Great point. What I have suggested before is a legally binding contract that both parties sign before having sex. In case of an unwanted or unexpected pregancy, the terms would be clear and agreed upon by both.

vicki said...

I like riley's point too. teaching realities...that a girl thinks sex is love (and committment) and the guy just wants his jollies.Sorry if that sounds rude but riley mentioned the real stuff is not being taught in school...and I don't think we should depend on teachers to do that. You cannot seperate sexuality from morals. That is what has been attempted and that is why this is such a dilemma now. Think about this...Sex in a committed responsible marriage avoids a lot of these issues.I realise some married women want abortions. But the message teen girls hear is that they are hot chicks and should be ready for anything. I think teen girls are worth more than that...teen guys too.There are consequences...and reality bites.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well said, Vicki, and thanks for underscoring Riley's very perceptive comments that we need to be doing a better job teaching about love and committment, and may I add "responsibility"...

Sara said...

A mother is only created after birth,, so the feminists say.

Me, I was a mom before giving birth. My contribution to life is my children. Whether anyone likes it or not.
I am proud of what I do, whether they say I am a leech on society or not.

I was born a mom and I will die a mom nothing more nothing less.

AY said...

Again, how an individual feels and how her experiences as a mother, has no bearing on law-making.

Let's keep it rational, using universally accepted scientific facts.

PGP said...

Turning an act of violence into a prop for anyone's political agenda is just wrong.

One thing (murder of woman) has nothing to do with the other ( abortion).

If you want to start making these kind of connections then are you prepared to go the other way with logical twist? Ie; sterilization of these people would have prevented the death of the fetus/child.
I would not.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Rational fact #1: Woman six months pregant and wanted to carry to term.

Rational fact #2: Woman shot though head.

Rational fact #3: 27 week old fetal matter shot 3 times.

Rational fact #4: Murderer charged with one count.

Rational fact #5: Woman's mother now without her daughter and her grandson.

You be the judge.

liberal supporter said...

The baby is already protected, as a part of its mother.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"The baby is already protected, as a part of its mother."

Meaning...???

liberal supporter said...

Meaning, more laws are not needed.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

How is the baby protected by his mother in the case of a murder?

liberal supporter said...

The baby is protected by the same laws that protect its mother. The baby is part of its mother, so is protected by the same laws that protect its mother.

Sara said...

yikes I'd hate to be liberal supporter right now....


he's all yours Jo

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Sara..

L.S. - So you are obviously o.k. with the murderer being charged with only one death in the story in my post.

Even though Olivia Talbot's mom lost her daughter, and her grandson, whom she was able to hold for a few precious moments. But that only counts for one death, right? Lighter sentence, and so on? Out in a few years for good behaviour with an easy judge?

This murderer actually aborted Olivia's fetus (is that o.k. Aussie Yam?), but Olivia had wanted to go through with that pregnancy. So what right did the murderer have to abort her pregnancy?

Sara said...

sick and twisted minds of certain people,,, (not just liberals)

the world is not in black and white anymore buddy or maybe you haven't gotten cable yet like the rest of us!

Sara said...

where is zac? have we scared him off?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sara - I'm trying to be patient with Liberal Supporter, but it is difficult.

Zac? Yeah, I think he's been busy putting out a kazillion new posts.

AY said...

Calm down, girls!

All I am saying is, let's keep a cool head and use universally-accepted scientific facts when evaluating issues.

I understand that people feel very strongly about certain issues. But what good is it to be consumed by anger? It doesn't strengthen the argument any, if anything, it demeans the issue.

You need to go back to the very basics: until you have a universally-accepted definition of 'when life begins' + 'what is a child' etc., you cannot change the law.

So get working on that. Rather than waste time on semantics.

Forget the anger. Focus the PASSION on something that will actually change to an equilibrium that is accepted by the majority.

Put it this way, you live in a democracy. You don't want to live under anything but a democratic system. SO, work your way around it - because under this system, the majority rules.

vicki said...

So just who defines 'universally accepted scientific fact?'Your acceptance might not be my acceptance. I accept the fact that life begins at conception.
splitting hairs...
begins...
NOW...

AY said...

Whose? Well, until we define 'life begins at conception' the way we define 'earth is round', silly emotional outbursts like yours is a classic waste of time.

AY said...

i.e. with indisputable proof.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow, Wicki, those are fighting words from Aussie! And she's the one that wants to keep things calm and rational.

How indeed do we get to the point where the whole world ascribes to a "universally-accepted definition of 'when life begins' + 'what is a child' etc."?

Who would be that wise person or committee that would once and for all decide and prove such things?

And more to the point, how did the Supreme Court of Canada in it's infinite wisdom decide that a fetus only becomes a person with all related rights at the moment of birth?

And exactly what is the moment of birth? Is it when the head emerges, or when the whole body emerges.

If a deranged nurse decides to stick a scalpel into the crowning head of the baby/fetus, is it attempted murder or is it only murder once the legs are visible? Should the nurse be charged with any wrong-doing?

What if the baby/fetus was presenting feet-first? Supposing she cut off those little feet and the baby bled to death after being born? Should she be charged with any criminal act at all? The feet were outside the body, so are only the feet a "person"?

Sara said...

dems fighting words"

nah they are just trying to get you to see their side of the story. Not the best way but their intentions are good.

Last night I found a blog that compared stay at home moms to dogs and you know what I started fighting then I said "kiss my ass" and I'm done with your blog.
She was doing it to be a troll and I realized that.
Save your fighting for the politicians, I am.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Sara. Always the voice of calm in the blogging storm.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW, Sara, thanks for the definition of "Hick Wedding" on your site. Pics and everything! Awesome. Better than Wikipedia.

AY said...

??? I am calm. Are you imagining things?

I've not let my emotions get in the way (of what should be a rational debate) - other than perhaps being a little tired of the fact that some posters don't adhere to the same civility.

What's the point of 'debating' if you've already made up your mind? That's as I say: a waste of time.

You need to understand that, to strengthen your cause, you need to stay rational. Not react the way that you do. Besides, you're not saying anything that is enlightening. My point remains: focus on what works and what will further your cause.

I believe personally, that life begins at conception. But so what? If science doesn't agree, the law won't change in my favour.

Sleep on it.

liberal supporter said...

Of course life begins at conception, though actually the egg and sperm cells are alive before that as well.

The question here is about when should you be deemed an individual with rights separate from your mother? The point at which you are physically separated from your mother, i.e. birth.

There are people who wish to protect the egg and sperm cells before conception, i.e. by banning contraception, but I don't think anyone is in favour of killing babies after they are born. So birth it is. You can try to come up with crazy situations like a nurse cutting a baby's feet off during birth, but that should not be the basis of law.

In the case cited, Olivia's killer has been charged with first degree murder. The fact that she was expecting and he killled her unborn child will certainly weigh heavily on the case. That's why they went with first degree, because clearly he was intending to kill her.

Do not mix this issue with the "light sentences" issue. I don't believe the murderer is getting out of jail any sooner because he is not charged with a double murder. They do two for one deals all the time.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"They do two for one deals all the time."

Sounds like a game show. Sad.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

"I believe personally, that life begins at conception. But so what? If science doesn't agree, the law won't change in my favour."

Aussie, perhaps I misjudged you. Sorry for that. But where or what is this "Science" that doesn't agree?

And Lib Supporter, birth can be a long process. At exactly what point does the emerging fetus become a "person"? Does anyone have the legal explanation of this phenomenon?

vicki said...

There in lies the problem...laws don't change the human heart.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki - How profound. Wow.

Thanks. I may use that sometimes, if that's o.k.