Thursday, February 07, 2008

The other side of the story

Since I'm such a glutton for punishment, I'll continue with the abortion theme. Today's Post featured a Counterpoint to Garson Romalis' speech.

Dr. Paul Ranalli explains Why I am not an Abortion Doctor:

...I also condemn the personal threats and attacks on them by a radical few whose actions are the antithesis of promoting life and have left a blot on the mainstream pro-life movement. This is a blot that abortion advocates -- and their supporters in much of the media -- have exploited repeatedly to try to silence the reasonable moral arguments against abortion and its unrestrained practise in Canada today....

This is so true. You see this same argument used over and over. Just because some lunatic has tried to kill an abortion doctor does not mean therefore that all pro-lifers are crazy, and that their concerns are invalid.


Dr. Ranalli discusses the possible reasons why so few doctors wish to pursue abortions as a specialty and comes to this conclusion:
...No, the pro-choice movement refuses to confront the main reason doctors do not gravitate to performing abortions: They don't like to kill. Even putting aside "pro-life" doctors, many of those physicians who would nominally sign off as "pro-choice" would prefer that someone else per-form abortions...
...And the procedure is used as a weapon of genocide against female fetuses in a number of ethnic communities in Canada, an especially bitter truth for feminists to swallow...
Nobody responded to my challenge to deal with that one in the previous post on abortion.


Ranalli closes with this haunting paragraph which I also thought of when reading Romalis' speech:
...Dr. Romalis closes by recounting the story of a female medical student who came up to him to thank him for performing an abortion on her some years earlier. She said, "If it weren't for you I wouldn't be here now." For balance, I would ask about the many future women doctors who were aborted in the womb. To quote Robert Kennedy: "I dream of things that never were, and ask why not."

This debate will never be settled to everyone's satisfaction. It isn't possible.

But let's at least grant each other the courtesy to be heard, without this constant explosion of hostility and anger.

13 comments:

Wayward Son said...

"Nobody responded to my challenge to deal with that one in the previous post on abortion."

Well I can't respond to it. Of course it is a tragedy. No pro-choice supporter thinks that there is nothing bad that ever comes out of abortion. However I do have an issue with the doctor labeling it a genocide. It is not, a genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group.

But other then that I think that both of the doctors made good arguments. I think there is value in this "debate" going on in the National Post, although I doubt it will change the minds of many, hopefully it will allow people to approach the divide in a more civil way. And thanks for posting links here Joanne, otherwise I would have missed the series.

I am reminded of a passage from a book by the cognitive scientist Steven Pinker:

"Some debates are so entwined with people's moral identity that one might despair that they can ever be resolved by reason and evidence. Social psychologists have found that with divisive moral issues, especially on which liberals and conservatives disagree, all combatants are intuitively certain they are correct and that their opponents have ugly ulterior motives. They argue out of respect for the social convention that one should always provide reasons for one's opinions, but when an argument is refuted, they don't change their minds but work harder to find the replacement argument. Moral debates, far from resolving hostilities, can escalate them, because when people on the other side don't immediately capitulate, it only proves they are impervious to reason." From the Blank Slate - pg 281.

Wayward Son said...

http://netroots.ca/?p=80

As an example of what I said in the previous post. Above is a link to a short piece by Green Party leader Elizabeth May. Then read the 8 comments by posters who all viewed May's piece as the most unreasonable pro-life tirade against women the world has ever seen. I also visited a left-wing forum where (mostly) NDP posters are using this piece as an example why the Green Party should demand May resign or fire her, along with using it as an example of the Green Party being a pro-life party who just can't wait to remove women's right.

I am strongly pro-choice, always have been, and most likely always will be, but at times like these I am embarrassed to admit it.

hunter said...

A post from the heart Joanne, wonderful. I read that article today too, I looked for it online, but find the National Post site very hard to navigate.

Can people at least meet halfway on this issue and set a cut-off point? Having no limit on when a baby can be aborted is disgusting in this day and supposedly "progressive" age.

Lefties shreak about the Conservatives bringing in the "death penalty" but also shreak that Conservatives want to stop baby killing. Isn't abortion the "death penalty" for babies? Hypocrites!

Crazymamma said...

The best way to fight abortion is not thru legislation but thru public awareness. Most women are not aware of the possible physical, emotional, spiritual life long consequences.

A public awareness campaign some what like drinking and driving. It will still happen but we need to make it a socially unacceptable practice in society.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

These are all great comments. Thanks for that quote, WS. That pretty much encapsulates the dynamics of the whole debate.

I must admit that at first I thought you were just one of RT's crazy trolls, but you have proved that you have a great deal of balance and respect for other points of view. I'm very glad that you frequent this blog.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Lefties shreak about the Conservatives bringing in the "death penalty" but also shreak that Conservatives want to stop baby killing. Isn't abortion the "death penalty" for babies? Hypocrites!

I find that difficult to understand too, but I suppose if you can truly delude yourself into believing that a third-term fetus is still a blob of tissue, it makes the argument easier.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The best way to fight abortion is not thru legislation but thru public awareness. Most women are not aware of the possible physical, emotional, spiritual life long consequences.

I could accept that if we could get some actual statistics on abortion. As I understand it, true stats are difficult to obtain because abortions don't have to be reported. I could be wrong, and would be happy to be educated on this point.

In any case, to be able to see if such a campaign is working, we would need to be able to measure the differences between abortion stats over a period of years.

The problem may very well take care of itself if fewer and fewer doctors decide to take up this 'noble' specialty.

So what's next? Force doctors to do abortions? Or bribe them to do it with huge salary increases and perks?

Wayward Son said...

"Can people at least meet halfway on this issue and set a cut-off point?"

Probably not. For those pro-choice people who view this issue as a woman's right to her own body they would view any cut-off point, not as meeting halfway, but as giving up everything. It would mean that some women would lose the right to do with her own body what she feels fit. (I don't know what percentage of pro-choicers fit in that group) To many of those on the pro-life side they would view it as a small victory, but still that many fetus are being killed and the life of a fetus is not being respected. If you view that every life is sacred and that a fetus is a person at the time of conception then I I don't think that they would view it as meeting halfway either. Both sides would view any compromise as a situation where they went more than halfway. Everyone's halfway point is different (many, like myself, have no idea what our halfway point is) and for many on both sides it is all or nothing.

Wayward Son said...

"So what's next? Force doctors to do abortions?"

The CMA would never allow such a regulation. The other question is there really a shortage of doctors willing to do abortions? I have seen the statistics showing that fewer hospitals perform abortions, but the same goes for all elective medical procedures as hospitals become more specialized.

niven said...

Having no limit on when a baby can be aborted is disgusting in this day and supposedly "progressive" age

If a woman carries a pregnancy this long I would suspect that it was due to her making the conscious effort at the time to carry it full term. Abortion now would usually be due to a medical, physical or emotional condition that is directly harmful to the mother, would it not?

A public awareness campaign some what like drinking and driving. It will still happen but we need to make it a socially unacceptable practice in society.

As you seem to have the impression that women use abortion primarily as an ineffective manner of birth control, would it not be better to promote the advantages of safe sex, the use of condoms, and various drugs that gaurd against babies in the first place?

I must admit that at first I thought you were just one of RT's crazy trolls, but you have proved that you have a great deal of balance and respect for other points of view. I'm very glad that you frequent this blog.

I admit this is my first time here, but if he was a crazy troll, would it really render his viewpoint, which I see as reasonable, somehow invalid?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I admit this is my first time here, but if he was a crazy troll, would it really render his viewpoint, which I see as reasonable, somehow invalid?

It's a long story, Niven. In any case, Welcome!! Thanks for commenting.

Wayward Son said...

Well I did spend a lot of time at RT's, and I am a little crazy. Two out of three ain't bad.

Wayward Son said...

That's just to say that I didn't take offense to the comment in any way. I see the trolls that most people who have a blog have to deal with and a lot of times it is not pretty.