To the editor,
A brief comment on the “women’s right to life, liberty and security of a person” as expressed in the editorial [Abortion ban: It can’t happen here, right?] of the July 14 issue. No person has the right over life and death of another person.
I would hope that most people would agree with this notion. Then one must ask who is a “person”? Or in this case: When does the life of a person begin? Currently, the Canadian Criminal Code (from 1892) defines the beginning of human life as follows: 223. (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not (a) it has breathed;(b) it has an independent circulation; or (c) the navel string is severed.
To anyone with an open mind and common sense that definition is quite bizarre and outdated. But it seems that our politicians on all sides leave this hot potato issue alone. If one was to apply a scientific and genetic definition, the individual person’s life starts at conception, the first cell with a complete diploid genome (zygote) unique to this human. Ovum and sperm (gametes) have incomplete genomes (haploid) and cannot develop into a person.
The zygote, if left in its natural environment will develop into an embryo, fetus, infant, and so on. Going backwards from the time of birth, obviously a fetus is viable a long time before birth.
In fact, a fetus can survive with sophisticated neonatal medicine from about week 24 of gestation at a weight of just over one pound (500g). How far can we go back to draw a line of when the life as a person has begun? Any other time than conception seems an arbitrary time often chosen by the intention of justifying for example work on embryonic stem cells or abortion.
A discussion like I am pointing at is not heard of at all in our media and it would be a good idea for any thinking person to look a bit deeper into the matter than today’s media serve us. It is often uttered by pro-abortion demonstrators “my body my choice”. The conceptus is by no means “the body of its mother”, rather the child in its natural environment on its journey to be born is a third person resulting from the union of its two parents. In the case of abortion, it affects a “bystander” who has no voice in the matter but whose life or death is decided by others.
The statistics will reveal that there are about 100,000 abortions each year in Canada while there are about 400,000 births. Increasingly the use of drug-induced abortion (“medical abortion, mifepristone/misoprostol) replaced surgical abortion and the reported statistic have decreased to about 75,000/year.
That number is certainly lower than the actual because medical abortions and surgical abortions in private abortion clinics are mostly unreported.
If we put our mind to these numbers, it is obvious that abortion seems to be used as a means of contraception. Hormonal contraceptives are widely available and when taken properly have a very low failure rate (1-2 per cent). So, it does not seem to support that 20 per cent of conceptions each year are caused by a failed contraceptive.
It seems to me that no one has the courage these days to speak the facts about this matter with a fear of being labeled “politically incorrect and intolerant”, which will most certainly happen to this letter.
A final note, following the criminal code citation above in 223 (2) it states: “A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.”
I am just a simple scientist and not a sophisticated lawyer and I do not know what to make of this sentence within this context, maybe someone else does.
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