Interim writer, Josie Luetke, Talk Turkey

Josie Luetke:

Included in the LGBTQ community’s ever-expanding lexicon for their fantasy world is the phrase “trans erasure.” In an Everyday Feminism article, “non-binary” writer Ayesha Sharma claims, “Trans and gender variant people’s existences are overlooked, invalidated, and erased every single day.”

Of course, it is the height of gaslighting, of deceit, to attempt to erase physical, biological reality, and then accuse those trying to prevent that of “erasure.” (Up is down, and down is up.)

Speaking of erasure, though – let’s talk about how any mention of the preborn is dying on our lips and in our minds.

For instance, had it passed, Bill C-225, Cassie and Molly’s Law, would have toughened penalties for violence against pregnant women and established a separate offense to injure or kill a child in the womb during the commission of an offense against his or her mother. Because it provided legal recognition of the preborn child, though, the abortion lobby opposed this bill. Several years later, in 2023, MP Cathay Wagantall (CPC, Yorkton—Melville) has introduced Bill C-225’s successor, Bill C-311. While it may have a better chance of becoming law, it only proposes the addition of pregnancy as an aggravating factor during sentencing, without reference to the preborn. Surely, that’s an indictment of how ideological much of Parliament has become.

In late January, I encountered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, or rather, he encountered our “Choice” Chain. Fellow activists and I lined the sidewalk outside a restaurant he was headed to in Hamilton, each of us armed with large signs bearing abortion victim photography.

I asked, “Prime Minister, do you believe in equal rights for all human beings?”

He responded, “I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”

I followed up with: “What about this human, who was killed?”

He once again asserted, “I will stand up for women’s rights every day.”

He came face to face with images of the broken bodies of the victims of abortion, but when he was directly asked to acknowledge them, he refused.

His refrain is echoed by much of the Liberal caucus (and New Democrats, the Bloc, and Greens) in the House of Commons and on social media. They make no sophisticated claims about personhood, nor nuanced arguments about bodily autonomy outweighing the right to life.

This consumption of the debate by one single talking point—women’s rights—contributes to the problem I’ve repeatedly described and decried of pro-choicers being unable to articulate or simply understand the pro-life argument.

Relatedly, this refusal to even see the crux of our cause explains the drive for municipalities to censor abortion victim photography, as it effectively punctures the delusion that there’s only one being’s interests to take into account. Government officials want to dispose of not only the evidence of what’s happening under their watch, with their tacit approval, but also the mere suggestion there could be any reason for controversy in the first place.

The preborn are being wiped from conversation and therefore, our collective consciousness too.

It’s worse even than dehumanization. The fetus, for all intents and purposes, does not exist.

One of the best examples is the hoops Planned Parenthood jumps through to avoid acknowledging the fetus. Here are a handful of nonsensical phrases from their website:

“Pregnancy needs a hormone called progesterone to grow normally. Mifepristone blocks your body’s own progesterone, stopping the pregnancy from growing.”

“The length of time from when you take the first pill until you finish passing the pregnancy can be anywhere from 4-48 hours, depending on how you take your medicines.”

“In-clinic abortion works by using suction to take a pregnancy out of your uterus.”

Planned Parenthood Toronto follows the same playbook: “You take a pill called mifepristone, which detaches the pregnancy from the wall of the uterus.”

I got to hand it to them: The preborn child has been called many dehumanizing things over the years—“products of conception” (unfortunately abbreviated to POC), “clump of cells,” “tissue,” etc., but if not “a who,” at least these terms still refer to something—“a what.” Pregnancy is just a state of being.

“Missed period pills” take it one step further; they offer to restore your period without your ever having to know whether you were actually pregnant (and whether you’ve ended a life) or not. “Sometimes this is referred to as menstrual regulation, or pushing a period, or bringing down a period.”

All of the above is a terrifying manipulation of the debate, yet another avant-garde, precedent-setting test of the power of language.

Can language wipe something—or someone—out of existence, literally and figuratively?