For sheer malicious slanting, it would be hard to beat an opinion piece by syndicated columnist Gerald Caplan (see for example, the Times Transcript, Moncton, January 20).
“Let’s be fair.” He says at one point, and proceeds to be as unfair as possible.
“For hours in Toronto, typically,” he says in discussing a rescue mission at the Morgentaler ‘clinic,’ “a handful of police officers merely observed while activists on both sides tussled with each other.”
Since Caplan was present, he knows that this is not true: the pro-life people practiced passive resistance and did not tussle with anybody. The belligerence came from Gerald Caplan’s side, the pro-abortionists. They were the ones who did the shouting, they were the ones who used the foul language, they were the ones who lashed out with their fists and their feet while the police stood by and did nothing.
Caplan then observes that the “anti-choice protesters are perfectly sincere in their convictions. Some even, are generally humane in their view of society.” But after this paltry concession towards pro-lifers, Caplan goes on to accuse them of the following:- “As was clear last week in front of the Morgentaler clinic, most of the anti-choice activists were fanatics, moral absolutists determined to force their views on society at large. Most seemed intent on shoving their particular version of Christianity – full of hate and blood – down the throats of all.”
– “Many share the authoritarian philosophy of ultra-right wing American Christian fundamentalists.”
– Many of them care far more passionately for the unborn than the born.”
– Few are concerned with the civil liberties that are at the core of a pluralist democracy.”
– “Being law-abiding citizens is a low priority for these people.”
– “But it’s no longer tolerable that they (the cops) give special privileges to the mean, destructive zealots of the anti-choice movement.”
The whole column is vile. Caplan, a former NDP party secretary and an agnostic of Marxist-socialist background, resorts to the slander to which pro0life has been subject for 20 years. He knows nothing about the demonstrators, let alone about their religion. If he had taken the trouble to speak to any of them or to read their literature, he would have known that all his accusations are lies.
But even the factual evidence of the actual events does not escape his distortion, where he speaks of the police extending “special privileges.”
When the police moved in to take action, after first watching pro-abortionists shove and push the rescuers around, they unceremoniously dumped some of them over a fence, and twisted the arms of others behind their backs. Special privileges? The bruises of the protesters speak otherwise. As it happens, this rescue was filmed; and the whole performance is on video.
Gerald Caplan continues with the same kind of verbal abuse to which The Interim has previously called attention. Why bother about him? Because he represents a certain type of thinking on the subject of abortion. Pro-lifers try to stick to facts and logic, which, they feel are on their side; they do not need to distort Henry Morgentaler’s view, for example – they merely need to quote him, and allow reasonable people to conclude that, in terms of fetology, (as Dr. Nathanson says), he is still in the Dark Ages. As more and more becomes known about the life of the child in the womb, it becomes more and more absurd to think that this life may be wantonly destroyed.
If the Caplans of this world can make a solid case for abortion, when are they going to do it? Otherwise, why do newspapers which have some pretensions to respectability keep printing their rubbish?
Barbara McDougall, federal minister responsible for women’s issues, said in mid-March that she was not in favour of a royal commission to examine issues surrounding high-technology reproduction of human life. In its throne speech at the beginning of April, the government announced that such a commission would be established – to look into such controversial matters as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and surrogate parenting. “There is concern that these scientific advances will outpace our ability to deal with their moral, ethical, legal and social implications,” said the Speech from the Throne. It did not say when the commission would be set up, or who would head it.
Mrs. McDougall, who had earlier said she would prefer some kind of ministerial task force to what she called a “traveling road show,” declared that she was in favour of the royal commission. “What I heard back from women who have an interest in this topic,” she said, was they felt that a royal commission was the best route to go and that’s fine for me.”
Pro-life groups across Canada should be aware that this commission is to be set up, said one pro-life spokesman, and should plan to make submissions now. Keep an eye out for the commission’s timetable of appearances in your locality, he stated, and inform the secretary of the commission that you wish to make a presentation. The issues are extremely important, and undoubtedly the report which emerges from these hearings will help set policies for years to come.