In 1974, Alphonse de Valk, the author of Mortality and Law in Canadian Politics: The Abortion Controversy, stated that “the new principles implied in the legislation of abortions will have a whole train of consequences, conscious and subconscious, foreseen and unforeseen, political and philosophical, personal and social. Together, these consequences will profoundly affect society and affect it not for the better, but for the worse.”
Ten years have passed and legalized abortion has divided the country in almost every profession and in every area imaginable: philosophy, religion, medicine, politics, social policy and law. It has pitted man against woman and woman against woman. The process of deterioration continues. Yet it is not necessary that it should if the will exists to stop it.
The latest example of how abortion corrupts is Morris Manning’s challenge to the Canadian legal process. First, we witnessed his American-style use of special consultants in the jury selection process of the Morgentaler trial, by which whole classes of people were discriminated against and excluded from jury duty. Second, he invited the jury to abandon its duty to make a decision based on existing law and, instead, transform itself into a political body for the purpose of changing the law. Both approaches are corruptions of Canadian law,
The right of Prosecutor and Defence Counsel to challenge prospective jurors is meant to eliminate individuals with an undue bias, not whole groups or classes of people. Yet the two American consultants, employed by Manning considered themselves successful in having excluded from the jury regular churchgoers, housewives, young people and older professionals. “Religion was very important,” one of them said. “It was probably the key factor. It wasn’t so much what religion but how active you were in your particular church.”
Not many people are aware that the same tactics, minus the consultants, had been employed by Claude Sheppard, Morgentaler’s Montreal lawyer, in jury selection at the time of his court trials in Quebec during the 70s. Sheppard, apparently, was free to ask any question of the jurors he wanted. Thus, in a province ostensibly Catholic, he managed to eliminate all regular churchgoers. That is why Morgentaler’s claim that Catholic Quebec approves of his abortions is fraudulent.
The use of jury consultants raises many questions. Are they effective in finding jurors who are genuinely impartial, or do they choose jurors with many biases? Does the use of outside experts produce prolonged delays and additional court costs? Are consultants only available to the select few who can afford them?
The answers should be clear. Abolish consultants. Reject Morris Manning’s corruption of the jury selection system as well as his debasement of juries into political lobbyists.