Many stories come across the desk (and computer) that make their way into this paper. Many, many more don’t. It is a difficult decision sometimes figuring out what gets substantial coverage, what deserves analysis or commentary or an editorial, what gets a news brief and what ends up as a sentence or two in the Bits ‘n’ Pieces section on page two. Often, there is something in an article that calls out for a bit less than a full analysis; some tempt me to rebut them. The news section is not the place for these indulgences, which is one reason I established this column a few years back. So here are some thoughts about stories that have made their way into my files, which for whatever reason haven’t made it into the paper as news or commentary.

Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler often congratulates himself for making Canada a safer place. His logic, supposedly supported by research from the University of Chicago, is that because “unwanted” children are more likely to be mistreated during their upbringing, therefore increasing their chances of becoming criminals, his killing them off in the womb before a childhood of neglect spares society thousands of would-be killers, rapists and thieves. Steve Sailer and others have demolished this line of thinking by picking apart the pro-abortion statistical analysis. But, putting aside the morality of preventive capital punishment on unborn babies who may or may not become criminals, Morgentaler’s thesis is contradicted by the headlines almost everyday. Just days before going to press, Statistics Canada released 2005 crime numbers. The Globe and Mail headline read: “Homicide rate hits highest level since 1996.” Some numbers: 658 homicides, 23,000 sexual assaults and 29,000 robberies. One might be tempted to suggest sardonically that to make society even safer, we could abort all unborn children. But better to point to New Brunswick, where fewer abortions are committed each year and which experienced a large dip (eight per cent) in its overall crime rates.

In a daily e-mail news roundup from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, SPUC refers to gestational restrictions on legal abortions in the United Kingdom as “the alleged 24-week limit on abortions.” Although it doesn’t state why in the particular e-mail I have in front of me, current abortion practices in the U.K. are such that abortions are routinely committed on unborn babies after 24 weeks due to the discovery of some “genetic flaw” in the child, supposed risks to the health of the mother or doctors simply ignoring the limit by claiming the pregnancy is not as far along as it really is. In other words, there are so many legal loopholes and unethical (and illegal) ways to get around the law that it is virtually meaningless.

Michael Kinsley is a liberal columnist with the online magazine Slate. The National Post reprinted one his columns, in which Kinsley, who has Parkinson’s disease and supports embryonic stem cell research, says that many pro-lifers are hypocrites because they do not oppose fertility clinics, places where thousands of unused embryos are destroyed each year. He says, “If embryos are human beings with full human rights, fertility clinics are death camps.” He criticizes pro-lifers for hypocrisy, because of our silence over the “routine practices of fertility clinics,” which he says is worse than embryonic stem cell research if you take a pro-embryo position. He is, to a degree right. Fertility clinics are death camps and too few pro-lifers are willing to say so. Fewer yet to do anything about. Some pro-lifers, no doubt, see a pro-life sentiment in helping couples create a child. Without entering the debate about why children should be procreated and not created, it is clear that the destruction of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of embryonic human beings in fertility clinics should be cause for greater outrage on our part.

A Leger Marketing poll of 1,508 Canadians conducted this past spring found that more than one-third of Canadians find homosexuality wrong. A similar number say abortion is a sin. Thankfully, fully three-quarters of respondents said extramarital affairs are wrong and 68 per cent disagreed with prostitution. I am a little surprised to find opposition to prostitution so high and thought that such judgmentalism about infidelity was a thing of the past, but the number who say homosexuality and abortion are wrong is about where most social conservatives would say the numbers are. That doesn’t mean the other two-thirds support gay “marriage” or the abortion status quo, merely that they are not willing to label them immoral. But there is one issue which I was not prepared for the findings: 80 per cent of respondents said pedophelia is immoral. Just 80 per cent? As the Edmonton Sun editorialized, that means one-in-five of our fellow Canadians think having sex with a child is either moral or have no opinion about it one way or another. I have written in this space before that there is an element pushing a pansexual agenda, but I hadn’t figured that it already succeeded in eroding the special protection most societies instinctively grant to children. On the other hand, if society permits the killing of more than 100,000 children each year in-utero, the protection we grant the young has already been devastatingly eroded.

Finally, I want to draw attention to the Faith and Culture conference and the story (page 12) and advertisement (page 20) for it. Both Jim Hughes, a member of this paper’s editorial advisory board, and myself are panelists. I look forward to seeing you there.