While the North Shore and British Columbia continue to have one of the highest abortion rates in Canada, we are still below the U.S. where 40% of all pregnancies end in abortion. With the provincial government solidly behind taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, however, we can expect the numbers in this part of Canada to rise as people are led increasingly to feel that having an abortion is a routine part of good health care.
Furthermore, with fetal tissues now being ‘harvested’ to be injected into the brains of people with various disorders, abortion can at times almost be made to seem an altruistic act. As our society’s capacity for collective delusion in the areas of abortion and euthanasia becomes more pronounced, we in pro-life have become aware of how George Orwell and Aldous Huxley in their novelistic nightmares about future societies have, it turns out, been given to understatement.
So what do we do? In a meeting about abortion at which I spoke recently, I was again reminded of the ease with which certain physicians are willing to recommend and carry out abortion – even in the second trimester. In addition to our attempt to sensitize the community at large about abortion, I believe that we are going to have to alert the public to the identity of physicians who perform abortions, and to picket their offices with such identifying information. Furthermore, as abortion ‘clinics’ slowly replace hospitals as the sites where abortions are performed in B.C., our work will inevitably become focused on those who are actually providing the ‘procedure’ instead of on the whole society for callously allowing abortions to be made so easily available.
On the other hand, it is well known that a majority of people in North America do not believe that the taxpayer should fund abortion, which is almost universally an elective procedure. We must push for referenda on this subject, and make sure that governments respect them. Non-funding of abortion, it has been shown in the U.S., causes the abortion rate to drop, not only because of inability to pay, but because a non-funding policy causes the pregnant woman to wonder why abortion is not funded and so leads her to reconsider a decision to seek an abortion.
An obstacle which will be increasingly presented to pro-life groups is that of censure. Recently, we were denied the right to run an ad in a community college newspaper; the ad simply showed a picture of a young woman who had been adopted, and expressed her gratitude that her birth mother had not aborted her. Increasingly, one sees that there is a movement to shut down the voice of the pro-life movement on the grounds that the dignity and feelings of those who have had abortions, as well as the incomes of those who perform them, are being damaged. Though I think that I am less prone to paranoia than many, I believe that in the future we will see more pro-life activists classified as hate-mongering and defamatory and thus brought within the compass of the Criminal Code.
If we give in to this sort of intimidation, we are finished. Relying upon the Charter of Rights, which has so far been used to trample the rights of the preborn child, we must oppose vigorously such impingements on our freedom of speech. In the long run, though, we will have to pay to protect these rights. We have already seen some of our lawyers suffer severe financial hardships in abortion litigation, and you can imagine the effect that this has on other lawyers, particularly younger lawyers entering the profession.
Our grounds for optimism are what they have always been. The public is being sold a lie about abortion by the media and various levels of government. A recent survey by the Gallup organization in the U.S. disclosed that when people are told the truth about the practice of abortion they turn out in the majority of cases to be pro-life.
Here are some of their figures: 66% of those surveyed opposed abortion for financial reasons even in the case of a low-income woman for whom another child would create a financial burden; 66% opposed abortion in the case of a pregnant teenager who would have to drop out of school; 75% said they regard abortion as the taking of a human life.
Large majorities of Americans disapproved of abortion, even in the first trimester, for reasons other than rape, incest, a serious threat to the mother’s health, and severe birth defects. Needless to say, while one cannot condone abortion for the above reasons, the rate of abortion would be virtually negligible if they were the only reasons why abortions could be performed.
There would appear to be a gap, then, between what people at large believe is wrong, and public policy. The gap exists partly because people do not know or care enough about the issue, and partly because they are increasingly reluctant to tell others how to behave with respect to moral problems. In the scramble for personal rights and privileges for ourselves as individuals, it would seem that we are willing to relinquish control over the rights and privileges of others.
Thus, increasingly, in the name of tolerance, we will see the most unspeakable evils perpetrated within a society that has abdicated its primary role, which is to protect the lives of individuals – even at times for themselves – as in the case of euthanasia. Thus, in the vacuum thereby created, the rescue of human life has more and more become the responsibility of groups like the pro-life movement. As the Gallup Poll makes clear, if we can be successful in this act of rescue, the majority of those in society, those who now are too apathetic to act themselves, will eventually thank us for it. In the meantime we must increasingly draw courage from each other, help to make the young among us feel our sense of outrage, and taste the freedom of acting openly in society according to one’s conscience.
Ross Labrie is a long-time board member of Campaign Life Coalition British Columbia.