In a hopelessly and sadly confused article in the Toronto Star (July 6) TV science personality David Suzuki declared himself in favour of a woman’s right to abortion. Typical of his thinking were the article’s concluding lines:
“Today women have a legitimate need for access to medically safe, cheap abortion facilities. There is no reason to deny this, as long as, at the same time, these profound questions are pondered carefully by all of us.”
The profound questions referred to, include, among others, Suzuki’s observations that “science has nothing to say about when human life begins”; that “the molecular content of a fertilized human egg” cannot be distinguished from “that of a chimp or a gorilla”; “that defining the moment of humanness is totally arbitrary”; “that a two or three month old mass of protoplasm” should not “have the same rights as the mother who is carrying it”; she, in turn, does not have the “right to do with it as she wishes”; etc. Whatever you do or not do, warns Suzuki, do not get “shoved into one of the warring camps.” Their “extreme positions.. .simply obscure the really profound questions.”
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Calgary’s artificial insemination clinic at the Foothills hospital announced its closure until further notice, following the announcement that four Australian women had contracted the disease AIDS through artificial insemination at an infertility clinic (Calgary Herald, July 24). As in the case of blood transfusions, homosexual sperm “donors” were not screened out with the result that no one knows what to do with the supply other than destroy it. Whether efficient screening is even possible is yet to be proven.
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In Australia, according to the Edmonton Journal (July 26), the sperm banks now require donors to sign legally binding forms declaring they are not homosexuals, intravenous drug users or recipients of blood transfusions. This procedure of leaving it up to the individual is hardly re-assuring. However, as the entire concept of sperm banks and embryo experimentation is a corrupt one, we would be better off if AIDS dealt it a death blow. Of course, it is to be sincerely hoped that blood transfusions which have been most beneficial to mankind over an extended period of time, will escape the same fate.
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Delegates to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation annual meeting in Montreal voted down a resolution in favour of abortion on demand. Instead, the meeting chose to put off indefinitely debate on the issue. Mary Hill of Ontario spoke against the resolution; Harvey Weiner, president of the Quebec Protestant teachers spoke in favour.
The resolution was proposed by Patrick Clarke of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation who expressed himself in straightforward double speak. Said Clarke: the proposal is “not an attempt to say whether abortion is right or wrong. It’s just that having abortion in the Criminal Code is a statist solution to a moral question.” (Halifax Herald, July 12).
Mary Hill suggested that teachers who feel strongly about ‘decriminalization’ of abortion should work as individuals in the appropriate organizations. The Interim suggested that those who opposed it get together in “Teachers for Life.”
Baltimore, MD. A federal judge in this city sentenced a lay minister of Grace Reformation Lutheran Church to 10 years in prison for conspiring to bomb 10 abortuaries or offices of abortion supporters and ordered him to pay $43,000 in restitution. According to the judge abortuary bombings are “among the most cowardly and vicious of all criminal acts” (Globe, July 3). Apparently he did not comment on the nature and character of killing the unborn.
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Albany, NY. In June 1985 the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled that the Health Department used an invalid regulation to justify the opening of Planned Parenthood abortuaries in Albany and nearby Hudson. The court’s decision was a victory for the Catholic Diocese of Albany which had brought a suit against the Health Department. (N.Y. Times, June 21).
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New Orleans. The National Organization of Women (NOW) elected a new president on July 21. Eleanor Smeal took over from Judy Goldsmith and immediately promised a mass-march on Washington in favour of abortion on demand. Her predecessor apparently favoured lobbying rather than confrontation. (Globe, July 22). NOW, like its Canadian counterpart NAC (National Action Committee) sees a mother’s right to kill her unborn baby as essential to women’s liberation from all restrictions, especially the attainment of what is called “reproductive freedom.”
Abortion now permitted in Spain
On August 13 it became legal for some mothers to abort their children in Spain. Abortions, free of charge in public clinics, may now be performed in cases of rape, a malformed fetus or danger to the mother. Many doctors objected to the new law and the Spanish Roman Catholic Church warned that anyone “who co-operates physically or morally” in the operation will be “automatically excommunicated.”
The National Council of Bishops said: “Decriminalization is a morally unjust and pernicious decision. The life of a new human being is stripped of its rightful protection and left to the mercy of others.”
Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela of Santiago condemned the law in a sermon delivered before King Juan Carlos and government officials at a Mass celebrating the feast of the patron saint of Spain, Saint James, saying that abortion violated “human rights.”
As the law stands now doctors must notify the authorities that they wish to exempt themselves from having to perform abortions. Dr. Ramiro Rivera, president of the Spanish Medical Association, said that that requirement infringed on doctors’ rights. He said, “We are not ready to give any list,” and that he personally favoured an inquiry by the association into any member who accepts the regulations and submits his name.
A 1983 law legalizing abortion was appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal to prevent it from taking effect. The Tribunal did rule in April that the law violated a right to life but the justices’ suggested minor “procedural changes” that brought the law within constitutional bounds and the changes were incorporated into the new law.