Mr. Justice Allen Linden is to be thanked for expressing the philosophy of law on which the Law Reform Commission is basing its recommendations for a new abortion law. It gives the rest of us a chance to examine that philosophy which up to now has been as nameless as its advocates have been faceless.
Justice Linden, according to the reports, told the Canadian Bar Association meeting in Banff on February 28, 1989, that the commission’s proposal was a compromise proposal, offering relatively easy access to abortion up to the 22nd week of pregnancy. From the baby’s point of view – and even the mother’s, if the truth be known – this is a great deal worse than offering an enemy of the Third Reich relatively easy access to a death camp, because many more people survived death camps than survive admittance to an institution that performs abortions.
Justice Linden justified his Committee’s “compromise” proposal on the ground that it represented the opinion of the majority of Canadians – 60 to 65 per cent.
There is where he does us the favour, because we can now see on what basis he thinks laws should be made…I said in a recent letter to Prime Minister Mulroney that the Law Reform Commission should be called the Law Annihilation Commission. Please note:
“The vast bulk of Canadians, as always, are sensible and middle of the road,” says Justice Linden. What does Justice Linden mean?
A “substantial group,” 20-25 per cent, of Canadians want mothers to be able to have their babies killed at will. That is one extreme. A “tiny group,” less than 15 per cent want to outlaw all killing of babies. This is the other extreme. The “middle of the road” position is somewhere between these two extremes. What does this moderate position say? Kill some but not others.
According to that logic, the Ayatollah Khomeini would not be an extremist if he only half killed Salman Rushdie. Kill half the unborn; don’t kill the other half. Actually, the proposal doesn’t say that. It cays, first have complete freedom to kill at random; then treat the unborn as they were treated under the old Section 251 – and we all know what that treatment was.
The proposal is not sensible. It is not part of our Canadian heritage. It is an unspeakable insult to “the vast bulk of Canadians.” And it is not middle of the road.
Twilight between good and evil
Instead of being “middle of the road” in any legitimate sense, this philosophy envisions some kind of twilight zone between good and evil, between life and death, as if the pinnacle of good health were being comatose, or as if paralysis were the ideal condition of society, or, as I say, as if killing half the babies in a group, and saving the other half (pretending to save the other half) were a position of moderation.
The Commissioners speak of “access to abortion” as if it were a good thing. In order for them to speak, they have to obliterate the distinction between good and evil. What is happening is that the Law Reform Commission is eliminating the foundations of the law. Law is valid when it is based on truth. Law is invalid when it is based on lies, and it is a lie that there is no difference between an aborted child and a diseased appendix. But Justice Linden keeps looking for this “middle ground,” and it does not exist. So, consciously or not, he pretends that it exists.
So he justifies, or tries to justify this colossal blunder of obliterating the distinction between the true and the false by appealing to “opinion polls.”
In the same fashion laws are valid when they endorse what is good and outlaw what is bad. Law is invalid when it endorses immorality and forbids good acts (like trying to save babies from being killed, the act that incurred the wrath of Mr. Justice Josiah Wood of British Columbia).
Justice Linden would get around this distinction between good and evil by pretending that there is some “middle ground” between the two. How does he attempt to justify this primary blunder? By saying that he “respects the moral opinion of those who argue that abortion is wrong and the fetus should be protected from the moment of conception.”
Notice that the opinion of these people is “moral”.
In current language that means it is irrelevant.
Good and evil are irrelevant terms also, certainly to a lawyer.
Notice even before that, that what these people have is an “opinion.”
Truth and falsehood are irrelevant terms, certainly to a lawyer.
On these bases, law is a dead thing, like the unborn whose lives it proposes to hold in such practical contempt.
Such lifeless law, like a Gorgon’s stare, will render lifeless any institution to which it is applied. Even a government.
True middle ground
There is a middle ground which does exist. All valid laws are based in it. It is the point where truth meets truth and good meets good. In this context it is the point where the good of a mother and the good of her child meet to the enhancement of the well-being of both.
This particular middle ground is the meeting place of two opposite and mutually complementary goods, goods of exquisite and inexhaustible beauty. They are called motherhood and childhood. Without them, none of us would be here.
But never have these goods been subjected to such devouring hatred as under the abandonment of a valid philosophy of law implicit in this compromising of the right of life of unborn children. This “new compromise” would replace a child’s absolute right to life with a “right” to unlimited violence on the part of doctors, mothers being their accomplices (or vice versa).
Equally unlimited is the potential for a violent society implicit in such a law. Make no mistake about it, the attempt to bypass fundamental distinctions like that between good and evil may escape notice temporarily, but it is a movement alive with the disintegration of society, present killings becoming heralds of the killings to come.
The threat of euthanasia – and more than the threat – is already upon us, and why should “skin-heads” not murder people they don’t like when a government can legalize mothers’ killing of children they don’t like, stipulating only that they be young enough? If unborn children have no right to life, nobody has.
Notice that this is not a case of a new and untried amendment such as Section 251 was in 1969. This “new compromise” has already been tried and found wanting – found wanting to the tune of the killing of well beyond a million babied since the law was first changed.
That is why we need new laws.
But the lawgivers are in league with the lawless.
Hence I appeal to you, Mr. Justice Minister. Do not abrogate your responsibilities even if the Law Commission does. Put the weight of your office behind the passing of legislation which outlaws the killing of babies, before birth or after.
Medieval times saw children’s crusade; modern times are seeing a crusade against children. End it. Take the lead and end it. Canada could not have a finer, prouder moment. The alternative is the monstrously preposterous one by which the Ministry of Justice sees (I think wisely) the death penalty outlawed for the guilty only to reinstate it for the innocent.
A sea of silly pretense
- The pretense that a Law Commission is not insane when it proposes the legalization of the killing of babies which, one is led to believe, do not exist in the first place;
- The pretense that Law Commissioners are not replacing law with arbitrary measures when they propose making prenativity a capital offence if a mother-doctor team choose it to be so;
- The pretense that the legalization of the killing of babies (existent or non-existent) is “protection” for the babies;
- The pretense that there are problems which are solved by killing babies;
- The pretense that the killing of babies – or having one’s baby killed – is an exercise of freedom;
- The pretense that cases arising out of the killing of babies are irrelevant to the killing of babies;
- The pretense that “the abortion issue” is not a war on children but a mere squabble between two factions of adults;
- The pretense that “compromise” means that the killing of babies is acceptable as long as it is not unlimited;
- The pretense that attempts to eliminate all killing of babies are to be characterized as “extremism,” something criminal and punishable.