Brave New World – Trying to establish some kind of legal boundaries on its out-of-control reproductive technologies industry, the British government has banned doctors from treating infertile women with eggs from aborted babies. Only eggs or ovarian tissue from live donors, who have given their consent, may now be used. However, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority stopped short of banning experimentation on eggs, including those from aborted babies. The decisions came as a result of a six-month public inquiry which surveyed 9,000 people, 83% of the public were against using eggs from aborted babies for fertility treatment. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority was against using such eggs (only 7% were in favour) for experimental purposes, the Authority gave scientists the go-ahead. Most see this as a very dangerous precedent and would like to see all experimentation banned.
Paying his dues – A Calgary machinist who went to Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal in an effort to keep his union dues from promoting the abortion industry has lost his case. Martin Doyle had argued that because he is a Roman Catholic, he should be allowed to withhold his union dues from the abortion-promoting Canadian Labour Congress. He had asked that his dues be directed towards a charity instead of the union. Section 70(2) of Canadian labour law clearly allows diverting union dues to a registered charity if the employee “because of his religious convictions or beliefs, objects to paying regular union dues to a trade union.” However, the court ruled that the Canadian Labour Relations Board, when demanding that Doyle pay up, had ruled within their jurisdiction. Doyle has responded by taking the case to his MP, Preston Manning, who he hopes can make it into a larger issue. Doyle’s union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers gives over $1 million annually to the Canadian Labour Congress which vigorously supports abortion.
Off the wire – According to American Life League’s communiqué, the Swedish newspaper Dagen has conducted a poll which determined that only six per cent of Swedes approve of abortion on demand. Sweden was one of the first European countries to legalize the practice.
Argentina’s president Carlos Menem has stated that a new constitution for his country should include a total ban on abortion.
According to the NonProfit Times, Planned Parenthood ranks third among the largest money-earning U.S. “charities.” American Red Cross, which leads the list, takes in $4.3 million a day, the Salvation Army is second with $3.8 million a day and Planned Parenthood checks into third place with $1.2 a day.
The Wanderer reports that the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl who died following an abortion is suing the abortuary. Edward C. Allred, who owns the centre and others across the U.S., is no stranger to this occurrence. Reports say that at least seven other women have died in his various establishments.
Rumor has it that Henry Morgentaler has chosen the Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa as the site of his newest abortion centre. The location has caused an uproar from pro-lifers and local businessmen who do not want the grisly business of abortion blemishing an otherwise attractive tourist spot.
A new law in India will curb the practice of sex-selective abortions. Punishable by up to three years in prison, it is now illegal to abort a baby because it is female, a common Indian practise. Can’t wait to see how North American feminists deal with this one.
Regina Farrell, Quebec
In the last fifty years we have seen the splitting of many things once thought impossible. We recognize the power unleashed with the splitting of the atom. But also unleashed have been the consequences of splitting marriage (divorce); unitive and procreative dimensions of sex (artificial birth control); mother and unborn child (abortion). Indeed, the destruction, the incalculable half-lives of pain which extend through future generations, caused by divorce and abortion in particular, have long ago surpassed anything under a mushroom cloud.
Beyond the heartache and the carnage is the acceptance of the unacceptable, dividing the indivisible. As a way of thinking, it has challenged our basic assumptions about virtually everything and has opened the floodgates on all kinds of behaviours and beliefs. It has changed the way we think about ourselves and others.
Anna Quindlan, a New York Times syndicated columnist and a mother of young children, recently wrote a piece which typifies the self-imposed multiple personalities of the modern pop-intellectual. The column was about a seven-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by one of three convicted child molesters who lived across the street from her family. The men met each other while in treatment and now shared the house in a quiet suburban neighbourhood filled with children. No one, neither neighbours nor police, was aware of the history of the men in the house. Needless to say, the community is justifiably outraged by this horrendous and probably preventable crime.
What struck me about this column, aside from the tragic story itself, was Quindlan’s dual persona. As a columnist, she defended the right to privacy of the child molesters and argued that knowing about these men wouldn’t protect children from those we don’t know about. But as a mother….Oh, please!
Not since Sybil have we seen so many disintegrated personalities, pulled apart fighting residual inclinations to somewhat dormant common sense in favour of allegiance to unmitigated civil libertarianism. While Anna Quindlan is both a columnist and a mother, she is not each a columnist and a mother. She is a human person who like most of us is defined in large part by what she does, and like many, she confuses that with who she is.
As members of the human community we recognize that the right of children to be protected from foreseeable danger should supersede the rights of other citizens if necessary. We need not apologize as though protecting our young was a slightly irrational mother thing. It is a human thing. We should value our instincts and emotions when we form opinions and make choices, whether individually or as a society, rather than fearing that they impede our ability to reason. They are all tools which assist us in making good choices, and we should not rely on any one tool exclusively.
Politicians have been particularly adept at dividing themselves into different persons. Many have rankled pro-lifers for years for being “personally opposed to abortion, but…” Nevertheless, their ability to distance themselves from themselves has been a mark of politics in the eighties and nineties. It was said of Ted Kennedy that “his religion is so private he won’t even impose in on himself!”
During Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, questions about his character were raised, particularly with regard to alleged marital infidelity. He admitted to a previous lapse, yet despite his denials, he continues to have a reputation as a womanizer. The questions about his truthfulness and his faithfulness to his marriage led many media analysts of the liberal persuasion to argue that character is irrelevant to a presidential campaign. It is as though character is nothing more than a characteristic, like hair colour or height.
Sexuality is frequently regarded in the same manner. “Women trapped in men’s bodies” appear regularly on talk shows and other pop media, and are but one example of a parade of perversions which we are expected to accept without regard to the whole person. Again, it is but a characteristic, for which one bears no responsibility, any more than one would for green eyes.
Dividing ourselves into a collection of units which bear no relation to each other is a false way of understanding human beings. It is a growing trend which is aimed at removing the obligation to take responsibility for our actions. It is a philosophy, if one can call it that, which has a great impact on the pro-life movement. Indeed it attacks the traditional (Judeo-Christian, Moslem) understanding of man and it is potentially very damaging to our society.