What was wrong with Amendment A?
The government’s proposal of Amendment A, which permitted abortions for the health or life of the mother, would in fact have resulted in a law which was even more liberal than that of 1969. For the past 20 years, pro-life workers have been struggling to regain legal protection for the pre-born child, and now, for the first time, they have an opportunity to get a just law. How can any pro-lifer throw away the efforts of decades, sit back, and accept an even worse law than before?
Doesn’t the Supreme Court ruling mean that some abortions must be allowed?
No. On January 28, 1988, the Supreme Court specifically excluded from its judgment any ruling on the rights of the pre-born child, including its right to life. The judgment, unlike that of Roe v. Wade in the United States, did not say that a woman has a right to an abortion. On the contrary, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that it is the prerogative of Parliament to obtain evidence on abortion, and to legislate in the light of the evidence.
It must be stressed, however, that in any event, innocent human beings do not hold their right to life at the sufferance of the members of the Supreme Court. Nor, it must be added, does a pre-born child’s right to live come from Parliament. Neither the Supreme Court of Canada, nor Parliament can in justice deprive a child of the right to life, a right with which he, or she, is endowed by God.
Why is it dangerous to allow that the Supreme Court and Parliament may usurp such authority?
Charles E. Rice, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, and editor of the American Journal of Jurisprudence, wrote in 1979: “Ideas have consequences. The Supreme Court abortion decrees are not merely unwise laws to be endured and softened as experience permits. On the contrary, they are wholly unjust, an affront to God as well as to man. It can never be right to affirm their validity. Nor will such affirmance save lives.”
Professor Rice was writing of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, but his words are equally applicable to Canada. It can never be right to affirm (or even to concede) that the Supreme Court of Canada has the authority to decide which groups of innocent human beings have the right to live, and which groups can be killed. Such affirmation would indeed be “an affront to God as well as to man.” It is certain that such an affirmation regarding the children who are conceived, but not yet born, would put at risk many other groups in the human family: the handicapped newborn, the elderly infirm, the mentally handicapped, and those whom the euthanasists call the “pleasantly senile”.
Wouldn’t Amendment A be the lesser of two evils and save some lives?
Even if one agreed with the morality of the argument “lesser of two evils” (which must never be confused with the “law of double effect”) it could not be applied to Amendment A. Experience has shown that a law allowing abortion for the health or life of the mother inevitably results in abortion on demand. The reality is that such a law is mere camouflage; it hides the fact that any woman who wants to get rid of her pre-born child can find an easy loophole and an accommodating physician.
What of the morality of lesser of two evils?
Direct abortions are performed to kill pre-born babies. For the purpose of debate let us suppose that Amendment A could prevent 50 per cent of the annual number of abortions, estimated at 100,000. MPs would have a choice: vote “A” to legalize the direct killing of 50,000 babies; vote “B” to allow the killing of 100,000 babies. Any MP who voted for “A” would authorize the direct killing of 50,000 innocent human beings annually. In fact, a vote for “A” is tantamount to signing the death warrants for 50,000 babies a year.
To quote Professor Rice once again: “One could hardly argue that the answer to Auschwitz was to allow the killing of Jews only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or to provide that “viable” Jews could be killed only if they interfered with the mental health of the Camp Commandant.”
It can never be overstated that no Supreme Court Judge, no Parliament and no MP has the right, in justice, to decree or to legislate that an innocent pre-born child can be put to death. Common law has protected pre-born child’s life throughout the centuries, and Blackstone in his famous Commentaries, summed up the fundamental reason underlying the common law. “Life is the immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual.” It is not the gift of the Supreme Court, nor of Parliament.