In an article on the front page of the Toronto Star of August 30, 2000, under the title, “Fiery Chretien hammers Day,” the Prime Minister is quoted as accusing Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day of “trying to rob Canadian women of their right to choose an abortion.” He continues, “We Liberals support a woman’s right to choose, but he wants a divisive national debate on the issue.”

Once again, Canadians need to cut through such rhetoric and get to the heart of the matter. I am neither a doctor nor a scientist and therefore I cannot write with authority from a scientific point of view. But I am relatively literate and so I can quote from what scientific experts say in reply to the question: Is the fetus a human person?

The first International Conference on Abortion, held in Washington D.C. In October 1967, brought together authorities from around the world in the fields of medicine, legal ethics, and the social sciences. Here is an extract from the official report to the U.S. government: “The majority of our group could find no point in time between the union of the sperm and the egg and the birth of an infant at which point we could say that this is not human life.”

The late Dr. Sir William Liley of New Zealand – knighted by the Queen for his pioneering work in fetology – made the following statement: “From the moment a baby lives, it bears the indelible stamp of a separate, distinct personality, an individual different from all other individuals.”

A proclamation opposing abortion, signed by 1,300 physicians and written by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jerome Lejeune, was circulated among doctors in Britain. The text reads, “From the moment of fertilization the conceptus is alive and it is distinct from the mother, who provides nourishment and protection. From fertilization to old age it is the same living being, who grows, develops, matures and dies. For these reasons, the termination of pregnancy to solve economic or eugenic problems is directly in contradiction to the role of the doctor.”

The most internationally known pro-life doctor is probably Dr. Bernard Nathanson, formerly known as “The Abortion King of America.” In the early l970s, he headed a “clinic” where he presided over 60,000 abortions. He is now perhaps the greatest defender of the life of the unborn baby in the scientific world. Dr. Nathanson told the court in the Borowski case that he became pro-life when increased study of fetology convinced him that the fetus is a human being. Dr. Nathanson also testified that he was raised in the Jewish faith but later became an atheist. Becoming pro-life, he said, was a secular decision.

The late Dr. Herbert Ratner, an executive member of the U.S. Commission on Human Life, said, “It is now of unquestionable certainty that a human life comes into existence precisely at the moment when the sperm combines with the egg.”

These writers are not Catholic bishops or priests or evangelical theologians or preachers. They are scientists, doctors and geneticists, giving the results of their research and expertise. Either they are liars or ignoramuses, or the “fetus” is a human being who has never committed a crime. And therefore abortion is murder, encouraged by our “Catholic” Prime Minister.

I think the following two quotations from the present Pope’s encyclical letter, The Gospel of Life, make a fitting conclusion to this article.

Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as ‘an unspeakable crime.’

The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. He or she is, weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears.

Finally, here is a quotation from the 1974 Vatican Declaration on Abortion:

Whatever the civil law may decree in this matter, it must be taken as absolutely certain that a man may never obey an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law approving abortion in principle. He may not take part in any movement to sway public opinion in favour of such a law, nor may he vote for that law.

How any Catholic politician can read that statement, and support abortion and continue to call himself or herself a “Catholic,” is beyond my com