We are not working against those who are promoting gestational limits; we are trying to persuade them and the larger pro-life movement that there are better ways of advancing the cause of life. Disagreement should not be viewed as seditious to the movement (and that counsel applies to all sides). A healthy discussion among pro-lifers can be a good thing. Our July editorial and the survey is The Interim‘s contribution to that discussion.
Well, here is the survey, that includes responses from Campaigne Quebec Vie, Campaign Life Coalition, CLC Youth, Show the Truth, Priests for Life, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform, 4MY Canada, the Christian Heritage Party, Alliance for Life Ontario, and the Association for Reformed Political Action. You may notice various high-profile organizations not listed. We limited our inquiries to organizations that are clearly pro-life, are involved in the political sphere, and have demonstrated a high degree of civility in discussing these matters. Several groups did not respond, declined to respond, or could not get board approval for their response before our deadline. Pro-life groups who were not contacted are welcome to send letters to the editor indicating their positions.
The survey asked about two issues:
Do you support gestational limits* on abortion. Would you like to state why? (* for the purpose of this survey, gestational limits means restricting abortion after a certain point, whether by trimester or some other time period.)
What kinds of incremental measures do you support. If yes, can you give an example? If no, why?
We hope that the survey and editorial contribute to the discussion about strategy within pro-life circles, and beyond. We reiterate that everyone questioned is a person of goodwill and whose pro-life credentials cannot be questioned, and whose organizations are allies in the battle to restore respect for human life from the time of conception and bring about a political environment in which legal protection for the unborn can occur. We all share the same goal — the end of legally tolerated abortion in Canada — so this survey is not intended to point to an organization or individual to question their pro-life commitment. It is intended to provide clarity to the discussion and to help inform the broader pro-life community about the breadth of opinion on this issue.
The survey is more than a mere checklist and I encourage you to read the responses of the participants who were also invited to explain the reasons for their support of gestational limits. I will highlight a point made by Jakki Jeffs of Alliance for Life Ontario and the Guelph and Area Right to Life, which makes for an apt conclusion on the issue of pro-lifers asking for gestational limits:
What we ask for legislatively must be consistent to our verbal message – we cannot allow the politicians to believe that we no longer require them to legislate protection for every human life.