The Vancouver Sun reports that the organization representing Canada's doctors says life begins when a baby emerges from its mother's womb. This approach is in a similar vein to that set out in an article by Peter Singer, we reported on last week, which says that being human does not confer the right to life.
Delegates to the Canadian Medical Association's annual general council meeting last Wednesday supported retention of the section of the Canadian Criminal Code that declares a child becomes a human being at the moment of birth.
According to the report:
Their move comes after concerns a private member's motion in Parliament could be a back door to criminalizing abortion and the doctors who perform it.Conservative MP Stephen Wood-worth tabled his motion this spring. It has been regarded as a move to reopen the abortion debate.The motion seeks to create a House of Commons committee to review the Criminal Code section that declares a child becomes a human being "when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother."
The report goes on to say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has continually said his government will not bring forward abortion legislation. With some top Conservative cabinet ministers saying they will vote against Woodworth's motion, it appears assured a death in the Commons when debate resumes in the fall.
Comment"This attempt to modify the definition of a human being could legally recognize the fetus, which would give the fetus rights," said Montreal physician Dr. Genevieve Desbiens. "This constitutes a recriminalization, not only of abortion, but any form of contraception."We must ensure women seeking to terminate pregnancy and the doctors who support them and want to help them are not criminalized."She said it's urgent for doctors to exert pressure on the government "so this motion has no chance of being passed and the debate is not reopened."I'm not asking if you are for or against abortion. I'm asking for you to recognize that women must retain their full and complete rights," she said to applause.Ontario physician Dr. John Ludwig warned the group against "unintended consequences." He said the criminal code is "ancient and needs to be revised.""If an assailant plunged a knife in the 38-week gestational belly of your spouse, we would all consider that murder. But the Criminal Code says that, because that fetus did not leave the body alive, it doesn't have any rights."We need a new policy that somewhat more balances the rights for women to have a therapeutic abortion when they wish, up to 20 weeks, and then protects the life of that child from 20 weeks on, once it's able to live on its own upon delivery from the womb."Dr. Carole Williams, of Victoria, said the private member's motion "is a back door way for government to reopen Roe versus Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States."It's inappropriate to have government intervention into control of our-selves, our bodies and our children."
This is a shameful case of ideology trumping reality and truth. The decision of the medical association in this case actually goes beyond the argument about personhood, (the claim that even though human the unborn baby was a non person.) This approach even denies the humanity of the unborn baby.
The record of the discussion is very revealing and shows that the overriding consideration was to ensure that there should be no restriction on the availability of, or access to abortion.
The very idea that an unborn human baby does not become human until birth is offensive and coming from a scientific community such as a medical association is a gross betrayal of the "Hippocratic Oath". If the unborn was a white whale or a panda there would be no doubt but that the unborn cub was of the same Genus as its parent. If an unborn baby is not human what is it?
There is another aspect to this decision which must be considered. The medical association appears to have indirectly conceded that denying personhood is not enough, they must actually deny humanity, because acceptance of the humanity of the unborn weakens the pro-abortion argument.