Canadian Parliament set to debate the human status of unborn children for the third time (part 1)

Examining a series of ridiculous arguments against personhood for the unborn.

On June 13, the Canadian Parliament is set to debate Conservative MP Steve Woodworth’s motion (M-312) regarding whether or not unborn babies are human beings. The goal of M-312 is to re-examine section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that “[a] child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not (a) it has breathed; (b) it has an independent circulation; or (c) the navel string is severed.

Not everyone is excited about the possibly of unborn Canadians being given the “personhood” status. Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, has created a list of weak, transparent counter-arguments against M-312, in hopes of dismantling Woodworth’s line of reasoning. Arthur’s eight arguments attack M-312, calling it “a waste of time and taxpayer money” and claiming that “there are zero problems with the existing law.”

Counter-argument #1

Arthur claims that because the Supreme Court has decided on more than one occasion that an unborn child must be born alive before being allowed to enjoy rights, there’s no sense is raising a debate about it. She writes:

Although Parliament could theoretically revisit the issue and pass laws to restrict abortion or give rights to fetuses, it’s highly unlikely that such laws would withstand a constitutional challenge in the courts […] because laws that apply only to women and not men are automatically discriminatory.

If laws that make abortion illegal are discriminatory because they can’t be applied to men, then how are laws that keep abortion legal not discriminatory also? They can’t be applied to men, either, and as we’ve seen, fathers have zero rights when it comes to abortion. Any law that has to do with pregnancy for any reason would be discriminatory. But since the laws that currently keep abortion legal are biased only against men and the unborn babies, abortion providers are not concerned. Making abortion illegal, however, would mean trouble for the abortion industry, so Arthur is pulling out the discrimination card in hopes of winning support.

Counter-argument #2

Arthur argues that giving rights to unborn humans would lead to the arrests and prosecutions of pregnant women who suffer complications, miscarriages, or stillbirths. Arthur argues:

Anti-choice members of law enforcement or the judiciary could exploit child welfare laws to subject women to criminal prosecution for harming or “murdering” their fetus when something goes wrong in a wanted pregnancy. It could even open the door to women being investigated after they suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth, or any other serious complication that endangers the fetus. As in the U.S., the women targeted would mostly be racialized and low-income women.

In many U.S. states, fetal homicide laws protect unborn children from harm by making it illegal to hurt or kill an unborn child unless the mother seeks out an abortion. Women are currently being tried for murder for allegedly consuming rat poison and cocaine during pregnancy, resulting in the death of their babies. Both women were well into the third trimester. Just as an investigation into the parents would and should occur concerning the death of a born child, one should occur when an unborn child dies unexpectedly. Only those women who intentionally did anything to harm their unborn children would face any charges, and rightly so.

Counter-argument #3

According to Arthur, fetuses cannot be given legal rights for the simple fact that they live inside another person’s body. She has concluded that giving rights to fetuses would result in a “serious clash of rights” and that if fetuses had “legal personhood, pregnant women would lose theirs.”

Two people can exist in the same body and both have rights. It happens every day. Millions of women are pregnant right now, and they don’t feel that their rights are being violated in anyway. Plus, conjoined twins are recognized legally as two separate and equal persons, despite the fact that they often share many body parts and could die upon separation, like Abby and Brittany Hensel. A mother and unborn child, however, have two completely different bodies, and yet, by current law, one is viewed as a non-person able to be put to death at the other one’s will.

Counter-argument #4

Arthur falls back on the complete nonsense argument that any and every anti-abortion movement or motion is an attempt by men to control women. She, and most abortion advocates, repeatedly make the claim that anyone who is against abortion is against women. Arthur writes the following about M-312:

[T]he motion perpetuates the patriarchal need to control women and reproduction by seeking to relegate women to a childbearing role. The vision of the anti-abortion movement is to ban both birth control and abortion and force women into repeated unwanted childbearing, with no regard for the substantial health and social problems this would pose to women, children, and society at large. The patriarchal purpose behind this vision is to keep women busy with a brood of children so they will have no time to gain influence in the political arena, leaving power securely in the hands of men.

According to Arthur, pro-lifers (including women) think women should be only childbearing slaves to men. But it’s Arthur who believes that mothers are too bogged down with the duties of parenthood to work, vote, run for office, or do anything of significance besides take a shower once a week. She’s the one who claims that by allowing a child to be born rather than die through abortion, anti-abortion activists and lawmakers are turning women into brainless, spit-up-covered weaklings. Is that what mothers are to Arthur and her pro-abortion cohorts? Pro-lifers, on the other hand, believe that women can do it all. Just ask Feminists for Life. Arthur makes it clear that while pro-lifers believe that childbearing is a gift that women should celebrate in conjunction with the rest of their full and extraordinary lives, it is the abortionists who are trying to convince women that children will hold them back and turn them into worthless zombies.

Part two of this series will argue against Arthur’s final four outlandish points against the unborn. If you are Canadian, please contact your respective members of Parliament and ask for their support of M-312.

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