Destroying a Fetus is Depriving Life?
Posted on October 25th, 2010

by Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge

  In the article written by Andrew Chung (Quebec slams PM s abortion ambiguity “”…” Toronto Star 20th May 2010) indicates that the politicians of all parties have come together in Quebec to pass legislation legalizing abortion affirming the woman’s right to choose and access free abortion services. The Quebec legislature also called on the government to end the current ambiguous position taken up by the government on the issue of abortion and to ensure that support for abortion is not used to cut funding to women’s groups.

The motion in Quebec Parliament immediately after the Catholic Church’s support of the government’s policy on abortion and described abortion as a moral crime. The Church has also advocated the reopening of the abortion debate in Canada. The government has promised not to legalize abortion in Canada. However, the government has announced that it would refuse to fund abortion in developing countries under a G8 health initiative. Quebec is ahead of all the other provinces in Canada when it comes to abortion, even late-term abortions. There are about 29,000 abortions a year in Quebec with one in three women having an abortion during her lifetime.

Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy after conception. Canada is one of the very few countries in the world that has no criminal law restricting abortion at all. Canada first liberalized Canadian law against abortion in 1969; then the Supreme Court threw it out completely in 1988. (Abortion in Canada -History, Law, and Access Joyce Arthur) Canada’s revised abortion law is equivocal on two crucial provisions, namely the health of the mother and gestational age limit to abortion. (Abortion Readings and Research – Sachdev P.)

According to the he Canadian Charter, section 7 states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Although the section 7 of the Charter highlights the right to life, the Court sidestepped the question of fetal rights under the Charter by deciding that the fetus was not a “person” under Quebec civil law: The fetal rights issue was finally decided in the 1989 case Daigle v Tremblay, where the Supreme Court of Canada found that only a human being had constitutional rights.

The laws sometimes do not reflect the moral consciousness of a society. Some laws are unparallel to the social perception.

Legal systems work best when they are based on values that reflect a social consensus, laws that lack substantial social support not only are rarely enforce but also discredit the legal system. This is the case with many laws that attempt to regulate sexuality reproduction and particularly abortion (p110 Faundes .A. &Barzelatto .J. (2006) Human Drama of Abortion Vanderbilt University Press Nashville).

Can we consider fetus as an independent living unit? The fetus is capable of motion, consumption, growth and stimulus response and much view that it is a living, growing, feeling human being long before birth. The embryonic research shows that heartbeat begins on the 21st day after conception; Electrical brain waves have been recorded as early as forty days. In the past few years, medical research has shown that unborn babies can feel pain. Rather than a moral or religious issue, abortion is more damaging factor to the society. It shakes the fundamental values and seriously affects the health of a woman.

According the CDC, the majority of all abortions, (95%), are done as a means of birth control. 1% are performed because of rape or incest, 1% because of fetal abnormalities, 3% due to the mother’s health problems. Premature termination of fetus can be interpreted as violation of right to life. Therefore, abortions should be limited and permitted to do in medical indications and other extreme events such as pregnancies following rape.

How to deal with this issue? The law and enforcement cannot find total solutions and it has been proved in other countries where criminal abortions are high. Creating awareness among the public that destroying a fetus is depriving life and violation of a basic right for life would be an effective strategy. The health education would be one of the best solutions. The community-based strategies must be implemented. Sex education and improving birth control facilities can prevent a large number of unwanted pregnancies.

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