Monday, May 07, 2007

The 'A-word'

The United States has the 'n-word'. Canada has the 'a-word'. In a very surprising National Post article, columnist Anne Marie Owens discusses why, when and how the public abortion debate in Canada never got started. At Catholic Explorers, contributor Mary Anne picks up on the article and the lack of debate. It's an excellent post (actually two) which should be read by every leathernecked pro-lifer.

While I don't necessarily agree that Canadians are afraid of the abortion issue because of its divisivness, I think there is some truth to it. Many Canadians simply do not like to talk about serious things. I don't know why that it is, but its the current status quo. Actually, the current status quo is that when and if a particularly pernicious and troubling issue like abortion is raised, you will either be yelled at by a lunatic abortionist or a radical right-to-lifer.

So in the wake of this, my wife, my mother and I were discussing how we should begin to revitalize some elements of the pro-life movement. I for one think a very good place to start would be to remove any 'abortion is murder' placard, quote or whatever from our arsenal. Why? Because the discussion is no longer about whether or not it is human life or if it is not human life. Science has emphatically proven on several occassions since abortion was legalized in Canada that human life begins at conception. As much as it pains me to say it, people who procure abortions are usually well aware that it is akin to murder. For the pregnant woman, it is usually a utilitarian decision; for the pro-choice movements, it is a rights-based decision. When was the last time you even hear a pro-abortionist say 'Well, we don't really know when it becomes life anyway, so best to err on the side of the mother'? And moreover, if a woman has an abortion, is she going to react positively to a placard which reads 'Abortion: 1 Dead, 1 Wound'?

The same goes for the graphic images. Showing people images of destroyed babies, for whatever reason, puts people in shell-shock mode and they simply turn their minds off. It's not even that difficult to realize - soldiers, doctors, anyone who views extremely graphic pictures of dead humans simply depersonalizes the image and pushes it to the fartherest corner of their mind. What the pro-life movement seems to be discovering is that it is the images and videos of children in the womb at various stages that are the most effective. The very successful crisis pregnancy certains do not 'win over' pregnant women by showing them images of tiny, dismembered and bloodied people.

Now this is not to say that the murder rhetoric and the use of graphic images should never be employed. Rather, I think that there are certain occassions when such plain terms and shocking pictures must be used. We shouldn't forget about the horrors of abortion or shy away from informing others about them, but we should use the utmost discretion to ensure that our message is received properly. How much more attractive is it when people are for something instead of against it?

(A little guy at 17 weeks)

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