Dear Women’s Collective,
Thank you for your letter voicing concerns about BUSL’s activities on-campus. Our club respects and values all women, including those not yet born. We have always been committed to having open, respectful, and meaningful dialogue based on facts, sound philosophy, and a desire to pursue the truth. The truth about abortion is at stake here. If we are not talking about human beings in the womb, then we are wasting our time as a pro-life club. However, if the preborn are human beings, then we are facing a grave injustice with almost 300 babies being dismembered, decapitated, and disemboweled each day on Canadian soil.
Instead of encouraging respectful discourse, you have levelled numerous accusations in little detail, apparently without even trying to understand our position. It is worth asking: does the Women’s Collective understand the pro-life position and the rationale for it?
Throughout your letter, the theme seems to be that BUSL is “anti-women” as if someone could not be “pro-women” and protect vulnerable pre-born children; with some preborn girls facing abortion simply because of their gender. How can we talk about women’s rights without recognizing the rights of all women, born and pre-born?
We recognize that pregnancy can be very difficult. Instead of violence let’s offer support as the solution. There is help out there.
Contrary to what was said, there is no constitutional right as such to abortion. In R v Morgentaler, 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing law on procedural grounds and left Parliament to make a new law, which it has never done. This leaves us in the poor company of China and North Korea as the only countries in the world with no laws regulating abortion.
Your letter suggests fetuses aren’t self-aware and can’t perceive pain. Why does being able to feel pain -which those with CIPA can’t- make someone valuable, or having awareness of self, make for deserving human rights? At any rate, fetuses most certainly feel pain at some point given that they often receive anesthesia during intra uterine surgery. Newborns, too, aren’t self-aware for months post-birth.
It’s evident that criteria like the above for being “human enough” are arbitrary and subjective. Based on our conversations with BU students, there are many nuanced positions among people identifying as pro-choice: some are attached to the status quo, others are opposed to abortion after a heart beat is detected, others opposed to late term-abortion, and still others disagree with sex-selective abortion. Basing public policy regarding fundamental human rights on subjective opinions is inconclusive and dangerous.
Instead, we should look to science-based public policy that recognizes human rights from the moment the science shows a human begins to exist. That is the only objective and non-arbitrary standard.
Denying legal protection to children based entirely upon factors beyond their control and directly tied to their age is an injustice like any other, but is not widely regarded as such. That is why BUSL focuses on bringing to light the injustice that is abortion and other life issues. We care deeply for the suffering children in Aleppo and here in Canada, and are grateful for those who advocate on their behalf. Every voiceless and vulnerable group needs someone who will champion their cause.
If all parties decide to approach the issue of abortion with mutual respect and maturity, these exchanges could be the beginning of a healthy discussion on our campus. Hopefully, this will build a culture that is inclusive and compassionate towards every human being, regardless of characteristics such as gender or age.
Brandon University Students for Life