I wrote the following letter to our PM Stephen Harper and to MP Woodworth, who wants to re-open the abortion issue by having Parliament decide when human life begins. This shit just pisses me off–it’s been decided so why can’t these uber-Christian nutbars just leave it the fuck alone? Anyway, my letter:
I am writing out of concern for MP Woodworth’s desire to have Parliament decide when human life begins. This is a blatant attempt to re-open the abortion issue, and I am not in favour of this. MP Woodworth takes exception to what is currently in Section 223 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which states that human life begins when a baby emerges from its mother’s body. Our nation has already taken a stand on the issue, and there is no need to re-open this.
The issue of abortion is unique, in that if a decision is made that a fetus is a person who has rights, then the mother’s rights will be negatively affected—the rights of the already living, already-existing-in-this-world person will take a back seat to the rights of a fetus, which is not a person and does not already exist on its own in the world. Why should women have their rights stripped and lose autonomy over their own bodies? As a woman, the thought of this terrifies me, as it allows the state to effectively take control of my body.
Many have argued that women should take precautions and not get pregnant if they do not want a child. Women may take precautions, but that does not guarantee that pregnancy will be prevented. And why should a woman have to suffer such dire consequences if birth control fails? Why should women have to put themselves at risk to carry an unwanted baby to term and go through the pain and risk of childbirth when they do not want the child to begin with? It seems to me that the real issue is one of sex, not of abortion or “when life begins.” It seems to be a bid by religious people to force their moral beliefs onto others who do not share their sentiments. It seems to come from a desire to see women punished for engaging in what Christians consider “immoral” activities. I do not accept this. Women should be free to engage in sexual activity without being judged and punished for it. We are not living in the Dark Ages, and women are no longer the property of men. It seems rather hypocritical of someone like MP Woodworth, who obviously upholds Christian values (from over 1,000 years ago, and they have not changed at all since then), to state that he’s interested in addressing the issue because the legal definition of life is based on a 400-year-old tradition—if he doesn’t have to change his rigid and unchanging beliefs to join us in this century, why should an agreed-upon definition have to change?
Woodworth’s interest in re-opening this issue is not a matter of science; it’s a matter of him wanting to impose his Christian beliefs on others. As a society, we have taken the stance that life begins once a child emerges from its mother’s womb. This is a line that has been drawn, and it must remain as it is. A child can only have rights once it is separate from its mother’s body; otherwise, how can we discern whose rights take precedence? Why should a fetus have rights that trump the rights of the mother? To take that stance is to show a complete disregard for women’s rights, and I have no desire to live in a country where women are valued so little that they are forced to have unwanted children as punishment for their supposed “immorality.”
I thought that Canada, as a relatively advanced and enlightened nation, had achieved separation of church and state. We are not all Christians, and we should not have Christian values imposed upon us. I hope that you, as leader of our nation, can make that distinction and do what is right for Canadians, not just those people you go to church with. You have an obligation to the people of Canada to ensure that women’s rights are upheld and that women are not treated like second-class citizens with no rights. Don’t forget—women are now allowed to vote.