6 Comments

MP Woodworth wants Parliament to decide when human life begins…WTF!?

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.

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6 comments on “MP Woodworth wants Parliament to decide when human life begins…WTF!?

  1. LOL, you are an absolute hypocrite. Like in this one:

    “It seems to be a bid by religious people to force their moral beliefs onto others who do not share their sentiments.”

    So you don’t accept Christians forcing their beliefs onto others yet at the same time want to shove veganism down every person’s throat? That is the definition of hypocricy.

    Oh, and also:

    “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.”

    Yup. And, as a society, we have taken the stance that animals are not “persons” (despite what Francione, you and other abolitionists preach) and therefore not entitled to rights. This is a line that has been drawn, and it must remain as it is.

    • Oh, dear, you’re a troll. Awesome. Okay, well, here we go:

      “So you don’t accept Christians forcing their beliefs onto others yet at the same time want to shove veganism down every person’s throat?”

      Uh, no, bro. That is not accurate. The thing you are failing to understand is that most people already see animals as moral persons; that is, you would not accept a person kicking your dog for funsies, because you know your dog feels pain and suffering and there is no justifiable reason for someone to just up and kick your dog. The person is causing your dog pain and suffering for no justifiable reason.

      Okay? With me so far? I think even you should be able to see and understand that most people see at least some animals, like dogs and cats, as belonging to the moral community.

      However, these same people, for a number of invalid reasons, do not extend this same consideration to animals like chickens, pigs, or cows.

      Trying to get people to understand that ALL animals are like dogs and cats, in that they experience pain and suffering and there is no justifiable reason to cause them to experience unnecessary pain and suffering, and that eating them causes them unnecessary pain and suffering, is, in fact, absolutely NOTHING like forcing Christian beliefs on others. But I think you already know that. Christianity is based on belief; veganism is not.

      Nice try though, bro.

      You are actually correct that society has yet to acknowledge the personhood of non-human animals, much as humans only relatively recently acknowledged women or people of colour as persons. However, most people accept that animals are sentient, capable of feeling pain and suffering, and most people actually don’t want animals to suffer needlessly. Vegans show people how non-vegans inflict needless suffering on animals. And most people are actually receptive to the idea–others, though, are like you and cling desperately to ideas they cannot even be bothered to examine on a deeper level. It won’t take much to change society’s stance on animals as persons, in terms of people’s mindset. What is far more challenging is eliminating our reliance on animal exploitation, as so much of human society is founded upon it. However, the southern states in America were dependent on slave labour but eventually that was abolished, so we vegans have hope that another profound injustice will also be rectified. It’s a line that definitely will not remain as it is–I don’t understand why that upsets you so much, and I don’t actually care. Change will occur despite people like you, and that must really frustrate you. Have a nice day.

  2. “Oh, dear, you’re a troll.”

    Definitely. Since I don’t agree with you, I must, of necessity, be a troll 😀

    Still, let’s analyze what you said.

    First of all, you didn’t even answer my points fully – you gave a sort of answer to my first one, but you didn’t seem to care about the second one.

    I understand obviously the difference between your advocacy and the actions of the MP mentioned in the article. The MP wanted to change the law, and you only preach veganism, I get it. But here’s the thing: how do we know whether abolitionists also want to change the law in the future? Like, you know, in the future, if vegans will comprise the majority, animal exploitaion might be ruled out explicitly – with the force of law. Note that didn’t accuse you of doing that – I don’t know whether you want to do that. But that aside, I do see a parallel between abolitionists and preachy Christians. I hold that my point still stands partly, but I acknowledge that I was a bit judgemental there.

    The rest, though, is plain bullshit:

    “Christianity is based on belief; veganism is not.”

    WTF? This doesn’t make any sense. Veganism (not the plant-based diet, but the abolitionist vegan approach) is by definition a religion. Well, maybe not, since religion requires belief in some supernatural force – but it’s DEFNITELY a belief.

    Christians belive it’s inherently wrong to perform an abortion; you, abolitionists, believe it is inherently wrong to exploit animals. NO difference between the two, both are, in fact, beliefs.

    What is exactly, in your opinion, that differentiates between the two, making the Christian stance on abortion a belief, and abolitionism something else? Please enlighten me.

    “That is not accurate. The thing you are failing to understand is that most people already see animals as moral persons; that is, you would not accept a person kicking your dog for funsies, because you know your dog feels pain and suffering and there is no justifiable reason for someone to just up and kick your dog. The person is causing your dog pain and suffering for no justifiable reason.”

    That is actually far from the truth. What you said is kinda funny coming from a vegan abolitionist. For a vegan abolitionist, acknowledging the personhood of animals is tantamount to being AT LEAST vegan – nothing else, not even being vegetarian makes the cut. As far as I can tell, people only see certain animals as “moral persons” – mostly pets who they have an intimate connection with.

    ” I think even you should be able to see and understand that most people see at least some animals, like dogs and cats, as belonging to the moral community.”

    That is exactly the point! People have relationships with cats and dogs – that is, pets, who belong to their intimate circles. Ironically, they treat cats and dogs with respect PRECISELY because they are being kept as pets – the very thing you, abolitionists, are firmly against. I surmise that if cats and dogs weren’t owned by humans, most of us wouldn’t give a damn about them.

    However, the key thing here is: it’s always been that way. When we were hunter-gatherers, members of the other tribe weren’t regarded as persons. As humanities social structue changed and mass-cooperation systems (such as empires) were born, morality changed to encompass more and more people. And it’s the same with animals. Animals who fit into this system (like cats and dogs) are (mostly) cared for, and protected. Those that don’t aren’t. But it’s always been that way. In Western culture, harming dogs has long since been considered taboo. (And actually, I could argue that dogs are treated way worse in many ways today (puppy mills) than they were before. But I digress.)

    “However, these same people, for a number of invalid reasons, do not extend this same consideration to animals like chickens, pigs, or cows.”

    No, there are no such “invalid” reasons, that is your dogma. People want to:

    1) eat tasty foods
    2) entertain themselves
    3) advance medical sciene
    4) use cosmetics
    5) keep pets

    and the list could go on.

    “Trying to get people to understand that ALL animals are like dogs and cats, in that they experience pain and suffering”

    Which is idiotic. The thing you’re talking about is a fact. Everyone knows animals can suffer.

    “However, most people accept that animals are sentient, capable of feeling pain and suffering, and most people actually don’t want animals to suffer needlessly.”

    And yet they still keep promoting things you consider “welfarist drivel”.

    And I could keep going on. Basically, you’re overly optimistic about a future in alignment with your wishes. Which just reinforces me in thinking that veganism is a belief. While I don’t necesarily rule out a “vegan future” becoming true, you are overestimating the chance of veganism being successful.

    Lastly, you absolutely didn’t get my second point. What I wanted to convey with that is that you were peaking in the name of society as a whole regarding abortion – despite the facts that a lot of people don’t agree with you. So I showed that YOUR activisim is similair to that of the Christians

  3. “Definitely. Since I don’t agree with you, I must, of necessity, be a troll”

    No. Your condescending attitude makes you a troll, as does one of your comments on another of my posts, in which you said what I had written was “idiotic”.

    Disagree if you like, but you could at the very least do so without being a snot about it.

    Then you go on to call me “preachy”, but you expect me to engage with you in a polite manner. Maybe try having some manners if you want to engage in debate. That is really the least you can do. And how magnanimous of you to acknowledge that you are “a bit judgmental.” How very big of you.

    The Christian stance on abortion is a belief. They do not believe it is “inherently wrong to perform an abortion”. In fact, their beliefs about abortion have little to do with the fetus and sanctity of life. Rather, it’s a belief that women do not have the right to autonomy or to make their own decisions about their own bodies. It is based on a hatred of women and a desire to control them, and that stems from Christianity and other religions that seek to control and oppress women. I imagine you will argue with me about this, but if you have ever actually engaged in a debate with a Christian–or even non-Christian–anti-choicer, you would know that the argument always devolves into “well if a woman doesn’t want to get pregnant she should keep her legs closed” or something of that ilk.

    The vegan stance is that the lives of non-human animals have inherent worth; their lives have value to them, even if they have none to anyone else. Just as your life means less than nothing to me but means everything to you. I concede that it’s a belief, in that belief is accepting something as true, as in vegans accept as true that animals’ lives have inherent worth. However, I do not concede to your statement that veganism is a religion. You are saying that vegans are evangelicals out to convert everyone, but you are wrong about that. Veganism is a social justice movement, not a religion. Do you see Black Lives Matter as a religion, too, or only veganism because you hate vegans? Vegans are not zealots, and we are usually only called such by the likes of you as a way to discredit us or invalidate the movement.

    You also fail to acknowledge that much of what vegans say is actually backed by science. Animal intelligence, the ability of animals to feel emotions, humans don’t need to consume animals and doing so can be harmful to human health, the devastating environmental effects, etc. But I guess it’s not convenient for you to acknowledge that part of veganism; you just want to attack the abolitionist approach by branding abolitionist vegans religious zealots. Christians and other religious people have no such evidence to support their claims about abortion, and actually ignore science on the matter.

    Vegans do not seek to control others, despite what you seem to think. Vegans seek to show people how the beliefs they already have about animals–that it’s not morally justifiable to cause animals to suffer needlessly, and that eating, wearing, or otherwise exploiting them is NOT necessary–do not align with their actions.

    You missed my point when you said this:

    “That is actually far from the truth. What you said is kinda funny coming from a vegan abolitionist. For a vegan abolitionist, acknowledging the personhood of animals is tantamount to being AT LEAST vegan – nothing else, not even being vegetarian makes the cut. As far as I can tell, people only see certain animals as “moral persons” – mostly pets who they have an intimate connection with.”

    Yes, people only see certain animals as moral persons, mostly pets they have an intimate connection with.

    That IS MY POINT. And as vegans, we strive to help these people see how it makes no sense to see dogs and cats this way but not other animals. People are conditioned to see some animals as food, others as pets, yet others as transportation, or entertainment, or whatever. As vegans, we strive to show others how wrong this is. If you see that as preachy or evangelical, I don’t even know what to say to you and I feel sorry for you.

    Then you go on to say “it’s always been this way”, referring to humans exploiting animals.

    What is your point in saying this? People said the same thing about slavery, and about women…..oh, well, it’s just always been this way so why bother fighting injustice?

    What a stupid thing to say (you were rude to me, so I’m returning the favour).

    I’m not sure why you made the comment that despite people knowing animals suffer they keep promoting welfarist drivel. Yes, they do. For a variety of reasons, all of which are invalid. What is your point in saying that?

    You chastise me for my “dogma” (wrong word–it’s not laid down by an “authority”, but whatever, you wrongly conflate veganism with religion so I can’t expect much from you), and then go on to say that people use animals for these reasons:

    1) eat tasty foods
    2) entertain themselves
    3) advance medical sciene
    4) use cosmetics
    5) keep pets

    No shit bro. I never said otherwise. However, vegans point out to people that most people already believe animals–at least some–matter morally; that the animals they think matter morally are no different than those they use for the purposes above; and that if animals matter morally, then we cannot use them in those ways. Again, what is your point, other than to argue that it’s morally justifiable for people to use animals in these ways, which it is not?

    Then you harp at me about pets. Yes, abolitionist vegans are against keeping animals as pets. I never said otherwise. What is your point? I am fully aware that people keeping pets has allowed them to see animals as someone rather than something, but that does not justify keeping animals as pets! What are you trying to say here?

    Then you call me “overly optimistic” about veganism. Again, what is your point in saying this? The world IS already changing–veganism is much more recognized and accepted than at any other point in time. And it will continue changing. For some reason, that frustrates you, and you come here in an attempt to berate me, call me names, and try to sound smart while somehow “proving” I’m wrong.

    You failed in everything but berating me. Go, champ! Have a great day.

  4. “No. Your condescending attitude makes you a troll, as does one of your comments on another of my posts, in which you said what I had written was “idiotic”.”

    Okay, I apologise for what I have said. I acknowledge I was rude, however, I am interested in maintaining this conversation civil, which I will strive to abide by.

    Can we move on?

    “The Christian stance on abortion is a belief.”

    That I never disagreed with.

    “They do not believe it is “inherently wrong to perform an abortion”. In fact, their beliefs about abortion have little to do with the fetus and sanctity of life. Rather, it’s a belief that women do not have the right to autonomy or to make their own decisions about their own bodies. It is based on a hatred of women and a desire to control them, and that stems from Christianity and other religions that seek to control and oppress women. I imagine you will argue with me about this, but if you have ever actually engaged in a debate with a Christian–or even non-Christian–anti-choicer, you would know that the argument always devolves into “well if a woman doesn’t want to get pregnant she should keep her legs closed” or something of that ilk.”

    Of course I will argue with you, because what you assert here is simply untrue.

    What you said here is a blatant lie of 3rd wave feminism. This movement actually starkly resembles Marxism in that both of them have a view of history that is predicated entirely on their goals. Marxists view history as a process that is guided by “class struggle”. This modern feminist movement is similair: every single historical event, ideology or society is primarily shaped by the oppression of women by men. Which is partly true in the sense that pretty much all societies in human history have been patriarchies, but these modern feminists single this particular attribute out and see it as the most important guiding force that is behind almost everything. Your attitude is, I am sorry to say, a perfect epitomy of that.

    I still can’t exactly understand how you can claim that all of the 2 billion+ Christians in the world use abortion as a means to oppress women. Yes, generally speaking, the Christian dogma is that life is sacred in all its forms. To make my argument even more persuasive, I humbly put forward another related ethical issue: stem cell research, which most Christians also oppose on the same grounds. Yet I hope you don’t want to claim that this position has anything to do with women’s rights.

    It’s also interesting who you don’t realise that your opinion rests COMPLETELY on your values. Christians contend that the body of the fetus DOES NOT belong to the woman’s body, so they don’t actually want to “take away women’s autonomy”, they simply have a different conception of autonomy.

    Note that I say all of this as an atheist.

    In addition, I don’t really understand why this whole argument about abortion is relevant. Regardless of the reason, the Christian stance on abortion is a belief which I never denied.

    “The vegan stance is that the lives of non-human animals have inherent worth”

    Which fits perfectly into the category of belief; as such, there is NO difference between it and Christian views about abortion. Postulating an ethical position as absolute is a belief.

    Regarding the point that my life is valuable to me, that is true, but irrelevant. Oh and by the way, what if my life was not important to me? What if, for example, I was suicidal?

    “However, I do not concede to your statement that veganism is a religion.”

    I actually acknowledged that in my previous comment. I wouldn’t use the word “religion”; I would use the word “creed” mainly because it is:

    (1) based on belief AND
    (2) it is often preachy.

    “Do you see Black Lives Matter as a religion, too, or only veganism because you hate vegans?”

    I actually don’t hate vegans. I am fine with them as long as they don’t try to push their ideology onto me. About a year and a half ago, one of my friends became vegan; during the next three months, she was really annoying me with her efforts to convert me. She simply didn’t belive that after providing me with all the information, I still wasn’t really interested – which is worrisome, since that shows total preoccupation with this ideology and no willingness to understand other points of view.

    “You also fail to acknowledge that much of what vegans say is actually backed by science.”

    That is partly, though not completely true. But even if it were true completely, veganism would still be based on belief – as Gary Francione eagerly admits.

    “Animal intelligence, the ability of animals to feel emotions”

    Yup, the science here is fine.

    “humans don’t need to consume animals and doing so can be harmful to human health”

    Nope, here things become muddy. Now I don’t want to get into the debate about whether animal products are healthy – neither of us have the evidence required and it would also take us very far from our discussion. One thing I will note here, though, is that I’m highly skeptical of the claims vegans make about nutrition. I’m not necessarily saying veganism is unhealthy, mind you, but I definitely don’t buy into the “fact” that animal products are unhealthy. Actually, I’m skeptical of ALL kinds of diets – whether that be vegan, paleo, rawtil4, anything. To be honest, the very designation of “nutrionists” being labeled as “scientists” is offensive – these people do NOT do science for the most part. The human body is a complicated organism, and these so-called “experts” know much less than they think they know.

    The main problem here is that people are blinded by their beliefs. Whenever I hear someone arguing that X diet is the best, I’m always skeptical. Why? Because these people operate under a huge confirmation bias – that is, they look at the evidence selectively, disregarding everything that doesn’t suit their preconceptions and carefully cherrypicking evidence that supports them. Which, actually, just confirms my assertion that veganism is a belief.

    “Then you go on to say “it’s always been this way”, referring to humans exploiting animals.”

    I admit that I worded my point rather poorly – that is the reason why I couldn’t get it across. What I was referring to is that people have ALWAYS viewed animals closely related to them mostly as companions – and therfore, treated them better. You claimed that animals are being increasingly seen as persons – you mentioned dogs and cats here. And I countered that actually, they have viewed dogs and cats as persons for quite a while now – so therefore I would be cautious before I made such optimistic claims. Now, granted, some forms of cruelty towards these animals have been abolished (like dogfighting). Others, however (like puppy mills), have popped up.

    “What is your point in saying this? People said the same thing about slavery, and about women…..oh, well, it’s just always been this way so why bother fighting injustice?”

    No, you simply misunderstood me, for which I am mostly to blame.

    As regards my word “dogma”, I might have erred there by using the wrong word. But that has little to no relevance in this case. As for an “authority”, I guess there is none, although some abolitionists can be seen as being in positions of authority (for the movement) and laying down… well, beliefs.

    “No shit bro. I never said otherwise. However, vegans point out to people that most people already believe animals–at least some–matter morally; that the animals they think matter morally are no different than those they use for the purposes above; and that if animals matter morally, then we cannot use them in those ways. Again, what is your point, other than to argue that it’s morally justifiable for people to use animals in these ways, which it is not?”

    What I meant was that while yes, people do not like unnecessary cruelty, many of them are still alienated by dogmatism and radicalism which abolitionism represents. Because people aren’t willing to give up their whole life for this. For some people, veganism represents an attractive alternative to a mixed diet taste-wise. For others, not so much. Also, I don’t think a lot of people share your stance on complete abolition of animal testing in medicine (even if it represents only a fraction of animal testing). People, generally speaking, value their freinds and relatives more highly than chimps or lab rats. That is basic evolution. And while veganism wins many converts every day, it also alienates people as well.

    “Then you harp at me about pets. Yes, abolitionist vegans are against keeping animals as pets. I never said otherwise. What is your point? I am fully aware that people keeping pets has allowed them to see animals as someone rather than something, but that does not justify keeping animals as pets! What are you trying to say here?”

    That animals are only seen valuable by the majority of humans if they are their pets. If they cease to be, then they won’t necessarily care about them anymore.

    Have a great day, too.

  5. Here is the thing that you are clearly not understanding about what I am saying about abortion.

    A fetus is not a person, nor can fetuses ever be given the status of personhood. Why? Because they grow inside women, who also have the status of personhood.

    So, if a fetus is given the status of personhood, it will necessarily trump the personhood of the woman carrying it, and that is not acceptable. My stance on abortion is not about “belief”. I am not saying a fetus is not a human. It is. I am not saying a fetus is not sentient. It may very well be. But that does not matter. What matters is that fetuses grow inside women, and women are persons. If we give fetuses personhood, we necessarily strip women of their own personhood, and that is not acceptable.

    Christians do not care about any of that. They preach about the sanctity of life, but obviously if one values a fetus over the life/autonomy/personhood of the person in whom the fetus is growing, that one does not, in fact, value the sanctity of life.

    Does that answer all your questions? Because to be honest, this conversation is becoming tedious, although I am glad you eased up on your attitude.

    You keep insisting that abolitionist veganism is radical and extreme. It is neither. What IS radical and extreme is for people to continue doing something needless that is harmful and destructive not only to themselves and other sentient beings but to the very planet that gives us life, for no other reason than that they like to.

    What is also extreme is undergoing surgeries to correct health issues that could more easily be corrected by adopting a plant-based diet.

    But whatever, vegans are extreme, blah blah blah. Also, vegans don’t “give up their whole lives” to be vegan, and to say that is just so utterly inane I can’t even. I live a really good life, I am just not KILLING ANIMALS to do it.

    Yes, I know that people hold onto their beliefs. However, vegans are living proof that people can and will change those beliefs when faced with facts. The world IS changing, and you can make whatever you want of that.

    And in regard to your comments about pets, the whole point of veganism is reminding people of what they already know to be true–that animals’ lives have inherent worth, and their lives are not just worth whatever we get from them. I don’t agree with your assertion that people only see animals as having value if they get to keep them as pets. That simply is not true, but neither of us has “empirical evidence”, whatever that would mean here, so whatevs.

    I am done. Have a great day.

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