Agree to disagree, peacefully
Abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide.
The mere mention of any of these terms conjures up images of controversy with strong advocates on both sides of the issues marching in the streets and waving placards in support of their particular cause.
On one side there are the pro-lifers who believe life begins at conception, and, once that tiny heart has begun to beat, nobody should have the right to stop or abort it, not even the women in whose womb the new life has begun.
On the other side the pro-choice group maintains that a woman should have the freedom to choose what she can do with her own body, including the right to abort the new life inside it. That is her choice and her decision to make.
The latter view was backed by the controversial 1973 landmark decision by the U. S. Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Under Roe vs. Wade, the court decided a right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.
Her in Canada, we are one of the few countries in the Western world that has no legal restrictions on abortion.
In 1989 the Mulroney Government introduced a bill to restrict abortions to those required for health reasons. But since the bill died in a tie vote in the Senate, abortion has been unrestricted in our country, legal through all nine months of pregnancy up to birth.
Over 105,000 abortions are performed in this country each year.
Closer to home some public attention was brought to these controversial issues late last month when the Knights of Columbus dedicated a monument to the unborn. The purpose of the monument is to act as a reminder of the children who have died before birth and have no grave or headstone. It was also the organization’s way to renew their commitment to “the ongoing struggle against abortion.”
According to a spokeswoman from the Centre for Life, who was on hand for the event, the provincial Right to Life Association has undergone some changes after their pro-life work didn’t appear to be advancing in the way they felt it should.
Using a compassionate outreach approach, the centre wants, “to be able to show women in very difficult situations, even though they may have chosen (the abortion) route, we (centre) are prepared to help and support them.”
For their part, the Knights of Columbus would like to see “all people avoid the temptation to solve their problems by resorting to violence, particularly against the most vulnerable human lives.”
Speaking of violence, in what must be the ultimate of ironies, in the past abortion clinics on the mainland of Canada and south of the border have been firebombed and doctors have been stabbed, shot and killed, especially during the infamous Remembrance Day shootings for providing abortions.
Thank God that level of extremism has never reached our province.
Because these two groups are so polarized, for them to ever see eye-toeye would probably take a miracle.
But let’s hope we never see a repeat of the kind of violence of the past, which these polarizing issues tend to ignite.
In a civilized society surely two sides on any issue, no matter how strongly their views may be held, can agree to disagree without having to resort to such senseless extremes.
One thing that cannot be tolerated in the future is the use of such tactics to prove a point. Because in the end violence only begets violence, proves nothing and solves less, if that were possible.
Two wrongs have never made a right. And they never will.