Agree to dis­agree, peace­fully

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

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