This week, thousands of pro-life Canadians gather in Ottawa for the annual March for Life. Thousands more do the same at local marches around the country. Canada is known around the world for having a high standard of human rights, yet this march for life remains necessary year after year as more than 100,000 babies continue to be aborted annually.
As we approach our 150th birthday this summer, we shouldn’t be resting on the laurels of a renowned human rights record. Instead, we should be engaged in serious reflection and self-examination. How can we do better?
The number one way in which we can do better is in relation to our most vulnerable. Pre-born babies continue to be discarded by the tens of thousands every year. Politicians are scared of the topic – Liberals because they could lose their jobs if they talk about it, Conservatives because they’re told they may not get the job if they talk too much about it.
In our apparent attempt to maintain an international reputation as tolerant, progressive, and accommodating, we have ended up with special interest rights trumping human rights. “Reproductive rights” have somehow trumped the right to life, and suggesting that human rights should trump women’s rights is not going to win me any popularity contests.
It is only a matter of time, however, before everyone has to admit that the emperor has no clothes. Science has never been clearer regarding the intricate humanity of life in the womb. The pre-born child is unequivocally a separate, living human being. It is dependent on its mother, yes, as is a newborn or toddler. Also like a newborn or toddler, the pre-born child has its own DNA, and can even be operated on separately from the mother.
In the blur of plummeting birth rates and newfound sexual freedom that came with widely available birth control, we as women somehow came to believe that we were the masters of conception. Not one of us would ever again have a child against her will; we would decide whether life lived or died within us. This belief led us to fight tooth and nail against any suggestion that pregnancy might just be something we couldn’t always control, and we’ve managed to convince a lot of women to cling to that control regardless of the consequences. By doing so, we’ve also allowed men to step back from responsibility, to expect control, and to turn a blind eye to consequences.
The rights to life, liberty and security of the person were matters of life and death to our forefathers. They founded our nation on these values because these values mean something. We cannot be casual about these terms, or the associated implication that human rights trump individual rights. The right to life, the primary human right, is violated every moment that abortion remains legal in Canada. We need to stand up and say this is not about bodily autonomy or fighting patriarchy, this is about life. So women, men and children from all ages and stages of life, all backgrounds, all with their own stories, beliefs, and reasons for being there, will march. We march for, and stand for, the right to life for all members of the human family.