Posts Tagged ‘margaret somerville’

The wonders of “choice”

March 23, 2012 1 comment

Granted, this case from the Ottawa Citizen is not representative of every woman seeking an abortion, but it does raise the question of, “What constitutes choice?”. Here are some highlights from the article:

Anna, first, asked her mother whether she would help her, if she had the baby. Her mother flatly refused, saying, “I do not want to waste my life babysitting.” Her male partner said he “wasn’t interested in a kid” and their relationship has since broken up. She tried to get an appointment with her gynecologist to discuss her options, but the first available one was two months away. She then contacted an abortion clinic, which gave her an appointment in two weeks, at which time Anna was nine weeks pregnant. She said, “I went to them to get information on abortion, to know more about my options, the consequences of an abortion. I was open to getting an abortion, because that was what everyone around me recommended I do. I saw abortion as an option, but was really not sure. I was hoping for some answers.”

What answers did Anna (not real name) get?

Anna met, first, with a nurse for a “consent interview.” She said, “The nurse told me that at this stage of the pregnancy the fetus is just a bunch of cells. I also asked her if the abortion would have any impact on my health, my future pregnancies, and so on. She said abortions had no impact at all, no consequences at all, that all that I had read (to the contrary) were myths. The nurse said, ‘In two weeks, it will be as if all this never happened’.”

Anna changed into a hospital gown and was taken into an examination room where a technician proceeded to do an ultrasound. Anna asked what the fetus looked like and could she see the ultrasound. She said, “The technician told me she was not allowed to show me the images and I was unable to see the screen,” which showed the fetus. At nine weeks gestation, it would have had a beating heart. The technician then picked up the printout of the ultrasound, but dropped it on the floor. She scrambled to gather it up quickly, saying, “You don’t want to see this.” But that’s exactly what Anna did want.

So, Anna was told that her 9-week old baby was just a “bunch of cells”, that after 2 weeks she will be as good as new and she did not have to worry herself with those pesky ultrasound images. That’s great information! Choice wins the day! But all kidding aside, this girl wanted information and was not given any so she had an abortion.

Anna said that “the attitude in Quebec, that ‘of course you should have an abortion, it is of no consequence’, is not true.” She explained, “I feel terrible. I can’t go to work. I’ve started seeing a psychologist. I feel guilty.” She mused, “I wonder why Quebec is like this.”

It’s not just Quebec. These lies about abortion travel all over the world. This is not a case of a woman exercising her choice to have an abortion, this is a case of a woman who did not have support and felt that abortion was her only chance. And, since she was told abortion was more like getting your tonsils removed than the killing of a human being, she thought “what’s the harm?”. I wonder how many more woman there are like Anna, who experienced the wonders of “choice”.


Margaret Somerville on why we shouldn’t authorize killing

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Margaret Somerville appears on The Source with Ezra Levant to discuss the moral and ethical problems with legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The most important question to ask is, is society either authorizing someone to kill other people or authorizing them to help them kill themselves, is that morally wrong? […] The problem with assisted suicide is that society has to become complicit in it and society has to say, “we’ll authorize this,” and society has to change its laws to allow it to be legal, and its that complicity that I think is so dangerous and wrong… It’s a culture of despair, and the opposite of despair is hope[…] People who want euthanasia are not depressed, it’s usually not because of pain, but […] the state they’re in is hopelessness[… having] nothing to look forward to.

Watch the whole 9 minute interview here.

Canada needs a national debate on abortion

November 8, 2010 3 comments

Contrary to popular belief (at least beliefs held by the elites of the country) there is no consensus on abortion. Margaret Somerville writes a great article on Mercatornet:

Margaret Wente, writing recently in the Globe and Mail, articulates both myths in one succinct sentence. She states that “a broad social consensus shapes actual (abortion) practice … (and) there are virtually no late-term abortions.” But to the extent one can obtain the facts, the evidence is otherwise.

She then goes on to describe situations in which information on late term abortion has been hidden or forced not to be made public.

Such blocking is not neutral, but a strategy to help to maintain the status quo of the complete void regarding abortion law. The unavailability of this information makes the pro-choice lobby’s claims that late-term abortion is rare and that there is a consensus on abortion in Canada, much less likely to be challenged, and, therefore, bolsters its case that we do not need any law on abortion.

Pro-choicers do say that late term abortions are rare but there are no reliable statistics to back up this claim. Why all the silence? Maybe because there actually is no consensus on abortion in this country:

But between the two poles of a spectrum from unrestricted availability of abortion throughout pregnancy – the present situation – to prohibiting it entirely, there is a wide variety of opinion and certainly no overall consensus on any given approach.

If you can’t lie about things I guess you can try to suppress information. I hope there is an honest debate on abortion in this country. It will bring these myths and other myths of the pro-choicers to light and reveal them as empty logic.

Margaret Somerville on Euthanasia

Margaret Somerville had some fantastic articles on euthanasia recently. First, an article in the Globe (via ProWomanProLife) which presents a comprehensive overview of the problems with euthanasia, namely the trend of initially requiring some sort of justification but quickly giving way to euthanasia without justification, or even pressure towards euthanasia over actual health care which may be more expensive.

Also, she wrote an article for the Ottawa Citizen on why ‘pulling the plug’ isn’t euthanasia (also via ProWomanProLife, emphasis mine).

In my experience, [people] are confused with respect to the ethical and legal differences between withdrawal of treatment that results in death and euthanasia, and why the former can be ethically and legally acceptable, provided certain conditions are fulfilled, and the latter cannot be. This is a central and important distinction in the euthanasia debate, which needs to be understood.


First, the primary intention is different in the two cases: In withdrawing life-support treatment the primary intention is to respect the patient’s right to refuse treatment; in euthanasia it is to kill the patient. The former intention is ethically and legally acceptable; the latter is not.


This brings us to the issue of legal causation, which also differentiates refusals-of-treatment-that-result-in-death from euthanasia. In the former, the person dies from their underlying disease — a natural death. The withdrawal of treatment is the occasion on which death occurs, but not its cause. If the person had no fatal illness, they would not die. We can see that when patients who refuse treatment and are expected to die, do not die. In contrast, in euthanasia death is certain and the cause of death is the lethal injection. Without that, the person would not die at that time from that cause.


The issue in the euthanasia debate is not if we die — we all eventually die. The issue is how we die and whether some means of dying, such as euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, should remain legally prohibited.