Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The big life challenges as I see them

My blogging will concentrate on four general areas that I view to be fundamental to the pro-life/pro-choice/pro-abortion debate. The skinny follows.

1. What does pro-choice mean? I'll admit my biases up front. I am pro-life in the classic sense that I believe that unborn babies are just that--unborn real persons. And I wish that no pregnant woman felt the impetus to abort. Nevertheless, I could live with a pro-choice agenda in Canada if we really had it. At this point, many women do seek abortions to address whatever personal problem they have that they hope abortion will solve. But does she have the full information necessary to make an informed choice? I think not, which explains why so many women complain after the fact that they were misled, even lied to, and that had they been told everything that was necessary to make their best choice, they would have chosen differently. Real and informed choice requires full information, and our society does not encourage this in the case of abortion.

2. The moral argument.
Everyone debating the life/choice issue believes that she or he occupies the moral high ground. People of faith who argue for the dignity of life from conception do so on what they feel has been revealed as true by a Higher Power. Even those pro-life people who do not look to their faith/scripture/God for direction will still argue it morally on a philosophical basis. The choice argument is made on the basis of fundamental human rights. Consequently, moral arguments become judgmental salvos hurled at "the other side" as a means of condemning immoral behaviour.

3. The definition of full rights for women. People who argue for full and equal rights for women and men often posit the following premises.
a. For a woman to have full human rights, equal to a man's, there cannot be any restriction on the exercise of those rights that would not be placed on a male.
b. That means that women must have reproductive rights. That is, just as men are not hindered in the exercise of their rights by pregnancy/motherhood, so too must women have the choice of rejecting any restrictions placed upon them by an unwanted fetus. Therefore abortion must be legal, affordable and accessible.
c. For abortion to be legal, the unborn baby must be eligible for termination. This is possible only if it is denied personhood.

Those who argue for pro-life often restrict themselves to moral arguments (personhood of fetuses, abortion is murder, etc.). Therefore they see the rights argument as a red herring. But the pro-life side has been remiss in not tackling the issue of full and equal rights for women and what that means in a pro-life context.

4. Legislative action taken by governments.
The governments of North America and western Europe have, by and large, bought the women's rights argument and have allowed abortion up to a certain stage of pregnancy or have placed no restrictions upon the procurement of an abortion at all. Such legislation ignores the reasons why most women seek abortions; i.e., lack of information, pressures of various sorts from others (often illegal and violent), and so on. As is often the case with ticklish moral questions, governments have addressed the symptoms while ignoring the underlying causes.

I am going to attempt to address these four complex areas in my posts. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.....

...or at least I hope so. I last blogged almost a year ago, offering my Canadian and American federal election predictions. I wasn't far off, was I? By the way, I was correct with my municipal election forecast as well--I was re-elected to the Abbotsford BC Board of Education. Thank you, thank you very much, thank you.

A poignant story for you. Two weeks after I wrote my last post, which was election day in Canada, my father had a stroke. He was a political junkie who had served many times as a city councilor and school trustee, and once ran federally for the former Progressive Conservative Party. He suffered the stroke just a couple of hours after voting at his assisted living home in Pembroke ON. That night in the hospital he awoke from his coma. His first question was, "Was our local member re-elected?" We were happy to be able to tell him that she had been. Three and a half days later he died, aged 87.

This past spring I made the big decision to retire from full-time professional work. That is not to say that I would not look at short-term or part-time opportunities that may present themselves from time to time. And I would welcome speaking opportunities. But I am through chasing contracts. The school board will keep me busy (as will my wife, she assures me), and I will be re-creating my life at the robust age of 62.

One thing that I have been asked to do by a number of people is to return to blogging. I was pleased that even a few individuals had thought enough of my ramblings to ask me to continue.

So here I am.

I intend to pursue my interests in dignity of life issues, particularly the pro-life/pro-choice debate and women's rights. I know, I know--what does a man really know about women's rights? Fair question and I'll continue to need help as I always have with this issue. So I'll be talking to a number of women, older and younger, as I deal with topics of interest.

I can't say how often I will be blogging, but I hope to get something out weekly. I know that a good number of bloggers are posting much more often, but my posts are really essays and take more time and research than more frequent blogging would allow.

So bear with me as I get back into harness. I look forward once again to mixing it up with others interested in the same topics.