Editorial – Controversial Politics

The last few weeks, there’s been a lot of noise around Justin Trudeau’s statement that to run as a Liberal candidate for MP, you must be ready to vote pro-choice if that type of legislation should come forwards while in Parliament. This started a long debate between people who were trying to call this dictatorial behavior, and of course it brought up the entire argument about Canada’s current legislation on abortion (that is, that there is none)

To start, suggesting that this is dictatorial behavior seems completely off base to me. He’s not strong-arming anybody to vote pro-choice, he’s giving advance notice that he may do so, and that if you don’t want to get strong-armed into doing that, you shouldn’t run as a Liberal candidate. This strikes me as far more preferable then constituents having to wait until the issue actually comes forward in parliament to find out what view their MP holds.

The more interesting issue to me, is the debate over abortion. I’m firmly pro-choice. I don’t like the idea of abortions, but I don’t like the idea of giving the government control over a person’s body even more. If we let the government tell us that our bodies and organs must be used in support of an unborn life, what justification is there if we don’t want them to do the same thing for somebody who needs an organ donation? You’ll note this completely avoids the whole question about when an unborn organism becomes a human, because I don’t think that’s the relevant question. The more relevant question, to me, is, do I own my own body or not? If I do, then any legislation that takes away from that is bad legislation.

But beyond the argument of it being a human, these days I see a lot of people saying that they’re fine with abortions, so long as the state doesn’t pay the medical costs at all. I always wonder at this argument, because when looked at fully, it’s really an argument against any state medical benefits at all. It can be argued that almost every health condition and every accident that we sustain is, in part, caused by our own actions. We smoked too much, or ate a poor diet, or weren’t looking in the right direction when we crossed the street. Other than purely genetic issues, you can trace illness and damage back to our own actions or lack thereof, so arguing that the medical treatment for one particular action shouldn’t be covered while others are ? that we’ll pay for lung-cancer treatments for a smoker, or fixing the broken-arm of a construction worker who slipped, fall prey to the exact same argument as not wanting to pay for an abortion caused by someone have sex. They should have been more careful.

I also find that there’s a lot of mischaracterization of the sides of the debate. Pro-choice is often called pro-abortion, when it rarely is. And anti-choice is generally mischaracterized as pro-life. Fortunately, you can tell the difference immediately simply by asking whether an abortion is acceptable following a rape. If not, then the person may be pro-life. It’s an uncomfortable position, but one that I can respect. If a rape is an acceptable cause for an abortion however, then you know that the person you’re dealing with is simply anti-choice. A woman is allowed to choose to have sex or to choose not to have a baby, but both choices are too many. I generally don’t find much use in talking with those people any further than that.