A graphic postcard was inserted in my house doorknob with the caption, "killed by a doctor," from the anti-abortion campaign on Nov. 24. By doing this, they have shown their desperation to use any means possible. Symbolically, this is akin to shoving an agenda to my private abode. While I respect various positions on this debate, I oppose any means of aggressive campaign that violates the fundamental right of women to their bodies and reproductive choices: "women's rights are human rights."
The discourse of when life begins is still a contested political and social issue, which tends to homogenize "child/woman" into one in neoliberal conservative platforms, including Canada and the U.S. The right to have a safe and legal abortion is theoretically in the books in Canada, but the access to one if needed is problematic. There is none in Lethbridge. To conflate the choice of women with inappropriate terms clouds the basic issue altogether. If knowledge to reproductive health is widespread, then ignorance on this matter will be averted; abortion is not done on whim.
If one examines religious history on this matter, there is a shift. In the Catholic tradition, according to Prof. Rosemary Radford Reuther, "earlier views did not define abortion as murder in the early months. Medieval scholasticism did not define the fetus as full human person until the fourth month. This was based on the Aristotelian view that the soul was the form of the body, and so one could not have the presence of the human soul until the body is developed to its human physical form - a view still held by Islam." (http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/topics/reform/documents/2006womenreproductiverightsandthecatholicchurch.asp)
In the Jewish tradition, according to Prof. Rebecca Alpert, "all readings of Jewish texts suggest that abortion is neither equivalent to murder, since the fetus is always only a potential life, nor a method of birth control, the use of which is to be determined exclusively by the needs and desires of the woman who is carrying the fetus" (2003, p. 195).
In short, there are historical and textual bases to argue against the present fad of onslaught on women's right to make the choice. But arguing for the sake of argument in a community beholden by certain absolute principles is futile. What we need is an open mind.
Glenda Tibe Bonifacio