Thursday, August 23, 2012

Results, not reason

The Canadian news outlet Globe and Mail has an article Doctors call on Ottawa to reject ‘backdoor’ attempt to recriminalize abortion. The article states:
At the general council meeting of the Canadian Medical Association on Wednesday, delegates called on the federal government to reject attempts by a Conservative backbench MP to amend the Criminal Code so that a fetus is defined as a human being.
“This constitutes the criminalization of abortion or any form of contraception,” said Dr. Geneviève Desbiens, a urologist from Valleyfield, Que.
“This change could even prevent a pregnant woman from travelling or taking certain drug treatments,” she said.
Dr. Desbiens also warned that doctors who counsel or provide abortion services could become criminals.
Currently, subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code states that a fetus “becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother…”
Now first off, the claims of Dr. Desbiens are ridiculous. Does she really think pregnant women should not be allowed to travel? And yet that's what she says. It's at least as stupid as what Todd Akin said, and yet I'll bet she's not being threatened with violence.

But what's even stupider is a doctor saying that a human fetus is not human. Even a first year biology student knows that organisms do not change species as they grow. But perhaps she's speaking in a legal sense, not a biological sense? If so, then she has no authority to declare anything about the issue, since she is a doctor, not a lawyer.

So why defend as a doctor, a statement that is not true medically? Because what's important to Dr. Desbiens is not that a law reflect reality, but that it leads to the conclusions she wants. If a fetus is human then we need to think about whether that human deserves the same protection under the law as you and I enjoy. If we say the fetus is not human we can do whatever we want to him or her.


Post a Comment