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Abortion On Campus
June 5, 2008, 12:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Ok, whether you are pro-choice or right-to-life, don’t you find this is bizarre?

York University student union calls for ban on anti-abortion groups

In response to a series of controversies over abortion debates on Canadian campuses, the student government of York University in Toronto has tabled an outright ban on student clubs that are opposed to abortion.

Gilary Massa, vice-president external of the York Federation of Students, said student clubs will be free to discuss abortion in student space, as long as they do it “within a pro-choice realm,” and that all clubs will be investigated to ensure compliance.

“You have to recognize that a woman has a choice over her own body,” Ms. Massa said. “We think that these pro-life, these anti-choice groups, they’re sexist in nature … The way that they speak about women who decide to have abortions is demoralizing. They call them murderers, all of them do … Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of women’s rights.”

The school’s administration condemned the decision as contrary to its academic mission.

One of the major problems in the abortion debate is the assumption amongst pro-choicers (and pro-lifers?) that the pro-life position is based upon faith in peculiar religious doctrines that not everyone shares.  As I see it, the pro-life position is no more religious in nature than the ‘anti-murder position’ or the ‘anti-sexual-assault’ position.  It is a matter of public justice that we can deliberate on together.

The pro-choicers want to say that it is simply a matter of women’s rights and reproductive rights.  If that’s all that mattered in the debate, then OF COURSE the pro-choice position is the right one.  Sign me up.  But the debate exists because it seems that it is not merely a matter of women’s rights and reproductive rights.  If that’s how it seems, then it is perfectly rational to inquire into whether there are other considerations that need to be factored in.  All this should be obvious.

Just shouting “a woman has choice over her own body” doesn’t accomplish much.  I agree that a woman has choice over her own body.  Of course!  

An example of how some rights trump others:  Imagine I owned slaves.  The slaves want to be free.  I say no.  It goes to court.  I say that I have a right to property.  The slaves are my property, case closed.  Nevertheless, the slaves have human rights which trump my right to property.  So they go free.

The fact that the slaves go free in no way means that I have no right to property.  It just means that the human rights of the slaves are preeminent.

So whether or not the pro-life position is the right one, the fact remains that being pro-life doesn’t require you to deny the existence of women’s rights and reproductive rights.


3 Comments so far
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I think it’s a complicated issues. I think that both positions are attempts at compassion based on different assumptions.
I don’t think that there is a perfect solution to this problem. Situations like this are God’s way of saying, hey, you folks are humans and not just policy creators, act like it. You can’t just make a rule that will solve every problem.
One of the magical things about the biblical Jesus was his ability to take peoples problems away from them, heal them completely and make them sinless before heaven and earth. If we could approach pro-life with this kind of magic ourselves, we would be able to stand together with those who are suffering and it would be the worldly authorities that would be fighting against us.
Pro-life and pro-choice are different denominations in the same church.

Comment by craig

I guess that I’m `pro-life with pro-choice sympathies.
Now about owning slaves, are you sure that you don’t? or is the north american system just set up in such a way that you never have to see your slaves.

Comment by craig

Well, I’d say there’s a difference between being a wage-slave and being a slave.

I’ve been conflicted lately about sweatshops. Sounds strange, but there’s actually a case in favour of them. At least as a transitional thing on the way to better things.

Surely they are awful enough that we should try very hard to hurry up the transition.

Comment by the.pilgrim

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