Action: le cardinal Ouellet émet une opinion controversée sur l’épineux dossier de l’avortement.
Réaction: le vicaire Lagacé confirme le vieil adage voulant que les canadiens-français n’aient pas d’opinions mais des émotions, en émettant une fatwa contre le cardinal Ouellet.
Bien sûr que l’on peut être en désaccord avec les propos de Marc Ouellet, j’ai moi-même d’énormes réserves. Mais il est ironique de constater que les détracteurs du cardinal qu’on a pu entendre dans les médias québécois avaient un discours… religieux i.e. soit on est d’accord sur toute la ligne avec eux ou bien on est un sale infidèle.
M’enfin, pour lire des propos intelligents dans le difficile (et nécessaire) débat sur l’avortement il faut sortir du Québec et se tourner vers le National Post:
Abortion law an unavoidable debate
by Tasha Kheiriddin
The a-bomb finally has landed in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s lap. Thanks to his maternal-health initiative, abortion is front page news, to the delight of the opposition. Forget the hidden agenda — Liberals can now accuse the Conservatives of having an open one. The question now is: Will politicians finally have an honest debate on the subject?
For over 20 years, Canada has not had an abortion law. Leftists, feminists and libertarians may praise this state of affairs. The state has no business in the wombs of the nation, they tell us. But in a country with universal health care, the state does have business there. The government pays for the procedure, and the current legal vacuum allows abortion to take place at any time, regardless of the circumstances.
A 30-year-old woman knocked up after a night of unprotected casual sex is placed on the same footing as a 14-year-old girl who is raped by her uncle. A woman who at 20 weeks’ gestation learns that her fetus has a severe birth defect is treated the same as a woman who decides that she wants a late-term abortion because she has split up with the baby’s father.
Are these situations all the same? In the current legal vacuum, the answer is: legally, yes, but morally, no.
Apart from the economic issue of who pays for what, there remain fundamental ethical questions. Just as most Canadians would likely recoil at forcing a violated child to bear another child, a majority do not support a blanket right to terminate a pregnancy.
A 2008 Angus Reid survey found that while 65% of Canadians polled supported the right to abortion, 30% of those respondents wanted some restrictions. Of the 34% of Canadians who declared themselves pro-life, 65% supported abortion in the case of rape, incest or where the mother’s life was in danger. Only 14% of pro-life respondents — 5% of respondents overall — wanted a complete ban on abortion in all circumstances.
So how should an abortion law be crafted? For starters, consider that even pro-life advocates agree with abortion in the case of rape. So legislation clearly would not hinge on the question “when does life begin?” If life begins at conception, then a child of rape would have just as much of a right to life as any other child.
Is it because of the lack of “sin” — i.e. the fact that the mother was an unwilling participant in the act which resulted in pregnancy — that makes abortion seem permissible in such circumstances? Or is it because visiting the trauma of pregnancy and birth after the trauma of rape is an unacceptable violation of a woman’s right to bodily integrity?
Either explanation suggests that what is really at issue is a set of concurrent competing rights, neither of which can be fully exercised in the presence of the other. For even if one accepts that life begins at conception, that life is not independent. It is physically connected to and wholly dependent on another life, that of its mother. Its continued existence also affects hers in the most intimate way imaginable, gradually coloring her every movement, action, and even thought, never mind putting her through the physical ordeal that is childbirth.
We also know that if abortion is completely illegal, women who are intent on aborting will resort to back-alley procedures and that a number will die as a result. An abortion ban is thus guaranteed to kill women, because no amount of anti-abortion counselling or adoption assistance will convince all pregnant women to carry their babies to term. A ban will also not save the life of every unborn child, for the same reason.
A responsible abortion debate weighs these realities and rights — to life, to bodily integrity — and arrives at a solution which sits at neither extreme: neither a complete ban, nor a complete licence.
This approach is used in the majority of nations around the world. A woman is given a period of time during which she has the right to decide whether to legally terminate her pregnancy. After that cut-off, the right to life of the unborn child takes precedence.
Of course this solution doesn’t please dogmatists on either side. But the plain truth is, when interdependent rights compete, neither can ever be absolute. Yet currently, under Canadian law, the unborn child has no rights at any time, which is just as indefensible as a woman having none.
Back on the maternal-health issue, should Canada fund all abortion in the third world, regardless of context? No. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fund any, such as in the case of rape or where the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, which clearly presents an issue of maternal health. But until our country comes up with our own abortion law, how can we decide those limits?
The only reason Canada has complete abortion on demand is not action, but inaction, and politicians’ unwillingness to address the issue because of a fear of repercussions at the ballot box. While we should not allow the abortion debate to wholly consume our politics, such as it sometimes seems to do south of the border, it is a discussion which should be held — for the sake of all Canadians, born and unborn.
Et pour ceux qui ont qualifié le cardinal Ouellet d’extrémiste religieux, laisser moi vous montrer de quoi ont l’air de véritables extrémistes religieux…