It’s not often that I will write or even speak about specific political issues.
In recent weeks, though, parliamentarians and other individuals and groups have called for a special committee of the House of Commons to review section 223 of the Criminal Code.
Because I believe that this is ultimately not a political position at all, but rather one touching the core of what it means to be human, what it means to be a civilized society, I hereby take my poke at the hornet’s nest.
The existing legal definition of “human being” sets out that “a child becomes a human being … when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother …”
In other words, until there is a complete birth, Canada does not recognize the “child” as human. What then is it?
Are most Canadians even aware that the origin of our law regarding the onset of life dates back to 1642.
I do not believe this current definition is consistent with 21st century scientific and medical research.
Every day, pregnant women, with the help of modern technology, can peer into their wombs and see ultrasound images of their children.
Medicine recognizes a point of viability for a child in the womb. Science is prepared to experiment using pre-natal human tissue from conception onward.
Psychologists and therapists routinely refer to positive pre-birth influences and pre-birth trauma.
The current “born alive” definition of “human being” relies on centuries-old understandings of medicine, human development and science.
Only three other countries in the world now share Canada’s refusal to recognize or protect the interests of children as human beings until the moment of complete birth: China, Vietnam, and North Korea.
If we are to uphold Canada as a nation of freedom and justice, we must uphold the rights of even the youngest and smallest of human persons.
This has nothing to do with the debate regarding pro-life or pro-choice (that’s for another day!). This has to do with the fundamental principle of a civilized society attributing value and dignity to the individual.
Countless people in nations such as ours have fought hard to gain and guard gender rights, the dignity of workers, the value of the disabled, equality regardless of ethnicity, and the protection of animals. Why is it when the issue of the rights of the unborn is raised that there is such fear?
History has instructed us well that we can not, we must not, prejudicially select some people as having more intrinsic value than another.
The ramifications of following this path are too horrendous to fully contemplate. So I stand, as a voice for the voiceless, demanding justice for the unborn.
We must fight for and uphold the basic human right and sanctity of the most vulnerable and most innocent ones of our society.
To do otherwise is illogical and unconscionable.
Brian Robertson is with the Christian Fellowship Church