LIFE`S BEGINNING A QUESTION OF FAITH?
Cloning which has suddenly burst on the international scene, has provoked
some interesting and, at times, ridiculous pontifications on the origin of
human life. What must surely pass as possibly the most preposterous of
these declarations appeared last summer in a Winnipeg Free Press editorial
which proclaimed: "...There is no way of objectively proving when human life
begins, whether it is at conception, at the moment of birth or at some point
in between. Whatever view one holds, one holds it simply on the basis of
faith (and an issue for society to decide)." What elicited this bafflegab
was the British decision to dispose of 3,000 frozen human embryos - all
individuals in the fragile beginning of life - unclaimed by their parents.
Let`s forget sloganeering for a moment and attempt to place this widely
accepted decision on these embryos in its proper historical context.
Seventy years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that women were not
persons "within the meaning of
our Constitution." Fortunately for women at the time we still had the right
to appeal to the Privy Council in London and women prevailed in being
recognized as human beings with protected human rights. A few years later a
Nazi government deprived German citizens of Jewish background of their
rights as citizens by defining them as sub-humans, or "untermenschen".
About 75 years before, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that blacks were not
One would have hoped that Canada`s Supreme Court might have learned
something in the intervening years since 1928, but no - in 1988 they made an
equally senseless decision (and we no longer enjoy the privilege of appeals
to the Privy Council). Basing it
on the totally absurd statement in the Criminal Code, that "A child becomes
a human being" only after it is born, our Supreme Court legalized mass
homicide. The result have been that over 106,000 Canadians died last year
by abortion - by far the leading
cause of death in Canada. Like German Jews in the 30s, the language label
has been changed to redefine preborn Canadians as sub-human, so as to
exclude a group of individuals it seems convenient to dispose of.
Engineering the language in such a
manner confuses people`s thinking, and they become incapable of simple
logic. Just ponder that quotation from the Winnipeg Free Press - a
ludicrous, ignorant statement, if ever there was one. I hold two degrees in
science, but it doesn`t take a science
degree: any intelligent ten-year-old would say that the statement that
"there is no way of objectively proving when human life begins" cannot be right.
If anyone of us as an individual looks back to the day we were born -
clearly we existed then. A week before that, we certainly existed. So did
we a month before. If one is a human being or a person on the day of birth,
one is also a human being on the day
before birth; and if a baby is born prematurely at seven or six month and is
a human being on the day it was born, it surely must have been a human being
the day before as well. At eight weeks of development all our systems were
present; at four weeks our
heart was beating. Tracing back one day at a time we get to the fertilized
egg and we discover a single cell which nonetheless embodies the complete
DNA recipe for the unique individual we have always been. One moment before
that, the life which is ours did not exist. This is not a matter of faith,
as the media would have us believe, but of elementary biology and logic
which a ten-year-old can easily understand.
The argument is not really about when we as individuals come into existence;
it`s whether human rights are inherent and inalienable or whether they
depend on not living in a certain country where the governing elite can
abolish your rights because you`ve been labelled sub-human and unwanted. The
U.S. Supreme Court decreeing slaves as non-persons, the Canadian Supreme
Court defining the unborn as non-persons, and Nazi Germany branding Jews as
sub-humans, all embody the same principle now, sadly, accepted by most
Western nations: if human life is inconvenient to you, you may take it. And
while the last generation may have chosen to draw the line at the birth of
the child, this generation is already indicating that it will extend it
further to other
persons through euthanasia. They certainly have in Holland where
approximately 1,000 deaths every year - three per day - are inflicted by
doctors on patients perfectly capable of either granting or withholding
their consent to their own termination,
but are never asked by their doctors.
The issue under consideration here is one of fundamental human rights. If
we believe in human rights, we cannot accept the proposition that one human
has the right to kill another because that individual may be unwanted, or
for any other personal reasons.
Only 25 years from now, most people will find it incredible that we couldn`t
understand something so obvious.