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

human beings.

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.

Thaddee Renault

Pro-Life Program