Why is a Canadian Mayor Making a ‘Pro-Life Week’ Proclamation?

In Kelowna, British Columbia, Mayor Sharon Shepherd has bowed down to a Christian group and issued a proclamation that says September 24th to October 2nd will be “Protect Human Life Week.”

“It is the intention of this proclamation to promote respect and protection to all human life, especially the infirm, the aged, the handicapped and the unborn,” the Protect Human Life Week proclamation states.

“Aside from year one when she received a considerable amount of backlash from those who believe killing unborn babies is a good thing, she has largely escaped criticism of her show of tolerance toward the pro life community in the Central Okanagan. Supporters are encouraged to drop Mayor a Shepherd a quick note thanking her for respecting our mission,” the pro-life group said.

Yeah, she’ll respect human life… unless you’re a woman who needs an abortion, in which case she doesn’t give a shit about you.

Somehow, Mayor Shepherd has been able to do this for years with relatively little attention coming her way.

Ian Bushfield can’t believe it:

This is four years of a mayor putting a creepy religious attachment to their warped morality ahead of the interests of women, seniors, and the terminally ill.

They even plan to show Ben Stein’s horrendous movie Expelled. I’m not sure what that affront to human dignity has to do with respecting life, if anything I want the bit of my life back that I wasted watching it.

Interestingly enough, when Ottawa mayor Jim Watson did something similar back in May, he got a lot of flak for it. There’s no reason Shepherd should get off the hook this easily. At the very least, if she tries to get away with saying this is a “meaningless proclamation,” then let’s see if the British Columbia Humanist Association can get her to issue an official proclamation for an Abortion Rights Week. If it’s just a formality, she shouldn’t have a problem with it, right?

Her email address is mayorandcouncil@kelowna.ca. So let her know what you think, why this is a mistake, and how this proclamation crosses the lines of what she ought to do with her power. Please don’t be a dick when you write your letter — it won’t help — and feel free to repost your email in the comments below.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    I was very disappointed to hear you kowtowed to a pro life group and
    endorsed their views. So you can imagine how much worse it was when I
    found out you’ve done this four years in a row!

    Pro life is just code for anti choice and, particularly, anti woman.

    You should be ashamed.

  • Daniel H.

    “Yeah, she’ll respect human life… unless you’re a woman who needs an abortion, in which case she doesn’t give a shit about you.”

    Hemant, do you hear yourself? This is an utterly ridiculous comment.

  • Daniel H.

    “Yeah, she’ll respect human life… unless you’re a woman who needs an abortion, in which case she doesn’t give a shit about you.”

    Hemant, do you hear yourself? This is an utterly ridiculous comment.

    • Liz Borino

      I actually agree with him. I wouldn’t support a politician who did this.

      • Daniel H.

        Ok. Well I think being “pro-choice” disqualifies from public office. It shows an appalling lack of moral sense.

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Emily Joyce

          And pro-life stances like this show an appalling lack of common sense.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with him, too. It isn’t ridiculous just because you say so. But it is ridiculous to say that something is ridiculous without telling us why you think so.

      • Daniel H.

        Because:
        1. A woman never “needs” an abortion. You never “need” to kill a baby.
        2. It’s stupid and wrong to assume that pro-life people “don’t give a shit” about woman. Being opposed to murder does not translate into being callous towards the female demographic.
        3. He is pretending to “respect human life” when he thinks killing babies is ok.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          1) Nope, a woman NEVER “needs” an abortion, she should just let the fetus kill her on the off chance it MIGHT go full term… You’re a right ignorant douchebag.

          2) Funny, ‘cuz it’s the “Pro-Life” folks who’re always voting against free/low cost contraception, decent sex ed, welfare for single mums, and early childhood education programs. I also note that you lot haven’t adopted any of the kids waiting for a forever home — what’s wrong? Aren’t they “good enough”?

          3) Nobody is talking about “killing babies” except YOU. A clump of cells — even if it looks vaguely human — a clump of cells is no more a “baby” than a malignant tumour is.

          • Daniel H.

            1) “let the fetus kill her”
            Well that’s not what you’re talking about is it. You want it available and legal for any reason, like the vast majority millions upon millions of times a baby is aborted that posed no danger to the mother’s health at all.

            2) Don’t know about that. I haven’t voted against any of that.

            3) Again, you’re not talking about a “clump of cells” are you? Do you actually want to restrict abortion to only the period before the kid is viable? Because if not, your talk about a “clump of cells” and “tumor” is just an effort to make yourself feel better.

            • TheBlackCat

              1) No, let’s talk about it.  Because you sound like you are opposed to abortion under any circumstances.  You just ignore rape, you would rather avoid the subject of pregnancies that will kill the mother entirely.  You are making a black-and-white argument and then refusing to actually deal with the real-world implications of that argument.

              So answer the question: if the fetus is going to kill the mother, is it alright to have an abortion?  If the fetus is going to kill itself AND the mother, is it alright to have an abortion?  If the fetus is non-viable, either going to die before coming to term or shortly after birth, is it alright to have an abortion?2) You apparently haven’t gone out of your way to help the situation, either.  So I will ask the same question: how many children have you adopted?  How much money have you donated to taking care of the countless homeless children your plan is going to create?  It sounds like you want to set these rules, but don’t want to actually have to take responsibility for them.  There is that pesky responsibility thing again, something that you want to force on everyone else but apparently don’t want to take yourself.3) Lets turn this around: iif you admit it is just a clump of cells, why are you opposed to abortion early in the pregnancy?  Is there a cut-off point before which you think abortion is okay?  Or are you one of these “life begins at conception” people?

              • TheBlackCat

                Line break fail.  We really need editing and previewing capabilities.

              • Daniel H.

                “You just ignore rape”
                Why not abort the rapist and let the baby live?

                “if the fetus is going to kill the mother, is it alright to have an abortion?”
                You are obscuring the issue. Discussing the possibility of exceptional cases does not in any way even remotely imply that abortion should be just freely and generally available up until the time of birth. My position is that abortion in principle should not be allowed. In special circumstances, like if real normal doctors (not abortion “doctor” ghouls) determine that the mother’s life actually is genuinely threatened and the baby is not viable, perhaps there can be discussion.

                2) Well I’m in school and single, so no I haven’t adopted. I would love to when I get married. And “my plan” will lead to countless homeless children? There’s an entire web of problems there. Like couples shacking up who aren’t married, delinquent fathers, etc. Outlawing abortion is a move in the direction of responsibility, not towards hordes of homeless children.

                3) I’m a clump of cells. I’m just further developed. I mean of course, a day after fertilization when it’s just a few cells, maybe I can’t call that a “baby,” but I also can’t be arbitrary and say at a certain point it becomes wrong to kill it. Why not err on the side of protection?

                • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

                  “Why not abort the rapist and let the baby live?”

                  Shall I use my time machine or yours?

                • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

                  There’s an entire web of problems there. Like couples shacking up who aren’t married…

                  Not couples shacking up!! :-o

                  So I’m guessing you’re a theist of some sort and therefore have a need to believe that “shacking up before marriage” is wrong, despite there being nothing rationally objectable about it. Given that your religious biases take precedence over logic, what is the point in arguing with you?

                  3) I’m a clump of cells. I’m just further developed.

                  Assuming you’ll listen to logic, I can help with this one.

                  As a “further-developed clump of cells,” you have wants, hopes, and dreams. You have a rich history of life leading up to the present moment, and hopefully continuing into the foreseeable future. A fetus doesn’t. That’s why the protections granted to you and a fetus aren’t the same. That’s why most rationalists care more about protecting the mother, since denying mothers the right to an abortion never works, and just creates more suffering in the world.

                • Daniel H.

                  “So I’m guessing you’re a theist of some sort…”

                  I’m just making the obvious point that a couple who conceives while shacking up is not on track to provide a stable homelife for the kid. If so many kids weren’t conceived in that situation, the circumstances where an abortion is perceived to be necessary wouldn’t happen nearly as often.

                  “As a “further-developed clump of cells,” you have wants, hopes, and
                  dreams. You have a rich history of life leading up to the present moment”

                  How much of that stuff do I need before it becomes wrong to kill me? On this logic the older someone is the more wrong it is to kill them.

                • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

                  Continued in a new thread (which may or may not appear at the bottom of the page.)

                • kaileyverse

                  In most US  states, viability is restricted to 24 weeks or less. Guess how many women have abortions past the 1st trimester?
                  Fewer than 6% of all abortions performed occur after the 1st trimester – and very few being performed past 20 weeks.

                • TheBlackCat

                  “Why not abort the rapist and let the baby live?”

                  1. It isn’t a baby
                  2. I thought you were against muder, but now you advocate killing someone?  
                  3. You are forcing a woman to carry, support, and suffer a great deal, maybe even die, for the constant reminder of a brutal crime committed against her.  How is that remotely just?

                  “2) Well I’m in school and single, so no I haven’t adopted. I would love to when I get married. ”

                  Then you don’t have a clue what you are talking about then.

                  ” And “my plan” will lead to countless homeless children? There’s an entire web of problems there. Like couples shacking up who aren’t married, delinquent fathers, etc. Outlawing abortion is a move in the direction of responsibility, not towards hordes of homeless children.”

                  Seems you slept through history class.  People were no more responsible when abortion was illegal just a few decades ago, nor are they any more responsible in countries where it is still illegal.  If you think that making abortion illegal will magically make people stop having sex you are delusional.

                  “3) I’m a clump of cells. I’m just further developed.”

                  Yeah, like a building is”just further developed” than a pile of rocks. 

                  “I mean of course, a day after fertilization when it’s just a few cells, maybe I can’t call that a “baby,” but I also can’t be arbitrary and say at a certain point it becomes wrong to kill it. Why not err on the side of protection?”

                  Why is protection only about the fetus, never the mother?  Lots of women suffer terrible health problems, even die, during pregancy or birth.  Why don’t we err on the side of THEIR protection?  Why do you care so little for what happens to mothers but care so much what happens to a ball of a few hundred cells?

                • TheBlackCat

                  “Why not abort the rapist and let the baby live?”

                  1. It isn’t a baby
                  2. I thought you were against muder, but now you advocate killing someone?  
                  3. You are forcing a woman to carry, support, and suffer a great deal, maybe even die, for the constant reminder of a brutal crime committed against her.  How is that remotely just?

                  “2) Well I’m in school and single, so no I haven’t adopted. I would love to when I get married. ”

                  Then you don’t have a clue what you are talking about then.

                  ” And “my plan” will lead to countless homeless children? There’s an entire web of problems there. Like couples shacking up who aren’t married, delinquent fathers, etc. Outlawing abortion is a move in the direction of responsibility, not towards hordes of homeless children.”

                  Seems you slept through history class.  People were no more responsible when abortion was illegal just a few decades ago, nor are they any more responsible in countries where it is still illegal.  If you think that making abortion illegal will magically make people stop having sex you are delusional.

                  “3) I’m a clump of cells. I’m just further developed.”

                  Yeah, like a building is”just further developed” than a pile of rocks. 

                  “I mean of course, a day after fertilization when it’s just a few cells, maybe I can’t call that a “baby,” but I also can’t be arbitrary and say at a certain point it becomes wrong to kill it. Why not err on the side of protection?”

                  Why is protection only about the fetus, never the mother?  Lots of women suffer terrible health problems, even die, during pregancy or birth.  Why don’t we err on the side of THEIR protection?  Why do you care so little for what happens to mothers but care so much what happens to a ball of a few hundred cells?

                • Anonymous

                  “You just ignore rape”
                  Why not abort the rapist and let the baby live?”

                  Really?

                  … really?

                  That is how you choose to respond to that?

                  You are still ignoring rape.

                • Anonymous

                  “You just ignore rape”
                  Why not abort the rapist and let the baby live?”

                  Really?

                  … really?

                  That is how you choose to respond to that?

                  You are still ignoring rape.

                • kaileyverse

                  Both of the physicians that perform abortions where I work are Board Certified OBGYNS. One has been in practice for over 30 years and the other trained under him.

            • Anonymous

              Let’s not pretend abortions never happened. They always have. From antiquity on, women have taken herbal and mineral cocktails to induce abortions. Many of them were probably quackery, but there were working
              abortifacient even back then.

              In the 20th century back-alley abortions by underground doctors or medics were common. Other women inserted things into their uterus. Needless to say the rate of complications (up to death) was high.

              Legal abortion under controlled circumstances actually saves lives. Illegal abortion just shifts the practice underground to unhealthy conditions

              • Anonymous

                It is sad that back alley abortions still happen in the 21st century in countries where abortions are illegal. There is a sad documentary about back alley abortions in the Philippines I saw a few weeks ago which is a great and sad example on how making it illegal does not make abortions go away.

          • Anonymous

            He keeps on using that term again and again like the more he would say it the truer it will become. It is still not “killing babies” and it never will be. 

            Here is a quote from Richard a few posts ago that some people still don’t seem to understand. 

            ” you’re taking the moralistic stance that unwanted pregnancy is the just and rightful penalty for irresponsibly having sex. Most of the women who seek abortions are not casually and frivolously using it as a form of birth control. They’re incapable of properly raising a child because they’re too young, and/or too poor, and/or psychologically inappropriate for parenthood, and/or they have no help from the father or their own family. So even if they were irresponsible when they had sex, they would be adding another irresponsibility on top of that by having children they cannot raise.”

             

            • Daniel H.

              “you’re taking the moralistic stance that unwanted pregnancy is the just and rightful penalty for irresponsibly having sex”

              No I’m not. I don’t think pregnancy is a “penalty.” Sex obviously is something of a package deal though, and you have to be ready for possible consequences if you do it. Pregnancy isn’t a punishment, it’s a common natural consequence of sex, and it doesn’t warrant a killing just because it wasn’t thought through.

        • Anonymous

          If so-called “pro-life” people care about women, then why do they campaign for the closure and/or defunding of Planned Parenthood, although only 3% of their services are abortions, and they do a huge number of other things like cancer screenings, sexual and health education, contraceptives and simply general reproductive health care. For a lot of poor income women PP is their only provider. So why be against it?

          Why are they also against comprehensive sexual education in school? Why are they for abstinence only propaganda, which is proven to not work and actually increases teen pregnancies?

          Most religiously motivated “pro-life” fanatics simply want to subjugate women according to their biblical ideology

        • Adviser_Moppet_23

          Try looking up an ectopic pregnancy. As a matter of fact, here I did it for you. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001897/

        • kaileyverse

          Nope, a woman with breast cancer in both breasts  who can’t get the life-saving medication and treatment she needs because she is pregnant certainly MUST carry that pregnancy to term. Right?  SO what if she dies and the fetus dies with her, so long as she doesn’t murder it, huh?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      please expand on the source of ridiculousness…

      • Daniel H.

        The source? Well I said “Hemant,” I guess to expand: Hemant Mehta. The ridiculous comment came from him.

        • Toddrme2178

          Very funny, care to answer the question in a serious manner?  If you are too dense to understand what she is actually asking, let me spell it out for you:

          In what way is the comment ridiculous?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

            He can’t give a serious answer because he doesn’t have one.

    • Drew M.

      No, it’s not ridiculous.

      Your reaction to it is, however.

    • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

      I was going to quote that exact same sentence, and ask how this logic is at all valid. Most humans are averse to the idea of killing one person to save another. In surveys, people reliably say that it would be wrong to harvest a live person’s organs in order to save someone else. If a fetus had the same moral standing as a fully-formed human, Hemant’s logic would fail on these grounds – that you can’t kill one person just to help another person. Thus, Hemant’s reasoning here seems to be exactly wrong. What I think most of us disagree with Shepard on is the idea that a fetus has the same moral standing as a full human. Attacking that premise would be the appropriate way to go.

      • http://www.facebook.com/melaniedawn.molinawood Melanie Dawn Molina Wood

        Yes, I would most certainly argue against the claim that a fetus has the same moral standing as a born human. But aside from that, to continue the logic of your comment, most humans are also adverse to the idea that one person must involuntarily sacrifice any part of themselves to support or save the life of another. We don’t even make blood donations or posthumous organ donations mandatory by law. So how can anyone make the argument that a fetus somehow has a superceding *right* to my body and its blood supply for nine months?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          THIS. This this this thisity THIS.

          It’s my body, and the only person who has a right to use it is ME. (Anything else that wants to set up shop in my body had damn well better pay rent.)

          • Anonymous

            This x 2

            Politics and religion have no place in my uterus, thank you very much.

            • Daniel H.

              But weapons do, I suppose?

              • TheBlackCat

                If she wants them there, yes.  It is her uterus, she can put whatever the hell she wants there.  But you have no right to tell her what she can and cannot put there.

              • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

                Is this the tiresome argument that a ‘scalpel’ is a weapon? Putting aside your ignorance of how abortions are done, this argument could then be used to argue against any surgery of the uterus – after all, a scalpel is a ‘weapon’ right?
                I think it’s likely my g/f would listen to my opinion about taking a pregnancy to completion, but I accept that – finally – it’s her choice; it’s her body, and I have no right to tell her what to do. And certainly no-one with imaginary friends has the right to tell her what to do either.

              • Drakk

                Tell me, do you campaign this tirelessly against caesarean section births?

          • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

            Really?

            How would you feel about the abortion of an 8-month-old fetus?

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

              It still doesn’t have a right to use my body without my permission.

              Also, abortions done that late are done because they are medically necessary.

              • Anonymous

                Yes. And if it isn’t a medical necessity, who am I to tell someone that they can’t do that? I don’t agree with late term medically unnecessary abortions, but that is my opinion and I don’t expect others to feel the same way and I would never press my opinion on anybody else.  It is the choice of the woman.

              • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

                That’s not what I asked. I asked you how you would feel about (you or someone else) aborting an 8-month-old fetus. And let’s stipulate that the abortion isn’t medically necessary – that the fetus is completely healthy.

                You’re making blanket statements about abortions and how a mother can do whatever she wants with the fetus. I’m curious if you draw a line somewhere, as I think most people would. So please, answer the actual question. Would you not have a bit of moral aversion to the abortion of a healthy 8-month-old?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Eight months… nope. Still doesn’t get squatting rights because it’s more developed.

                  Were it mine, yeah, I might reconsider for about five seconds. Then again, I wouldn’t wait until eight months to evict the parasite — I’d be at the clinic first thing, signing up for an abortion.

                  Somebody else’s pregnancy? Hey, it’s their business, not mine.

  • Anonymous

    I think I may email Watson (my mayor) again, to alert him to the dangerous precedent he’s set.

  • cabalavatar

    I definitely support a mayor who says this. I abhor how easily some people are willing to commit murder on others, specifically both despite and yet because of their age. The fact that the Left (which I usually consider myself a part of) has fallen behind on the issue of murdering other humans saddens and angers me. We’re supposed to be the empathetic ones.

    I think that I should write a letter to this mayor (especially because I live in the region) to inform her that an atheist endorses the decision to protect human life over human convenience. Don’t get me wrong: I also empathise with women’s plights with regard to pregnancy and childbearing, but when you research the stats, rape is really not a factor. Women and men make conscious choices to have sex and are (usually) entirely aware of the potential consequences. Basically, we choose, as a society, to condone murder in order to compensate for others’ lack of responsibility and willingness to be further responsible upon conception and thereafter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      we were not talking about murder, silly.

    • Charlie

      how can you say that (women) they have a choice on whether or not they get raped

    • http://dramatic-exaggeration.blogspot.com/ WhiteJM

       Good news everyone! No need to take part in a serious and difficult debate about the moral distinctions between stopping a pregnancy from occurring in the first place and making the decision to end one early when one isn’t ready for a child, it turns out cabalavatar has figured it out for us! Stopping semen? Great! Abstinence? Even better! Preventing a pregnancy from starting? All is well. Ending a pregnancy after it started? Societal decline!

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      cabalavatar,  you’re taking the moralistic stance that unwanted pregnancy is the just and rightful penalty for irresponsibility having sex. Most of the women who seek abortions are not casually and frivolously using it as a form of birth control. They’re incapable of properly raising a child because they’re too young, and/or too poor, and/or psychologically inappropriate for parenthood, and/or they have no help from the father or their own family.  So even if they were irresponsible when they had sex, they would be adding another irresponsibility on top of that by having children they cannot raise.

      So in many cases their children will be put into foster care funded by the state. If you want to force these women to finish their unwanted pregnancies with a religiously-based law, essentially you are forcing the rest of society to have to take care of them according to the values of your religious views, not necessarily everyone’s religious views. 

      Since you’re so big on responsibility, please tell us how many unwanted babies have YOU adopted, helping to reduce the burden that you want to force onto society?

    • TheBlackCat

      Let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario here.  Lets say that you get in a car accident.  it doesn’t matter why, it could even have been a problem with the car you had no control over.  Someone gets seriously injured.  They are going to die unless someone is willing to share their blood contrinuously for the next 9 months.  The two people would have to be permanently tethered.  How would you feel if you were ordered to hook yourself up to that person for the next 9 months?  Now add that the strain on your body’s systems from this will cause permant changes, and you could even die from it.  

      Let’s make it more realistic.  Would you support a law requiring the person who caused a car accident to donate blood, organs, bone marrow, or anything else to the victim, even if the person responsible was not actually at fault?  

      Remember that driving a car is an inherently risky behavior.  Every time someone gets behind a wheel there is a non-negligible change that they will hurt or kill someone, and everyone who drives a car knows it (or they are supposed to).  Why should drivers of cars not have to take the same sort of responsibility that you think pregnant women should be required to take?  

      What about your house or apartment?  What if a worker doing maintance hurts himself or herself?  Should you need to provide your own body to support that person?  You made the decision to hire him or her, knowing full well something could go wrong.

      If you say no to any of these things, how is it any different?  Why is taking responsibility for some thing so important but taking responsibility for other things is not?

    • http://twitter.com/BinaBecker Sabina Becker

      “When you research the stats, rape is not a factor”? Pardon me, but YOU have not done your research. Rape is, in fact, very much a factor. And if you don’t want to be ridiculed within an inch of your life, you might want to present proof of your assertions, instead of letting them lie there like so many pieces of dung. Abortion is NOT murder; murder requires malice aforethought. Who ever has an abortion just out of malice? NOBODY.

      • Anonymous

        “Abortion is NOT murder”

        Exactly.

        This reminds me of an anti choice billboard I saw in Michigan last week. There was a picture of a baby that was a few months old and underneath it said “A child is not a choice.” A child, one that is actually born, may not be a choice but having one sure is. Those are the types of people that think “you are baby killers!”

        • Daniel H.

          Well when you kill a baby, that’s what you are.

          • TheBlackCat

            Yes, but we aren’t talking about babies here.  Did you flunk middle school biology or something?  Or are you just arbitrarily redefining words to score rhetorical points?

            • Daniel H.

              How developed does it have to be before it counts as a baby? How about when it’s viable to live on its own? And do you actually want to restrict abortion to before that time? I doubt it.

              • TheBlackCat

                So you have no problem whatsoever with abortion prior to that point?

                To answer your question: no, because for me the issue, as I have pointed out repeatedly, is that we cannot force someone to provide their body to support someone else.  I wouldn’t even allow that for a fully-grown human, not to mention a fetus.  Honeslty I doubt you would allow it for a fully-grown human either, yet for some reason you do allow it for a fetus (which means you think that a fetus is MORE important that a fully-grown adult).

                • Daniel H.

                  “we cannot force someone to provide their body to support someone else.”

                  That is  bizarre way to think of pregnancy. You can take it pretty far – when a parent is caring for an infant (after birth) they are providing their body to support that baby (by being there to take care of it). I don’t think you’d say they have the right to negligence.

                • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

                  After birth, all of the care the baby requires is transferable.  It can be undertaken by any willing adult. 

                  Can you see now why BlackCat’s argument can only be taken as far as birth?

                • TheBlackCat

                  “That is  bizarre way to think of pregnancy.”
                  Who are you to decide what is and is not the right way to think about pregnancy?

                  “You can take it pretty far – when a parent is caring for an infant (after birth) they are providing their body to support that baby (by being there to take care of it). I don’t think you’d say they have the right to negligence”

                  Uttery baloney.  They are not physically grafted together.  One is not feeding directly off the blood supply of another.  

                  I have made it very clear several times that I am talking about this is a very specific, medical sense, which you have systematically avoided addressing.  Instead you pick one short repeat of what I said, take it out of context, then twist it to mean something totally different.  

                  Do you care to actually address the more substantial versions of this argument I have posted elsewhere in this discussion, or should we conclude you are intentionally cherry-picking in order to avoid actually having to address other peoples’ arguments?

          • Anonymous

            A fetus is not a baby. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

            “we have two kids and one on the way” – why do even anti choicers like you answer the question this way?

            Because in this example answer they have two *children* and one *potential child*

            Or “we’re having a baby” – sorry if I’m to accept your premise then those people should all say “we have a baby”

            and we’ll have to correct everyone who says “when the baby comes…” by pointing and saying “it’s already here”

            Throw your emotive words around, they’ll make a fine substitute until you come up with an argument.

    • Anonymous

      “I also empathise with women’s plights with regard to pregnancy and childbearing”

      I don’t think you do.

      Rape is not a factor? Ridiculous. Would you tell a woman that was raped and became pregnant that she must carry the fetus to term and raise it?

      Your extremely flawed opinion has no place in my uterus.

      • Daniel H.

        A scalpel or whatever other weapon they’re using nowadays doesn’t have a place in your uterus either.

        • TheBlackCat

          Who are you to tell her what does and does not belong in her uterus?  

          That is the root of the problem here.  It is HER uterus, not yours.  You have absolutely not right whatsoever to tell her what has or doesn’t have a place there.  You can set whatever rules you want for your own uterus, but you cannot set them for other peoples’ (this isn’t just my opinion, it is the law of the country).

          • Daniel H.

            You can set rules against murder though, and it doesn’t matter where the person to be murdered is located.

            • Anonymous

              People aren’t falling for your appeals to emotion and constant twisting and redefinition of words

            • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

              Even if we were assume that a fetus is a person with a right to life, the right to exist does not entail the right to enslave others in order to exist.  It would be barbaric to grab people off the street and forcibly harvest their spare kidneys or liver lobes, even if doing so would save lives.  We don’t even compel the donation of an easily replenished tissue like blood because doing so would an egregious violation of a  person’s right to ownership of his/her own body. It is no less barbaric to tell women that their rights to their own reproductive organs can be superseded by another’s needs.

              The right to life is not the right to use a woman’s body without her permission.  To say otherwise is to endorse the enslavement of women.

            • Toddrme2178

              Nice try.  Care to actually answer my question?  Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time:

              “Who are you to tell her what does and does not belong in her uterus? “

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Emily Joyce

          Oooookay…does that same mentality extend to heart surgery or removal of a tumor?

        • kaileyverse

          Some women just use medication to eject a bean sized blood clot, you know…

    • kaileyverse

      I work in a gynecology office that also provides abortions. We have at least one patient a week who was raped and got pregnant as a result of the assault.  Many of these patients are younger than 18. 

      In any case – It doesn’t matter to me why someone doesn’t want to carry a pregnancy to term – what matters to me is that they don’t, want to or can’t be a parent in 7-8 Months.

      Pregnancy is not and shouldn’t be a punishment, and abortion isn’t murder. Most abortions occur before 8-12 weeks,  before viability. I’ve seen about a thousand ultrasounds that look like dots and kidney beans less than 2 centimeters long. Those that occur later in the 2nd trimester? often performed to assist women carrying pregnancies with severe or fatal birth defects, for health reasons to the mother, and other issues that may not be noticed until later in pregnancy.

      I don’t think it is selfish, shameful or morally wrong to have an abortion, or even multiple abortions. My patients are brave, independent and smart women – trying to do right by their families and themselves.  If a woman comes to us and changes her mind – we support her. We are not in the business of judgement or telling a woman what she can or cannot do.

      We do our best to  provide our patients with reproductive health education, resources, and choices for health care, birth control, and life.

  • Happycynic

    Here’s the e-mail I sent to the mayor’s office/city council office:

    I’ve just read about your proclamation to have an official, city-sanctioned “protect human life week,” which includes things like films promoting religious ideologies; even one aimed at children. This entirely inappropriate. The state has no business officially promoting one political or religious ideology over another. If you did this with private money, and on your own time, under your own personal authority, then it’d be fine. But you’re using your office as mayor, your time at work, and the facilities that tax-payers paid for, to put on an event aimed at rallying a base of political pro-life and christian supporters.Ask yourself: if the mayor of another city put on a pro-choice rally aimed at energizing secular folks and liberals, where they showed nature documentaries about evolution to kids, would you think it was inappropriate? Would you tell them it’s not their decision to use city funds and their elected position to promote a political agenda? If you’d object to that, and you still intend to go through with this political, pro-christian rally, then you’re blatantly hypocritical. That fits just fine with being political, but Christians are specifically not supposed to be hypocrites, last time I checked.Think about if you can really justify that kind of hypocrisy in your administration.

  • Mike Baxter

    Mayor Shepherd:
    apparently
    you are a woman, yet you explicitly champion the views of those who demonize
    the rights of women at every turn.  How
    can any woman, with good conscience, ever buy into such Christian crap?

    Yours in disappointment,

    Mike Baxter    

    Yours in disappointment,

    Mike Baxter    

     

      

  • Mike Baxter

    Oops!

  • ohioobserver

    Picky, picky…I think you mean “he caught a lot of FLAK for it…”  A FLACK is a PR monger, someone who fronts for someone else, politician, corporation, etc.  Flak is antiaircraft fire (WWI etymology), commonly used to represent voluminous criticism.

    I’d show you my grammar-police badge but it’s in my other flak jacket.

    On point, I think this woman is batty, and unfit for office.  But I’m not Canadian, so what do I  know?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      You win this round, ohioobserver… fixed!  Thanks :)

  • Lin Snow

    As a woman who just had a very wanted and planned baby almost a year ago, I am even more pro-choice than before. Raising a baby is HARD. Rewarding and amazing, but hard. I can’t imagine doing this as a single mother, or when I was 10 years younger and first started having sex.

    For me, this is an issue of ruining lives. A woman who cannot get an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy has ruined her life. All thanks to a broken condom, bad choice, missed birth control pill, etc. A child brought to life from that mistake, regretted by his mother who struggles to care for him (often on her own and in poverty), has a long way to go to become a stable adult who contributes to society. YES it is possible and YES there are unplanned babies who are a wonderful surprise, but no one should be forced to have a baby they do not want.

    Why not focus on the large number of kids waiting to be adopted? Why not give support and resources to families struggling to raise the children they already have? Why not support sex awareness and birth control usage among teens?

    Everyone loves babies so it’s easy to get support to “save the babies” but the cost for our society is too high.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  • Heidi

    Why doesn’t she call it what it is: Pro-Forced-Birth Week.

    “Pro-Life” would imply they give a crap about what happens after they force a woman to give birth against her will.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019365643 John J. Ronald

    I know, Sharon Sheppard is under the mistaken impression that she was elected mayor of Killarney, Ireland.  Killarney, Kelowna…easy mistake.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      Ireland is getting better.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    *RAGE*

  • Charlotte

    My letter to Sharon Shepherd (note that I grew up in that hellhole and do not expect it to make it past whoever screens these e-mails):

    Dear Mayor Shepherd,

    I’m a former resident of Kelowna who lived there for 19 years before moving to Vancouver, and I wanted to express my concern about your proclamation of the upcoming “Protect human life week”.  From one woman to another, I would like to ask that you do not use public money to support their cause.

    The religious groups in Kelowna have so much support already, that they do not need further support from the municipal government.  These self-righteous people think that they are saving the lives of “unborn babies”, who may be at such an early stage that they cannot feel anything, or have conscious thought. Their fantaticism on this topic is based on their belief in the existence of a soul, which cannot be proven, and on the existence of an afterlife and judgmental deity (ditto). What they are in fact doing is advocating that women lose control over their bodies, so that they become incubators (however unwilling) for a foetus. What they are doing is shaming women who don’t want to have children or lead conventional lives. They want to punish women for having sex just for the enjoyment of it, particularly if they are not married. Many of these “activists” are men, or women past childbearing years, who are not attuned to the reality of bearing children: i.e. the financial cost, physical discomfort, etc. They do not care if a woman has an abortion for medical reasons – they only care that they make her feel ashamed of herself, and hopefully that she joins their church as a result. 

    Unopposed religious fanaticism is why I left Kelowna. I was sick and tired of hearing from people, including friends and acquaintances, tell me that they didn’t believe in evolution, or that people would be punished for having premartial sex, for having abortions, or for not being a Christian. I have met people who consider themselves to be “warriors for Christ”, who go abroad to brainwash people into joining their religion, and who think that their problems can be answered by prayer alone. They are smug, brainwashed, and so conservative that they alienate many well-educated young people, who inevitably move away.

    You should really consider what sort of message you are sending to people in Kelowna that are not affiliated with these groups. All that I’m hearing is “your kind is not welcome here, and there is no room for rational discussion of this topic because Jesus said so”.

  • MariaO

    If the “pro-lifers” REALLY wanted to protect all potential life they would urge all women of fertile age to be sure to have sex several times during the days when the ripe egg leaves the ovary. The egg is, after all, a baby that just needs a little male help to get going. Wasting this life cannot be very different from wasting a small lump of cells. And for men the bible is clear – every sperm is holy and it is a sin to waste it by letting it go anywhere than inside a woman.
     
    As pro-lifers in general are not doing this, it is clear that their agenda is control. Control of sexuality in general and of women in particular.

  • Prayerless

    It’s MY body and I’ll do whatever I want to it or anything in it! Get out of my uterus!

  • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

    In reply to Daniel H. here: It is not obvious that an unmarried couple is any less able to raise a
    child than a married couple. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s religious
    bias talking. Would you care to cite evidence to support your claim?

    How much of that stuff do I need before it becomes wrong to kill me?

    I don’t know.

    Now, you do see the difference between this and a person, don’t you? The reason why one seems a little more important than the other.

    • TheBlackCat

      I would also like to add that, if we look at the history of this country and the present of others, there is no reason to think that outlawing abortion will have any effect whatsoever on unmarried couples “shacking up”, or on how often such people conceive.  

      We were in that situation not that long ago, so we know for a fact that it doesn’t work this way.  It just led to lots of kids who were either in orphanages, barely supported in unstable households, or aborted in illegal and unsafe back-alley or home abortions (with the serious injury and death that routinely resulted from such procedures).

      So Daniel’s claims are not just wrong, they are the total opposite of reality.  If we follow his plan, the situation he thinks he is going to fix will only get far, far worse.  In fact a lot of people attribute the drastic drop in crime in the U.S. over the last few decades to Roe v Wade, although I do not know how certain that is.

  • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

    You are in a fertility clinic that is burning down.  Before you are two doors, each partially blocked by burning debris.  Both doors are the only entry points to their respective rooms.  Shifting the debris to unblock Door A will permanently block Door B, and vice versa.  Ultimately, only one door can be opened. 

    Behind Door A is a five year old child.
    Behind Door B is a rolling, self-powered freezer containing ten embryos, all of which are scheduled to be implanted.

    Which door do you unblock?

    • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

      I heart this example.

  • Sue Blue

    Hey, ummm….you men arguing about fetuses, women’s rights vs. embryos, etc.? You don’t really have a goddamned clue.  You don’t have a uterus.  You don’t get pregnant.  You don’t give birth.  You don’t lactate. Your contribution to (and any control over) the biological process ends when sperm exit your penis.  I know it’s a bitter pill for controlling, patriarchal, “God made Adam First” males to swallow, but look at nature.  The males of most species are just sperm-donors. That’s literally their only role in life.  A man may choose to support a woman and her offspring, but that’s a social convention, not a biological imperative.  The only real control you can exert is stop spewing the wigglies – wear a condom, get a vasectomy, or keep it out of a vagina.  That’s where your say in the matter ends.

  • Sven

    The photo of Mayor Sharon Shepherd instantly reminds me of Carlin’s Law.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Yup. Wouldn’t wanna fuck her, anyway…

  • Sue Blue

    Daniel H:  Read my comment above.  Even if it is your sperm that fertilized an ovum, your control over biology ended at ejaculation.  If it’s someone else who did the deed, you have even less say over what goes on in that uterus.  You’re a man.  Get over it.  Stop trying to dictate what women can do with their bodies and the parts thereof.  Until it can live outside my uterus, a fetus is just a growth, a part of me, and I have the same rights over it as I do over any other part of my body.  This is why abortion is not murder.  To be murdered, you have to be viable – able to maintain your own life.  This is why women who toss their breathing newborns into garbage cans are charged with murder, while women who abort a 12-week fetus are not.  A fetus is not an independent being (by the way, at 8 months gestation, a fetus is viable. At this stage, induced labor will result in a preterm birth, not an abortion – for the reason stated above). 

    And, since your whole argument seems to rest on the premise that an embryo or fetus is a full-fledged human being, just where do you draw the line?  At conception?  Why not go all the way, and make it illegal to waste any potentially human cells?  Having a period could be outlawed, as an ovum would be wasted….and guess what?  Any man who blew a load outside of a vagina would be a killer worse than Hitler, as millions of sperm would die.  Oh, wait a minute…since only one sperm can fertilize an ovum, and the average ejaculation contains about a hundred million of the wigglies, I guess every load constitutes genocide, even inside a vagina.  Too bad.

  • Nordog

    Supporters of abortion and embryonic stem cell research both argue that at the earliest stages of development we are not dealing with human beings, but with a cluster of undifferentiated cells no larger than a period at the end of a sentence.
     
    Typically, as regards embryonic stem cell research, the embryos marked for destruction are the so-called “surplus” from in-vitro fertilization efforts.  It is argued that they possess no heartbeat and have no determinate sex.  Supporters say the embryonic stem cell cluster is human, yes, but it is not a human being.  No one considers a cluster of human brain cells to be a human being, so what is the difference?  The difference is the distinction between growth and change.
     
    The difference between an ovum and an embryo is a difference of substantial change; a difference in kind.
     
    On the other hand, the difference between a new born child and an embryo is one of development of a unified organism.
     
    The change in substance between an ovum and an embryo happens when the nuclei of the sperm and the egg fuse into a new single nucleus.  The result is a new, genetically unique, complete, and unified human being.
     
    Ironically, an embryo, and even stem cells themselves testify to the unity of a new human being in that while they themselves are radically changing, they do so in a unified effort of growth in behalf of the person.
     
    The stem cells change, but the unified person simply grows.  This is the same way in which the cartilage in a two-year-old child’s skeleton changes to bone as the baby simply grows into adulthood.  And just like the child and the adult, so too are the embryo and child the same kind of thing.  The only differences between an embryo, a child, and an adult are those of growth and maturation.
     
    Some supporters of abortion and embryonic stem cell research deny the distinction between growth and substantial change, essentially arguing that a four-day-old embryo is not really a human being because we cannot see its humanity; it’s too small.  Or it is not a human being because it cannot develop without a mother to provide its material need for a uterus and placenta.  Or that “surplus” embryos must not be accorded human rights because they are slated for destruction anyway.  Yet, we justly condemn these arguments when applied to other types of people.  Bigots defended slavery by claiming an inability to see humanity in an African.  Reports of newborns left to die in garbage dumpsters do not compel us to deny the humanity of these babies simply because they do not have a mother to provide them with their material need for milk.  And we naturally recoil in horror at claims (real or imagined) that the communist Chinese harvest vital organs from executed political prisoners.  We recoil despite our knowing that the prisoners were slated for destruction anyway.
     


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