A young boy holds a pro-life sign during Ottawa's 21st annual March for Life May 10. Photo by Robert DuBroy

Charles Lewis: A practical guide for a pro-life reality

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  • May 25, 2018

We just witnessed the wonderful scene of thousands of Canadians marching in Ottawa to show their support for life. It was encouraging but also raises some serious questions.

What does it mean to be pro-life in the age of triumphant secularism? What are we really asking for when it comes to abortion and euthanasia?

The answer is succinct. We want an end to both.

But how can this be done?

We have no federal laws on abortion and euthanasia has been legal for nearly two years. There appears to be no political will to change any of this.

When Stephen Harper was prime minister his social conservative MPs knew enough not to talk about their views. As a reporter I experienced this eerie silence from the members of the so-called federal social conservative caucus when I tried to interview them. I wanted to know whether any were frustrated by the lack of a social conservative agenda under Harper.

No dice. Some worried about getting in trouble with the boss, others just said no comment. A few who spoke were off the record.

When Harper and his party were getting close to power they understood that being opposed to abortion would mean perpetual status as the opposition.

Politicians hate the expression “close but no cigar.” Power is always the goal. Anything that they see as potentially embarrassing, such as getting stuck with the label “social conservative,” is to be avoided at all costs.

So where does this leave us? In my opinion, and it is one that I know is not particularly popular among some of my fellow Catholics and pro-life friends, the idea of making abortion and euthanasia illegal is a pipe dream.

Abortion is now the norm. Legalized euthanasia, which has only been with us for two years, already has the feel of permanence.

We live in a culture in which abortion and euthanasia are not just accepted but also enthusiastically accepted. We are living in a secularist society run amok. False notions of autonomy rule the day. Morality is fading. Law is corrupted. And compassion has less to do with the love than a syringe filled with poison.

In Nazi Germany a heretical German national church rewrote the Bible to turn Jesus into an Aryan superman and all traces of the great contributions of Jews to salvation history were erased or hatefully distorted.

If today the secularists attempted the same thing they would likely rewrite the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this version, the Good Samaritan would have killed the wounded stranger on the road by smashing his skull with a boulder. That would seem more merciful than letting the man heal. It is much better never to have experienced pain. “Thou shall not kill” unless the patient becomes a nuisance or experiences discomfort.

So if abortion and euthanasia are not going to be made illegal, what then?

First, abortion. When we hear a politician say he or she personally is against abortion it almost always means they do not like it but they will not interfere with a woman’s right to choose. So why not think about this differently? Why not change the conversation?

Women choose to have abortion for many reasons. They have no partner, they fear being isolated, they fear social stigma, and all the while their families and friends are urging them to “get rid of it.” Many believe that a child will glue them in place to a life of poverty. These are real fears.

Canada is a rich country. So rich that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario paid $650,000 for a company to design a logo for their new marijuana stores. A child with an Etch-A-Sketch could have done it. Imagine how that $650,000 might have been spent on something worthwhile?

What if universities and colleges created dorms for single mothers with day care? I wish everything in the pro-life cause could be done without the help of governments, but it is also our tax dollars. So should not some of it be spent to help women and support life?

This kind of funding does not have to come from government alone. Just look at what the Sisters of Life accomplish. But we need more good people who provide real help and not just platitudes.

We need more private foundations and private scholarships. We need Catholic and other pro-life business owners to make sure they can accommodate single mothers.

That does not mean encouraging pregnancy out of wedlock but facing the reality of a broken world.

As for euthanasia, there is nothing to stop parishes from setting up their own group of volunteers to reach out to those who are sick. There are so many retirees available today to visit fellow parishioners, help them with appointments and to run errands. I am sure there are many stay-at-home mothers and fathers whose children are in school all day who could volunteer to help those suffer alone.

Reducing abortions and the number of people who die via medical killing is attainable. We just need to use our imaginations and our love. We have power; we better start to use it.

(Lewis is a Toronto writer and regular contributor to The Register.)



Comments (1)

  1. Ed van Leeuwen

Dear Charles, let me start by establishing that I agree with your basic premise: abortion and euthanasia should be rare. I also agree with your premise that "the idea of making abortion and euthanasia illegal is a pipe dream".

Let's focus on...

Dear Charles, let me start by establishing that I agree with your basic premise: abortion and euthanasia should be rare. I also agree with your premise that "the idea of making abortion and euthanasia illegal is a pipe dream".

Let's focus on abortion because we have lots of research on it and lots of experience with it.

What is paramount? Striving to eliminate abortion? Or, making them illegal? Those are two very different goals.

If you sincerely think that (the need for) abortion should be eliminated then there is hope for you, yet your article veers off into territory where you alienate potential allies.

Why the gratuitous swipes at secular society? Or at government? Why the insistence on a conservative Catholic lens.

Why would a secular atheist or secular Catholic want large numbers of abortion any more than a conservative sectarian Catholic?

I am wholly secular. My thoughts on Catholicism or not exactly for polite company, yet, I would be perfectly happy if only a handful of abortions were performed in Canada each year.

The current model whereby abortion is medical procedure no different from any other medical procedure is the correct one. Legal restrictions and criminal sanctions around abortion only act to INCREASE the pressures on women to seek abortions.

That said, I would be VERY HAPPY if no elective abortions ever NEEDED to happen.

It would mean a number of things... that women...
... are empowered to give birth inside and outside of marriage, with or without a partner and with or without the expectation of having to raise the child themselves;
... have access to top quality medical care that can keep them or a foetus healthy during a pregnancy;
... and men have access to the birth control they need or desire WHEN they need or desire it; and,
... and men have access to top notch sex education so they know how they can enter into healthy relationships, avoid pregnancy, etc.

For those things to happen society as a whole, but ESPECIALLY, and, paradoxically, social conservatives need to change their tune.

What is so bad about becoming pregnant outside of marriage? If that weren't a taboo there would be far fewer societal pressures, especially but not exclusively, from SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES to abort a foetus.

What about birth control? Why is it such a difficult subject for people to talk about and why is it so hard to get? Why shouldn't it be available on demand and for free? Why aren't condoms provided free of charge? Providing condoms, IUDs, etc. will not result in one giant orgy. But, it would reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies which means the need for fewer abortions.

Why shouldn't women be allowed to raise a child on their own, if they want to? Governments provide subsidies to religious organizations by making their donations tax deductible and exempting them from all sorts of taxes. We could redirect those subsidies away from religious groups and into supporting women and men who are () raising children.

Why should a woman's career (rarely a man's) be threatened by having to raise a child?

Why should people be afraid of speaking about sexuality? We saw a deceitful campaign waged by some well-informed but ill-intentioned individuals against Ontario's "new" sex-ed curriculum for a variety of reasons. Now we even see the bully-in-chief do his level best to dupe social conservatives into believing he'll actually not betray them (rolling back the sex ed curriculum is impossible... PARENTS want their kids to be prepared for the 21st century pornographic world).

If the goal is to eliminate the reasons women choose abortions, then, there are lots of allies throughout society.

It the goal is to restrict abortion access for ideological reasons then you turn those allies into enemies because then you force them to defend a person's freedom of conscience over someone else's freedom of religion.

When you pit freedom of religion against freedom of conscience freedom of conscience wins every time because freedom of religion is a subset of freedom of conscience but freedom of conscience has many other aspects which are not necessarily religious!

(and, if a person fails to see the relationship then that person has also failed to grasp why secular society has triumphed over religious society)

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