Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tiller's Death Intensifies Abortion Debate

The murder of George Tiller has rekindled the debate on abortion. That's not to suggest this contentious issue was dead, but now it is once again fodder for mainstream news and water cooler discussion. Activists on both sides of the issue have taken advantage of increased public attention to voice their concerns.

Here in Canada things are far less complicated than in the U.S. where abortion is a regulated procedure, with states placing restrictions of one kind or another on late term procedures. George Tiller had been taken to court on numerous occasions, however in all cases he was acquitted. For abortion proponents this is used as justification to argue that the procedures he performed were medically necessary.

The state of Kansas' policy for later term abortions is that any procedure performed 'post viability' must be to protect the woman's life and/or health. There is no distinction as to whether that involves mental or physical health in Kansas. States such as Alabama, Indiana, Montana and Pennsylvania allow for later abortions only to protect a woman's physical health, not her mental health. Still other states (Idaho, Michigan, New York, Rode Island) do not permit later term abortions unless the woman's life is at risk, meaning post pregnancy health concerns cannot be used as justification for the procedure.

Table of State Laws available from The Guttmacher Institute: LINK

The state of Kansas does not require approval from a second doctor, nor for a second doctor to be present when the operation is performed. Ten U.S. states require approval from a second doctor with nine requiring another physician present during the procedure.

Some Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion activists have taken a 'live by the sword, die by the sword' view of Dr. Tiller's murder. Personally I find it disgusting and repugnant that people who claim to cherish life, that they'd get any satisfaction or joy from the taking of a human life. On the Pro-Choice/Pro Abortion side many are hailing Dr. Tiller as both a hero and a martyr.

In Canada we don't have to worry about when abortion is legal or under what circumstances it is permitted, because we have no laws whatsoever on the books. In our 'enlightened' nation the decision to abort or continue to term is left to a woman in consultation with her doctor.

Personally I think the time is coming when Canada will again see legislation introduced regulating abortion. The question will be, in what form. My own views mirror those of U.S. president Barack Obama, that it is appropriate to restrict access to later term procedures so long as there is an exception in cases where the physical health and/or life of the mother is at risk.

The extreme element of the Pro-Choice/Pro Abortion lobby won't like it, they're happy with the status quo. But while George Tiller's murder may be helping them paint extreme Pro-Lifers as small minded and intolerant, many Canadians are becoming more educated and sensitized to the whole abortion issue. The winners in this debate will be those most able to express their views without resorting to name calling and histrionics.

Comments are welcomed and feel free to pass this along via email or through a social network like FaceBook, just click on the ‘Share’ icon below.

No comments: