Pro-Life Work is Making Me Sick

We Need a Law published my most recent article:

The other reality is that I’m six months pregnant. My son, Jack, seems intent to dance his way to the ninth month, whether that’s in his waking prenatal hours or in his sleep. The boy is kicking and stretching incessantly.

So while my laptop is propped up on a pillow just past my ever-growing belly, as I read about abortion procedures, Jack might kick enough to knock aside a page that is resting on my stomach. While I read pro-choice arguments that ring increasingly hollow, about choice or bodily rights, Jack is making my sweater ripple and bunch with his activity.

And this makes me feel sick, this reading about the killing and the rhetoric in defence of killing children just like my Jack.

Read the rest here.

Busting the 3 Biggest Myths on the Government Funding of Abortions

Today I published a new blog post at The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s ActivateCFPL blog:

Over the last few weeks, public comment on the issue makes it apparent that there is still confusion surrounding the funding of abortion procedures in Canada.

Joyce Arthur wrote a piece at Rabble.com where she lambasted Campaign Life Coalition’s Defund Abortion campaign; painting the protestors as naïve, uninformed activists fighting for a hopeless cause. Two weeks ago, a letter written by Health Minister Deb Matthews was made public and also garnered attention…

Contrary to the arguments that some pro-choice advocates advance, determining which medical procedures may or may not be considered “medically necessary” in Canada is no easy task. Actually, it’s a bit of nightmare for everyone, from seasoned judges to patients simply seeking medical care.

Read the rest here.

Four Takeaways from the Carter v. Canada Assisted Suicide Case

Last week I wrote a short summary of the Carter v. Canada case for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s ActivateCFPL blog:

Justice Smith’s decision was appealed to the BCCA.  In a split 2-1 majority decision, the BCCA overturned Justice Smith’s decision and upheld the legal principles the SCC set out in the 1993 Rodriguez decision. In short, the BCCA found themselves and Justice Smith to be bound by the legal precedent set out in Rodriguez; that the ‘right to life’ principle is the same today as it was 20 years ago; that there is no right to be killed in Canada; and, that we can’t easily dismiss the concerns of those who believe that the legalization of assisted suicide would be damaging to our society.

Read the rest here.

The Joyce Arthur Defamation Suit and the Tactic of Being Vague

This morning I published the following blog post over at ActivateCFPL, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s law and public policy blog:

In 2009, Arthur wrote a report for the now-defunct Pro-Choice Action Network (“Pro-CAN”) entitled Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia. With the help of government funding via a Status of Women Canada grant of $27,400 and the proposed research goal of “expos[ing] the anti-woman and anti-feminist agenda of CPCs,” Arthur eventually issued her assessment of CPCs. Her report claimed, in short, that CPCs employ unethical tactics and strategies that hurt and deceive women.

Since the report was garnering more internet attention than it deserves, the Vancouver and Burnaby CPCs launched a defamation suit against Arthur and Pro-CAN in hopes that the court would order Arthur to withdraw or correct her report. Strategically, and given the great costs of litigation these days, the CPCs and their lawyer carefully chose the allegations made in the report that they deemed most defamatory but also simple enough to disprove in court…

Unfortunately the court found that the report was so unclear in its attributions of wrong-doing that a reasonable person reading the report wouldn’t necessarily think that the Vancouver and Burnaby CPCs were guilty of committing those particular ethical breaches…

In fact, in her gleeful recounting of the case, Arthur concedes that that was her legal strategy in the defamation suit. Her strategy amounted to arguing “that the report did not specifically say that the two plaintiff CPCs used any of the described tactics…”

Read the rest here.

A Day of Prayer and Fasting for the National Euthanasia Debate

This blog post was originally published at The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s blog, ActivateCFPL.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada encourages its friends, affiliates and all Canadian evangelicals to join with Christians across the country for a day of prayer and fasting.

This national day of prayer is taking place on Friday, September 6th, in recognition of the Quebec government’s legislative proposal to legalize euthanasia.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently illegal in Canada, as both actions are proscribed in our Criminal Code as homicide. In a weakly veiled attempt to circumvent federal law, and existing Supreme Court of Canada decisions that affirm the constitutionality of the federal prohibition on these behaviours, the government of Quebec introduced legislation in June 2013 to authorize euthanasia under the guise of “health care.” Under our constitution, criminal law is federal jurisdiction, but health care is provincial jurisdiction.

When the issue was most recently presented to Members of Parliament for consideration and a vote, legalization of the practices was resoundingly rejected. In 2008, MP Francine Lalonde introduced Bill C-384 which sought to amend the Criminal Code to remove the prohibitions against euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Bill was defeated 228 to 59 in the House of Commons.

Despite the obvious issues related to proper jurisdiction, constitutionality, binding precedent and democracy, the government of Quebec has decided to push the issue forward.

Quebec’s Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, would require all hospitals and healthcare facilities (including hospices, senior citizen’s residences and similar facilities operated by Christian and other faith based organizations) to euthanize citizens possessing Quebec healthcare upon request, provided certain arguably vague criteria are met.

To obfuscate its intentions and to make the idea of euthanizing its citizens more palatable to the general public, the government plays word games in Bill 52. It defines “end of life” care as “palliative care provided to persons at the end of their lives,” which encompasses “terminal palliative sedation” and “medical aid in dying,” both of which are forms of euthanasia. 

This position is not consistent with the global palliative care movement’s understanding of palliative care.  Palliative care by definition cannot be used to end lives. The government of Quebec’s reframing of palliative care contradicts the World Health Organization’s internationally accepted definition.

The Bill’s use of the term “terminal palliative sedation” is confusing as it is not defined in the Bill. Though the term seems self-explanatory, its use is intended to make euthanasia more palatable to the public by removing the negative connotations associated with the word “euthanasia” and by adding “terminal palliative sedation” to the continuum of currently accepted medical treatment as an extension of palliative sedation, which is currently accepted and practiced for pain management.

The Bill’s clearly intended primary purpose is to establish the right to ending-of-life procedures to be administered by doctors and nurses across the province of Quebec. It does so by adding euthanasia (illegal) to the classification of palliative care (legal) in an effort to merge the two as medical care. It also uses a clever attempt at new terminology (“terminal palliative sedation” and “medical aid in dying”) in an effort to evade Criminal Code liability, as neither expression appears in the Criminal Code and thus are not explicitly prohibited.

Why is this a problem? If a person wants to die and not have their life unnecessarily prolonged, isn’t it a merciful act to end their lives?

In Canada, patients have a right to withdraw consent from treatment, and receive pain alleviating medication in order to die a natural death. Palliative sedation, which is used in cases where pain or symptoms cannot be managed by other means, is also legal.

Compassion is not killing the patient. Compassion is loving the patient, walking with them through their last days, and providing them with the care and support to ease and alleviate the pain and suffering.

In short, the decriminalization of euthanasia requires the societal acceptance of consensual killing and the establishment of a legal obligation on one party to kill another, as is seen in Bill 52. This new obligation would irrevocably change Canadian law’s life-affirming ethos. Our law would indirectly endorse murder and private killings between its citizens. And, Canadians under medical care – in hospitals, hospices and nursing homes – will have just cause to wonder whether the next step is freeing up their bed for someone healthier or better able to pay the bills – at least that’s how similar provisions have devolved in other countries.

This is a matter that concerns all Canadians, not simply those who live in Quebec. Should Quebec pass the law, and the federal government fail to intervene in order to uphold its Criminal Code prohibitions, it won’t be long before other provinces propose similar legislation.

For more information on euthanasia and assisted suicide, please visit www.theEFC.ca/euthanasia. The EFC will also be releasing a detailed analysis of Bill 52 in the coming days.

Please encourage your prayer groups and congregations to join us in prayer this Friday.

Joyce Arthur Demands “Naïve Reporters” Shut Out Pro-Lifers

As I wrote yesterday over at the EFC’s law and public policy blog, ActivateCFPL:

Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, recently blasted media outlets for being too “balanced” in their coverage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s death by interviewing pro-life Canadians.  

The pro-life perspective “is an extremist view,” not deserving of “legitimacy” and “does not deserve equal time or respect in Canada” railed Arthur in a recent Rabble.ca piece. According to Arthur, “naïve reporters” should not be interested in the pro-life expression of “concern for women’s well-being,” or the perspective that all human beings, including those at earlier stages of development, deserve human rights. […]

The accusation that the media was being too balanced in its coverage of Morgentaler’s death is a ridiculous claim. Even by Arthur’s own analysis of the media coverage, a significant number of stories – 37 per cent of those she reviewed – didn’t include interviews with pro-life Canadians. But if “extreme” or minority positions should be ignored by the media, than by her own standard, Arthur is the one who should be excluded from engaging with the media. Ever.  Again.

In Arthur’s attempt to exclude pro-life Canadians from the media and the public square, she condemns herself to the same fate with her irrational and ridiculous standards.

We don’t need to “re-open the abortion debate”

Because it never closed. I write about that today at EFC’s law and public policy blog, ActivateCFPL:

The abortion debate has never closed, died or ended. To argue otherwise is to argue that those who want to rationally discuss the issue are to be marginalized as fringe elements of society; that the pro-life activists who came to Ottawa last year to march for life are 19,000 anomalies; and, that their perspective is inconsistent with some greater enshrined Canadian value of “choice.”

To contend that the abortion debate is over is to declare that there is consensus in Canada on an issue where no such consensus exists. In reality, it’s an intellectually lazy attempt at discrediting those who legitimately question the appropriateness of our nation being the only western country in the world that lacks abortion legislation.

Silence for Life

photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc

When the Abortion Debate is Shut Down

I wrote a sidebar article for the latest issue of FaithToday, entitled ‘When Debate is Shut Down in Canada’s Highest Places:

I disagree. The abortion debate never ended. As a nation we have not stopped talking about it or debating the merits of legislation. There are a large number of MPs in Parliament, as well as innumerably more Canadians, open to the discussion. I know, because I have sat down with pro-life and pro-choice MPs and have participated in those conversations.

The issue’s cover story is about the difficulty of debating abortion in Canada. Interviewed for the piece were some friendly faces including CCBR’s Stephanie Gray, former speech writer for Prime Minister Stephen Harper Paul Malvern, and the IMFC’s Andrea Mrozek. The digital issue is available for free online, so you can check out the article.

Media Coverage on Manitoba’s Bill 18

I did a few interviews this week regarding Manitoba’s Bill 18. The EFC released an updated version of its report on Canadian bullying statistics and trends. You can download it here for free if you’re interested. It’s a great document. There’s nothing else like it available in Canada at this point.

I did a radio interview with Richard Clouthier at CJOB 680 AM first thing Wednesday morning. A couple of my statements were captured in a short article on their website.

I also did an interview with Bruce Owen at the Winnipeg Free Press. The interview can be found here. Here are a few of my quotes:

The EFC says one survey showed body image alone accounted for 38 per cent of cases of bullying; grades or marks accounted for 17 per cent; and cultural background for 11 per cent.

EFC lawyer Faye Sonier said based on that, Manitoba’s Bill 18 does not fully recognize those types of bullying.

Sonier said Bill 18 instead says school must accommodate pupils who want to establish and lead activities and organizations that promote gender equity, anti-racism, disabilities and gay-straight alliances.

“You have to ask yourself why then is the province focusing on these four clubs or showing more concern for them than the student who is bullied because of the way he looks,” Sonier said.

“This can be interpreted as government expressing concern for some student over others.”

Sonier said for Bill 18 to be more equitable, it has to be reworded to include anti-bullying clubs.

“Parents and teachers can tailor the clubs to the circumstances their schools and communities face,” she said.

Some of my comments also appeared in the Winnipeg Sun, alongside statements from EFC’s Don Hutchinson:

Faye Sonier, EFC legal counsel, said the study also revealed that children themselves want to stop bullying: 88% called it “a major problem in their school.”

The EFC study also asked adults about the long-term effects of all types of bullying: 30% said they suffered lasting and harmful effects, and 84% said it should be considered a crime.

“This is very distinct from the anti-bullying legislation currently before the Manitoba legislature, which would only amend The Public Schools Act and address bullying behaviours that take place in schools,” Sonier said.

Don and I also had comments appear in a LifeSiteNews article as well.

The Church’s Role in the Fight Against Assisted Suicide

Parliament clearly expressed its will in 2010 when Members of Parliament voted resoundingly against a bill which sought to decriminalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Supreme Court of Canada plainly ruled against the practices in the 1993 Rodriguez case, in which it found Parliament’s jurisdiction and legislation in this area to be sound.

Democratic process and our highest court’s findings seemingly insufficient, a B.C. lower court judge decided to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide with her 2012 Carter v. Canada decision, which is currently under appeal. The government of Quebec is now arguing that it can permit the practices as well, under its constitutional power to regulate healthcare.

As the Carter case winds its way through the appeal process, Evangelicals will be represented. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is intervening at the British Columbia Court of Appeal and has filed its written legal arguments. The EFC is arguing that the sanctity of human life is a valid Parliamentary consideration under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that ethically, morally, and legally, dying and killing are drastically different things. As stated in the factum, “There can be such as a thing as a good death. There is never such a thing as a good killing.”

The case will be heard in March. The lower court decision needs to be overturned not only to ensure the lives of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens and to prevent the abuses that have occurred in jurisdictions where these practices have been legalized, but to affirm Canada’s life respecting ethos.

Read the rest of the post here.