LETTER: Respect all human life without distinctions

Supporters of human rights should view a banner that flew on Baker St. as a reminder of who we should be as Canadians.

Re: “Banner is discriminatory and offensive”

The Reproductive Health Coalition of the Kootenays takes issue with a banner that reads “Respect Human Life from conception to natural death” that a group of human rights advocates have had hanging over Baker St. the week of Remembrance Day for the last 14 years.

The banner is raised during Respect for Human Life Week coinciding with Remembrance Day, because we remember those who fought and lost their lives in war. There are wars that many people try so hard to ignore such as the war of the womb, responsible for over 3 million civilian deaths in Canada alone over the past five decades. As we honour those who fought other wars, we are told that they fought and died for our freedom. Did they fight and die for the freedom of choice, in the context of which it is used by abortion advocates? Not likely.

After the Second World War, Canada became a member of the United Nations and is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, a document consisting of inalienable rights. These rights are not to be violated by any government or its citizens or juridical system, even if the majority of the population is in favour of altering or violating these rights.

The most fundamental right of them all is the right to life, and for obvious reasons takes precedence over other rights. This Declaration is inclusive and makes no distinctions of any kind and also protects “everyone” against discrimination. Our Charter of Rights must be consistent with the Declaration, and the Criminal Code must be consistent with the Charter.

In 1969 the Canadian government enacted a law that allowed abortions in certain circumstances for “health” reasons, contrary to other sections of the Criminal Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It wasn’t long after about a quarter of all Canadian pregnancies were aborted, about the same rate as today without the abortion law.

That indicated that the law was badly abused. There was a Charter challenge from Joe Borowsky because this law violated the right to life. The same law was also challenged by Henry Morgentaler because he could not perform legal abortions in his private clinics as that law stated that a committee had to approve abortions. His clinics did not have these committees.

In the 1988 Morgentaler decision, that abortion law was struck down because the term “health” was too broad, and parliament did not enact a new law to replace it. Technically, any means that kills a child before, during or after birth is murder under section 238 of the Criminal Code, except to save the life of the mother, and this is not considered as abortion. Abortion is a form of prematurely birthing a child.

Though there are many people in a position of trust in Canadian society to protect children by upholding and protecting their rights, however, the mothers are pretty much left on their own to protect children.

Supporters of human rights should view the banner is a reminder of who we should be as Canadians, respecting all human life, with no distinctions of any kind, and protected equally, by everyone.

Peter Nachbaur, Nelson