Canada has a thing for fairness… or maybe we just think we do. Generally we say that is what we want: fairness. Historically it seems the pursuit of fairness brought the vote to people who had been considered non-persons: women, minorities, first nations. The pursuit of fairness has brought us legal concepts like limits to free speech when the speech brings harm to others. The question is: what do we do with competing rights?
Our system has generally favoured the weaker when there are competing rights. Example: Discrimination against a minority race might trump discrimination against the majority race, the rationale being the power imbalance. You and I both have the right to not be discriminated against based on our skin colour.
Every human being has rights, right? Well, no. Not in Canada.
There is set of competing rights that remains untouched legal ground since the Supreme Court told the government of the day to deal with it. But the politicians refused, so the law was struck down instead of being revised. The competing rights are those of a woman and the little human she carries in her womb.
The science is clear: It isn’t a blob of tissue, it is a developing human. You can use the Latin name “fetus” or the English name “offspring,” but the science remains. And in Canada there is no law, simply a statement by the Supreme Court that the Parliament needs to be the one to give the rights. Until then they remain non-persons.
Robert T. Rock declared in the letter to the editor on Nov. 13, “There is no argument, since women have rights…” A few people replied to his letter. Evidently not everyone agrees that these humans should remain non-persons. Some would say people should be protected from conception to natural death. Some see things differently. In the interest of fairness, isn’t it time we had a civil discussion about giving at least some rights to people before they are born?