Monday, January 28, 2008

20 years, 20 weeks, and .007

Twenty years ago on January 28 1988 in R.v.Morgentaler, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the jurisdiction of the state over women's bodies was unconstitutional.
Justice Bertha Wilson wrote :
"The decision whether to terminate a pregnancy is essentially a moral decision, a matter of conscience. I do not think there is or can be any dispute about that. The question is: whose conscience? Is the conscience of the woman to be paramount or the conscience of the state? I believe, for the reasons I gave in discussing the right to liberty, that in a free and democratic society it must be the conscience of the individual."
So there you have it : In a free and democratic society, the conscience of the individual is paramount.
Meanwhile CBC reports that some fetus fetishists, who presumably hope to one day celebrate the supremacy of the state over the individual here, have attempted to mark the occasion by selling anti-abortion billboard ads for buses and shelters in St John's, Fredericton, and Hamilton. Their ad was declined on the grounds that it was misleading. It read :
"Nine months… the length of time an abortion is allowed in Canada. Abortion.
Have we gone too far?"
Yes, fetus fetishists, I'm afraid you have gone too far this time.
A fetus becomes viable at around 20 weeks, no?
According to Statscan, the percentage of Canadian abortions performed at the 20 week mark in 2003 was .7% or 0.007. That's point double-oh-seven - which, luckily for you, is already a very famous number .
So let's try that as a billboard ad instead :
" .007...the percentage of abortions performed at 20 weeks for medical reasons in Canada."
OK, I think that would more adequately meet the truth-in-advertising requirements of the Metrobus people in St. John's, Nfld. I think they would definitely run that one for you.
Good luck with your celebrations, everyone!

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