Abortion as genocide claim refuted

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Abortion as genocide is true, accurate”
Feb. 24, 2009

To the editor:
Although there is much debate regarding whether the fetus is actually a human being, for the sake of the argument, we will consider it one. But Benjamin Lender’s attribution for an unborn child into a “cultural group” is a categorical mistake.

You fall into a hole when you state that “unborn babies share a physical commonality; they have not yet exited the womb.” An unborn baby does not share a physical commonality with the mother, but a physical connectivity. This is where you are misled. The cultural community involved with pregnancy would be between a group of pregnant women, because they are the ones who share the physical commonality " not the mother and the fetus. A baby in the womb would only share a physical commonality with other fetuses.

In that case, you may argue that the fetus is part of a cultural group of unborn babies. This may be true, but the definition of genocide still says “extermination of a cultural group.” One killing would not be classified as the extermination of the cultural group. If this were the case, then any one homicide would be classified as genocide as everyone is part of a cultural group. The word then loses all meaning. You quickly see how absurd it becomes.

To be classified as genocide, you would need many people with the same, collective purpose to all get abortions. There is no collective purpose in abortion because people do it for their own personal reasons, not to “kill off all unborn babies.” It is analogous to many white, black or brown people getting killed around the world. It is not genocide because there is no collective purpose behind it all and neither is abortion.
" Shaun Parekh
Biopsychology II

To the editor:
Benjamin Lenders’ letter begs someone to explain the reasoning behind why some wouldn’t consider abortion as genocide, so I’ll take a stab at it. The entire debate surrounding the use of genocide as a descriptor of abortion really returns to the basic assumptions of the abortion debate itself.

Your entire letter revolves around this assumption that “abortion is the deliberate and systematic extermination of children.” Of children " therein lies your huge assumption. A fetus, according to Canadian law is not a child; it is not a person (see Tremblay v. Daigle). If one is not a person, one cannot be part of a cultural group ¬¬" disqualifying them from being victims of genocide. Moreover, your Wikipedia definition states that cultural groups are “self-identified.” Do fetuses identify themselves as a fetus?

Despite all this the abortion debate is far from black and white. When does a fetus change from being a lump of tissue to a child? Should it be legal to abort a fetus a day before the due date? Is the morning after pill considered abortion? Should the justice system charge double homicide for the murder of a pregnant woman? I do not have the answers to any of these questions "I don’t claim to.

But your sweeping dismissal of the pro-choice movement as a group of pro-death, systematic baby killers grossly misrepresents the complexity of the debate. Abortion, I can only assume, is not an easy decision for any woman facing such a life-changing choice. Labeling them as the perpetrators of genocide does not help their situation and is just another example of loaded language being used to further one side of a debate. The same is true of pro-choice groups labeling pro-life groups as “anti-choice” " as the York student council did in their debate of club status.
" Adam Stewardson
Political Science III

To the editor:
To say that abortion is “the deliberate and systematic act of extermination of a national, racial or cultural group” is preposterous and I believe your justification for making such a comparison is poorly founded.

As a fourth year engineering student, you should know better than to quote Wikipedia as a seemingly credible source, if you want anybody to take your points seriously, that is. Nonetheless, in good spirit, I’ll appeal to your definition of a cultural group as “a self-defined group of people who share a commonality of cultural experience.”

You argue that embryos consist of a cultural group, thereby making their “extermination” similar to genocide. Your logic fails on two counts.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that embryos did in fact constitute a cultural group. Genocide would imply that abortions are being performed indiscriminately " en masse " and are being motivated by some particular element of an indescribable embryonic culture. The reality is that the motives behind each abortion vary greatly and are independent of the commonalities (if any) shared by all embryos. There is nothing systematic about the decision-making process behind having an abortion, rendering your point moot.

Your assumption that abortion is directed towards a particular “cultural group” is also flawed. I’ve heard of “Youth culture,” “Canadian culture” and even “Baby culture,” but the idea of “Embryonic culture” is nonsensical and here’s why: in order for a cultural group to legitimately exist, its members must be cognitive, sentient, self-aware beings. If these conditions are not met, members cannot identify the commonality that binds them to others in the group, and thus no culture, or cultural group can exist. It is due to this distinction that we don’t consider fishing cod or hunting during deer to be genocide.
" Stephen Hamza
Economics V

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette