As some of you are aware, I debated Joyce Arthur at Queen’s University yesterday afternoon. Behold: my short report.
There were about 150 students there, though I am bad at estimating crowds. It was peaceful, with the exception of some guffaws of laughter at me from a very limited group of possibly 5 to 7 anti-Andreas. (I am working with the language here, since I got called anti-choice all night. Incidentally, this suits me just fine since I am anti-this-one-“choice”. Those kids were certainly Anti-Andrea. Probably anti-life, too, if I were to guess. Oh yes, I have a keen sense of discernment.)
Joyce was respectful and pleasant in her demeanor, and wore her trademark flower as well as a lovely black skirt. She wore a shirt too, I might add, but I didn’t notice it in particular.
The question: Can Canada have a maternal health policy that excludes funding for abortion?
As expected, I said Yes We Can! My arguments came down to 1) describing that the unborn are human like you and me therefore abortion means taking a life and 2) highlighting the way in which abortion is irrelevant for saving women’s lives. I showed (if I do say so myself) a great graph showing how Canada’s maternal mortality declined well prior to 1969.
I found Joyce’s arguments (not surprisingly, let’s remember whose web site we are on) less than compelling. To address the humanity of the unborn she said simply it doesn’t matter, because the woman still decides. She is very set on legalization of abortion western-style for the developing world, so much so that she failed to wholly address the fact that maternal mortality declines with good medical care, sans abortion. She made the point that abortion is a mainstay of every woman’s life: normal and routine, nothing to see here. So where my main point was to ask the question that if we can decrease maternal mortality without abortion, and the data clearly shows we can, why wouldn’t we do it? However, she doesn’t view abortion as negative, so she sees no point in trying to avoid it.
That was jarring for me, as I suspect it was also jarring for those girls in the audience who have had abortions. There’s no amount of saying something is super easy that will make it so, when it’s not.
My other points: abortion in the developing world has been used to get rid of girls, legal abortion does not equal safe abortion, limited funding from government means we ought to use measures that garner the biggest bang for your buck (things like providing antibiotics and oxytocin).
I believe the only video recording is on my iPhone, so I’ll try to get that up. It’s not the greatest quality, sorry. I also have an audio recording of dubious quality, but I’ll transfer it to my laptop and see if I can improve it there.
Many thanks to the University of Ottawa pro-lifers who came out to support me! I think the bulk of the audience, however, was neither strongly pro-life nor strongly pro-choice and therefore this was a great event to introduce your average student to both sides of the story.by