Remember the editorial telling pro-lifers to shut up? Margaret Somerville responds:
Your editorial, “The abortion debate is over, so shut up” is very bluntly expressed pro-choice wishful thinking on your part. This debate is not going away. It’s gaining strength.
The editorial does, however, accurately reflect a belief of many Canadians that there seems to be no way for us to reach any consensus on the law that should govern abortion, as recent votes in Parliament have consistently demonstrated. I don’t agree, but note I’ve qualified the word consensus with the adjective “any”.
I believe a majority of Canadians can find some “common ground” regarding legal regulation of abortion, but this must be distinguished from finding unanimous agreement – that’s impossible.
For many of us, whether we are pro-choice or pro-life, this common ground will not be a “perfect” stance. That’s unavoidable because we live in a pluralistic society where people have vastly divergent worldviews; we don’t all share the same convictions about the intrinsic dignity and value of all human beings, from their conception to their natural death; and we disagree whether the value of respect for life or that of individual autonomy should take priority when they conflict.