Canadian Medical Association: babies not human until after birth
by Peter Baklinski SOURCE: Lifesite News
Thu Aug 16, 2012
LifeSiteNews.com) – The largest association of doctors in Canada, in an attempt to stonewall a looming abortion debate from being unleashed, voted yesterday to support the wording of the country’s Criminal Code which states that a baby becomes a “human being” only after being born.
Pro-life doctors and leaders have condemned the move as ‘shameful’, ‘unethical’, and ‘defying parody’.
Delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s annual general council voted on the motion so as to prevent what they called a “backdoor” attempt to reopen the abortion debate. They voted to pass, says a CMA report on the meeting, “a resolution supporting the current wording of the Criminal Code which states that a child ‘becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother…’”
Canadian Physicians for Life condemned the CMA’s move, saying that “every Canadian doctor knows that the unborn child is a live human being.”
Dr. Will Johnston, president of Canadian Physicians for Life in a statement emailed to LifeSiteNews pointed out the hypocrisy of the Canadian Medical Association which has a long-established policy of supporting the killing of human life through abortion.
“CMA delegates worry about children not exercizing enough or not wearing bicycle helmets, while over one hundred thousand children go missing from our playgrounds every year because they were killed by abortion.”
“The mismatch between this problem and yesterday’s conversation from the CMA annual general meeting defies parody,” he said.
Dr. John Shea, MD FRCP(C), told LifeSiteNews from his home in Toronto that the delegates to the CMA meeting should be “ashamed of themselves for failing to recognize when human life begins”.
“The biological fact is what counts here, which is when the ovum and the sperm unite, a single-celled human organism is formed. Period. This organism is a human being, a person at the single-cell stage. From that point in time he or she has rights. Anybody who denies that fact is denying biological reality; they are lying.”
Conservative Member of Parliament Steve Woodworth filed a motion in the House of Commons last February to establish a special committee to consider when human life begins. He called for Parliament to re-examine section 223 of the Code, a 400-year-old provision inherited from British common law, that stipulates a child only becomes a “human being” “when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother”.
“Section 223 is, purely and simply, a law that says some human beings are not human beings,” said Woodworth at that time.
Dr. Johnston called Section 223 of the code “our profession’s biggest shame and biggest headache. It is a disastrous public policy which does far more harm than good.”
Pro-life groups across the country rejoiced in Woodworth’s motion, hoping that it might provide a foundation to offer protection to unborn children in the womb.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged to vote against the motion when it comes up, calling it “unfortunate” that the motion was deemed votable by an all-party committee of the House. Woodworth’s motion has been postponed till the fall.
Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that CMA’s motion “just shows the sorry state of the leaders of the CMA who have drifted so far from the oath of Hippocrates.”
The Hippocratic Oath, originating in 5th century BC, was until recently sworn by those who practiced the healing arts so that they would do so ethically and honestly. At one point in the oath, doctors swear that they will not give a woman medicaments to “cause an abortion.”
See related story:
‘Just being human doesn’t give you a right to live’: Peter Singer sums up pro-abortion philosophy
Why Whales Are People Too (SOURCE: Readers Digest)
The science proves it, but are humans ready to see them as equals? Get ready for a new world order.
Whitehead calls such socializing the “bonding glue” for sperm-whale society.
But we’re also being shown a window into his most astonishing
proposition: Sperm whales have distinct cultures. Each clan, he argues,
is unique in almost every way: feeding, migration patterns, child-care
preferences, rates of reproduction. Sperm whales also speak different
dialects. In addition to their echolocation clicks, they produce unique
sequences of clicks called “codas,” which change from clan to clan—think
of the variations, say, between Sicilian and Venetian—and are likely a
declaration of group identity.
“These aren’t genetic differences,”
says Whitehead. “They’re learned.” What distinguishes whales—along with
chimps, elephants and perhaps some birds—is the fact that the things
they learn persist through time. They seem to be passed down from
generation to generation until they form part of the distinct identity
of the clan.
Whitehead’s evidence adds a whole new
dimension to the way we think about protecting whales. It tells us that
if humans break up a group of sperm whales or killer whales or dolphins,
we are destroying not just individual lives or a population of animals;
we are also destroying a unique dialect, a hunting strategy, a social
tradition—an ancient, living culture. “You have to understand,”
Whitehead says, “until a few hundred thousand years ago most of the
culture was in the ocean. Certainly the most sophisticated cultures on
Earth were whales and dolphins, until the strange bipedal hominid
When Whitehead and his colleague Luke
Rendall published their findings in a 2001 special issue of the
influential journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a few scientific
commentators were critical, calling the claims of culture “weak” and
“overblown.” Others found the evidence convincing, piecing it together
with new research into cetacean cognition that continued through the
It all came to a head this past
February in Vancouver, at the annual meeting of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science—the world’s largest gathering of
scientists—when a small group of
scientists and ethicists presented
what they hoped would be a paradigm-changing proposal to a packed room:
“The Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans.”
“We affirm,” reads the declaration,
“that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and
well-being.” They have the right, the declaration continues, not to be
slaughtered, not to be held in captivity, not to be owned or exploited
or removed from their environment. The declaration sparked national and
international coverage, most of it positive, some critical and some
quizzical. “The important thing,” says one of the authors, Atlanta-based
Emory University neurobiologist Lori Marino, “is that people are taking
The declaration is, of course,
nonbinding, so the real test will be whether the group can get the
project endorsed legally. They hope to bring the declaration before the
UN. As part of another effort, Marino and some of the signatories are
also working with an organization called the Nonhuman Rights Project,
which is preparing to litigate its first cases and break through the
legal wall that currently separates humans from nonhumans. “We want to
argue for whale common-law status—to actually use a dolphin or whale as a
plaintiff,” says Marino. “We think we can find a jurisdiction where a
judge would be open to hearing this. The science is on our side.”
The key claim is that whales and
dolphins are entitled to that privileged human status known as
personhood. “Humans are considered persons because they have a certain
set of characteristics,” says Marino. “They are self-aware, intelligent,
complex, autonomous, cultured and so on. If we accept that
definition—and versions of this are used around the world in
constitutions and other legislation—then the latest science
us that cetaceans also qualify. They are, therefore, nonhuman persons.”
Whales, it seems, are having their
civil-rights moment. But is the science behind the declaration’s claims
sound? And if so, what are the legal and ethical implications of
extending personhood to cetaceans? What would a Cetacean Nation even