Getting through the day, one cup at a time.

A Whole Can of Worms

on April 25, 2012

Abortion rights are at the centre of a debate set for Thursday as MPs consider whether to hold a special committee to look at when human life begins.

Stephen Woodworth, a Conservative MP from Kitchener, Ont., introduced a private member’s motion calling for the committee. Woodworth says current Canadian law says human life begins when a child has fully emerged from the mother’s birth canal, which is based on a 400-year-old definition imported from Britain.

The motion isn’t binding, but allows MPs to spend two hours discussing the need — or lack thereof — for a committee to examine the question of when life begins.

When he announced the motion, Woodworth had argued he was simply interested in updating the law to agree with 21st-century medicine. But speaking to Radio-Canada on Monday, he admitted his motion is linked to abortion.

via MPs to consider debate on when human life begins – Canada – CBC News.


I read this article on CBC and was concerned. Immediately. Abortion debate aside, if we can finally decide whenhuman life begins, I worry for women who wish to have a natural childbirth. Any woman who refuses the treatment that her doctor offers her; women who choose to birth at home; women who want to try for a multiple birth vaginally. I am concerned that any woman who decides to birth her children in a way that is different from whatever is considered ‘the safest, medical practise’ at the time, could be charged with some sort of negligence, endagerment to human life, or (God forbid) manslaughter or murder if a complication arises during delivery.

Maybe I’m just panicking too much about this, but sometimes labour becomes complicated, and sometimes babies get injured, sick, or die during their birth. Would legally saying that human life began while in the womb open the door for charges to be laid against these women? Against these mothers who are already suffering from their misfortunes? Would this be opening the door for every woman to be given all sorts of medical interventions against her will, and laying criminal blame against her if she chooses not to? Scheduled deliveries, all c-sections to eliminate the risk of an out of hospital birth?

This seems like a Pandora’s Box to me…



8 responses to “A Whole Can of Worms

  1. sillyliss says:

    It does sound like a Pandora’s box. This whole argument about “best medical practice” could be taken further and further and further. Is a parent responsible for a child who has complications to the chicken pox because they chose not to do the optional vaccination? Etc.

  2. What a horrible world that would be. I’m a natural home-birth mama in every sense and wouldn’t have it any other way. If any sort of birth plan were forced on me, I’d feel so violated and enraged. I don’t think it would ever come to that, though. I sense a change in women’s approach to childbirth. There’s a movement toward taking control over decision-making and no longer trusting doctors always to know the ‘best’ thing. No matter how that fetus is defined prior to birth, the mom still carries it and can wield control if she insists. Hopefully that never changes.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’ll be honest here, I’ve always considered a fetus/embryo a human since the moment of conception. Egg + Sperm = Person. But I wouldn’t want that definition in place if it was going to shift more power in favour of doctors. I believe that every mother should be given the rights to her birth and pregnancy. Some medical procedures are stressful, unnecessary, and even (in my opinion) unsafe; making them a required practise in birth…sheesh…that would be terrible.

  3. Aunt Jodi says:

    😦 this is sad and scary at the same time. I’m worried for the sake of society *sigh*

    • I’m worried. Knowing Canada’s MPs, they’ll probably just debate it for two hours and then shelf the issue for another ten years. I don’t think that this matter will ever be fully resolved due to the sensitive and complicated nature of it.

      • Aunt Jodi says:

        I worry that IF it is resolved, they’ll come up with something ridiculous like the baby’s life begins at the moment of conception…. Then the government will feel like it should be involved with my sex life should I choose to have a child… And what if I get ‘oops’ pregnant? Then is it negligence if I have a drink or don’t eat well even if I didn’t know I was prego? ugh.

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