Commentary | Don’t do what you deplore

Re: “Speakers share abortion experiences” | News | September 28

Thank you for your fair and balanced coverage of the September 24 event hosted by Choose Life, “Silent No More.” I was particularly struck by the comments you quoted from one unnamed protester, who said, “Whether [individuals] are made to feel ashamed [about having an abortion] for a minute or for the rest of the year, it’s not okay,” a sentiment echoed a little further on by Erika Pierre who found the event manipulative. This is a curious standard to apply in a university setting; the reasoned discussion of almost any sensitive topic is bound to make someone feel uncomfortable, but this cannot shut down the discussion.

I had to make a difficult decision about a grueling round of chemotherapy for my late mother, a decision I very frequently wonder about and often regret; does that mean my personal, private, sincere anxiety trumps everyone else’s right to discuss, or even to allude to, the merits or morality of chemotherapy? Of course not. Part of being an adult human is living with the consequences of our decisions, and facing the reality that decisions can be hard, and they can be questionable, and they can certainly be the object of intelligent inquiry. The leadership of Choose Life has made it abundantly clear that they have no desire to make anyone feel bad for the sake of making them feel bad; they simply want to raise legitimate questions about a topic that is by all appearances taboo in Canada. If the civil exploration of this utterly vital problem makes anyone feel sorrow or shame, that is genuinely unfortunate, but it is no reason to pretend that the debate isn’t there; still less to muffle that debate.

Rise to the occasion; if you are convinced that the pro-life case hasn’t a leg to stand on, be bold and prove it. Don’t exploit wounded feelings to try to shame the pro-life voice off campus – for in that case, who’s really being manipulative?

Richard Bernier
PhD IV Religious Studies


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