Mark Pickup

May 14, 2012

Some topics keep coming up for discussion. Irrefutable evidence can be presented to settle the issue but it may not be what people want to hear. They may ignore the evidence or decry it.

The question of when life begins is such an example. In late April, member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth put forth a motion to examine when life begins. He calls for a special parliamentary committee to review the federal Criminal Code's definition of when a baby becomes a human being. Canadian law says a baby only becomes a human being at the moment its birth is completed.

I am reminded of a famous line from Charles Dickens' book Oliver Twist: "'If the law supposes that,' said Mr. Bumble . . . 'the law is an ass - an idiot.'"

So it is. The law is based on pro-abortion ideology, not biological evidence which established decades ago that life reproduced sexually begins when sperm fertilizes egg. This is not a matter of taste or opinion, it is biological evidence.

If our nation truly believes in the concept of universal human rights then all human life must be included within that ideal. That's what "universal" means. Human rights begin when human life begins and ends with life's natural conclusion. Anything else is ignorance or sophistry or bigotry.

New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair adamantly opposed Woodworth's motion, or the establishment of a parliamentary committee. Mulcair said the entire New Democratic Party will vote against the motion.

In defending his motion, Woolworth said, "There's a diversity of opinion across Canada on the question of our definition of human being. But what does a parliamentarian do in the face of diversity? Rather than let opinions fester, one should expose them to the light of day."

Some opinions can't be sustained in the light of day. They need the logic of darkness in order to be maintained. The light of biological science, unfiltered by pro-abortion ideology, would quickly establish that life begins at conception and all one has to do is refer to the Carnegie Stages of human development.

The Carnegie Institute at John Hopkins University first described the initial stages of embryonic development back in the early 1900s. Canada's law's stating a human being's life begins at birth is ridiculous. It completely contradicts what we know about prenatal development.

The law is backward and bigoted. It needs to change to finally recognize and include what we know about prenatal life.

Unborn children are not the first group of humanity that has not been recognized as legal persons. Until 1929, Canada's Supreme Court said women were not legal persons. There was a time in North America when aboriginal people were considered non-persons.


In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott decision that black slaves were considered property and not legal persons. During the Third Reich, the personhood and humanity of Jews were questioned. Adolf Hitler said, "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human."

History is scarred with examples of people arbitrarily denying other groups of humanity legal personhood or even recognition as human beings. Now it is unborn children who are systematically denied their humanity and not recognized as legal persons. Prejudice makes civil society uncivilized.

Even if a parliamentary committee were to review the Criminal Code's position that a child only becomes human at the point of birth, it would still have to look at when biological science established when life begins. Too many parliamentarians will not accept the answer.

It would not be the first time a government has examined this important question. In April 1981, the U.S. Congress conducted a series of hearings to answer the question "When does life begin?"


A group of internationally recognized scientists appeared before the committee with a resounding collective statement that conception marks the beginning of a new human being. Fifty-seven witnesses appeared and only one scientist disagreed; his disagreement was based on philosophical, not scientific, grounds.

Did it change anything? No. Corrupt ideology and prejudice prevailed over truth. Millions of children have died across America since 1981. Why should we think it will be different 30 years later in Canada? Are we more open to truth now?

I fear the answer is "no," but pray it might become "yes." Until then, it remains important that God's people continue to proclaim the sanctity and dignity of all human life and prayerfully offer life-affirming alternatives to women considering abortion.