Freedom of (hate) speech
The rise of anti-choice activities on Canadian campuses
February 2009, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax. A student spots a poster for a presentation titled “Echoes of the Holocaust” by Jose Ruba of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. This presentation, she learns after further investigation, has nothing to do with remembering the atrocities committed against Jews. Instead, it uses graphic imagery to equate abortion with genocide, implicitly comparing women who have abortions to Nazis.
Deeply offended by the comparison, this student forwards the announcement of the presentation to friends, and news quickly spreads through pro-choice networks. The university administration is barraged with phone calls and emails calling for the event to be shut down on the grounds that it amounts to harassment and is offensive to women, especially those who have had abortions.
The administration declines to intervene, and the event goes ahead. Shortly after the event begins, a group of about 10 women and their allies enter the room, chanting and blocking the projector with the intent of disrupting the presentation. Police are called, and arrests of pro-choice women are prevented only by a timely intervention on the part of a university administrator. The presentation is moved to a church off campus.
As a result of her participation in the protest, one woman is subjected to academic disciplinary measures. A faculty member later confronts Women’s Centre volunteers, accusing them of being guilty of censorship. A flurry of media articles decry the University for giving in to “mob rule” by moving the presentation off campus. University president and vice-chancellor J. Colin Dodds issues an apology to Ruba, expressing his regret at the protesters’ lack of respect for freedom of speech.
These on-campus battles are the new front line of pro-choice activism in Canada. But with anti-choicers setting the terms of debate, how can pro-choice activists respond in a way that best advances women’s struggles for reproductive autonomy?
Twenty-two years after the Morgentaler decision struck down Canadian law restricting women’s access to abortion on the grounds that it violated women’s right to “life, liberty and security of the person,” scenes like the one above are becoming increasingly common on university campuses across the country. A new generation of anti-choice groups is establishing a reputation for itself on Canadian campuses, with increasingly visible tactics that many pro-choice activists call discriminatory, harassing and hateful.
In response, student unions and pro-choice groups have mobilized to prevent anti-choice presentations from taking place on campus and anti-choice groups from gaining club status. These pro-choice mobilizations defending women’s rights have sometimes met with public hostility and been demonized as threatening the civil liberties of anti-choicers. With anti-choicers setting the terms of debate, pro-choice advocates have had to grapple with the utility of confronting these groups head-on and determine how best to support and advance women’s bodily autonomy.
As the activities of organizations like the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) become more common and more publicized, the question of freedom of speech for anti-choice groups on campus will only become a more pressing issue for pro-choice activists. Dealing with the issue will involve developing a greater understanding of the tactics and strategies of anti-choice groups, and working towards greater respect for women’s rights as human rights. Ultimately, however, the challenge for pro-choice students involves not only responding to anti-choice groups, but also reframing this debate – away from one focusing on free speech toward one that centres around ensuring women’s autonomy.
The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform
At the forefront of this controversy is the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, an anti-choice advocacy organization “whose mission is to make abortion unthinkable.” The CCBR’s presentations take place in a variety of settings, but they have concentrated their efforts on university campuses, working closely with anti-choice campus clubs. They are most famous for their Genocide Awareness Project of billboard-sized public displays and the complementary Echoes of the Holocaust presentation, both of which use graphic imagery to compare abortion to such atrocities as the Holocaust and the lynchings of African Americans in the American South.
These presentations and displays have provoked a pro-choice response in a way the activities of other anti-choice groups have not. Pro-choice activists find the activities of the CCBR particularly inflammatory and dangerous because of the extent to which they demonize women who have had, or who support the right to have, abortions. When abortion is equated not only with murder but with genocide, women who have had an abortion are cast as perpetrators of vicious and systematic violence. For women who have had abortions, confronting this portrayal can be an emotionally distressing experience, as it’s intended to be. More importantly, some pro-choice activists fear that the comparison invites, or could fuel, extremist violence against pro-choice organizations and advocates.
Kelly Holloway, who was president of the York University Graduate Students’ Association when the student union voted to block the CCBR from participating in a debate on abortion scheduled to occur in the York student centre, cites protecting women from harassment as her primary concern when dealing with the organization. “The real issue for me is not so much one of freedom of speech, but of the student union’s responsibility to ensure a safe space for students on campus,” says Holloway.
Although the issue has never come before the courts, many pro-choice advocates have suggested that the activities of the CCBR legally constitute hate speech by inciting hatred towards those women who have or support the right to have abortions, and should thus be restricted in order to prevent the harassment of women. Some have even likened anti-choice organizations to white supremacist groups for their inflammatory comparisons designed to stigmatize pro-choice women, as well as for their campaigns to systematically undermine the legal rights of an entire social group.
For groups like the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that have been vocal in protecting the free speech rights of anti-choice groups on campuses, this hate-speech argument does not justify any restriction in civil liberties. In a letter to the Canadian Federation of Students condemning them for supporting student unions that block the formation of anti-choice clubs, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says, “Suffice it to acknowledge that anti-abortion organizations are not remotely similar to the KKK. The arguments against abortion engage the vexing issue of when life and/or personhood begins and the balance between the protection of such ‘persons’ and the autonomy of women. This is certainly a legitimate subject for debate.”
This position has been challenged by many pro-choice advocates who condemn the sexism inherent in the opinion that women’s autonomy is a legitimate subject for debate. However, the Civil Liberties Association’s position is indicative of the opinion of a broad segment of the population – those who may not agree with the anti-choice movement’s goals or tactics, but who nonetheless believe that such groups have the right to express their opinion, on campus and off.
This discussion remains particularly important in the Canadian context, where, in contrast to the United States, the right to free speech is not absolute. If anti-choice activities, like those undertaken by the CCBR in co-operation with anti-choice campus clubs, are deemed to be hateful, this justifies a restriction in civil liberties. Establishing that the activities of such extreme anti-choice activities are hateful has thus been one of the primary goals of student pro-choice advocates.
From the courts to the campus
For many, the battles taking place on Canadian campuses over this issue may amount to nothing more than the typically petty skirmishes of student politics. After all, a woman’s right to have an abortion has been affirmed and upheld by courts, and anti-choice activities on campus do not appear to directly challenge that ruling.
Others, however, see the consistently pro-choice position of Canadian courts as precisely the reason that anti-choice activities have moved on to campuses. “I think in Canada in particular the anti-choice movement hasn’t had a lot of success in the courts or the legislature,” says Hans Rollman, a Ph.D. student in women’s studies at York University whose interest in this issue stemmed from his involvement in curbing the activities of an anti-choice club at Memorial University in Newfoundland. “But one thing that they have been really effective at doing is coming up with messaging that affects the popular discourse, which I think is a really dangerous thing because it will eventually seep into the legislature and the courts.”
The idea that curbing the activities of anti-choice groups amounts to a violation of freedom of speech is one such message that has caught on in the public, and this message has particular traction at universities where academic freedom is paramount. The CCBR’s website affirms the idea that post-secondary educational institutions are the ideal venue for its presentations because they are “the marketplace of ideas,” pointing to another reason that universities have been reluctant to clamp down on anti-choice activities on campus. In an era where universities often act like corporations trying to attract student consumers, it is not surprising that universities are reluctant to take a strong stand that could attract negative media attention or provoke accusations of shutting out freedom of speech.
This remains the case even when a large number of students express their disdain for the anti-choice tactics. Last October, for example, the McGill administration allowed an anti-choice student group to go forward with their plans to host CCBR’s Echoes of the Holocaust presentation, despite a censure by the student union. “The university erred very much on the side of academic freedom” says Sarah Woolf, who was a student union councillor at McGill at the time. When the event was eventually shut down by pro-choice protesters who sang and blocked the projector, resulting in the arrests of two protesters, the university expressed its desire to try to have the event again. “Unfortunately, it seems that the freedom of expression of protesters is not taken as seriously at McGill as hateful speech given by someone who has absolutely nothing to do with the McGill community,” says Woolf.
Part of the difficulty for university administrators is that the line delineating what constitutes hate speech is fuzzy in the Canadian legal system. “Courts are reluctant to rule on hate speech unless it results in violent action, and they’re seeing violence as physical violence, not seeing the other level of violence through words, which can have a huge material effect,” says Rollman. Very few cases of hate speech prosecution have ever been successful in Canada, making it risky for administrations fearing costly legal battles to shut down anti-choice events or groups on these grounds.
“They [the university administration] have admitted that they don’t know where to draw the line in terms of what is freedom of expression and what is hate speech,” says Woolf, referring to the events at McGill.
However, anti-choice groups have been just as unsuccessful in their attempts to argue that their rights to free speech are being violated when anti-choice groups are denied privileges on campus. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has thrown out cases brought against the University of British Columbia-Okanagan Student Union for denying funding to anti-choice groups, ruling that the cases were neither threats to freedom of speech nor to freedom of religion. These decisions have been upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court. The battle took its toll, though: defending the court cases cost the student union $45,000.
Indeed, it is the financial cost of these legal battles that explains most clearly the position that universities have taken with regards to managing anti-choice activities. If their willingness to go to court is any indicator, anti-choice organizations like the CCBR have resources that pro-choice organizations simply don’t, so universities are more likely to act on accusations that it is impeding freedom of speech than that it’s encouraging hate speech.
For Rollman, part of the response to this legal chill lies in uncovering the sources of funding for anti-choice groups so that pro-choice groups have a better handle on exactly who they are dealing with. More fundamentally, though, it requires that courts, univer-
sities, and society as a whole take threats to women’s rights and autonomy more seriously.
“I think there is difficulty gaining traction for the idea that anti-choice groups are engaging in hateful activities in society because the discourse of human rights in our society is still very much dominated by masculine norms,” says Rollman. Until women’s bodily autonomy is respected as much as other human rights, it is unlikely that the CCBR will be successfully charged with promoting hate.
Towards reproductive justice
In response to the recognition that a new, larger frame is needed than free speech versus hate speech, building respect for women’s bodily autonomy on campuses has become the primary goal of pro-choice groups across the country. According to Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, “one potentially good thing about having an anti-choice presence on campus is that it has often galvanized pro-choice students to respond, and they can then bring pro-choice awareness to the campus.”
Pro-choice groups and networks have formed or expanded at a number of universities in response to the activities of anti-choice groups, particularly where more extreme organizations like the CCBR have been active. The danger, however, is that pro-choice activists have sometimes been drawn into, and consumed by, reactionary struggles, focused more on blocking anti-choice groups than on building an analysis rooted in women’s bodily autonomy. While supporting women who have had abortions and protecting women from harassment are the primary goals of the pro-choice response to anti-choice groups on campus, the defensive stance taken by pro-choice students has
limited them in taking a more proactive approach to building support for the issues at hand. Anti-choice groups are using the free speech argument to win the public relations battle, leaving some to wonder if groups like the CCBR are deliberately luring pro-choice activists into an unwinnable war.
Jane Gavin, a graduate student in women’s studies at Saint Mary’s University, is one of the women who have been attempting to move beyond the narrow frame set out by anti-choice groups. Gavin was on the board of directors at the Women’s Centre when the Echoes of the Holocaust presentation took place in Halifax. “One month after my abortion, the hatred and harassment that I personally experienced from the CCBR presentation at my school illuminated the real threat to women’s bodily autonomy. It encouraged me to engage in community-based activism, exposing the barriers to women’s choice.”
Gavin directed the anger provoked by the CCBR and its Genocide Awareness Project into creating space for a more honest discussion of the issues surrounding women’s reproduction. She coordinated a production of Paula Kamen’s play Jane: Abortion and the Underground and a one-day symposium entitled “Trust Women: A Conference on Reproductive Justice,” which highlighted the barriers to women’s reproductive autonomy internationally.
The CCBR’s presentations, which exploit historic atrocities perpetrated against racial and ethnic groups to argue against womens’ right to choose, have also forced many pro-choice activists to consider the role of race in conversations about abortion. Women-of-colour organizations like the U.S.-based SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective have been particularly vocal in their criticism of attempts to equate abortion with genocide. They argue that graphic images of genocide victims are used cynically and opportunistically in a way that dishonours and trivializes the historical persecution and exploitation of blacks in North America, particularly in a context where women of colour face very real struggles for control over their reproduction that are heavily influenced by racial prejudice.
Building a pro-choice response that is grounded in the daily realities of a diversity of women has thus become an important part of efforts to challenge the CCBR’s rhetoric, and has expanded many pro-choice activists’ understanding of the barriers to choice. “I was enraged to learn about the real lack of access for women, which is highly raced and classed across the country, as is particularly evident in the North and Atlantic regions,” says Gavin. “What the CCBR presentation solidified for me personally was a public commitment to reproductive justice and unquestioned advocacy and support for women’s bodily autonomy.”
The adoption of the reproductive justice framework, which applies an anti-oppression analysis to issues of women’s reproductive rights, represents a step forward in responding to anti-choice groups on campus in Canada. Reproductive justice goes beyond simply advocating abortion rights to affirm the rights of women to have or not have children and to recognize the socio-economic factors that can influence access to the full range of reproductive options. A reproductive justice framework involves not only working to ensure legal reproductive rights, but also that women have the ability to make safe and empowered reproductive choices regardless of race, class, ability and geographic location. Activists hope that adopting a reproductive justice framework can open up a discussion of reproductive issues that goes well beyond the terms of debate set by the anti-choice movement.
Such currents have the potential to strengthen the feminist movement as a whole, making it better equipped to deal with the threat to women’s autonomy posed by organizations like the CCBR. Ultimately, the challenge will not be limited to fighting battles within university administrations or the courts, but to building widespread respect for the bodily autonomy of all women. In an atmosphere in which reproductive rights are coming increasingly under attack – two recent examples include 2008’s Unborn Victims of Crime Act and the recent decision by the Canadian government not to include funding for abortion in development aid packages intended to improve maternal health – and struggles for access to abortion services continue nationwide, these student battles are setting important precedents that will undoubtedly extend beyond the campus.
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Wow! I’m astounded that “hate” is used to describe the work that CCBR do. They are full of love and compassion for women (born and unborn) which is why they want to get the TRUTH out there. I have never met a woman who was given all the facts about abortion, or the fetus before she had the abortion. I HAVE met women who were told by the doctors and the clinic staff that their 9 week old fetus had no brain, no arms, no legs, and was no more than “formless tissue”. Then when they do see the images later on, they realize they’ve been lied to and just wish they new the truth about their baby before they decided to have that “formless” blob dismembered in their wombs. The author of this article actually wants to see all discussion and debate ended on the subject of abortion, and it is obvious that they know they can’t win a debate on it now that science is on the unborn babies side. They want to keep abortion off limits to keep the general public uninformed and ignorant to the fact that abortion ends a human life. (how’s that for “human rights”?)
From diana waite on Sep 9th, 2010 at 5:51pm
If you’re so sure you’re right, why not engage the debate and win?
Labelling someone else’s point of view as “Hate” and then trying to shut them down, looks really really weak from the perspective of someone sitting on the fence with the issue.
From Jeff on Sep 9th, 2010 at 6:09pm
You should really use fact checkers at Briar Patch as this statement is quite misleading..
“Twenty-two years after the Morgentaler decision struck down Canadian law restricting women’s access to abortion on the grounds that it violated women’s right to “life, liberty and security of the person,”
In R. V. Morgentaler (1988) there was no recognition of a “right to an abortion.” It only found that the particular abortion regime of therapeutic abortion clinics in the Criminal Code at the time were contrary to the “life, liberty, security of the person” of the women involved. The court, in its judgment, invited Parliament to adopt an anti-abortion statute that would meet this test of “security of the person.” The Morgentaler decision came down on issues of uneven access to the procedure, long delays, etc.., not the actual right to have an abortion.
We did not have a Roe v. Wade moment here and hopefully we don’t. Most Canadians would probably support a law that imposed reasonable restrictions on abortion.
Please stop misleading your readers by not giving them the whole picture of this important judicial ruling!
From Joseph Quesnel on Sep 9th, 2010 at 6:48pm
Joseph is correct about [i]Morgentaler[/i].
… and opposing restrictions on abortion solely on the basis of bodily autonomy is one giant exercise in question-begging.
Which isn’t to say that restrictions on abortion are justified, either. But the argument sucks and doesn’t get at the fundamental concerns the anti-abortion folks have.
No wonder you want to silence them!
From Terrence on Sep 9th, 2010 at 7:21pm
Why do you find CCBR’s GAP presentation offencive? If the baby in the womb is just a clump of cells or tissues as pro choice groups claim and can be killed on a whim by its mother then pro choice groups should be able to prove and show this scientifically and graphically. Why are pro choice groups hiding behind policy and procedure and students unions? Why can’t they argue and fight their own battles? Is the pro choice position so weak that they can not put forth reasonable scientific arguements?
From alloycowboy on Sep 9th, 2010 at 9:04pm
This article never gives a singe quote of this proposed, “hate speech” bing used by CCBR or campus pro-life groups. I have been to many Genocide Awareness events in Calgary and have never heard hate speech against women. I have only learned facts, and convincing logic. I have even seen post-abortive women working at these pro-life events asking women if they would like to talk, and handing out numbers/emails that offer post-abortive women help with their pain.
Can you imagine a pro-choice talk being held on campus except no one gets to hear this pro-choice talk because protesters are deliberately preventing the event from being heard by screaming louder then the presenter? Would this not seem like a group of people unwilling to let any arguments or facts be heard? Why not listen to other peoples ideas and then refute them with intelligent ideas back? And if “hate speech” is actually heard then let the audience know of it.
To Groups trying to stop pro-life efforts:
Why do you treat women like they have not the brain to listen to both sides of the issue on abortion? Why do you treat post-abortive women like they have not the emotional stability to hear ideas of why abortion could be considered genocide? As a women, I am deeply offended that you feel I can not handle discussion or pictures on whether or not I have full autonomy over my womb when another human is growing inside it.
From Denise on Sep 10th, 2010 at 8:35am
Diana: [i]I have never met a woman who was given all the facts about abortion, or the fetus before she had the abortion. [/i]
Then you obviously don’t get out much – or else you have a classic anti-choice view of the “facts”.
[i]I HAVE met women who were told by the doctors and the clinic staff that their 9 week old fetus had no brain, no arms, no legs, and was no more than “formless tissue”.[/i]
At 9 weeks development, an embryo has no brain: cerebral cortext development happens about 15 weeks. The buds that can later become arms and legs have developed, giving the embryo the rough shape of a human – or a frog. That’s the scientific facts.
[i]Then when they do see the images later on, they realize they’ve been lied to and just wish they new the truth about their baby before they decided to have that “formless” blob dismembered in their wombs[/i]
And THERE. That’s the hate. There is no “love” or “compassion” in wanting to lie to women who’ve had an abortion, in wanting to tell them that an embryo that has not yet developed a brain is a “baby” that has been “dismembered”. There’s hatred. There’s contempt for women. That’s what’s revolting to supporters of human rights for all, in the anti-choice “pro-life” movement; the contempt for women.
Jeff; [i]If you’re so sure you’re right, why not engage the debate and win?[/i]
Because the anti-choicers goal isn’t “winning” an academic debate: it’s shutting down healthcare for women.
Harry: [i]How about the choice to use protection? The choice to keep your legs closed? etc, etc. [/i]
And there again, Diane: that’s “pro-life”. That’s the hatred and contempt that men like Harry feel for women that you want loosed on campuses.
From Yonmei on Sep 10th, 2010 at 8:38am
Yonmei: Do you feel at 15 weeks the fetus has rights not to be aborted as due to its stage of development?
From Denise on Sep 10th, 2010 at 9:25am
Yonmei: “The buds that can later become arms and legs have developed, giving the embryo the rough shape of a human – or a frog.”
There you go. 9 weeks. arms, legs, mouth, lips, tongue, fingers, toes, eyes, nose… doesn’t look like a frog… looks like a baby. Looks just like you did at that age, actually.
I’m curious on your stance on killing a newborn.
From diana waite on Sep 10th, 2010 at 3:23pm
I have this hunch that advocates of abortion (when the women chooses it) are not concerned how developed or underdeveloped a human is within the womb. If the embryo had the development milestones of a newborn he or she may still be considered amoral in the pro-choice world view because it is not development that makes the embryo/fetus a moral being, it is simply that fact that they are growing in a womens womb. If the embryo/fetus were growing independent the womens womb then perhaps they may be moral beings whom we can not kill in some pro-choice world views. So what makes a women count as a moral being more then an embryo/fetus? Well we as women are bigger, smarter, louder, more functional then a human in his or her’s first stage of life. In a patriarch we as grown women are on top compared to the embryo. The embryo/fetus uses our body therefore we can choose to dispose of it to have complete autonomy over our body…….but is this philosophy going too far? Could autonomy over ones body that contains a womb come with a responsibility to carry human life to full term? Could pro-choice become the choice to adopt out the being that grew in your womb or raise that being yourself, instead of the choice for abortion? One can see hatred in life because hatred always leads to a culture of death and violence ie, a culture of abortion. A women by herself is never guilty of abortion, society as a whole is guilty for her abortion. To be pro-life is not to hate women, it is to uphold the dignity of women in her spirit and body, a body that magnificently can grow life in her womb.
From Denise on Sep 11th, 2010 at 4:11am
I am strongly pro-choice – in fact I am going out shortly to do clinic escort work at a local clinic, helping patients get past the usual little gang of harassers parked in front of the place. That said, I strongly disagree with the tone of this article. While the CCBR campaigns are offensive, well, so what? That’s the nature of free speech. I don’t like ‘em, but I am not prepared to say they are not allowed to speak or to show their grotesque posters. I am more than happy to meet them in open debate, and publicly demolish their nonsense, especially on campus. Yes, their position threatens women’s basic bodily autonomy; but let’s make that clear in debate, let’s make that clear in our own messaging. To characterize their activities as hate speech may be ideologically useful in some very limited quarters, but it won’t wash with the public.
The CCBR staged a protest in Toronto a few weeks ago, setting up dozens of large posters held up by volunteers at various intersections across the city. You should have seen how much abuse they took from ordinary passersby! Their position is untenable, their tactics self-destructive. Let them speak, let them show their stupid posters – and while they may offend progressives, they are generally offending most people. Good.
When the CCLA says there is a problem with restricting these idiots free speech, we should take that very seriously. I for one would ashamed to find myself doing something I consider deeply unethical, like shutting down anyone else’s freedom to speak. We should be absolutely unafraid to meet them in public forums and blow their magical fantasies about precious little souls in wombs to smithereens. I am confident in the basic tenets of the pro-choice position. I don’t need to shut people up to move forward in the fight to improve access — in fact, the debate itself is a means to increase support for that struggle.
From Nick Van der Graaf on Sep 11th, 2010 at 7:08am
The feminist definition of “hate speech” is really cynical. Any disagreement with feminism is considered “hate speech” because it makes its ideas synonymous with what and who women really are.
Feminists do not speak for me and never will. And they do not speak for millions of Canadian women, and it’s about time that our culture said proclaimed loudly that the “women’s movement” (which is really the “feminist movement”) does not have a monopoly of truth on anything related to women or their experiences.
Most people can understand the idea that you can care about fetal rights and women’s rights, just like you can simultaneously care about the rights of several groups of people. People with common sense can see through the ruse of equating defense of the fetus as some kind of hate speech. The white supremacists were prone to such tactics: treating those who are concerned with Blacks as race traitors. That won them a whole lot of allies now, didn’t it?
From SUZANNE on Sep 11th, 2010 at 11:29am
For the record, there is no ‘freedom of speech’ in Canada. Only freedom of expression, which is a subtle but important difference.
Nonetheless, I know anti-choice advocates who are opposed to CCBR because of its use of holocaust imagery and messaging. How offensive to those who’ve survived the Holocaust to have systemic genocide compared to a woman choosing to end a pregnancy.
I also find it ironic that pro-choice advocates are seen as having weak arguments (or weak characters) for wanting to avoid ‘debates’ when anyone who has ever attended any of these ‘debates’ know that they are completely pointless. Nobody has ever attended one of these events with an open mind, pro-choice or anti-choice. They’re about ‘gotcha!’ comments and hate mongering and do nothing to further the REAL debate…
… Not that a woman’s health should ever be up for debate anyway.
From Simplejewel on Sep 13th, 2010 at 12:05pm
“For the record, there is no ‘freedom of speech’ in Canada. Only freedom of expression, which is a subtle but important difference.”
THANK YOU… for all those who think free speech triumphs over all, move to the united states. In canada, our laws recognize that we are free to express ourselves unless it it is considered hate speech.
I am always confused as to why pro-life and pro-choices discuss the issue like they are arguing the two different sides of the same debate. They are two separate arguments.
Pro-life/pro-death or anti life.. no one is pro death or anti life… its stupid to even think there is anyone that would argue that.
Pro choicers recognize their opposing argument is anti-choice, it is grammatically and axiomatically correct to understand those arguments as different.
Despite the pro-lifers thinking they are right, you are not in Canada. Canada we treasure the autonomy of women over the overly religious fanatics who only have live the so called “good book” when it pleases them, forgetting that the same book claims that only god may judge people, and that jesus died for their sins so that we may not live with the burden of hate. I am personally agnostic.. but your hypocrisy sickens. If you are gonna breach the word of god, read the damn bible in full first.. dont read it selectively.
From Ronnie C on Sep 13th, 2010 at 1:04pm
Actually we do have freedom of speech in that we are allowed to express our opinion through any manner (writing, speaking, etc.).
From the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
© freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
From Sal Rosen on Sep 13th, 2010 at 3:16pm
Freedom of expression in Canada is subject to hate speech laws:
There is no carte blanche to say whatever whenever.
From Ben Rankel on Sep 13th, 2010 at 3:55pm
Even if the people in the debate aren’t going to change their minds on their personal stance on abortion, it is important that the general public, most of whom don’t even know what the abortion laws are in this country, hear both sides and make up their own minds without anyone censoring one side or the other.
From diana waite on Sep 13th, 2010 at 4:01pm
Upteen uses of the label “anti-choice” and pro lifers are the ones trying to frame the debate?
From Defendthosewhocannotdefendthemselves on Sep 13th, 2010 at 7:25pm
It was “Choice Joyce”, aka Pro-choice leader Joyce Arthur who first coined the phrase “Let No Fetus Defeat Us”, which really described the bottom line in all of this.
Why ban debates on abortion? Why try to outlaw pro-life groups on university campuses? Why support the ban and censorship of abortion-related information and statistics? Why declare “that the advocacy work of anti-choice groups is in direct violation of international human rights codes, and the rights of women under our constitution, and it flies in the face of Canada’s current law and policy around abortion.” (See: [url=http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/uvic-speech.shtml]http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/uvic-speech.shtml[/url])?
Desperate to legitimize their support for the removal of democratic rights for those who oppose abortion, the aging pro-choice movement really just wants the fetus to go away. It will ignore scientific reality that shows the humanity of the unborn child, all in the name of its’ pro-choice rhetoric. It will support draconian rules of censorship, in order to stifle informational debate.
So, the real reason they shut down the debates, yelling and screaming so no one will hear and why they support censorship laws, is best summed up by Joyce Arthur herself: “Let No Fetus Defeat Us!”
Plagiarized from: [url=http://stopabortioncensorship.wordpress.com/]http://stopabortioncensorship.wordpress.com/[/url]
From servant on Sep 13th, 2010 at 8:30pm
Watch this to see what science shows of fetal developement: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J0nQq9EjqU&NR=1]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J0nQq9EjqU&NR=1[/url]
Yonmei: You said this, “At 9 weeks development, an embryo has no brain: cerebral cortext development happens about 15 weeks. The buds that can later become arms and legs have developed, giving the embryo the rough shape of a human – or a frog. That’s the scientific facts.”
So I looked up in my embryology text books if you were right, and you are hiding a lot of facts! The fetus at 9 weeks does have arms and legs (look at the pictures). The fetus at 9 weeks have every bio system in place to breath, circulate, eat, excrete as it now fully engages with the placenta. The fetus at 9 weeks heart has formed into chambers, has teeth buds, etc etc. Here is a medical you-tube video of the 9 week fetus from the “Baby center”(a non-biased video made for expecting women): [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J0nQq9EjqU&NR=1]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J0nQq9EjqU&NR=1[/url]
From Denise on Sep 17th, 2010 at 7:21am
You only discuss women’s bodily autonomy. You speak as though that is the only issue here, as though the pro-life side is: “we are against women’s bodily autonomy” and the pro-choice side is: “we are for bodily autonomy”.
The real issue here is what is a human, what is person, and who gets the right to life. That is it. Because if the fetus is not a person, then you don’t need any further justification for legal and unrestricted access to abortion. But if the fetus is a person, then there is no justification good enough for abortion. Talking about women’s bodily autonomy is missing the point. It is making a huge leap in logic. You must first decide what the unborn is.
From Leila on Jan 13th, 2011 at 1:01am