Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's hard to know

where to start with David Warren's bleating complaint in the Ottawa Citizen about the recent Advertising Standards Council decision that an odiously misleading and deceptive Life Canada ad was, well, odiously misleading and deceptive. (I won't even get into the latter part of his screed, where he compares the Life Canada ad with an ad raising awareness of domestic abuse -- by the time I got through it, my head felt like it was full of electric eels.) His beef with the ASC decision revolves around the fact that the Life Canada ad points out that Canada has no abortion law, and so what? But it's apparently anathema to Warren to think that we individuals could be left to our own devices to make personal decisions without the Law to guide us. From the Citizen:
"There are some facts that are so politically incorrect that people will be punished merely for mentioning them. We saw a particularly crisp example of this last week, when Advertising Standards Canada ruled that a billboard advertisement by LifeCanada was "deceptive."

The billboard marked the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada's Morgentaler decision, which removed all legal restrictions on abortion in Canada. The ad stated, in full: "9 months. The length of time an abortion is allowed in Canada. Abortion. Have we gone too far?"" [...]

"There remains one non-statistical "access" argument that should be faced squarely. Many doctors and nurses -- including many who would count themselves as "pro-choice" -- refuse to perform abortions on women in the third trimester. This is because they are morally repelled by an act that not only seems abstractly, but looks physically, indistinguishable from murder.

And yet, as the LifeCanada billboard accurately stated, it is a perfectly legal act. Only at the ambiguous moment of birth does the child magically become a "human being" -- thanks specifically to the Supreme Court's Morgentaler decision of 1988."

"Many doctors and nurses... refuse to perform abortions on women in the third trimester." I'll take that a step further: there's no doctor in Canada who'd abort a viable fetus late-term. Yet this is exactly what the Life Canada ad suggests: that abortion is freely accessed on a regular basis right up until birth, when in fact late-term abortion is an extremely rare practice only done in the most dire situations.

But it's true, there's no law against it, and that's a problem according to the authoritarian model of Running Your Life and Mine. If there's no law, someone might do it. Abortion at 8 and 1/2 months gestation... hell, there's no law against drinking battery acid -- should we have one just in case someone decides to do it? Astonishingly, some would say "Yes".

I wonder where the Warrens of the world get the idea that people are too stupid to run their own lives without the assistance of the law? Maybe it's the company they keep.