January 31, 2013

"Investigate some abortions as homicides"? Um, not exactly

I have just read what may very well be the most egregiously slanted writing on an abortion-related news story that I have ever seen—and that's saying something.


The headline on the CBC Web site reads: "Investigate some abortions as homicides, Tory MPs ask RCMP." Similar headlines have been published all over Canada, as Google News indicates, since the original story comes from the Canadian Press.


Here are the salient points from the CBC article:



Three Conservative MPs want the RCMP to investigate any abortions performed after 19 weeks in Canada as possible homicides.


The MPs from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario make the request in a letter on House of Commons letterhead to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson.


In the letter, the MPs say abortions performed at 20 weeks gestation or later breach Section 223a of the Criminal Code. . . . (emphasis added)



A longer version of the story from The Huffington Post includes:


In their letter, the MPs wrote that between 2000 and 2009 there were 491 abortions performed on Canadian women who were pregnant for longer than 19 weeks. They contend that at this stage of gestation, the abortions involved live babies.


"These are vulnerable, innocent children that homicide has been perpetrated on," Vellacott said Thursday from Ottawa.



The comments sections of the various papers make the predictable response the 3 MPs are morons, are trying to bring Canada back to the Stone Age, "My Body My Choice," yada yada yada. Many commenters claim that late-term abortions are illegal. In fact, there is no law whatsoever regulating abortions in Canada: they can be performed at any time, for any reason.


However, the CBC site did something that none of the other news outlets did that I saw: they included a copy of the actual letter. Addressed to RCMP commissioner Richard Paulson, and sent in the names of MPs Maurice Vellacott (using his letterhead), Leon Benoit, and Wladyslaw Lizon, the letter reads, in part:



Recent public reports have revealed the possibility of numerous breaches of the Criminal Code—to be specific, homicides—in Canada which need to be investigated.


These killings appear to have started out as attempted abortions, but the babies were born alive. At the blog, Run With Life, you will learn: "From 2000 to 2009 in Canada, there were 491 abortions, of 20 weeks gestation and greater, that resulted in live births. This means that the aborted child died after it was born. . . .


According to the Criminal Code, a child is considered to be a human being and a person after proceeding fully from the mother's womb, therefore, based on Section 223(2) of the Criminal Code, there should be 491 homicide investigations or prosecutions in connection with these deaths.



Nothing in the CBC's article mentions that the real thrust of Messrs. Vellacott, Benoit, and Lizon's letter is the alleged practice of allowing live human beings to die after they have been born and become a human being (by legal definition) during a failed abortion. Had the abortions been carried out successfully, and the fetuses died, they would have been perfectly legal. As it is, however, if these born human beings were allowed to die through neglect, then there are 491 cases of culpable homicide that ought to be investigated and, if necessary, charges filed.


And yet the CBC set the actual letter side-by-side with the slanted CP story, and never noticed the disconnect between claim and reality. Your tax dollars at work.