Monday, 4 February 2013

Jonathan Kay Still Ignoring Women

As promised, Jonathan Kay responds (sorta) to Carolyn Bennett and his other (ahem) pro-choice critics.
In other words, Ms. Bennett concedes the literal truth of my statement that abortion is “legal” at any point in gestation. But she also argues that I’m “misrepresenting” the situation, because some people will infer from what I’ve written that third-trimester abortion is professionally sanctioned and common, even in cases where there is no medical necessity.

It is completely true that third-trimester abortions are rare in Canada. It’s also true that a pregnant woman who is deep into her third trimester of pregnancy can’t simply walk into a Canadian clinic and immediately receive abortion services without providing some evidence of medical need or fetal abnormality. But it is not true that there is any universal gestational cut-off. . .
He then says that the limit varies from province to province and that the rules 'generally permit wiggle room for doctors'.

Of course they do. Though I'm sure the professionals assessing individual cases wouldn't call it 'wiggle room'. They'd call it, um, 'assessing individual cases'.

Which is precisely why hard rules are a bad idea, or as legal scholars put it: 'hard cases make bad law'.

Almost by definition, a woman in a later stage of pregnancy wanting or needing an abortion is a 'hard case'. And all of them would be different: different health situations, different geographic situations, different economic situations.

Different. Or as the Canadian Medical Association puts it: in 'exceptional circumstances'. (Kay quotes that, by the way.)

He then provides some vague evidence of 'non-medical' abortions citing -- hilariously -- our fave obsessed fetus fetishist, a repeat of his tweet yesterday which I captured in case he realizes what he'd done. (He obviously hasn't heard of the phrase 'reliable source'.)

Even more hilariously, SUZYALLCAPLOCKS's post cites homophobe and professional pearl-clutcher, Margaret Somerville. Kay refers to her as 'a McGill bioethicist', not by name, when a quick search reveals that Frau Doktor S. has recently written at least three columns for the Natty Po. Why so coy about another of your in-house fetus fetishists, Jonathan?

So then he says, in effect, if the medical profession already imposes a limit, why not have a law, as they do in 'civilized' places like Europe? (Doncha love how the Right loves Europe on abortion policy, but hates it on just about every other human rights/workers' rights/women's rights/20th or 21st century policy?)

Here is his actual question.
And so I ask: If some Canadian decision-making body is going to determine when a women is allowed to have an abortion on demand, why is it better that such a body be composed of unelected doctors, rather than elected politicians?
And here we are again, back at the beginning of this particular circle of hell.

Because, Jonathan, barring 'exceptional circumstances', women who 'demand' abortions do NOT want to be pregnant and, again barring 'exceptional circumstances', act promptly to get themselves de-pregnantized.

It is a woman's decision. Not anyone else's, whether elected or unelected.

In those 'exceptional circumstances' where things have gone horribly wrong, it is STILL not the business of anyone but the woman and the professionals she chooses to help her.

To sum up: he concedes that women aren't strolling into abortion clinics in later stages of pregnancy demanding to be set free but continues to insist (from decidedly dodgy evidence) that it does too happen.

What he continues to ignore is that these 'hard cases' are wanted pregnancies gone wrong. And that the system we have to deal with them -- as evolved over the past 25 years -- works just fine.

ADDED: Antonia Zerbisias's debunking of SUZY's 'revelations' from 2009.

3 comments:

deBeauxOs said...

I don't understand why Kay is being so stupid and stubborn about this. Surely the National Post isn't paying him that much money that he's willing to risk his professional creds.

Pathetic, really. A few years ago he wrote a tender, heartfelt response to the film _Brokeback Mountain_ that was beautiful to read.

What a rightwing, patriarchal dickhead he's become; some desperate male mid-life crisis?

Sixth Estate said...

In retrospect it's almost too bad if maybe we conceded enough (I count myself in this) to let Kay claim the debate was really about whether 20 weeks is appropriate, since I'd argue there should be no time limit.

But having said that, this article is just as extraordinary as the last one. Are we really supposed to believe that the real injustice here is that letting medical associations rather than the legislature set professional standards is antidemocratic? Astounding.

Surely the National Post isn't paying him that much money that he's willing to risk his professional creds.

After everything that has happened over the past year, I'm not sure it would be possible for a major newspaper columnist to write ANYTHING that would be seen as risking their professional credibility.

Pseudz said...

Quick Jonathan Kay! Quick; before the stain on your reputation and career sets indelibly. Surely you wouldn't want to hold this pose in the company of those people when history vitrifies your leavings.

"Daddy, what did you do in the Culture Wars?"

"Well, darling daughter, let me man-splain it to you."

Yikes!

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