Warwara, Harper, Mercer

Please tell me. What in the current situation appalls you more? Mark Warwara being squashed by Harper for seeking to express his views on sex-selective abortions, Prime Minister Harper for his level of control of the parliamentary caucus and of the civil service, or the following statement by Mark Mercer, chair of the philosophy department of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax?

It’s not for Parliament to voice an opinion on women’s reasons for having abortions, for human fetuses are neither in fact persons nor recognized as such in Canadian law. They are not persons for they have no interests; they lack the self-consciousness necessary for having interests.

Since they lack interests, human fetuses cannot be wronged. They cannot, therefore, be wronged by being discriminated against, not on grounds of sex, not on any grounds.

Warawa’s motion, then, makes no sense. No fetus is wrongfully discriminated against when it is aborted on account of its being female, so sex-selective pregnancy termination involves no wrongful discrimination for Parliament to condemn.

Now this is not to say that the fact that some women in Canada choose to abort fetuses because of their sex is no proper concern of civil society or even of the Canadian government.”

This is objectionable on many grounds. Assuming, arguendo, that fetuses are not yet human, we recognize and extend rights to animals not to be treated cruelly, even if we do not recognize them as humans.

Even accepting the argument that a fetus is not yet human, until birth, fetuses are at least on their way to becoming humans by reason of birth, unless they die for natural or unnatural reasons. Mercer asserts that parliament can declare what is about-to-be-born-human not human and therefore of no status in law. Just imagine attaching such reasoning to Jews, women, blacks. Or yourself. Not being human, they have no interests, and therefore cannot be wronged. Harmed, maybe, killed, certainly, but not wronged. It is a nice distinction, between harm and “wrong”, and the basis of much cruelty and state-sanctioned slaughter.

A seal has no status, and therefore cannot be wronged when it is clubbed to death. The fact that the conscience rebels against the slaughter of fetuses needs to be assuaged by Dr. Mercer, the Mengele of Canadian fetuses.

If the extension and protection of human rights has proceeded historically in western societies from a few, rich, adult white males to all adult white males, thence to women, thence to outsiders, slaves and children, what logical or moral principle is to prevent such rights on any grounds from being extended to what would become a human but for abortion or death in delivery?

I do not argue here that fetuses are human from conception, only because I think, even on Mark Mercer’s deplorable  premises, an Act of Parliament could extend human rights to a fetus in the same manner as they have been extended to other classes, ages, races and sexes in western societies.

But if fetuses are human from conception, then Mercer is an proponent of murdering them on an industrial basis. I do not think it is necessary to adopt the full Roman Catholic position on abortion, however, to find Professor Mercer’s doctrines odious. The snot we blow from our noses is not of the same moral status as a fetus, and all of Dr. Mercer’s doctrines cannot make them so.

So which is more appalling, readers, Warwara’s suppression, Harper’s suppressing, or Mercer’s appalling doctrines?