(Correspondence) Abortion

Wendell W Watters, May Cohen

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

The statement on abortion sponsored by the Canadian Physicians for Life and Les Medecins du Quebec pour le Respect de la Vie (Can Med Assoc J 1981; 125: 922) is an insult to all physicians who support the position of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) on abortion, including physicians who are members of the Canadian Abortions Rights Action League (CARAL). We categorically reject the charge that we “promote the destruction of the unborn”. The use of the epithet proabortion in reference to either the CMA or the prochoice position is one of many examples of deliberate misrepresentation of the facts surrounding abortion. “Proabortion” applies to those who promote abortion, who favour it as a population control measure; such people live chiefly in India and China. Antichoicers do not recognize this crucial distinction between proabortion and prochoice . . .Are antichoicers now prepared to guarantee that the emotional and physical needs of all unwanted children will be met; to ensure that each one is able to make a life out of the existence that antichoicers would force on it? Hardly. They are interested only in “protecting” the fetus until it is too late for an abortion. They feel no responsibility for the aftermath of compulsory pregnancy for either the mother or the offspring. Their interest is in quantity, not quality of life. . . .These prolife physicians endorse the “moral rights of hospital boards” to protect the “unborn” by depriving women of their legal right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. History teaches us that whenever the rights of institutions are allowed to ride roughshod over the rights of individuals, humanity as a whole suffers. No publicly funded hospital in this country has any moral right to deprive the women it serves of their legal right to an induced abortion. . . .As long as our laws make it possible for antichoice groups to impose their notions of reproductive morality on other Canadians in this arbitrary fashion, we should all blush in referring to Canada as a democracy.

Watters WW, Cohen M. (Correspondence) Abortion. Can Med Assoc J. 1982 Mar 01;126(5):465. Available from:

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