Calgary Herald, Sept 20 2011: Re: “A baby’s life must be worth more than this,” Susan Martinuk, Opinion, Sept. 16.
I hope this piece on Katrina Effert and the events surrounding her case raise a debate in Canada about abortion laws. Martinuk, along with many Canadians, is shocked and horrified that Effert will be minimally punished for murdering her newborn child. Yet, Martinuk makes an interesting point. If Effert had merely gone to an abortion clinic a week earlier, she wouldn’t be facing any sort of punishment at all.
So, what fundamental things change in the instant a child exits the womb that make ending that newborn child’s life illegal? Nothing changes. The child is a human person from the time of conception, when his or her genetic code is distinct and unique, just as it is a human person with a beating heart at three weeks and a human person with every organ and limb wonderfully formed at eight weeks.
Yet, it is legal for women to abort their children up until birth. It is shocking and horrifying that Effert’s charge for murdering her son was downgraded. But it is also shocking and horrifying that this same thing is legal across Canada, so long as the child is still in the womb.
Heidi Vanderveen, Chestermere