Friday, March 07, 2008

Disgraceful Decision to Cancel York University Debate

According to an article in the National Post, a York University student officer cancelled a debate on abortion to be held in the student centre, between Jose Ruba of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform in Calgary and Michael Payton, a member of the York University student group, Freethinkers, Skeptics and Atheists.

The debate was cancelled by Kelly Holloway, president of the York University Graduate Students Association, because "This debate, over whether or not women should be able to have an abortion, is not acceptable in the student centre" and "People in this country have had the debate over abortion. The Supreme Court made a decision, and that's good enough for me…. I think we should accept that the debate is over."

But simply because the Supreme Court has decided one way doesn't end the debate. Courts sometimes overturn their own decisions, and people have the right to debate whether they should. The university, above all places in our society, should be a place where controversial subjects can be examined. Although I'm definitely pro-choice, this was a bad decision by Holloway and York.

2 comments:

Jose Ruba said...

Actually, if and when the debate will be tolerated at York, I will point out that nowhere in any Supreme Court decision did they say that Canadians have no right to talk about abortion.

Instead, each court case on abortion says Parliament has a right to make a law against abortion later in pregnancy. Why? Because they are there to represent the Canadian people's will and can gather relevant data from them. According to Bertha Wilson, who sat on the Court when it brought down the Morgentaler decision (the only Supreme Court justice who believed abortion was a fundamental right) said this:

"The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest in its protection becomes ‘compelling’ should be left to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive submissions on the subject from all the relevant disciplines."

Almost every Supreme Court decision dealing with fetal or abortion rights contained similar language (including the most recent decisions).

It's not just hubris that allows people like Ms. Halloway to say that we can't talk about abortion, it's also the simple truth that she hasn't read the Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion.

Anonymous said...

The debate will be redone today, Tuesday:

Event: Abortion - A Woman's Right or a Moral Wrong?
Day and Time: Tuesday, March 18th at 5:30-7:00pm
Location: Curtis Lecture Hall E, Keele Campus at York University; the
building is by Scott Library

http://www.yorku.ca/yorkweb/maps/keele-webmap-large.html (on the right
hand side, find Curtis Lecture Hall)

Debaters:
Pro-Life: Jose Ruba from Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform
Pro-Choice: Michael Payton from Freethinkers, Skeptics and Atheists Group
at York
Moderator: TBA