I want to believe that I live in a country where, if I should get pregnant (which, I might add, is against my expectations and personal preferences), my very personhood will not be stripped from me in favour of the personhood of the potential person in my womb.
I want to believe that if this hypothetical pregnancy became dangerous to my health, whether the danger was physical or mental in nature, I would have the option of terminating it in order to save myself.
I want to believe that as long as I reside in this country, I will live in a country in which I retain the right to make my own decisions about what happens to my own body. I want to believe that I will not be reduced to the status of incubator, with no rights over my own self, just because a sperm has fused with an egg.
I want to believe that birth control will not be outlawed in my lifetime, and that the ridiculous (and extremely unscientific) arguments that we've heard in the States about birth control being entirely abortifacent in its nature will not make their way into Canada.
I want to believe that my body's ability to produce life will never be valued more than my own life.
Most of all, I want to believe that in Canada, in the year 2012, we are not seriously going to "re-open the abortion debate," which so far has consisted of little but big-C-and-small-c conservatives' opinion that abortion is evil, never necessary, and something that must be stopped at ALL costs—costs that, in places where abortion is banned, frequently include women's lives.
I want to believe, but I can't.
Not since the allegedly-honourable Stephen Woodworth, MP for the riding of Kitchener Central, was permitted to introduce Motion 312, the purpose of which is to give full personhood to a fetus yet in utero. This, predictably, poses a risk to women who are now pregnant, and who will be pregnant in the future. And not just to the ones who want abortions, either; in places where fetuses have been given full personhood rights, women have been prosecuted for things from refusing a C-section to having a stillbirth. Early last year, Georgia state representative Bobby Franklin presented a bill that would even have made it illegal (on pain of death) for pregnant women to experience a miscarriage.
Think of that for a moment.
Lest you think that I'm one of those straw feminists who are so often concocted by conservatives of either "C" who are supposedly out baying for the blood of innocent children and who want every baby to be aborted and who use abortion as a form of birth control—I'm not. I've never even met anyone who was. I love kids. I work with kids. At one point in my life, I did want to have one or two children of my own, before I realized that the choice would be highly undesirable for some very good reasons, including genetics (to put it briefly, I'm fine, but there's a fair chance that my offspring wouldn't be) and personality.
But, you know, even if I wanted to have a family of Weasley proportions, and even though I personally wouldn't have an abortion unless my life was at stake if I didn't, I still wouldn't welcome Motion 312, or any other laws meant to bestow full personhood on fetuses, because I do not want to lose my own personhood—which is what would eventually happen. Not immediately, perhaps, but the way would be paved. Once you grant personhood to a fetus, their life will be held to have more value than the person in whose womb they are growing. We've seen it before. (For more information on the cases cited in the linked video, click here.)
And we'll see it again.
I want to believe that Canada isn't going to go down this same dangerously slippery slope as so many places in the United States have been. Because if we are, then my beloved home is going to become a very dangerous place to have a uterus.