By Katy Fulfer
In Friday’s Globe and Mail, Preston Manning (CEO of a conservative think-tank in Canada) lamented the Canadian Parliament’s decision to not re-open the definition of legal personhood. Many Canadians viewed the attempt to discuss legal personhood (which currently is granted upon birth) as an attack on abortion rights. (Find Manning’s commentary at the Globe here.)
In contrast, Manning defends proponents of fetal personhood on scientifics grounds: “The reframing of beginning-of-life issues for productive discussion in the public arena involves taking more fully into account the latest findings of genetic science and new advances in medical practice.” Manning goes on to suggest that medical definitions of life should be used as legal definitions of personhood. This seems fundamentally confused. Legal definitions of when life begins are not intended to align with medical definitions–so there’s no surprise that there’s a gap between the law and medicine. Canada can have substantive public policy around assisted reproduction and embryo research (Manning’s interests) without creating a legal structure that would allow women who have miscarried to be charged with the wrongful death of a fetus.
To me, Manning’s references to “mankind” rather than “humankind” indicate that he’s more concerned with ideology than women’s and fetal health.
And here’s something fun (and on point) from the Salt Lake Tribune: