Peter Baklinski

Canadian judge who struck down assisted suicide law was pro-abortion feminist activist

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
Image

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Last week, Justice Lynn Smith issued a decision striking down Canada’s law that prohibits assisted suicide as “unconstitutional.” What many do not know is that Justice Smith has a history of advocating for an anti-life agenda that long precedes her career in the judiciary.

Cecilia Forsyth, national president of REAL Women of Canada, says that given her background, Justice Smith’s decision is “not surprising”.

“She formerly held the position of President of the legal arm of the feminist organization, The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF),” Forsyth pointed out in a press release two days ago. “Entirely consistent with her liberal ideology, she struck down the restraints placed on the protection of the lives of vulnerable patients.”

Smith’s “liberal ideology” can be traced back at least 20 years. In 1991, she intervened in a Supreme Court of Canada appeal as the lead attorney for LEAF on behalf of two midwives who were convicted in a lower court of “criminal negligence” for their part in the death of a baby that died during delivery.

The case naturally raised the issue of the legal status of the unborn baby.

At that time, Smith successfully argued that a “foetus is not a ‘person’” within the meaning of the Criminal Code on the basis that “such a result would be inconsistent with the goal of sexual equality in the law.”

In her defense Smith argued that the midwives only harmed the mother, who survived, and not the baby, since “the fetus cannot be treated as legally autonomous from her as it is ‘in and of the mother’ until fully born.”

The attitude of pro-abortion Canadians, which is encapsulated in the oft-heard feministic refrain “my body, my choice”, is rooted in arguments such as the one advanced by Smith in this case.

“The legal status of the feotus—even of a full-term feotus—cannot be addressed without addressing the legal status of the woman in whose body it is,” Smith argued.

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

Smith urged the Court that to “enhance women’s equality (rather than further entrench their inequality)” the Criminal Code must be interpreted so that “the status of the foetus is not considered apart from the woman who carries it.”

“[T]he feotus is not a ‘person’ within the meaning of section 203 of the Criminal Code, or any other kind of entity separate from the woman in whose body it is,” she said.

The Supreme Court followed Smith’s logic and ruled that an unborn baby is not a person for the purposes of the Criminal Code. The midwives were acquitted of the charge.

Opponents of assisted suicide, such as Alex Schadenberg from the Euthanasia Prevention Collation, point out that just as Smith’s focus on women’s rights blinded her to the humanity of the unborn baby, her focus on the autonomy of the individual has blinded her to the injustice of assisted suicide, which ultimately amounts to legalized murder.

“Remove the euphemism and assisted suicide is homicide,” wrote Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno on Monday. “Justifiable? B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lynn Smith thinks so, with an alarming landmark interpretation of the Canadian Charter that would allow the extinguishing of lives.”

DiManno lambasted Smith’s manipulation of Section 7 of the Charter — the right to life, liberty and security — that allowed her to arrive at the pro-death verdict.

“It is radical inside-out rationalizing to turn right to life into right to death, with a tortured reading of the Charter to bless approval of murder in some circumstances,” said DiManno

“The judge may be an exceptionally wise person with a brilliant legal mind, but she displayed a shockingly poor grasp of some basic premises when challenging a government lawyer’s argument that life is sacrosanct and the state cannot condone the taking of a life. ‘But (the state) sends young men off to war,’ Justice Smith countered. That is an absurd analogy, seriously undermining Smith’s tall forehead bona fides.”

Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, accused Justice Smith of using “double-speak” to arrive at her verdict.

“The opinion is … written in double-speak, which means to say one thing and to mean another, sometimes the opposite,” Dore said. “Most centrally, the opinion bases the plaintiff’s ‘right to die’ on her ‘right to life’ in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These are opposite concepts.”

Cecilia Forsyth of REAL Women of Canada believes that Justice Smith has been “blinded by her ideological beliefs” and that she has “obviously either been unwilling or unable to grasp the long-range ramifications of her decision.”

Forsyth predicts a grim future, if the ruling is not overturned, where premature death will become the only visible horizon for the elderly and infirm.

“With the legalization of assisted suicide, patients will be made extremely vulnerable if they guiltily try to hold onto their lives despite concerns about their family. Our aging population, coupled with our already failing health care system, will only exacerbate the problems of gravely ill individuals.”

Dr. Will Johnston, chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Collation in British Columbia agrees with Forsyth’s concerns.

“Most elder abuse is hidden from view - and if we can’t detect the abuse now, how are we going to do it when the stakes are raised?” he said.

“I have seen how easily influenced older people can be, and how inadequate are our national strategies against suicide. The present decision, which should be immediately appealed and corrected, is a huge step backwards, a blow to public safety, and would force changes in public policy which would do more harm than good.” 

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is calling on Canadians to urge Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to launch an appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeals.

Contact Information:

The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

E-mail: mcu@justice.gc.ca.

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

,

He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

,

German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook