In the May 24 edition, the chairperson of the Smithers Pro-life board, Betty Bandstra, wrote a letter to this paper describing the vandalizing of a pro-life Mother’s Day display. I think destroying this display was unfair and unkind; it was morally and politically mistaken — “politically incorrect,” if you will. To the pro-lifers, I say, I am sorry this hurtful thing happened to you. I hope you can believe that many who oppose your position on abortion would not support such actions.
I am a mother and a grandmother. I am also a “pro-choice” feminist and environmentalist, which is to say, I passionately believe in keeping the abortion option open. This option is important to the well-being of women. Every woman needs to have the power to decide when it is right for her to take on the responsibility of bringing a new baby into the world. Keeping this option open for women is also important for the well-being of children, who deserve to be born to a mother who wants a baby, and is adequately prepared to care for it. Further, this option is important for the Earth, which we humans are overpopulating, often with ill-cared-for children. Too many non-human animals are suffering, or being driven to extinction, by our reckless disregard for the needs of our fellow creatures.
So, given that I am “pro-choice,” why do I think that vandalizing a “pro-life” display was wrong? If people hold convictions with enough passion that they are prepared to put time and energy into attempting to convince others, they deserve to be heard, whether we agree with them or not. I worry much more about people who have no convictions. Our strategy should be to put our differing points of view out in public, not to try to shut down opponents. (After all, we have The Interior News, which does a pretty good job of providing a venue for a wide range of strongly held local opinions.) If we can’t tolerate peaceful dissent we might as well give up on the whole idea of democracy, and embrace some form of totalitarianism.