Saturday, Jan 20th, 2018

Pro-life speaker sparks debate

Posted on February 18, 2009 Connor MacEachern, [email protected]


Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform co-founder Jose Ruba (right) took questions last Tuesday after his presentation Echoes of the Holocaust, which compares abortion to genocide. (Connor MacEachern photo)

A fair comparison can be made between abortion and the Holocaust, Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform co-founder Jose “Jojo” Ruba said last Tuesday during his presentation, Echoes of the Holocaust.
      “Abortion is 100 percent evil,” he said when questioned on whether a woman facing the decision to abort a fetus can be likened to a World War II Nazi.
      Ruba visited St. F.X. as part of an Atlantic Canadian tour. Protestors shut down his presentation at Saint Mary’s University Feb. 5, but the event at X ran smoothly.
      A group of about 20 protestors left the presentation in silence when Ruba asserted abortion was wrong.
      During the post-presentation question and answer session, a letter from the protestors was read to the audience.
      “We feel that by drawing the comparison between abortion and the Holocaust, your organization is not only using an important and tragic part of Jewish history for its own agenda, but is targeting, belittling and shaming women,” it read.
      “Reducing the abortion rate requires a range of solutions that center on female sexual autonomy—enhancing women’s health services, ensuring access to safe contraceptives and sexual education, and addressing poverty and violence against women.”
      During his presentation, Ruba said abortion could be compared to genocides such as the Holocaust because of four basic similarities: people were killed based on their abilities or appearances; dehumanizing rhetoric was used; there is a systemic nature to the killing; and there is a massive loss of life.
      “It’s not exactly the same, but there was something there to … show the similarities between these atrocious events,” he said.
      “The comparisons are insensitive if the unborn are not human beings, but the comparisons are inevitable if the unborn are human beings,” he added.
      About 100,000 abortions are performed in Canada each year, with about 2,000 in Nova Scotia.
      Ruba argued life begins at conception, and a fetus should not be discriminated against because of its size, level of development, environment or dependence, an argument first raised in the 1990 Stephen D. Schwarz book A Moral Question of Abortion, often referenced in pro-life literature.
      “If development doesn’t determine our value after birth, why does it determine our value before birth?” Ruba said.
      Ruba debunked a pro-choice argument that compares a fetus to a parasite by saying it mimics the rhetoric Hitler used to dehumanize the Jews.
      After the presentation, he explained the difference between a fetus and a parasite.
      “The natural home for the unborn is in their mother’s womb. The woman’s body is designed to house their off-spring.”
      That doesn’t give women domain over what happens inside the womb, he added.
      St. F.X. biology professor John Buckland-Nicks – who didn’t attend the presentation but whose research areas include mollusc reproduction – said he doesn’t see a difference between a fetus and a parasite.
      “I always refer to them as parasites,” he said.
      An embryo invades the uterus and uses enzymes to attach to and digest the uterine wall, he said.
      “As the placenta develops, the embryo is supported by the mother entirely.”
      “Those are some ideas for why it’s like a separate organism invading the mother,” he said
      A parasitic relationship exists when one organism benefits while the other is harmed, he added.
      St. F.X. student Emma Thompson said she didn’t agree with Ruba’s black-and-white argument.
      “It insulted the intelligence of students,” she said.
      “He ignored rape victims, incest victims.”
      Fellow student Drew Martin challenged Ruba’s stance.
      “You totally neglect perspectives and situations,” he said. “You’re systematically and factually killing choice.”
      President of the St. F.X. Students for Life society Lara Lavelle, who helped organize Ruba’s presentation, said she thought the debate was well-received.
      “I was happy with the response of the talk. It was from both sides.”
      St. F.X. reacted quickly in ensuring the presentation wouldn’t be interrupted, she added.
      “As soon as the SMU debacle went down, St. F.X. communications got in touch with us.”
      Campus police attended the presentation to keep an eye on things, she added.
      Lavelle said she was concerned when she read the title of Ruba’s presentation.
      “I would still not approach the argument this way, but I thought he did a good job of presenting it.”

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