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9

December 2014





The Honourable Brian Gallant,
Premier of New Brunswick
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1

Dear Mr Gallant,
I am writing to urge you to reconsider your decision to repeal restrictions on abortion
access in our province, for the following reasons:
Individual rights and accountability to the public good. Removal of the medically
necessary condition elevates personal rights to the point where the individual becomes
answerable only to him/herself in the act of taking human life. Even if one is convinced that
in the end women must be free to have abortions, it does not follow that this change in
policy is good, or best.
The impoverishment of society. The removal of the medically necessary condition further
opens the door to choices based on an unwillingness to welcome into the world people
with mental or physical handicaps. More remotely, it may open the door to selection based
on sex or race, or on secondary or tertiary characteristics of the unborn, determined by
analysis of genes. Our society is impoverished to the extent that we fail to learn to welcome
people who face challenges and challenge us in important ways. Only on a deeply
impoverished account of the common good can this be regarded as an essentially private
matter and not the concern of civil government.
Ill effects on women. It is often pointed out that to increase the Provinces capacity to take
the lives of the unborn and to improve timeliness of access to this procedure will make it
easier for women to procure abortions. No doubt this is true, but there is another
important aspect to this. It will also make it easier for men and for families to pressure

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pregnant women into doing what they do not wish to do, or to make decisions that often
have profound and longlasting consequences they have not envisioned without adequate
time and opportunity to explore possible consequences and alternatives. What may be
welcomed with relief as a way out or in exceptional cases even as a convenience may bring
with it a bitter harvest. The research is there to show that it often does.
The new life that is lost. We have said nothing about the foetus. The consequences of
abortion for this new life are clear.
The issue of abortion is much more than a matter of individual rights; it bears on our ability
to recognize, respect, and honour our shared humanity wherever it is found. It is my view
that societies and civilizations are better as they cultivate these abilities, and worse as they
fail to do so. One need not be Christian or even religious at all to agree. People of many
different religions or none at all can and do say that these abilities are of central
importance to our life together in civil society. The past century is filled with examples of
struggles to convince people to broaden their power to recognize one anothers essential
humanity, and wars to stop people who refused to recognize others as human and
deserving of respect. Indifference to the mistreatment of human life threatens a key
foundation stone in our common life.
I will be glad to discuss this with you further. There are always possibilities to draw people
together on many sides of these questions to give practical assistance to women in crisis
who want to keep their child.
In closing, I want to assure you of my daily prayers as you lead our province.
Sincerely yours,

David Edwards

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