“You were asking”

Is it true that the Supreme Court ruled that a woman was not a ‘person’ in the late 1920’s?
E.M. Toronto

Yes, indeed. There is a famous court case, Henrietta Muir Edwards v. Attorney General of Canada which turned the tide. The case involved Section 24 of the British North America Act (The Constitution Act of 1867).

Section 24 said: “The Governor General shall from time to time…summon qualified persons to the Senate…every person so summoned shall become a member of the Senate.” From 1867 until 1930 only men were summoned to be Senators; apparently women were not included as ‘persons.’

Henrietta Muir Edwards challenged this ruling and her suit reached the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court ruled, unanimously, that a woman was not a “person.” However, this was 1929, and there was still at that time a higher court of appeal in Britain. The case was heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and it was Lord Sankey, the Lord Chancellor himself, who gave the judgment for the Committee. They ruled that women were indeed “persons”; and thus as late as 1929 Canadian women gained “personhood.”

In 1991 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, unanimously, that the unborn child is neither a person nor even a human being. This time there was not higher court of appeal.

How can pro-life people justify breaking the law, eg., in Operation Rescue and defying court injunctions? R.B. North Bay

Most of us were brought up to respect the law, and we find it difficult to flout the law, even by trespassing. But there is a law higher than man’s. The people in the Underground Railroad in the U.S.A. who helped escaped slaves, and those who hid Jews in Nazi Occupied Europe broke the state laws but obeyed the higher law and, in doing so, risked fine, prison, and even torture and death.

Could we have obeyed the law in the Fugitive Slave Act in 1793 and handed a terrified slave back to a cruel and vindictive owner? Could we have handed over our Jewish neighbors to the Nazis to be sent to Dachau or Auschwitz? Even if we had lacked the ability or courage to be an agent in rescuing slaves or Jews would we have condemned those who were active for breaking the law? Today it is the preborn child who is ruthlessly killed, and it is the Operation-Rescue types who try to place their bodies and lives between the killer and the victim.

In 1860 a man called John Hossack was fined and sent to prison for helping a fugitive slave. His speech in court would be valid for pro-lifers:

“This law…is so obviously at variance with the law of God…that the path of duty is plain to me. This law so plainly tramples upon divine law that it cannot be binding upon any human being under any circumstances to obey it.”

What is hyper-natremic abortion? Is it new?
J.P. Toronto

The terminology is different, but the method is not new. It is, in fact, a saline or salt-poisoning abortion. A strong salt solution is inserted by needle into the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. The saline solution poisons the baby and burns his skin. About a day later the child is born, usually dead, but occasionally alive. The effects on the skin have been likened to those of napalm.

How many states in the U.S.A. have regulations requiring the parents’ consent for a minor’s abortion?
M.B. Winnipeg

A state-by-state list of laws published about a year ago name 31 states which had legislation requiring that at least one parent or a judge consented to a minor’s abortion. In eight of the 31 states the law was not enforced; in nine states the law had been challenged and was before the courts; the remaining 14 states enforced the law. The recent Casey v. Planned Parenthood judgment of the Supreme Court has upheld the Pennsylvania law and with is most – if not all – of the other laws being challenged. It was interesting to note that three other states had legislation to say that abortionists “must encourage a minor to notify the parents,” and to wonder how effective the law was.

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