One of the most frequently repeated canards of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”

Dr. R.L. Walley is the founder and executive director of MaterCare International (MCI), an organization that was founded in 1995, to “breathe life back into obstetrics, thus, maternal health care.” The organization is a global network of obstetricians, gynaecologists, midwives and general practitioners who are dedicated to addressing and reducing the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity throughout the world.

On the night of February 15th 2007, an excited Roxanne Fernando left her home with her mother's blessing and got into her boyfriend's car. Armed with gifts of chocolate, perfume and a teddy bear, she had no reason to believe that he had already plotted to savagely take her life that evening. The reason for the attack was that Roxanne was pregnant, had with-stood to his pressure to abort their baby and was seeking to continue a relationship with the father of her child.

Humans are notably inconsistent beings, which may account for the contradictory attitudes we currently see to the phenomenon of suicide. On the one hand, every effort is made to prevent people taking their own lives; there are safety barriers on bridges, crisis hotlines, suicide prevention programmes in schools. At the same time there are organised campaigns for assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia to be sanctioned by law. According to euthanasia advocates, we have the right to end our lives, and as autonomous individuals, each one should choose whether to live or die. There are people, it’s true, who think that autonomy and choice are too good to be wasted on just anyone. Someone commenting on a National Post blog recently insisted that “a 90 year old suffering dementia who is also blind, deaf and unable to walk is no longer a person.” The implication is that the infirm can have the time of their death chosen for them—by someone else of course.

Early this September, the long-promised Select Committee on Dying with Dignity, mandated by Quebec's National Assembly set out across the province to interview ordinary citizens about their views on euthanasia and assisted suicide. Hearings were held for a week in Montreal before the group left for a tour of eight regions within the province. Media reports indicate that the response has been swift and plentiful.