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LETTER: Speech has never been "free" – but owned by the powerful


Jessica Koopmans’ defence of free speech is, as is that of the Alberta Court of Appeal Justice’s, commendable, even noble, but it is inappropriate in the context of women’s rights. There are numerous issues, the challenge to which under the banner of "free speech” is strictly verboten, and anyone of any intellectual scope or curiosity knows that perfectly well.

One subject I’ll hazard as example, in spite of its blatant political incorrectness, is organ “harvesting”. The Undead by Dick Teresi claims that organs are removed for “freshness” even before the donor is actually dead – if a beating heart is any indication of life. Teresi claims this is usual procedure and almost universal. Would a militant group armed with gory photographs have the “right” to camp on U of A property as a protest against this situation? Would the law and courts defend it as “free speech"?

Right now, Julian Assange is being martyred, his physical and mental health threatened as the state's response in his exercise of his right to disclose the dishonesty and brutality of the U.S. political system, in this case the DNC’s treatment of Bernie Sanders in the primaries of the last U.S. election: Edward Snowden had to escape the country and his roots to avoid the same fate: where is Koopman's and letter on the subject and that of others of her camp? Under the “reasonable" Obama presidency eight whistleblowers in the interests of free speech were prosecuted and jailed, while only ten have been since the Espionage Act of 1917 was enacted –  which seems to show a definite tendency against legitimate free speech. Or is the gist of her argument that fighting against women’s reproductive rights is conducive of rights for whistleblowers? Yeah, very likely.

The issue isn’t free speech but equal speech, and it is anything but equal. Powerful institutions and organizations like the Catholic Church and their brain-washed acolytes have set themselves against women’s rights, but women don’t have equal representation in law, as the Epstein case ably demonstrates. It is a biased and undemocratic field for women, and ludicrous to make a free speech issue of their further marginalization in the important area of reproductive rights.

Obfuscation as the rule is apparent in Hank Peters’ letter defending anti-abortionist displays. He dismissively claims, for instance. that less than 1.5 percent of all abortions are the result of rape or incest. But in 2017, 1.5 percent of all abortions represents 1410 a year across Canada alone, the total figure being, 94,030, not including that of non-citizens: in ten years that amounts to 14,100. Not a small number of women who might well be directly and personally (as opposed to routinely) traumatized by posters of aborted fetuses, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, the trend is to somewhat fewer abortions, but that is most likely due to the “morning after” pill, a grave ”sin” in the view of the RC church.  Restrictions on abortion will cause many more later-term abortions – a circular argument against abortion seeing as the the anti-abortionists themselves engender it.

Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert