Friday, July 23, 2010

Medical Controversy: Change Can Take a While

There's something powerful about time. What is controversial for one generation is no big deal for the next. Attitudes and perspectives change. Even strongly held beliefs can find themselves weaker over time.

I once heard the argument that the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had done more to solve the problem of Quebec Nationalism by changing immigration laws than by any other means. Changing the laws allowed for a flood of immigrants to Canada from all over the world. Those who came in to Quebec learned to speak French and became Canadian citizens. They were new Quebecers who had no emotional attachment to the historic divide between French and English. They were Canadians first and Quebecers second. For them the Plains of Abraham was just a historic battle. By the time the second referendum came around there were just enough of these new Canadians in Quebec to ensure that Quebec would stay as part of Canada. A change to immigration laws helped keep Canada together years later. As the leader of the separatist movement at the time Jacques Parizeau said in his speech after losing the referendum "It's true we have been defeated, but basically by what? By money and the ethnic vote." (video). Ethnics referred to all those new Quebecers from around the world.

There is power behind those that are willing to take the long view and move towards a goal even if it takes years. Nationalist views are some of the most deeply held and yet even those can be slowly eroded and weakened. What if the same is true with other deeply held beliefs?

Could the changing of the generations and slow change towards a long term goal change the view and position of abortion in America? The New Abortion Providers in the New York Times explains how some people are trying to make this long term change happen.

It will be interesting to see what happens over time. Will attitudes change because there are more doctors and hospitals that perform abortions? Will it change because over time Roe v. Wade becomes part of the landscape? Will it become as accepted generations from now as a part of medical care as it is in other places around the world? Or will all the endeavours and time still leave America as divided as it is now over the issue?


Lene Andersen said...

I'm just gonna sit back and watch the flame war erupt...

David G said...

Don't worry. I think we're safe for now. Both sides are biding their time and looking towards the long fight. Not for an immediate skirmish.