The Crime of Abortion in Canada

I live in a country where abortion is not a crime but floats in legal limbo. Canada has no law regarding abortion; regulations and access vary from province to province and are prey to the whims of whomever is holding the purse strings. Despite a federal ruling that all provinces must fully fund abortions, Nova Scotia provides limited funding for abortion while New Brunswick provides zip, zero, zilch, thereby breaking the law and thumbing their noses at the Canada Health Act. Nationally we have 151 abortion facilities as opposed to the 197 ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ festering across the Great White North. In Quebec there are 61 abortion facilities, in Prince Edward Island there are none.

As Pedgehog noted in her moving post about Dr. Henry Morgantaler, it was his lengthy legal battle, R. v. Morgantaler that resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada striking down the existing abortion law on January 28, 1988. The existing law was found to violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringed upon a woman’s right to life, liberty and security of person. Chief Justice Brian Dickson wrote:

“Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus a violation of her security of the person.”

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the matter. There have been over 35 anti-choice private member bills introduced in Parliament since 1987. Some of the more notable cases are Tremblay v. Daigle and Borowski v. Canada, both introduced in 1989. [Read more...]