Canada Marks 20 Years of Legalized Abortion, Pro-Life Groups Hope for Change

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Marks 20 Years of Legalized Abortion, Pro-Life Groups Hope for Change Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 28,

Ottawa, Canada ( — Canada followed the United States by 15 years in allowing abortions to be done across the nation without any major restrictions. In January 1988, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled Canada’s abortion law was unconstitutional and allowed them to be done with even fewer limits than in the U.S.

In 1967, Canadian justice minister Pierre Trudeau presented a bill to legalize abortion and it became law in 1969.

The high court there eventually issued a ruling on an appeal abortion practitioner Henry Morgentaler filed claiming the law was unconstitutional and that abortion should be allowed without any limits.

National Post columnist Michael Coren said it "would be obscene" to call the occasion an anniversary saying the word "is indelibly linked with celebration, joy and achievement."

Coren looked back on the decision this way:

"It is 20 years since the courts bowed to Henry Morgentaler and his followers and introduced the universal right to abortion in Canada, making this country unique in the democratic world in having no law whatsoever to protect the life of an unborn child at any time during pregnancy."

He called the ruling a decision " based more on legal opinion that reflected political fashion than moral law."

Meanwhile, Peter Ryan, the director of the New Brunswick Right to Life Association, tells that nearly two million unborn children have been killed since the decision was handed down and an untold number of women have been victimized in the process.

"The supporters of abortion will be celebrating today," Ryan said. "There has been much publicity in the media surrounding this anniversary, and there will be more in the next few days."

On the anniversary, Ryan urged pro-life people in Canada to speak up and to let the media know that Canadians are not universally supportive of unlimited abortion.

"Let us mourn this immense loss of life, and pray for a new day to dawn in Canada, when every child will be welcome in life and protected in law," he said.

Looking back at the Morgentaler case, Chief Justice Brian Dickson wrote for the Canada Supreme Court.

"Section 251 (the old abortion law) clearly interferes with a woman’s physical and bodily integrity," he claimed. "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 an infringement of security of the person."

Polling data shows Canadians are pro-abortion but pro-life groups are making inroads with their educational efforts.

A November 2006 poll Environics Research Group conducted for LifeCanada found 31 percent said human life should be protected from conception.

Another 23 percent favored protecting human life after three months of pregnancy, up from 19 percent from the previous survey. Another 10 percent said to protect human life after six months of pregnancy, down from 11 percent, and 30 percent of Canadians say human life shouldn’t be protected until birth, down 3 percent.

In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI criticized Canada for its laws allowing abortion. He said they result in part because numerous pro-abortion Catholic politicians are ignoring their faith and putting their own beliefs ahead of the values of the church.
"In the name of ‘freedom of choice’ [Canada] is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children," the pope said.

He added that laws allowing abortions are the result of "the exclusion of God from the public sphere."

He chided pro-abortion Catholic politicians for yielding to "ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls."

There were 105,154 abortions performed in Canada in 2002, according to Statistics Canada.

Related web sites:
LifeCanada –