Canada: Pre-born Human Rights Policy Report

By Mike Schouten, Director, We Need a Law

We Need a Law is a pro-life campaign directed and overseen by ARPA Canada. ARPA Canada regularly writes policy documents for federal and provincial officials as part of their Respectfully Submitted series. Their most recent report was written by us at We Need a Law! This report updates their old pro-life policy report with the specific initiatives we focus on through We Need a Law. The recommendations chart a path forward for Members of Parliament to protect pre-born children in a country where there is little appetite for a full ban abortion.

Background

  • From 1892-1969, all abortions were illegal in Canada.
  • In 1969, abortions were permitted for health reasons if a panel of three physicians agreed it was justified.
  • In 1988, the restrictions on abortion in the Criminal Code were struck down completely. The Supreme Court did not find a constitutional right to abortion, and left the making of a new law up to Parliament.
  • In 1990, a bill which would have implemented a less restrictive abortion law was introduced into Parliament. That law, however, was defeated on a tied vote in the Senate, and the issue of abortion has never been meaningfully revisited by Parliament.

Recognizing that most Canadians are not currently receptive to a full ban on abortion, our recommendations in this report focus on specific policies that most Canadians would support. Political leaders too often get caught in divisive abortion politics where everyone loses. We need to take steps to have these conversations in a way that finds common ground, while never wavering on our commitment to defending the full humanity of the pre-born child.

If political leaders bring forward specific, narrow policies, they can also narrow their talking points and focus on meaningful discussion. Our three federal issues of focus are:

  • sex-selective abortion law, which would ban abortion for the reason of sex selection and so honour our commitment to equality of the sexes.
  • pre-born victims of crime law, which calls on our justice system to recognize pre-born children as victims when they are killed with their mothers as a result of violent crime.
  • An international standards law, which would bring Canada in line with other democratic countries by banning abortion after the first trimester and introducing a waiting period and counseling requirement for women seeking an abortion.

Canada has gone without an abortion law for more than three decades. Millions of Canadian babies have lost their lives to abortion, and Canadian society has accepted the killing of pre-born children as a necessity of equality. It is up to us to continue speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We need to continue promoting legislation that recognizes and protects human life in the womb.

We encourage you to read the full policy report on pre-born human rights and share it with your MP, asking them to take action on one of the initiatives outlined in the recommendations.