6 Things You Need to Know about Abortion in Canada
The recent outrage over the Canada Summer Jobs grant program sparked the conversation again on the issue of abortion. As one might expect, emotions run high and sharp words of condemnation are exchanged. In times like these, it’s important to keep informed, so here are 6 things that you need to know about abortion in Canada.
- Abortion claims the lives of about 100,000 pre-born children every year in Canada. If that number doesn’t strike you, perhaps a visual representation might help. 100,000 children per year translates to roughly 274 children per day. That means, while you were sleeping last night, more than 91 pre-born children lost their lives through abortion.
- Most abortions are done for reasons of convenience. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research company that started out as the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the vast majority of abortions are done for socioeconomic reasons and less than 2% due to rape or incest. Though these stats reflect the US population, I see no reason to think things are all that different in Canada.
- Canada has no laws on abortion. It is surprising how few Canadians are aware of this. All laws around abortion were struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada in the R v Morgentaler decision in 1988. Canada is the only Western liberal democracy with no laws on abortion. There are only three other countries with no abortion laws: China, Vietnam, and North Korea. We are not in keeping with international standards on abortion. Our abortion laws (or lack thereof) are more extreme than those of Europe in general.
- Under the Canadian law, a pre-born child is not recognized as a person. In Canada, you are not recognized as a legal entity until you make the full exit from the birth canal. (Even partial exit won’t do, which leaves doors wide open for partial-birth abortion (read “infanticide”).) This creates absurdities, as a 24-week-old premature baby is entitled to the protection of the law, whereas a 39-week-old full-term baby in utero is entitled to no legal protection whatsoever. Of course, it has to be emphasized that legality is not a precondition to human rights. There was a time when women weren’t considered persons under Canadian law. Does that mean it was morally right for men to treat women like properties? Clearly not. All that the law did was to recognize the inherent human value in women. The same is true of the pre-born.
- The Supreme Court of Canada did not grant women a charter right to abortion. Before Canada became a country in 1867, the English law recognized the pre-born and provided full protection when the mother felt the pre-born’s movement for the first time. In 1869, Canada created its own criminal code which prohibited the procurement of abortion. In 1969, under the leadership of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, abortion was legalized in Canada for the first time. A mother was able to get abortion done for medical reasons if she could demonstrate her need to three doctors. In R v Morgentaler in 1988, however, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down this requirement, leaving no laws regulating abortion in Canada. The Supreme Court left it up to the Parliament to then create laws regulating abortion. As The Guardian reports, “[n]one of the seven judges held that there was a constitutional right to abortion on demand. All of the judges acknowledged the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn.” In 1991, an attempt was made and a bill passed through the House of Commons, only to die in the Senate. Since then, the Canadian Parliament has failed to introduce and pass any restrictions on abortion. All this goes to show that Canada has a lack of law around abortion, not that Canada positively granted a charter right to abortion on demand.
- All taxpaying Canadians have blood on their hands. In Canada, abortion is free. Of course, the money has to come from somewhere, and this money is coming from our taxes. Also, shortly after the Trump Administration signed the Mexico City Policy back in, blocking US federal taxpayer dollars from going to overseas organizations that promote or provide abortion, Justin Trudeau announced that the Liberal government in Canada would roll out $650 million over the course of three years “supporting the right of women to get safe and legal abortions.” In British Columbia, as of January 15, 2018, Mifegymiso (aka RU-486), an abortifacient drug, will be available for free (read “funded by taxpayer dollars”). BC is one of the six provinces to do so.
So, what, aside from reading depressing facts, can you do? Here are a few suggestions:
- Pray. For Christians, this is an obvious point. Yet, it’s so easy to become discouraged when we see this court ruling or that failed pro-life legislation. Keep your eyes not on the government. Keep your eyes on God who is bigger than the government.
- Educate yourself in pro-life apologetics. There are some great books to read and videos to watch. I highly recommend The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf and Love Unleashes Life by Stephanie Gray. To learn conversational tactics in general, I recommend Greg Koukl’s book, Tactics. Also, you can look up names like Josh Brahm, Live Action, and Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.
- Tap into resources provided by pro-life organizations like weneedalaw.ca. They will help you write a letter to the editor, contact local representatives, organize a flag display, etc.
- Consider following Right Now. Right Now is a non-partisan political organization that seeks to elect pro-life MPs. The implications of that in a country with no abortion laws is obvious.
Somehow, we have turned what was meant to be the safest place for the pre-born into the most dangerous. In the 10 minutes it took for you to read this article, 2 more children were killed, and we will go to sleep tonight knowing another 91 will be killed. Something must be done, and someone must do it.
Let it start with you and me.
And let it start now.
Steve Kim – Apologetics Canada