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A Short History of Abortion in Canada

abortion

Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction to carry a foetus 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.

Chief Justice, Brian Dickson - 1988.



1892: Parliament enacts the first Criminal Code, which prohibits abortion and the sale, distribution, and advertisement of contraception;

1967: A federal committee considers amendments to the Criminal Code on abortion;

1969: Parliament passes amendments to Section 251 of the Criminal Code, decriminalizing contraception, and allowing some abortions under certain conditions;

1969: Dr. Henry Morgentaler defies section 251 of the Criminal Code and performs abortions in his medical practice in Quebec;

1976: The Quebec government drops all further charges against Morgentaler;

1988: The Supreme Court of Canada strikes down Canada's abortion law as unconstitutional. The law is found to violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Chief Justice, Brian Dickson, wrote: "Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction to carry a foetus 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.";

1989: The Supreme Court of Canada refuses to decide on the claim of Joe Borowski that fetuses have a constitutionally guaranteed right to life, saying his case was moot, due to the abortion law being struck down;

1990: The House of Commons passes Bill C-43 and the legislation is sent to the Senate for approval. In 1991, the bill is narrowly defeated by the Senate in a tie vote. Abortion is now treated like any other medical procedure.

 

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