Abortion Legal in Quebec

But keep in mind that access to abortion can become more difficult if you are well into your pregnancy. Morgentaler, in turn, appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In a landmark decision in 1988, the Supreme Court declared the country`s entire abortion law unconstitutional: R. v. Morgentaler. [10] In a 5:2 decision, the Court found that section 251 of the Criminal Code has no force or effect because it violates section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 7 states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived of it, except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” The Court also held that the offence could not be justified under Article 1 of the Charter, which in certain cases allows a government to provide sufficient justification for an offence. Dr. Henry Morgentaler was widely regarded as the only person to embody the Canadian abortion rights movement, but organizations such as the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (RACA), Canadians for Choice and the Pro Choice Action Network have also made significant contributions to the promotion of the abortion rights movement in Canada. CARAL was dissolved and replaced by the Canadian Coalition for Abortion Rights, which focuses on the above goals. Feminist or pro-feminist organizations also help promote the abortion rights approach. Surgical and non-invasive medical abortions in Canada are available upon request for any reason, are confidential for all ages, and are funded by Medicare; for individuals covered by provincial or territorial medical plans (depending on the province or territory, this always includes Canadian citizens and permanent residents, but may vary depending on the participation of students, workers and protected persons or international refugee claimants).

For those who are not covered by a medical plan (for example, Americans in states that ban abortion after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women`s Health Organization decision), the federal government has committed to receiving abortions in Canada without restriction. However, it depends on their ability to pay the travel expenses and procedure themselves. [67] In Morgentaler, the majority of the Tribunal did not consider it necessary to consider whether there was a substantive right to abortion under section 7. Wilson J. held that such a right existed, but the other majority made their decision for procedural reasons related to the shortcomings of the comitology procedure. The movement to liberalize Canada`s abortion laws began in the 1960s. Former Chief Coroner of Ontario, Morton Shulman, recalls that in the sixties, abortion could be performed legally just to save the woman`s life, so there were virtually no legal abortions. He explained that pregnant daughters of the rich were sent to reliable doctors who performed abortions for money. He estimated that these doctors performed twenty to thirty abortions a week.

Women who were not rich had to abort on themselves or go see what he called a “nurse” doctor. Their method often involved pumping lysol into the woman`s uterus. The mortality rate was high and the infection rate was over 50%. He added: “When I became Chief Coroner, I had the unpleasant experience of seeing the bodies of a few dozen young women who died as a result of these amateur abortions.” [24] Planned Parenthood`s Canadian subsidiary, now known as the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, is also in favor of abortion rights and, although it refers pregnant women to abortion providers, it has no history (unlike its U.S. counterpart) of involvement in widespread litigation in favor of legalized abortion. In 1975, an Abortion Act Enforcement Committee was appointed “to conduct a study to determine whether the Criminal Code procedure for obtaining therapeutic abortions across Canada was functioning fairly” and to make recommendations “on the application of this Law and not recommendations on the underlying policy.” The committee, known as the Badgley Committee after its chairman, Dr. Robin F. Badgley,[31] reported in January 1977. It simply stated that “the procedures established for the implementation of the abortion law do not work fairly across Canada.” This was largely because the intent of the law was neither clear nor agreed. Access to abortion, as provided for in the Penal Code, is not accessible to many women because of differences in the distribution of hospitals and doctors and the question of whether therapeutic abortion committees are established, as well as in doctors` interpretation of “health” for women, the age of consent and parental notification obligations.

The report recommended better family planning to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, but their main conclusion was that abortion services were not provided as required. [32] Although the issue of abortion rights has occasionally emerged as a thorny issue in federal elections, the issue is still considered a low priority for most Canadians.