- What is the current law in Canada?
- What is the pro-life position?
- Is the pro-life position sound?
- How are abortions performed?
- How many abortions are performed in Canada?
- Do the unborn feel pain?
- Are sex-selection abortions procured in Canada?
A. What is the current law in Canada?
Before 1969 the law permitted abortion only when necessary to save the life of the mother. The law was amended on May 14, 1969 under the Trudeau government to allow abortion in cases where “the continuation of pregnancy… would be likely to endanger the life or health of the mother.” The word “health” was not defined. Abortions were to be performed in accredited hospitals with the approval of a therapeutic abortion committee of three doctors. On January 28, 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the 1969 law on the basis of “unequal access” to Therapeutic Abortion Committees across Canada.
So Canada is, in fact, one of the only countries in the world currently without an abortion law at all! Parliament has failed to respond to the Supreme Court Mandate to draft new legislation.
Abortion is therefore available on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy up to the moment of delivery for any reason or no reason at all including sex selection, possible genetic defects, and as a simple back up to failed contraception.
The Criminal Code Book of Canada states:
“A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not
a) it has breathed;
b) it has independent circulation; or
c) the navel string is severed.”
Criminal Code Book of Canada R.S., cC-34, s.205
For more details on abortion law in Canada, see the article by NCLN President Dan Santoro:
A Short Summary of the Criminal Law Surrounding Abortion
B. What is the pro-life position?
Pro-life advocates argue that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenceless human being. The rationale for this argument is clear and to the point:
Intentionally killing an innocent human being is a serious moral wrong.
Elective abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being.
Therefore, elective abortion is a serious moral wrong.
As most people still agree with the first premise, we see that there is really only one question to resolve in this debate: What is the unborn?
If the unborn is not a human being, no justification for abortion is necessary.
However, if the unborn is a human being, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.
Our point here is neither to condemn nor to belittle the difficulties of an untimely pregnancy. It is simply disingenuous to even suggest this as our goal. Yes, the decision to have an abortion is often psychologically complex, even practically complex. However, it is not morally complex. That’s what ultimately counts for the good of women, families, and our culture.
C. Is the pro-life position sound?
For a proper treatment of this question, please see NCLN’s resource A Right to Know.
D. How are abortions performed?
There are four principle surgical abortion procedures and two chemical procedures.
Early Vacuum Aspiration: within 7 weeks after Last Menstrual Period (LMP)
Suction Curettage: within 6 to 14 weeks after LMP
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): within 13 to 24 weeks after LMP
Dilation and Extraction (D&X): from 20 weeks after LMP to full-term
Morning After Pill (MAP): within 72 hours of sexual intercourse
RU486, Mifepristone: within 4 to 7 weeks after LMP
For descriptions of each procedure visit: www.pregnancycenters.org, or read the “We Know Better Now” resource.
For professional medical diagrams of the surgical procedures:
Suction and Curettage Abortion of a 9-week Fetus
Dilation and Evacuation Abortion of a 23-week Fetus
E. How many abortions are performed in Canada?
In 2006 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) – 91,377 abortions were reported.
According to Statistics Canada, this number is 90% of the actual number of abortions. The real number should be 101, 530. Participation in the Therapeutic Abortion Survey from which this data is collected is voluntary for private abortion clinics and hospitals.
That’s 278 abortions a day or 12 every hour.
Only the Alberta clinics have provided detailed records which means that we have only 8,159 detailed records when the total number of abortions in these figures for clinics is 43,991.
While the hospitals report more – we still have detailed reports for only 33,371 of the 47,319 abortions performed in hospitals.
54.4% of abortions were undergone by women in the 20-29 range.
21.3% (19,463) of the women were having their second abortion.
10.5 (9,595) of the women were having their third abortion.
The rate of abortion per 100 live births in total was 25.7. Hospital (13.9) and clinic (11.8)
F. Do the unborn feel pain?
G. Are sex-selection abortions procured in Canada?
A recent investigative report is pointing to this. Read more here: Canada’s Lost Daughters.