Written by Rebecca Richmond
1. R. v. Morgentaler is not Roe v. Wade
and Roe v. Wade does not apply to Canada.* Why? For the simple reason that we don’t live in the United States of America.
Don’t assume that your club members will know much about the legal status of abortion. A few ways to help educate your club members on subjects like this include:
- Share NCLN articles (like this one!) and resources with your club members. Better yet, encourage them to ‘Like’ NCLN on Facebook and follow us on instagram!
- A good basic primer on the history of abortion law in Canada can be found here: CCBR: History of Abortion Law in Canada
- Good talking points on the legal status of abortion can be found at WeNeedALaw.ca: Talking Points
You can listen to an interview where Don Hutchison, Legal Counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, addresses this: Abortion Debate in Canada Interview
3. R. v. Morgentaler resulted in a legal vacuum on abortion.
Since the decriminalization of abortion, abortion has existed in a legal vacuum because of the lack of laws. This has led to/or permitted:
- Sex-selective abortions, which disproportionately target baby girls. Because sex is generally not known until later in pregnancy, sex-selective abortions are also late-term abortions. Although sex-selection is more commonly associated with countries like India and China where the massive sex-ratio discrepancy ratios have been attracting international attention, the problem also exists in Canada. Researchers have found similarly skewed sex ratios among certain communities in Canada and the former interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal even called for a ban on releasing the sex of the baby until 30 weeks in order to help stem these abortions.1
- Children born alive (after an unsuccessful abortion) and left to die.2
- Abortions outside of hospitals. Clinics are now able to provide abortions and, because reporting is not mandatory for clinics, we don’t even know the numbers of abortions being done outside of hospitals. Indeed, abortion statistics have become harder to come by thanks to obfuscation by provincial governments.3
- Legal issues. Andre Schutten, a former club leader of McMaster and Legal Counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action, described the legal issues that courts run into thanks to R. v. Morgentaler and Parliament’s refusal to address the legal void.4
4. R. v. Morgentaler made us survivors.
In the quarter century since the 1988 decision, a quarter of our generation has been killed by abortion. It is more than a statistic; we are truly a survivor generation. Everyday when we’re on campus, we walk not only amidst those who are grappling with their abortions but also many who survived when siblings did not, or who may have only narrowly survived themselves. Perhaps we, ourselves, are those very people. This sobering reality means that our generation has a great deal of healing to do; it also means that we, as survivors, must speak up for all those who were silenced.
5. We will not let R. v. Morgentaler define the NEXT generation.
Beyond standing against the lethal devastation that abortion has wreaked upon our generation, we also must stand up for the next generation. It is now our generation that is having the abortions, many unaware of what their ‘choice’ really means, many unaware of the impact abortion will have on their lives, many unaware of the support and resources available to them, and many facing pressure and coercion to abort. As young men and women who survived, we now have the opportunity and obligation to reach out to those facing untimely pregnancies and secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler, with one quarter of our generation paying the price for our society’s lack of protections for all human beings at all stages. We cannot, must not and will not abandon the next generation to such a fate.