Revised and expanded: Pre-born Human Rights Policy Report
ARPA Canada just released an updated version of one of our original Respectfully Submitted policy reports – Pre-born Human Rights. While the content was still accurate, the old report failed to capture the work and nuance of We Need a Law, ARPA’s pro-life campaign. The new report details the three key initiatives we focus on through We Need a Law and lays out a path forward for members of Parliament in a country where there is little appetite for a full ban on abortion.
From 1892-1969, all abortions were illegal in Canada. In 1969, Parliament amended the Criminal Code to permit abortions for health reasons if a panel of three physicians agreed it was justified. In 1988, the restrictions on abortion in the Criminal Code were struck down. It is important to note that neither the court nor the Charter prohibited a different abortion law, and the Supreme Court did not find a constitutional right to abortion. They rightly left the making of a new law up to Parliament.
In 1990, a bill which would have implemented a less restrictive abortion law was introduced into Parliament. That law, however, was defeated on a tied vote in the Senate, and the issue of abortion has never been meaningfully revisited by Parliament.
We need a law
Recognizing that most Canadians are not currently receptive to a full ban on abortion, our recommendations in this report focus on specific policies that most Canadians would support. Political leaders too often get caught in divisive abortion politics where everyone loses. We need to take steps to have these conversations in a way that finds common ground, while never wavering on our commitment to defending the full humanity of the pre-born child.
If political leaders bring forward specific, narrow policies, they can also narrow their talking points and focus on meaningful discussion. Our three federal issues of focus are:
• A sex-selective abortion law, which would ban abortion for the reason of sex selection and so honour our commitment to equality of the sexes.
• A pre-born victims of crime law, which calls on our justice system to recognize pre-born children as victims when they are killed with their mothers as a result of violent crime.
• An international standards law, which would bring Canada in line with other democratic countries by banning abortion after the first trimester and introducing a waiting period and counseling requirement for women seeking an abortion.
Canada has gone without an abortion law for more than three decades. Abortion in some cases was legal two decades before that. Millions of Canadian babies have lost their lives to abortion, and Canadian society has accepted the killing of pre-born children as a necessity of equality. The abortion debate will never be closed, but it is up to us to continue speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We need to continue promoting legislation that recognizes and protects human life in the womb.
We encourage you to read the full policy report on pre-born human rights.