Another vote for Motion 312 - Macleans.ca

Another vote for Motion 312

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Brent Rathgeber explains his views on abortion and why he’ll be voting in favour of Motion 312.

There is a vacuity in Canadian law which I believe Parliament must address.  When the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988, the issue was, in fact, not settled.  The then law was struck down due to procedural inconsistencies from varying Hospitals’ Therapeutic Abortion Committees.  The Court expressly invited Parliament to draft an abortion law that was fair, reasonable and consistently applied across the country.  Parliament attempted this seemingly impossible task in 1991 and although a bill passed the House of Commons, it was narrowly defeated in the Senate. A void exists in Canadian law regarding this issue; Canadians are perhaps unique among western democracies in that we have neither sanctions nor regulations approving abortion or the rights of fetuses.  The void in Canadian law means there are currently NO LEGAL restrictions regulating the process.  Theoretically, a very late term procedure, if performed, would not attract criminal sanction.

Governments and Parliaments have been reticent to deal with this issue given how controversial and divisive the issue can be. Families and even political parties, who normally agree on everything, find themselves in bitter disputes debating the rights of the unborn versus the rights over one’s own body. Accordingly, given how divisive this issue is, I concede that if the matter were settled, it ought to remain so.  However, this matter has never been settled in Canada; at least not since 1988 when the SCC ruled in R. v. Morgentaller.  So Parliament must do what the Supreme Court invited it to do in 1988: fill a vacuity in Canadian law, no matter how divisive and polarizing that debate will be.