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Abortion Law in Canada Expository Essay

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Updated: Dec 9th, 2019


Before the late 1960s, abortion was considered as a criminal offense in Canada and was punishable by the law. However, the Canadian government realized that it was proper to permit abortion in some situations such as when the life of the mother is in danger. In 1969, the Canadian parliament enacted a law that would allow abortion in some circumstances as defined in the constitution but it was supposed to be conducted in accredited hospitals. Since 1989, Canada has never had well defined laws restricting abortion.

Contrary to the expectation of the majority, there has been a reduction in fatalities that used to result from abortion before the year 1989 (Naden 99). Therefore, Canada should not have an abortion law.

Reason Against Having an Abortion Law in Canada

There are many reasons why Canada does not need to put in place any legal restrictions on abortion. Firstly, the abortion laws have never been effective in reducing or stopping the cases of abortion. The studies that have been conducted recently show that the rates of abortion in countries with such laws and those without them are almost the same (Naden 99).

There are also some cases in which countries with legal restrictions on abortion have higher rates of abortion more than the countries without them. For instance, in the report released by the Canada government in 2005, the overall rate of abortion in the country was approximately 14%, which was less than the 20% incidents reported in the United States, a country that has tough legal restrictions on this issue (Naden 100).

The main aim of enacting abortion laws is to discourage people from carrying it out. However, it is evident that the restrictive abortion laws that most countries have put in place have no positive correlation with the reduction in the rate of abortion. This is evident in countries such Canada where abortion is allowed. In Canada, the cases of abortion have reduced by a bigger margin, especially since the time the use of contraception arose (Naden 100).

There are better and more effective ways that can be used to reduce cases of abortion instead of relying on the abortion laws. In fact, the most prudent way to limit abortion is to free up the laws prohibiting it. Most abortions occur since most women do not want to or cannot afford to bring up their children.

Therefore, the best way to minimize the number of abortions would be to sensitize the women about their reproductive rights. The government can also reduce the number by initiating programs that would make child-rearing economically feasible (Naden 102).

The group opposed to abortion in Canada holds that tough criminal laws should be enacted to wipe out the incidences of abortion from the country. However, these legal measures are not that necessary since there are medical ethics, codes and policies that regulate the practices of the medical practitioners.

In fact, the Canadian Medical Association has always ensured that there are well laid down procedures and rules that guide the qualified doctors when conducting abortion. Since the year 1988, the doctors have been following the medical policy regarding abortion and there has never been an incident that really warrants the incorporation of legal restrictions on abortion (Naden 103).

Another reason that the individuals opposed to abortion have been citing is that women have been going for abortion at their late stages of pregnancy, which poses a great danger to their health. For that reason, opponents of abortion feel that only restrictive laws can prevent such medical malpractices (Amar, and Tushnet 75).

However, this has not been the case and the claim actually lacks enough grounds. The report of the 2003 Statistics in Canada indicated that only 0.3% of all the abortions were done in that year, which is a very small proportion. Moreover, all of them were actually done after five months of pregnancy. The doctors who normally perform abortions are qualified medical practitioners, who follow the medical ethics when providing these services to the patients who seek for help (Amar, and Tushnet 76).

It is very difficult to consider the life of an unborn child separately from the mother’s as those opposed to abortion would like. This group holds that the life of a fetus should be determined by the mother, and when she opts for an abortion, it would be contrary to the fetus’ right to life (Amar, and Tushnet 76).

The assertion is proper since the life of the fetus directly depends on the mother. The court cases, such as the one of Dobson v. Dobson (1999, 2 SCR 753), that have been heard and determined; clearly support the idea that life begins after birth. These legal precedents have demonstrated that the fetuses do not have any fundamental rights and therefore, the mothers’ rights supersede their existence (Weeks 228).

It is clear that no state government in Canada is willing to engage in the contentious discussions, which involve the implementation of legal restrictions to regulate abortion in the country. Even the conservatives are totally unwilling to revisit the issues of abortion (Weeks 229).

The anti-abortionists can only make a breakthrough in their fight, if the law enforcers get behind them. The attempt of the legislature to pass a new abortion law after the 1988 Morgenteller decision that was made by the Supreme Court, failed completely (Naden 100).

The abortion laws are not only expensive to enforce, but they also pose a great risk to the health of the Canadian women. It has been proved that in most countries with legal restrictions on abortion, there are many cases of unsafe abortions, which normally leave the women with serious injuries or dead in extreme cases. This is not the case in Canada where more than 90% of the abortions are performed safely, thereby reducing the risks and mistakes associated with this medical practice (Naden 104).

Lastly, there are very few chances that the efforts of the anti-abortionists will bear any fruit soon. Their main reason for making abortion illegal in Canada is based on religious practices, which demand that fetuses be considered as human beings as life begins at conception. Nonetheless, these religions are inferior to scientific views, which are more practical in the real life situation (Amar, and Tushnet 77).


In conclusion, the debate of whether the Canadian government should enact legal restrictions to regulate abortion in the country has elicited varied opinions from different groups. There is no main reason as to why abortion should be considered illegal in Canada. If abortion was made illegal in the country, it would bring more problems than if it remains uncontrolled by any restrictive laws; therefore, Canada does not need to have an abortion law.

Works Cited

Amar, Vikram, and Mark V. Tushnet. Global Perspectives on Constitutional Law. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print. 75

Naden, Corrine J. Abortion. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2007. Print.99

Weeks, John Robert. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print. 228

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