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Should Canada Have An Abortion Law? Research Paper

Canada is among the few countries in the west that has no law governing abortion. The implication is that it is not yet clear whether abortion is an illegal or a legal act according to the Canadian constitution and criminal code. In other words, Canada remains as the only state in the developed world where there is no law which regulates abortion.

The conservative government handling this contentious issue can be seen as one dealt with utmost cowardice (Herald 2008). Despite the lack of a clear abortion law, abortion in Canada is relatively low in comparison with other nations that have adopted abortion laws (Arthur 2008).

Furthermore, the rates of abortion have been decreasing since 1999 although one can be sentenced if found to have committed the act (Arthur 2008). This begs the question, should Canada have an abortion law? The research paper is an attempt to determine whether an abortion law is required in Canada, or not.

The major reason why abortion laws are enacted is to limit the number of procured abortions. According to Arthur (2008), abortions can be reduced either through liberalization or repealing anti abortion laws. In other cases, it is used to promote feminism or female rights to have a choice to decide whether they can have a child or they can terminate the pregnancy.

In the case of Canada, this has not been clearly stated under the current law since abortion law that existed previously was deemed by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in 1988.

However, abortion is still carried out under certain circumstances such as when sex selection is being conducted or when the life of the mother is in grave danger (Clarke 2009). In Canada, sex selection is not prohibited but it becomes illegal when reproductive technology is applied.

Compared with other developed nations like the U. S there is need to at least have an abortion law that defines the extremes under which it can be carried. In most of the developed states, abortion laws have been enhanced to cater for the public health reasons since no matter the presence of law or risks involved, women cannot be stopped from carrying out abortions.

Illegal abortions kill both the unborn baby and even the mothers. Despite the campaigns by anti-abortion movements, the fact remains that women die because of illegal abortion and there is need to help reduce the number through offer of better medical services. When compared to other countries in Europe which have abortion laws, the rate is almost the same.

For instance, Europe has an abortion rate of 12% compared to Canada which has a rate of 14.1% annually (Arthur 2009). The comparison between the two countries one with abortion law and another without is more or less the same. Contrasted to US, Canada is by far well since it has the lowest levels of abortion.

Like any other government in the world, the Canadian government has the obligation to protect anything that has intrinsic value. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that a fetus lacks legal status compared to a person and as a result it lacks intrinsic rights, the court did not clear out whether a fetus lacks any intrinsic value like any other human being (Ben-Ami 4).

In this line of thought, it can be argued that there is the need to protect a fetus since it has an intrinsic value like any other human being. From a scientific point of view, a baby that is a few hours to be born and one that has already been born have no cognitive or biological differences hence all need protection from the state. This can only be realized through a law which may either be prohibitive or allows abortion as well.

A major scientific fact is that life the life of a human being starts at conception and there is no doubt about that (4). Rather than questioning the morality of the same or arguing when the life begins, a focus should be on whether the unborn child has any value or has the right to live.

From a moral point of view, the society or the state has the duty to provide protection. The life of a fetus is of public interest and under the auspices of the Criminal Code; the Parliament is compelled to offer protection to that which is of public interest.

Just like Sweden, abortions under the physician’s watch in Canada are carried in the first trimester of the pregnancy (Ben-Ami 4). In addition, after every twenty weeks, 0.4% of all abortions take place.

This seems like a small figure but supposing that 100,000 abortions were carried annually, 400 potentially viable babies would be aborted. This is an indication that despite the silence by the state to have an abortion law, abortion is still practiced under the medical circumstances despite the lack of abortion laws.

According to Ben-Ami (1), a Quebec woman was sentenced 18 months because she had left a newborn baby in the woods to die. She was sentenced on a lesser charge of manslaughter instead of first degree murder since there was no evidence that she had the intention to kill the baby.

Given that the mother carried abortion of the same child in hospital even during delivery, she would be acquitted and not prosecuted. In another scenario, if the doctor or physicians killed the new born under unclear circumstances, the medical practice license would be provoked and the doctor would go free.

All three situations are all comparable since a child was to be killed. Therefore, an abortion law would be necessary to put limit on the extent into or circumstances under which abortion should be carried or allowed. This would ensure that all people are treated the same even if they are medical practitioners or mothers.

Compared with France, abortion in both states is carried to safeguard the life of the mother in case it is proven to be in danger. However, in France abortion law has been put into place unlike in Canada where no multi-disciplinary is required to certify that the condition of the mother is in danger and that an abortion would be necessary.

It would be ethical if a law dictated the medical conditions under which abortion should be carried instead of leaving the law in the arms of independent doctor or physician to solely decide. Any liberal democracy in the world except Canada protects the lives of the unborn. Despite the fact that laws differ from one state to another, protection of the lives of others even if born or unborn is a universal obligation which should not question the morality of the act.

Whichever the side one decides to take regarding the issue of abortion, the fact remains that abortion is still carried out in Canada. There still remains the need to continue with the debate and draw from the examples of some of the developed countries so as to enact abortion laws which specifies time in which abortion could be carried (Herald 1).

This would strike a balance between both sides or between the rights and the interests of Canadians which is inclusive of the unborn babies. The absence of a coherent national policy on abortion leads to consequences which have effects on people in Canada.

Works Cited

Arthur, Joyce. . 2008. Web.

Ben-Ami, Joseph 2008, Why Canada Needs an Abortion Policy. Web.

Clarke, Stephen. . 2009. Web.

Herald, Calgary. Killing Abortion Debate Unhealthy. 2008. Web.

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"Should Canada Have An Abortion Law?" IvyPanda, 23 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/should-canada-have-an-abortion-law/.

1. IvyPanda. "Should Canada Have An Abortion Law?" August 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/should-canada-have-an-abortion-law/.


IvyPanda. "Should Canada Have An Abortion Law?" August 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/should-canada-have-an-abortion-law/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Should Canada Have An Abortion Law?" August 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/should-canada-have-an-abortion-law/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Should Canada Have An Abortion Law'. 23 August.

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