26 Jan 2018 National group releases model legislation to address legal void surrounding abortion
“This Sunday marks thirty years since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down existing abortion regulations,” said We Need a Law spokesperson Anna Nienhuis. “The ruling was a complex 5-2 decision but one thing was clear – the justices anticipated that Parliament would pass a new law that protected pre-born children at some stage of pregnancy. They certainly did not think that thirty years later the status quo would remain.”
On Thursday, We Need a Law sent a draft abortion bill to all media outlets in Canada. The bill, titled “International Standards Abortion Law”, is modeled after abortion regulations that are in place in many European countries.
“Canada is way of out line with our international counterparts when it comes to protecting pre-born human rights,” said Nienhuis. “As much as the Prime Minister would like to think that abortion is a Charter right that simply is not the case, and it is not the closed issue he claims it is.”
“The bill we are asking to be debated and passed is the proper response to the Supreme Court ruling thirty years ago. There is no sensible reason for Canada to have zero legal framework around abortion,” continued Nienhuis. “Public policy discussion around abortion has the potential to become polarizing, but the reality is a majority of Canadians support some limits on abortion and this piece of legislation strikes that balance. We see it an excellent step in generating an intelligent conversation that hopefully results in legal protections for pre-born children in the latter stages of pregnancy.”
The model bill put forward by We Need a Law contains requirements for mandatory reporting of the number of abortions performed by hospitals and clinics, coercion protection for women, a 48-hour independent counseling requirement, and a requirement that the woman has been pregnant for no more than thirteen weeks.
“Liberal democracies such as Spain and Germany have similar laws in effect,” said Nienhuis. “These countries are secular, pluralistic nations much like Canada, and they recognize pre-born human life as worthy of legal protection. We are calling on our elected lawmakers to introduce and pass the International Standards Abortion law at the earliest possible opportunity,” concluded Nienhuis.