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Effects of the Canadian Charter of Rights


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Effects of the Canadian Charter of Rights

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Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy before it reaches its gestational term
(Sherman, 2007). It can be induced or be spontaneous. Spontaneous abortion is commonly
referred to as miscarriage. To induce an abortion, a medical or surgical procedure is
administered. Abortion has elicited a raging debate for a long time. There are people who
support abortion; they are called pro-choicer. Their label emanates from their basic argument
that women have the right to choice in deciding over their bodies. A woman has the ultimate
decision whether to carry a pregnancy to term or end it. Those who are anti- abortion are
called pro-lifers. They believe that abortion is similar to murder. According to their argument,
abortion infringes on the right to life of the unborn child. They consider this act as brutality.
The topic of abortion is an important subject for discussion. It has legal, religious and
societal attention. This is because it touches on the issues of life and death. Many countries in
the world have previously adopted the pro-lifers stand declaring abortion as constitutionally
wrong. For example in Canada, it could only be performed under specific conditions where a
three person medical committee had to approve it. Women in such states sought abortion
through other avenues that proved unsafe. According to the world health organization, unsafe
abortion is conducted by unskilled individuals in hazardous environments and unsanitary
facilities. The mortality rate was very high that and it sparked global debate on whether to
legalize it or not. Desilva et al (2014) estimates the maternal death to be 47,000 with 5
million complication cases annually.
In the light of this statistics governments faced a difficulty in their laws of abortion.
Illegal abortion posed a threat to the feminine population. It gives the pro-abortion activists
grounds to argue their case. In Canada, the law prohibited abortion. According to section 251
of the criminal code, procuring a miscarriage was prohibited. Anyone seeking an abortion

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would have to face the therapeutic abortion committee. The charter of rights created a
change on how this law was viewed. Section 7 of the charter, provides the right to life, liberty
and security of a person. Part of the security of a person is their psychological safety. Pro-
abortionists used the charter to argue that it was the responsibility of a woman to decide
whether to go through the whole gestation period. Women had the right to make choices with
regards to their bodies. The charter of rights is superior to other laws and in some cases this
argument was upheld in court. Sharpe & Roach (2009) noted that anti-abortion criminal code
infringed on the rights of women provided for in the charter of rights.
Literature Review
The U.S Supreme Court decided to legalize abortion in the Roe v. Wade case, (Roe v.
Wade, 410 U.S. 113 [1973]). This resulted in much controversy according to Luker (1984).
Roe’s argument said that women had the right to decide whether to bear children or not. In a
similar case of Regina v. Morgentaler [1988] 1 SCR 30, the court ruled that the law denied
the women their right to decision with regards to abortion. Duden (1993) shared the same
view. According to Selatan (2004) some public members did not support the ruling. Lee
(2004) was also not satisfied with the ruling. Staggenborg (1994) says that demonstrations
became more disorganized because the ruling encouraged prolifers. Abortion is similar to
murder according to Schwarz (1990), and it is a show of moral decadence.
Prochoicers argue that the mothers life is more critical than the foetus` (Tribe, 1992).
Abortion would encourage irresponsible sexual behaviour. Tribe is supported by Boonin
(2003) who believes that people would develop a carefree attitude in their sexual lifestyles.
According to Beckwith (2007) this act amounts to infringing the rights of the foetus. it creates
a bad precedence for the young ones (Gurtovnik, 2008). Solinger (1998) supports the

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