The issue of whether or not Canada should have an abortion law has been long discussed among the representatives of varied social formations and organizations along with specialists on law and justice and the representatives of the government and the parliament. As a result, the two opposing positions were developed: the position of those who support the creation of abortion law as an important measure in protecting the life of an unborn human being, and those reject it as useless and contradicting women’s right for privacy. In the following paper, the above-mentioned issue will be examined along with the two different positions of its understanding. Overall, the evaluation of the situation shows that abortion law will bring more problems than it will help in solving contradictions related to saving the life of the fetus.
First of all, discussing the issue of whether or not Canada should have abortion law, the history of abortion policies adoption in the country is to be addressed. Initially, Canada had the law prohibiting abortion as a murder of an unborn human being which was practiced until the emergence of a number of juridical contradictions. Particularly, after that case of R. v. Morgentaler, there appeared a situation when this law was found to be unconstitutional and canceled, as a result. Since then, the efforts to adopt a new abortion law were made many times with the most remarkable one of 1969. However, all these efforts failed, and the law did not pass through the division in the parliament (Buscemi 24). Nowadays, the debate around the issue of whether or not Canada should have an abortion law is burning. Generally, the two parties in this debate can be identified as those opposing the need of abortion law for Canada, and those striving to prove that it is important for Canada to adopt a new abortion law. The positions by the two parties in this debate will be addressed below.
The position by those who oppose the adoption of a new abortion law is developed on the reasoning that this law will not be able to solve the problem behind the actions of women deciding to have an abortion. According to Arthur (par.2),
Laws have never stopped abortions, or even reduced them. A recent study by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute found that overall abortion rates in the world are similar, regardless of whether abortion is illegal in a country or not. In other words, restrictive abortion laws are not associated with a low abortion rate. In fact, in countries where abortion is widely available – including Canada – there has typically been a decline in abortion rates over time, especially when contraception use rises.
The supporters of this position explain their beliefs by the fact that if the woman is put to the situation where the only option is having an abortion she will by all means do it as there are no other ways for her to solve her problems. Women would love to give a birth to a baby; this is their genetically programmed position. However, when the woman understands that her economical situation will not allow her to raise the bay the only way out is abortion. In addition, the supporters of this position believe that abortion is a medical issue for a woman, and medical issues should be a matter of personal concern and thus, are related to the right to privacy. Such women want to establish their right to privacy related to pregnancy and abortion. In this vein, the landmark decision in the case of Roe v. Wade established the right of women for safe abortion in clinical conditions as their right to privacy. Women’s rights for privacy are confirmed in the Constitution, and they should be allowed to realize them on the stage when they may prevent the unwanted pregnancy. However, the abortion law would contradict women’s right for privacy and will, thus, appear to be unconstitutional. This is a ground argument by the opponents of abortion law.
Speaking about the second side’s position, the main idea behind their arguments is that the fetus is a human being with the same rights and freedoms as any other one. The main idea behind the position of this side is based on the biblical truth that the fetus is an unborn person, and abortion is a murder (Taylor par.5). With reference to this fact, the supporters of abortion law insist on its importance. They also address the precedents from the other countries including the neighboring country of the United States. In particular, they mentioned the new anti-abortion legislation adopted by the Bush administration which is The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2003. The proponents of the idea of adopting abortion legislation strive to prove that it has great importance for the reputation of the country along with the triumph of law and justice in it.
Evaluating the positions by the two sides, it should be said that they are both well-grounded and have their strong points. The proponents of abortion law adoption in Canada seem to be the defenders of universal justice as they strive to defend the lives of unborn babies. Without any doubts, this position is noble. The opponents of law adoption in Canada appear to be more reasonable and rational as they strive for such important points in this issue as the fate of a woman and the economical point. They understand that women will look for ways of having abortion even if it will be banned, and, thus, they want to prevent women from becoming law breakers. According to Arthur (par.8), the reasonableness of oponents of abortion law can be explained by the following:
Many people talk of “balancing” the rights of the woman with the fetus. But it is impossible for two beings in the same body to both enjoy rights. The Supreme Court of Canada stated in Dobson vs Dobson (1999, 2 SCR 753) that the physical unity of a woman and her fetus precludes the imposition of a duty of care on her, because that would be a profound compromise of her privacy and autonomy.
Concluding on the above mentioned facts and evidences, it should be stated that the issue of whether or not Canada should have an abortion law is rather ambiguous one. The proponents of adoption of this law rely on the fact that abortion can be associated to a murder of a living human being; whereas its opponents make their emphasis on a practical angle of this issue including economic reasons and women rights for privacy including privacy in such health-related matters as medical procedures including abortion. It is difficult to take the side of a certain party in this argument. Still, nowadays common sense is associated to the principles of reasonableness and pragmatism. As a result, it is easier to join those who oppose the adoption of abortion law as those who are more practical and understand the realis of nowadays. These people know that women will continue having pregnancy terminated even if it will be banned by the law. Thus, why should women be put into a situation where they would appear to be criminals?
Arthur, Joyce. Canada Does Not Need an Abortion Law. 2008. Web.
Buscemi, Santi. 75 Readings Plus, First Canadian Edition, New York: McGraw Hill, 2002. Print.
Taylor, Diane. Does a fetus have more rights than its mother? 2004. Web.