NRL News

Finally, some common sense on abortion in Canada

by | Dec 16, 2013


By Mike Schouten

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott photo credit THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand]

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott photo credit THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand]

It’s been 50 years since Andy Williams recorded the Christmas hit, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. And, as Canadians get set to key it up once again, we learn this week that we have been given an early Christmas gift – a healthy dose of common sense from one of our elected representatives.

In what seems to be a pattern of independent thinking from Members of Parliament, Maurice Vellacott has filed two motions addressing pre-born human rights. In Canada’s Parliament, a MP can introduce as many bills and motions as they want, but they can only choose one for debate. Mr. Vellacott has until the end of January to decide which one he will choose.

The Member from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin has responded to the continuing call from the Canadian people to properly deal with the issue of pre-born human rights. Mr. Vellacott’s motions echo a refrain heard in pro-life circles of late – first, that the Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly and emphatically told us that Parliament should address legal protections for the pre-born child and second, that Canada is violating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, a convention which our country ratified in 1991.

Mr. Vellacott’s first motion asks a committee to “Propose options that the House and/or the government could take to address any negative impact these decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada may have had, directly or indirectly, on women, men, children and Canadian society.” In light of what Barbara Kay wrote on these pages [The National Post] last week this would seem like a very prudent course of action. Study after study is showing that abortion, especially multiple abortions, are having serious repercussions on women’s health – specifically the terrifyingly high rates of breast cancer. I realize that empirical evidence found in books like the deVeber Institute’s, Complications: Abortions impact on women does not sit well with those who continue to promote unrestricted access to abortion, but as a nation it should be entirely acceptable, if not embraced, to discuss and decide on such weighty matters.

The Supreme Court justices of 1988 would never have anticipated a twenty-five year legal vacuum surrounding the rights of children before birth. They struck down Canada’s abortion law on constitutional grounds, but were very clear that it was the mandate of Parliament to enact new laws protecting pre-born children. In fact, even Justice Bertha Wilson opined as to where protections should be placed when she said, ‘The precise point in the development of the fetus at which the state’s interest in its protection becomes compelling I leave to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seem to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester.’ In light of this judgement as well as more recent jurisprudence in this area it is entirely appropriate for Parliament to study the impact of the status quo in our law.

Vellacott’s second motion asks, “That a special committee of the House be appointed to determine what legal protections Canada ought to provide to children before birth, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified in 1991”. As a democratic country we should not be afraid to debate such issues. Canada is currently not adhering to the commitments we made when we signed this treaty.

The lack of restrictions on abortion are not only an anomaly when compared with all other Western nations, this lack of legal protection is also an infringement on the rights of children as recognized by the United Nations. It truly is time for a common sense approach to this issue, and the common sense is no more greatly needed than in Parliament

Mike Schouten is campaign director at WeNeedaLAW. This first appeared at

Categories: Abortion