Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Abortion in Canadian law Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words

Abortion in Canadian law - Essay Example This essay will trace the development of abortion law in Canada.This law has originated from a variety of sources,philosophical,moral,religious and has resulted in current law that is framed by social values. Abortion law has basics of all of these but some are more clear and enduring than others are. Before this I will provide a shot history of general law and its relationship to social contract theory and moral philosophy. The influence of Dr. Henry Morgentaler on the evolution of abortion law will also be explored, as he is responsible for much of the progress made in the area. The conclusion is a brief summary, which shows that all law has a philosophical background but abortion law in Canada appears to have had an historical evolution. Influenced initially by a philosophical basis, religion and morality and more recently by societal values and expectations.Abortion law in Canada appears to have a philosophical origin. This can be located within social contract theory and moral p hilosophy. Social contract theory is the assumption that people must have entered into some kind of binding contract with other members of society. The idea being that people had sacrificed their personal independence that was guaranteed in the State of Nature in order to secure freedom of will devise for the greater good. Collective freedom was believed to ensure principles of liberty, justice and equality- democracy. Voluntary (and in Hobbesian theory, forced) submission to democratic principles was a superior moral decision to put the will of the collective ahead of oneself, thereby creating a moral basis of law (Browning, 1997). Whilst it is clearly possible to locate the primary source of the law itself, it is considerably more difficult to trace that origin in accord with specific legislation such as abortion law. The historical development of abortion law in Canada has endured many phases from its start in the late 1800's through to contemporary times. In early societies women had been excluded from civic engagement on the grounds that they were emotionally incapable of making reasonable decisions and as such were best suited to family life. This assumption along with religious and moral insult and possibly the desire of the state to control the reproductive rights of women and to regulate their sexual behavior have provided the basis of abortion law in Canada. Canadian abortion law can be traced to around 1869 when abortion first became illegal after the Canadian Parliament passed a complete ban on the procedure (Arthur, 1999). 1892 law reform saw these guidelines tightened when Canada's first Criminal Code was introduced. This Code prohibited abortion as an acceptable medical procedure and legislated against the inducement of miscarriage, ensuring that it would be seen as a criminal offe nse (History of Abortion Law in Canada, 2003). The confusion surrounding abortion law continued throughout the 1800's and into the 1900's until the situation became so desperate that further modification of abortion law was necessary. Between 1926 and 1947 an estimated 4000 to 6000 women died during botched illegal abortions and by the 1960's it was estimated that anywhere between 35,000 and 120,000 abortions were being performed every year (Arthur, 1999). Shocked at learning of such high statistics and horrified by being legally required to turn away women, many doctors and legal practitioners began to take up the challenge of securing women's right. The 1960's form a group to aim to solve the problem. The foundations for more progressive abortion law in Canada was set in 1967 when Trudeau authorized a bill that would permit women to have legal abortions in special circumstances if they were approved by a medical committee contain of three medical professionals. This bill became law in 1969 under section 287 of the Criminal Code, women could seek legal abortions if doctors ruled that it was in the best interest of the woman's physical or mental

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