Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pierre Trudeau: abortion not enshrined in Charter

Reprinted with permission from CLC

September 29, 2017

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I expect you will appreciate my bringing to your attention, some very serious allegations you are frequently making, in regard to abortion.

Abortion is not a ‘Charter right’, and it is not a ‘human right’.

In the early 1980’s, Campaign Life Coalition worked very hard to have the right to life enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Prime Minister at the time, your father, assured us that the Charter would have no impact on the abortion question.

In a letter regarding a suggested amendment, dated July 6, 1981, to Archbishop MacNeil of Edmonton, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Prime Minister wrote: “The arguments advanced to show that the Charter will create an entitlement to abortion on demand have been clearly refuted in the opinion given by the Department of Justice. In my view, the need of an amendment has not been clearly demonstrated.”

Earlier, in June 1981, the Prime Minister stated: “Because the public is evenly divided on the subject of abortion it was the government’s ‘considered view’ that a position favouring one side should not be enshrined in the charter. The Government feels the issue is not one which should be defended by the Constitution.”

Over the years, your father's words have proven to be true, as abortion has never been declared to be a ‘Charter right’ by the Supreme Court of Canada. In fact, the Court has specifically held that there is a legitimate right for Parliament to legislate on the issue, should it so choose.

Additionally, for as long as the United Nations has existed, consensus has never been reached on the issue of abortion as a human right. Where abortion is alluded to in agreed conclusions (non-binding normative documents which are adopted at various UN commissions), it is cast in a negative light. For example, states should discourage abortion, it should not be promoted as a method of birth control and it should be exclusively addressed in national legislation. Although several UN agencies may agree with you, the majority of the 193 member states that make up the United Nations do not share your personal view that abortion is a human right.

It was quite clear by the authors of the Charter and continues to be clear by the United Nations that abortion isn’t a ‘right’, and it is unbecoming for the Prime Minister of Canada today, to deliberately utter a falsehood and to keep repeating it.

In future, we respectfully request that you refrain from either stating or implying that abortion is a ‘Charter right’, a ‘human right’ and is synonymous with ‘women’s rights’ as it is clearly not.


Jim Hughes
National President
Campaign Life Coalition

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