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Abortion was regulated by criminal law in Canada until January 1988 when the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional on the grounds that it was applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner. No new law has been enacted so abortion continues to be legal. The troublesome law was an amendment to the Criminal Code made in 1969 allowing a therapeutic committee to authorize an abortion if it was deemed the life or health of the mother was at considerable risk. In the United States abortion was legalized in 1973 by the Supreme Court case known as Roe vs. Wade. The struggle between pro-life and pro-choice groups over abortion has now shifted to the financing of abortions, hospital policy and protest outside clinics providing abortions. Conflict over the abortion issue is less intense in Canada, where there is overwhelmingly pro-choice public opinion, than in the United States, where there is a strong pro-life movement linked to fundamentalist religious groups.

Last updated 2002--0-9-

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
The online version of this dictionary is a product of
Athabasca University and

*This social science dictionary has 1000
entries covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political
science and women's study with a commitment to Canadian examples and
events and names