Inside SCCWelcome to morgentalerdecision.ca!

This website is intended as a resource for anyone wanting to understand the legal status of abortion in Canada as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1988 Morgentaler decision.

The idea for this website was triggered by what appeared to be a recent upsurge in the level of misunderstanding1 of what the Supreme Court of Canada decided when it struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988.

R v Morgentaler [1988] was a complex decision, with three separate sets of reasons for judgment making up the majority opinion. That complexity, no doubt, has contributed to the lack of understanding of this landmark decision.

Those on all sides in the controversial abortion debate want lawmakers and governments to implement laws and policies that reflect their own “pro-choice” or “pro-life” or “somewhere in between” points of view, and passions invariably run high. But one thing everyone must surely agree on is that the starting point for any effective discussion is an accurate understanding and representation of the facts.

Hopefully this website will contribute to an increased level of understanding of why the Supreme Court struck down the abortion law, what the court decided and what it did not decide, and what it means for public policy making in this area.

  1. For example: New Brunswick Morgentaler Clinic closure: Time to act is now, by Niki Ashton on rabble.ca, April 11, 2014; Trudeau defends his abortion stance, by Mark Kennedy, The Ottawa Citizen, May 14, 2014, in which Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was quoted as saying: “And since 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that a woman’s right to a choice in this matter is a Charter right. Is upheld by the Constitution.

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