Canadian bishops call for law to ‘offer protection for the lives of the unborn’
OTTAWA, January 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s Catholic bishops marked the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Morgentaler ruling that struck down the country’s abortion law by calling Canadians to renewed and unified efforts to secure legal protection for children in the womb.
"It is our prayer that this unity of purpose may continue to grow and flourish and that in the near future Canadian law will offer protection for the lives of the unborn," wrote Bishop Lionel Gendron, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a letter dated January 27, 2018.
Five Supreme Court justices ruled in three separate opinions on January 28, 1988, that Canada’s 1969 law regulating abortion violated a woman’s Charter 7 right to “security of the person.”
Two justices dissented from the majority ruling in the Charter challenge, which was heard by seven of the court’s nine justices.
Since then, despite “heroic efforts of countless Canadian citizens and organizations to secure in law that full protection for the unborn, a succession of federal governments has failed to take any decisive action,” wrote Bishop Gendron.
As a result, “abortion continues to be permitted at every stage of pre-natal development and for any motive” in Canada, he noted.
Indeed, along with China, Vietnam and North Korea, Canada is one of four countries that has no law restricting abortion.
But neither does it have a Charter right to abortion, as Gendron reiterated.
None one of the seven judges declared in the Morgentaler ruling that “there was a constitutional right to abortion on demand,” wrote Gendron, referencing retired Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island Gerard Mitchell.
In fact, all judges stated the “state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn.”
This is particularly significant given that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau justifies what the Catholic Civil Rights League has called his “abortion absolutism” by claiming access to abortion is a Charter right.
Trudeau also says he is Catholic, but he is arguably the most pro-abortion prime minister Canada has had to date.
However, it was his father, Catholic Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who brought in the May 14, 1969, omnibus bill allowing abortion under certain circumstances, and which led virtually to abortion on demand.
“Legal or not, every abortion involves at least four victims: the unborn child, the mother, the father, and the community,” observed Bishop Gendron in his letter.
“The mother’s actions, whether coerced or freely chosen, leave her wounded – in many instances for the remainder of her life,” he added.
“While unrestricted access to abortion continues to be touted by some as the guarantor of women’s freedom, the truth is that abortion does nothing at all to address the very real challenges which confront a woman when she finds herself facing an unintended pregnancy,” he wrote.
“Abortion merely makes it easier for society to avoid its moral obligations to ensure protection and shelter for the most vulnerable – expectant mothers, the unborn child, and all who are in need. Abortion is never a solution.”
The Catholic Church, noted Gendron, “has consistently taught that human life is sacred, and derives its value not from any measure of ‘usefulness’ but from its origin, hidden in the creative power of God, and from the eternal destiny to which it is directed.”
But the right to life is not a “Catholic” issue, the CCCB president pointed out.
“With great hope and thanksgiving, the Catholic Bishops of Canada recognize that respect for life and opposition to abortion is not, as some have asserted, merely ‘the Catholic’ position,” Gendron wrote.
“Over the course of the last decades, many of our fellow Christians, members of other faiths, and those of no faith at all, have worked tirelessly with members of our own communities to uphold the value of human life from the first moment of conception,” he stated.
“It is our prayer that this unity of purpose may continue to grow and flourish and that in the near future Canadian law will offer protection for the lives of the unborn,” wrote Gendron.
“Let us continue to try hard and do what is right so that the most vulnerable among us will one day benefit from the protection which they are owed.”
Campaign Life Coalition holds its March for Life in May to mark the passage of the Liberal omnibus bill, which has resulted in the killing of millions of Canada’s unborn children. This year’s March will take place May 10, 2018.
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