Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Constitution—Effect of Charter of Rights on Abortion Provisions in Criminal Code”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (23 March 1981)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1981 at 8496.
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EFFECT OF CHARTER OF RIGHTS ON ABORTION PROVISIONS IN CRIMINAL CODE
Mr. Stanley Hudecki (Hamilton West): Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Social Development. It is my understanding that the government interprets the charter of rights in the proposed constitutional resolution as it pertains to the question of abortion as being neutral.
What assurance can the minister give that Section 7 of the charter of rights will not be construed so as to make abortion, in the early phase of pregnancy, essentially a matter of privacy and thus protected from the sanction of the Criminal Code?
The Supreme Court of the United States, in dealing with a constitutional provision guaranteeing individual liberty, inferred that the concept of liberty included the concept of privacy and that the concept of privacy makes abortion, in the early phase of pregnancy, essentially a private matter, not a matter upon which the state should enact a penal sanction.
Hon. Jean Chrétien (Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Social Development): Madam Speaker, the question has been debated at length in the committee. 1 have stated the position of the government in this matter, that the question of abortion is dealt with in the Criminal Code and in no way can the charter be used to interfere with the actions of this Parliament in relation to the Criminal Code and abortion.
Mr. Hawkes: Wrong!