How many times must it be stated that there is no constitutional right to abortion in Canada? This fact is repeatedly and stubbornly ignored by those pushing for abortion access in P.E.I. As Ann Wheatley, co-chair of Abortion Access Now P.E.I. stated in a Tuesday news release announcing legal action against the province:
“Unfortunately, it is clear to us that nothing short of a court order will prompt the government to comply with its obligations to P.E.I. residents under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
There are no such Charter obligations. In a separate news release, LEAF accused the P.E.I. government of “flouting the spirit” of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1988 Morgentaler decision. The actual spirit of that decision was a suggestion that the federal government come up with a new law to protect the unborn.
As the 1988 Morgentaler ruling stated:
“There has always been a clear recognition of a public interest in the protection of the unborn . . . The interpretive approach to the Charter adopted by this court affords no support for the entrenchment of a constitutional right of abortion.”
As former Chief Justice Gerard Mitchell clarified in a May 22, 2014 Guardian commentary:
“None of the seven judges held that there was a constitutional right to abortion on demand. All of the judges acknowledged the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn.”
Despite the Supreme Court affirming both the public’s and state’s interest in protecting the unborn, government leaders have so far failed to afford the unborn any protection whatsoever in law. Not establishing abortion access in P.E.I. would be a gesture.
It is disheartening to see a small group of Islanders pushing so hard to establish medical procedures in P.E.I. to destroy human lives when there are so many other medical procedures not being provided in P.E.I. that would save human lives. Let’s give priority to life-giving medical procedures. The provincial government has absolutely no legal obligation to provide abortion services in P.E.I. and must fight this ideologically-driven legal action to defend its right to determine the most appropriate and life-giving health policy for Islanders.