Thursday, October 09, 2008

Canada does not need an abortion law

Abortion is adequately covered, along with other medical practices, by the Canada Health Act. Joyce Arthur points out that "Canada Does Not Need a New Abortion Law."
Canada’s previous abortion law was thrown out as unconstitutional in 1988 by our Supreme Court.
...laws have never stopped abortions, or even reduced them. A recent study by the World Health Organization found that overall abortion rates in the world are similar, regardless of whether abortion is illegal in a country or not. In other words, restrictive abortion laws are not associated with a low abortion rate. In fact, in countries where abortion is widely available – including Canada – there has typically been a decline in abortion rates over time, especially when contraception use rises.

Canada’s abortion rate is low compared to other countries in the world, and has been decreasing steadily since 1999. The most recent Statistics Canada report (for 2005) noted that out of 1,000 women of childbearing age, 14.1 have an abortion each year. That compares favourably to western Europe’s rate of 12, the lowest abortion rate in the world. In contrast, the American rate is 20, and U.S. women must navigate through a thicket of abortion restrictions. (The global average rate is 29 per 1,000 women, with the highest number of abortions occuring in countries where it's illegal, and in countries with poor access to contraception.)

It’s ironic that abortion laws are motivated by a desire to limit abortions, yet one of the best ways to reduce abortion is to liberalize or repeal anti-abortion laws. That’s not the only factor of course. The real key is to promote women’s rights, with particular attention to their reproductive rights. Most countries in western Europe enjoy a more pragmatic attitude towards sexuality and contraception, and strong support for women’s equality. Also, most abortions occur because women can’t afford to have a child, so governments can significantly reduce abortion numbers by building a more stable, prosperous society and making child-rearing economically feasible. There is no need for societies to defend fetal interests directly, as the best way to protect fetuses is to provide resources directly to pregnant women. When a pregnant woman is safe and healthy, so is her fetus.

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Blogger M said...

Your material is informative and very frightening. As a resident of the once free lands of north america, I have watched in dismay as the religious zealots have gobbled up our rights and replaced them with their pious directives. My own response has been to work to get other opponents of force religiosity to rise up and demonstrate their displeasure by displaying slogans on their person and their possessions. I found your site through just such a button, which you displayed, from

11:36 a.m.  

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