Abortion Law And It's Issues Essay, Research Abortion Law And It's Issues Abortion Law and its Issue Chris Ston ID. Number: 9710769 October 10, 199 Philosophy 1100 A 9 Prof. N. Brett In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of Dr. Henry Morgen taler vs. Her Majesty the Queen, that section 251 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the law regarding abortion, was in fact contrary to several sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The most notable of these was section 7, which states? Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person... ? This was one of the key elements in Madam Justice Wilson? s decision to overturn the abortion law, as it infringed on the right of the woman to decide whether or not she wished to continue the pregnancy. Effective as of the date of this decision, there has not been one single piece of Parliamentary legislation regarding abortion. It is now permitted in Canada for a woman to have an abortion for any reason which she so desires. It is also no longer necessary for her to have to go through the lengthy process of appearing before a committee who would decide if the woman meets the criteria to have an abortion, those criteria being whether or not the continuation of the pregnancy would prove to be detrimental to the health or life of the woman. It was this aspect of the committee, which Madam Justice Wilson found to be wrong.
It prevented the woman from deciding for herself what she wanted to do with her own body. Many argue this is rightly so, as no single government agency should have the right to remove the right of autonomy from anyone and dictate what may or may not be done with their bodies. Those in the pro-life movement feel that this decision effectively dismissed the fetus as a human being with any of the rights as guaranteed under the Charter. They feel that even though the fetus has yet to be born, it should still be protected by the Charter and be regarded as a potential person, as in, a being with some degree of sentience (i. e. , conscience of itself and its surroundings, etc...
), not unlike you or me. It is believed by the right to life movement that because this fetus would, if left to completely develop, eventually turn into a fully developed human being that abortion infringes on the section 7 right of the fetus, as guaranteed under the Charter. The fact that the fetus is human is not the issue. It is whether or not a person is being murdered which is the central argument behind this debate.
At the time which the fetus is aborted, it is not a being with personality. Anyone would agree to the fact that it is alive and human, however, it is also true that it is no more a person than a tree would be. Though the fetus may be a large grouping of human cells, with the potential to become more than that, at the state of development which the fetus has reached at the time of abortion, it is not a person and therefore should not be looked at as such. Enter the problem of a? sorties? fallacy? ; when does the fetus become a person? Though the legal moment at which the fetus is looked at for the first time as a human being is deemed to be at the instant that it is born, the difference between an eight- week premature infant and a 24-week-old fetus is virtually nonexistent. So should the fetus be regarded as a person, or should the premature baby still be regarded as a fetus? Thus arises the statement by the pro-life side of the argument that should not the fact that we are unable to pinpoint with absolute certainty the precise moment when a fetus suddenly develops a personality mean that we ought to do away with the process until such a time that we are able to ascertain that persons are not being murdered? This argument will go on for quite some time, and is but one in a list of reasons why the pro-life supporters take the standpoint that they do. The principle that every human being has the right to life is another key issue in this heated debate.
The pro-life movement also firmly holds to the belief that regardless of whether or not the fetus is a person, as already defined in this paper, the simple fact that it is a human being is reason enough to allow it to keep living. They argue that the severely mentally handicapped do not meet the aforementioned definition of a person in extreme cases, and yet we would not see them exterminated as they become a burden to society. This argument is a truly difficult one to combat. Though the fetus may be a member of the human species, is it always better to bring a child into the world, even if it is unwanted, unloved, etc...
? What if the birth of the child would result in the death of the mother, or would severely endanger her health? Is it still more important that the child be born? What if the child was the product of a sexual assault? Should the mother who, through no fault of her own, is now carrying this child be forced to give birth to it? The simple fact that the fetus is alive does not, and should not, give it precedence over the mother. The mother will be the person who must carry it for nine months, and who must give birth to it. She is also the one who will have to care for it after it is born, so should her desires not take priority over a being that is not much more than a mass of cells, which more closely resembles a tadpole than a human? The right of the woman to choose whether or not she wishes to continue the pregnancy should be precisely that, the choice of the woman. If she deems it necessary to abort the fetus because of her economic standing, then so be it. If, contrary to the warnings of her obstetrician, she wishes to carry the child to term, then that is her decision. It should not be tested by pressures from any other outside influences or factors, aside from the medical advice of her physician.
It should not be the place of government or society to impose and enforce individual moral decision. It should be left up to those who are directly involved and responsible, and not to those who have the option of walking away at any given point. The Supreme Court made the correct decision in concluding that section 251 infringed on the rights of women to life, liberty, and security of the person. The fact that women were unable to decide for themselves whether or not they wished to have an abortion for reasons aside from issues regarding their health is truly unfair, and unjust. Individuals should be able to decide for themselves what they want to do with their bodies, and it is not the place of government to interfere in such decisions..