13. Supreme Court hears challenge to Canada’s prostitution law
In June, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments for and against Canada’s prostitution law, which was challenged by Terri-Jean Bedford, Valerie Scott, and Amy Lebovitch. In 2010, the Criminal Code ban on brothels, pimping, and communication to buy sex was struck down by the Ontario Superior Court and in 2012, a 3-2 ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the decriminalization of brothels and pimping.
12. National March for Life & provincial marches
25,000 people attended the 2013 National March for Life in Ottawa on May 9 – 5,000 more than the year before; while thousands more participated in provincial marches across the country. Because of the size of the march and the construction occurring on Wellington Street in front of Parliament, the police shut off the exits early and stopped 2,000 people from leaving Parliament Hill and marching through the streets of Ottawa.
11. Defund Abortion campaign goes national
In September and October, pro-lifers attended Defund Abortion rallies at the provincial legislatures in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta, as well as at MPP constituency offices across Ontario. At the rallies, which occurred two years after Campaign Life Coalition Youth launched the campaign with a demonstration at the Ontario legislature, pro-life activists received media coverage for their message that an elective medical procedure should not be funded at the expense of real health care needs.
10. Canadian Supreme Court’s Bill Whatcott decision
The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-0 decision on Feb. 27 that Bill Whatcott, who was found guilty of hate speech by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for distributing four flyers against homosexuality, had distributed two flyers that were constitutionally protected speech and two that were not. The judges struck down parts of the provincial human rights law banning ridicule, belittling, or affronting the dignity of an individual or group of people, but said that speech which “exposes or tends to expose to hatred” due to prohibited grounds such as race, sex, or sexual orientation may be prosecuted.
9. Three MPs call for RCMP investigation into death of 491 babies after failed abortion
On Jan. 23, Conservative MPs Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin), Wladyslaw Lizon (Mississauga-Cooksville), and Leon Benoit (Vegreville-Wainwright) wrote a letter asking RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson for an investigation into the deaths of 491 babies who were born alive and left to die between 2000 and 2009. The 491 deaths were uncovered by the Run with Life Blog within Statistics Canada’s official mortality numbers. Pro-lifers have long known that abortion survivors are left to die, but this is the first time since the Calgary Foothills Hospital expose in 1999 that it garnered political or media attention.
8. Quebec’s Bill 52
Quebec’s Bill 52 decriminalizing euthanasia is making its way through the National Assembly; on Oct. 29, it passed second reading by an 84-26 vote. Bill 52, an effort to bypass the federal ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia by disguising the procedure as health care, would allow patients with an “incurable serious illness” with an “advanced state of irreversible decline incapability” suffering intense physical or psychological pain to be euthanized.
7. Warawa bill deemed non-votable
MP Mark Warawa’s (CPC, Langley) M-408, a motion for the House of Commons to condemn sex-selective abortions, was deemed non-votable by the Sub-Committee on Private Members’ Business on March 21; the committee argued that another abortion motion had already been debated in the same session of Parliament and that M-408 would interfere with provincial jurisdiction over health.
6. Senate passes C-304 (repealing section 13)
On June 26, the Senate passed MP Brian Storseth’s (CPC, Westlock-St. Paul) private member’s bill C-304 by a 49-32 vote, repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act that banned speech “likely to expose” identifiable groups to hatred or contempt and was used against people with politically incorrect views on homosexuality or Islam. C-304 was introduced in the House of Commons in 2011.
5. Gosnell verdict
On May 13, notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell from the “House of Horrors” Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to serve three life terms. Gosnell carried out abortions by snipping the spinal cords of late-term babies born alive; he stored the victims’ bodies in freezers and flushed them down the toilet. Meanwhile, more abortion facilities are closing in the US due to declining business, tougher regulations, and pro-life activism – at least 44 have shut down in 2013.
4. Rasouli Supreme Court win
In a 5-2 decision on Oct. 18, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that doctors do not have the right to withhold life sustaining treatment without consent unless permitted to do so by Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board. This means that for now, doctors from Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto will not be able to withdraw life support from Hassan Rasouli, who is in a coma after a brain surgery in 2010 to remove a benign tumour and whose status had been recently upgraded from “vegetative” to “minimally conscious.”
3. New pope
On March 13, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina was elected pope, taking the name Francis I. Although the mainstream media has frequently misinterpreted his remarks as a challenge to Catholic orthodoxy, Pope Francis has a strong pro-life and pro-family record and stated, “every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world.”
2. Morgentaler dies
Notorious abortionist Henry Morgentaler, whose case before the Supreme Court led to Canada’s abortion law being struck down in 1988, died on May 29 at the age of 90. While the media and left-wing politicians celebrated his “achievements,” pro-life leaders urged the movement to pray for Morgentaler’s soul.
1. Euthanasia victory in B.C. Court
In a 2-1 ruling on Oct. 10, British Columbia’s Court of Appeal upheld Canada’s Criminal Code ban on assisted suicide, overturning a decision made by B.C. lower court judge Lynn Smith on June 15, 2012 that the law was unconstitutional. The Carter case was initiated by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association in June 2011 representing the family of Kay Carter, who died by assisted suicide at the Dignitas facility in Switzerland; Gloria Taylor, an ALS patient who died in October 2012 of natural causes, was later added as a plaintiff.