Ottawa. The health standards of bill C-43 “are so subjective and vague” states Bishop Robert Lebel, president of the Canadian Conference of the Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in a terse statement “as to be practically meaningless.”
“The absence of any mechanism for confirming that the health standard has been met makes abortion almost a private matter. The effect risks being the totally unacceptable abortion on request,” the statement read.
“The fact that legislation has been introduced in Parliament acknowledges that abortion is only a private matter. It is also a question of public morality.
“The rejection of the gestational approach implicitly recognizes the inherent dignity and value of the unborn child at all stages of development. This is a reassuring positive step.
“The specific provisions of the Bill, however, are not consistent with these basic principles. Although the health standard applies at all stages of pregnancy, it is so subjective and vague as to be practically meaningless. The absence of any mechanism for confirming that the health standard has been met makes abortion almost a private matter. The effect risks being the totally unacceptable abortion on request.
“It is now up to the Members of Parliament to improve the government’s abortion legislation so that the life of the unborn child is effectively protected in fact and not only symbolically.
The inclusion of he abortion provisions in the Criminal Code is welcome because as was said by Law Reform Commissioner Joseph Mangot: “The criminal law is our nation’s fundamental statement of public policy… Ultimately the criminal law is a mirror of what we are; it reflects our commitment or lack of commitment to human dignity and equality.”
“Moreover, we reaffirm that a new abortion law must be developed in the context of other policies and programs which address the social and economic conditions which contribute to abortion.
“The Canadian Bishops for their part, will continue to teach that abortion is morally wrong and to encourage the Catholic community to work with others for full protection for unborn children.”
Note: This statement was sent to all MPs and Senators on November 10. Readers will observe that Bishop Lebel and his CCCB advisors believe that this bill can still be saved by means of amendments. The Canadian pro-life movement, on the other hand, considers this bill beyond redemption. Minor amendments will make not the slightest difference to the abortion on demand character of the bill, they state. Parliament would not permit a major radically change the character of this bill. See front-page story.