A proposed private member’s bill that would have put limits on abortions is invalid, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled.
A panel of three judges ruled unanimously in an oral judgment on December 20, 1985, that Bill 53, the Freedom of Informed Choice (Abortions) Act, would conflict with the federal Criminal Code. “The pith and substance of the bill is to stiffen and make more restrictive existing federal law,” said Justice Tom Wakeling. “It is unanimous that Bill 53 would be an overreaching of the (provincial) legislative authority.”
Introduced in May 1985, by PC member Gay Caswell, the bill proposed a requirement that a husband or a guardian consent to the abortion before it could be performed. The bill was furiously opposed by pro-abortionists, including the National Association of Women and the Law, a group of pro-abortion women lawyers.
The bill would also have obliged all women seeking an abortion to receive detailed information about the unborn child they were seeking to kill.
Both the lawyer arguing the validity of the law, Eldon Gritzfield of Regina, and the one opposing it, David Gauley of Saskatoon, were appointed by the Saskatchewan Minister of Justice. Gauley had argued that the bill was an attempt to override the federal law. The Saskatchewan government had referred the bill to the court in June.
Gay Caswell, MLA for Saskatoon Westmount, told the Regina Leader Post that she isn’t giving up her fight to stop abortions. “I won’t live and die with Bill 53,” she said. While many thought the legislation would die on the order paper, Caswell diligently brought up the issue each private member’s day, the Leader Post noted. “It soon became a political hot potato for the government.”
What everyone seems to forget is women who hastily decide to abort their babies face life-long medical and psychological complications, Caswell said. She will still push for changes in the New Year.