24-09-A — Abortion Rights in Canada

WHEREAS abortion rights, including access to abortion, are fundamental to bodily autonomy, and enable people to control their futures, shape their families, and fully participate in society, in accordance with principles of reproductive justice;

WHEREAS abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1988 following R v Morgentaler, which confirmed constitutional protection for abortion rights;

WHEREAS the pregnant person is the only person with the right to decide whether to have an abortion, as confirmed in Tremblay v Daigle;

WHEREAS sections 7 and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the case law interpreting those provisions, protect abortion rights as rights to life, liberty, security of the person, and equality (in addition to other potential constitutional supports for abortion rights);

WHEREAS abortion care — whether procedural abortion or medication abortion — is health care, and therefore legally protected in the Canadian health care system, including as a publicly funded insured health service;

WHEREAS despite these legal protections, members of marginalized communities face disproportionate barriers to abortion access, and other threats to abortion rights exist in Canada;

WHEREAS abortion rights and access are inextricably tied to gender equity and justice, and fit squarely within the CBA’s mission to promote equity in the justice system;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Bar Association oppose any efforts to restrict abortion rights and access in Canada, and commit to working with governments and other stakeholders to expand abortion access across Canada.

Moved by Women Lawyers Forum, Access to Justice Subcommittee, Sexual and Gender Diversity Alliance and Equality Subcommittee

Download the Resolution