Catholic Organization for Life and Family: Letter to Federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan Urging Action to Protect the Unborn Child

Wednesday, February 25 1998

The Honourable Anne McLellan
Minister of Justice
Room 707, Confederation Building
Ottawa, On
K0A 0A6

Dear Ms. McLellan,

Ten years after the Morgentaler case, Canada remains one of the few countries in the western world without a law against abortion. While the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law in 1988 because of procedural flaws, it also clearly recognized that the state has an interest in the unborn child that relates to a pressing and substantial concern in a free and democratic society.

Last year, many Canadians were at a loss to understand why there were no consequences in the Drummond case for shooting a baby in the head two days before his birth. Just as troubling was the
case from Winnipeg where there was no remedy for an unborn child whose health was endangered because of his mother’s addiction to solvents. Mr. Justice Sopinka and Mr. Justice Major were right in their powerful dissent in the Winnipeg case when they concluded that the “born alive” rule was a legal anachonism because its logic has disappeared with modern medical progress.

The Judges in both the Drummond and Winnipeg cases said that it was up to the Government not the courts to act. It is long past time to act on this invitation by amending the Criminal Code to protect the unborn child. This most fragile of human beings must be respected and treated as a person from the time of conception. Moreover, the Government had a special responsibility to protect those who are most vulnerable and cannot protect themselves. We hope that you will act without further delay.

For our part, we will try to do more to welcome children into our communities and to be genuinely supportive of women who find themselves facing difficult pregnancies and can feel so desperately alone.


+Most Rev. Adam Exner, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Vancouver
Catholic Organization for Life and Family