Winnipeg Child and Family Services v. G. (D.F.): Comment on the Supreme Court DecisionFriday, October 31 1997
Released by : The Catholic Group for Health, Justice and Life
The Catholic Group for Health, Justice and Life was disappointed following today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, not to recognize the rights of the unborn child in the case of the Winnipeg mother whose addiction to solvent abuse endangered her unborn child. “Although we are disappointed that the majority of the Judges in the Supreme Court did not extend protection to the unborn child in this case, leaving that issue to parliament or the legislature, we are very pleased that two of the Judges, in a strong dissent, felt the unborn child in this case was ‘within the class of persons whose interest can be protected through the exercise of the (Court’s) parens patriae jurisdiction’, said Mr. William Sammon, the lawyer representing the Catholic Group. The concept of parens patriae assures the protection of those who cannot protect themselves. Mr. Sammon added that his clients believe it is now up to the legislature to protect the unborn child and they will continue to press for such protection.
The group, represents four major organizations in the Catholic Church: The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, The Catholic Health Association of Canada and the Canadian Association of the Knights of Columbus. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the association representing all Catholic bishops in Canada with the pastoral responsibility for 12.5 million Catholics across the country. The Catholic Women’s League of Canada represents 110,000 women in 48 dioceses and 1415 parishes in Canada. The Catholic Health Association of Canada represents many health and social service centres including 127 hospitals and health care residences as well as health professionals across the country. The Canadian Association of the Knights of Columbus represents 250,000 men and their families who pay particular attention to helping those in difficulty, especially those who are in need or unable to defend themselves.