Abortion Not In My Criminal Code Essay

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Abortion- Not In My Criminal Code Essay, Research Paper Abortion ! Not in my Criminal Code Abortion should be kept out of the Criminal Code Abortion, termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of independent life. When the expulsion from the womb occurs after the fetus becomes viable (capable of independent life), usually at the end of six months of pregnancy, it is technically a premature birth. The practice of abortion was widespread in ancient times as a method of birth control. Later it was restricted or forbidden by most world religions, but it was not considered an offense in secular law until the 19th century. During that century, first the English Parliament and then American state legislatures prohibited induced abortion to protect women from surgical

procedures that were at the time unsafe, commonly stipulating a threat to the woman’s life as the sole (?therapeutic?) exception to the prohibition. Occasionally the exception was enlarged to include danger to the mother’s health as well. Legislative action in the 20th century has been aimed at permitting the termination of unwanted pregnancies for medical, social, or private reasons. Abortions at the woman’s request were first allowed by the Soviet Union in 1920, followed by Japan and several East European nations after World War II. In the late 1960s liberalized abortion regulations became widespread. The impetus for the change was threefold: (1) infanticide and the high maternal death rate associated with illegal abortions, (2) a rapidly expanding world population, (3)

the growing feminist movement. By 1980, countries where abortions were permitted only to save a woman’s life contained about 20 percent of the world’s population. Countries with moderately restrictive laws?abortions permitted to protect a woman’s health, to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, to avoid genetic or congenital defects, or in response to social problems such as unmarried status or inadequate income?contained some 40 percent of the world’s population. Abortions at the woman’s request, usually with limits based on physical conditions such as duration of pregnancy, were allowed in countries with nearly 40 percent of the world’s population.1 Under the Criminal Code. R.S.C. !970, c.C-34, abortion constitutes a criminal offense. Section 159(2)(c)

makes it an offense to offer or have for sale or disposal, to publish or advertise means, instructions or medicine intended or represented to cause abortion or miscarriage. Section 221(1) makes the act of causing death to a child who has not become a human being, in the act of birth, equivalent to murder. Abortion constitutes an indictable offense under s. 251 of the Code whenever a person uses any means to carry out the intent to procure a miscarriage of female person, whether she is pregnant or not. Section 251(2) makes any female attempting to procure a miscarriage by any means guilty of an indictable offense. Section 251(4) allows permission for a therapeutic abortion to be obtained from a competent committee, fulfilling strict regulations, with the operation performed by a

qualified physician. However, the common-law defense of necessity is theoretically available for a surgical operation performed for the patient’s benefit. 2 Until 1988, under the Canadian Criminal Code, an attempt to induce an abortion by any means was a crime. The maximum penalty was life imprisonment , or two years if the woman herself was convicted. The law was liberalized in 1969 with an amendment to the Criminal Code allowing that abortions are legal if performed by a doctor in an accredited hospital after a committee certified that the continuation of the pregnancy would likely endanger the mother’s life or heath. In 1989, 70 779 abortions were reported in Canada, or 18.0 abortions per 100 live births. 3 Henry Morgentaler is a major abortion supporter. Dr. Morgentaler