Abortion Law Around the World

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Ghislaine
Abortion Law Around the World

 

Ghislaine

I thought [url=http://www.reuters.com/article/inDepthNews/idUSL2280334020080425?sp=true... Reuters piece was interesting, which highlights abortion law around the world.

From this sheet, it indicates that Canada has the most liberal abortion law on Earth, and is one of the few places abortion is legal anytime during pregnancy. What do babblers think?

Here are a few examples:

quote:

EUROPE - The legal abortion period is 10 weeks in France, Greece, Denmark, Norway and Portugal, 12 weeks in Germany, Belgium and Austria and 22 to 24 weeks in Britain, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Malta, Ireland and Poland still have highly restrictive abortion laws.

MUSLIM COUNTRIES - Islam bans the abortion of a living fetus, but some countries like Syria allow abortion in cases where there is a pressing medical need, such as a danger to the mother's health.

ISRAEL - A woman may terminate a pregnancy if she is not married, or if the pregnancy is the outcome of rape or poses health risks. Abortions are also allowed for women younger than 17 or older than 40.

CANADA - Abortion has been legal, for any reason at any time up to delivery, since the Supreme Court struck down an anti-abortion law in 1988.


N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

quote:


G: From this sheet, it indicates that Canada has the most liberal abortion law on Earth, and is one of the few places abortion is legal anytime during pregnancy. What do babblers think?

I think there is no abortion law in Canada, which is a good thing, but you seem to have managed to miss that small point. In fact, writing about a "liberal" abortion law is sort of misleading, isn't it, Ghislaine?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Supplemental: I missed this the first time around ...

quote:

Reuters: MUSLIM COUNTRIES - Islam bans the abortion of a living fetus ...

This is simply false and misleading. It confuses Muslim countries with the religion itself, just as some people confuse Israel with the Jewish religion ...

quote:

As Islamic scholar Azizah al-Hibri says, "The majority of Muslim scholars permit abortion, although they differ on the stage of fetal development beyond which it becomes prohibited." After 120 days, abortion is permissible only to save the mother's life, where the pregnancy is harming an already suckling child, or when it is known that the fetus is malformed. Though the various schools of Islam differ on the time in which an abortion is permitted, al-Hibri says all "permit abortion for exigencies such as saving the mother's life."

[url=http://www.religiousconsultation.org/News_Tracker/where_does_God_stand_o... Today: Where does God stand on abortion?[/url]

Yes, the Reuters piece is very "interesting" indeed ...

Ghislaine

quote:


Originally posted by N.Beltov:
[b]

I think there is no abortion law in Canada, which is a good thing, but you seem to have managed to miss that small point. In fact, writing about a "liberal" abortion law is sort of misleading, isn't it, Ghislaine?[/b]


You are right, sorry about that. I guess I meant that the abcense of any abortion law is "liberal" in a freedom of choice kind of way, not in a Liberal Party passing C-484 kind of way.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

There are plenty of Canadian web sites on the history of abortion in Canada. Some of these give a good summary of the legal history as well. You might want to supplement your reading of Reuters with a peek at some of those other sites. Cheers.

remind remind's picture

Too bad many countries around the world do not understand human equality rights, though admittedly the EU is trying, with their recent inclusion of women into the human species category.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

We have a great deal to proud of in this country, and that includes some global legal precedents. The first women in history to claim refugee status by virtue of her gender claimed such status in this country. The same sex marriage laws are another such precedent. So too is the lack of an abortion law in Canada.

Of course we have a long way to go, but such precedents point the way to the future, a future in which the dream of the full equality of women is a reality.

martin dufresne

A less rosy view of ourselves and of the future - C-484's little brother.

Conservative Party members of Parliament must have been the first surprised to see the Liberals help their fellow Ken Epp's C-484 private bill comfortably pass 2nd reading in Parliament six weeks ago. Now, other opponents of choice are happily crawling out of the woodwork.
Another good reason to vote the Conservatives out of office if the Opposition can ever get its act together...

quote:

(OTTAWA, April 16, 2008) - Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) today re-introduced a Private Member's Bill that would "prohibit coercion in medical procedures that offend a person's religion or belief that human life is inviolable. The bill seeks to ensure that health care providers will never be forced to participate against their will in procedures such as abortions or acts of euthanasia".

Mr. Vellacott's proposal - he chairs the official multi-party Pro-Life Parliamentary Committee - would enter into law the so-called "clause of conscience" that allows PEI women, for instance, and those of most of rural Canada to be denied access to abortion simply because no pro-choice doctor has been hired in their area of the country. Exit universality as a foundation of the Canada Health Act.

A former pastor, MP Vellacott is a long-time foe of women's reproductive rights, GLBT rights, the Court Challenges program and other irritants to
arch-Conservatives, such as the "God-like powers" of Canadian judges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Vellacott)

[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

wanker

Question? And I honestly don't the exact answer.

When does the fetus actually become a person?
When its feet are all the way out, assuming the head came out first?
When the umbilical cord is cut?
None of the above?

writer writer's picture

A fetus never is a person.

In Canada, we are supposed to gain legal protections as people with the drawing of our first breath.

martin dufresne

In our culture it's whenever a male authority figure decrees it to.
In the Roman empire, the baby was deemed a person when the paterfamilias raised it in his hands, "acknowledging" it. Those that didn't pass this test were left to die.
Then the Christian world made baptism the rite of passage into humanity. Indeed baptism was often delayed days or weeks to see if the child would live.
Now, the Canadian State has decreed that it is when it "has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother" (see below).
And a lot of people are trying to push back this limit and extend male control/definition of personhood before the birth process.
ETA: And no, women have never accepted these laws passively.

[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

writer writer's picture

Wow, women sure are passive in your world. In mine, things have been changing. In some ways, significantly. And there is much hope for greater change.

Anyway, I believe in Canada it's with the first breath, not emergence. Trying to track down the exact reference. Might take me a couple of days.

remind remind's picture

writer is correct.

personhood happens at first breath, not upon exiting the vaginal canal.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Criminal Code:

223. (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not

(a) it has breathed;

(b) it has an independent circulation; or

(c) the navel string is severed.

martin dufresne

I have traced the following quote from Bloc quйbйcois Justice Rйal Mйnard:

quote:

(...)“the state of the law indicates that the first rule in right-to-life issues is that a fetus is not a human being until it is out of the womb, has drawn its first breath, and is deemed living and viable.”(...) (in "Actions an Anti-Choice Government Can Take to Limit Your Access to Reproductive Health Service? A REPORT CARD", [url=http://www.acpd.ca/acpd.cfm/en/section/elect2006/articleID/366]ACPD[/url])

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]Criminal Code:

223. (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not

(a) it has breathed;

(b) it has an independent circulation; or

(c) the navel string is severed.[/b]


Well that's interesting - so according to this, a "child" is NOT a "human being" before it is born.

I guess that explains this part of Bill C-484:

quote:

(5) It is not a defence to a charge under this section that the child is not a human being.

[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Yup.

remind remind's picture

yes, it is that section of C484 which signified this was an attempt to grant personhood upon a fetus.

Thanks for that CC section 223 mspector, so then what the living state means is that there is a heart beat present after it has proceeded completely out of the canal and not at first breath

werestillhere

quote:


CANADA - Abortion has been legal, for any reason at any time up to delivery, since the Supreme Court struck down an anti-abortion law in 1988.

I think this is a gross and misleading overstatement of facts. Before 12 weeks abortion is available in *certain areas* of Canada, or in other words only if the woman has the means to travel to a location where the procedure is available. In the second trimester you have to go to a hospital and may be at the mercy of the health professionals there and their particular biases. In the third trimester abortions are almost never performed, unless there is a grave risk to the mother's health. The quote above makes it sound as if Canadians are going around having abortions all the time, at any point in pregnancy, for any reason.

Gab

Hello! I would just like to comment on the post made by Ghislaine that points out that when it comes to Canada and abortions we have,"the most liberal abortion law on Earth, and is one of the few places abortion is legal anytime during pregnancy."
While it is true that abortion is legal in Canada, in lieu of the recent anniversary of the momentous Morgentaler decision that gave Canadian women the right to an abortion, I would strongly question the above statement. While the media recently reflected back on the 1988 Supreme Court decision, it was brought to light that abortion is in fact becoming increasingly restricted accross the country. Consider that in PEI woman have nowhere to terminate an unwanted pregnancy at all. Fewer than 1 in 5 hospitals perform the service and in Ottawa the wait time for one can extend to six weeks, a danger for such a time-sensitive procedure. The arbitrary rules that have crept into the system have made a complete mockery of the Supreme Court ruling. Ghislaine's above statment just seems to reaffirm how many Canadians are under the illusion that Canada has strong abortion laws, when in fact they are only weakening. thoughts?

writer writer's picture

Many thanks, M. Spector.

Gab, my understanding is that we have no abortion laws.

The issue is with access, and with having doctors who are willing to perform the procedure.

quote:

More than 13 years after the law criminalizing abortion in Canada was struck down and despite its status as a medically necessary service, access to abortion is becoming more and more restricted across the country. "Ironically, it seems to be getting worse rather than better since the Morgentaler decision in 1988," says Marilyn Wilson, executive director of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League in Ottawa. "There are a number of barriers and the [number is increasing]."

On Jan. 28, 1988, the Supreme Court struck down the Criminal Code section that made it a criminal activity to perform an abortion, a section that had been used repeatedly to charge Dr. Henry Morgentaler. Three years later, a bill passed in the House of Commons to recriminalize abortion but was defeated in the Senate. Since then, there has been no federal abortion law and no legal restrictions against the procedure.

In theory, this means that a woman can legally obtain an abortion anywhere, but the continued lobbying by churches, antiabortion groups and some political parties, as well as the actions of extremists to create a climate of fear for abortion providers, means that obtaining an abortion has become increasingly difficult. The availability of abortions in Canada now depends on a woman's location and the size of her pocketbook.

"There are huge discrepancies in the availability of reproductive services, including abortion, from province to province and, of course, within provinces," says Martha Jackman, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa. "I can't think of another medically necessary service that is so inaccessible."

[url=http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/164/6/847]Abortion services in Canada: a patchwork quilt with many holes[/url]


[ 25 April 2008: Message edited by: writer ]

Gab

writer, what do you mean when you say we have no abortion laws?
yes that's a very interesting article. It's interesting how she talks about abortions being dependent on the size of your pocketbook.

remind remind's picture

Just what she says there are no abortion laws in Canada. It would be against women's human rights basiclally.

writer writer's picture

Gab, she also explains why there are no laws regarding abortion in Canada. There's lots on the net about this.

Here's one:

quote:

Canada is one of the very few countries in the world that has NO criminal law restricting abortion at all. We first liberalized our law against abortion in 1969; then our Supreme Court threw it out completely in 1988. And we've been doing just fine without it. In the 11 years since we began our great experiment, we've found that doctors and women exercise the right to abortion responsibly, without the need for any legal restrictions.

[url=http://www.hackcanada.com/canadian/freedom/canadabort.html]Abortion in Canada: History, Law, and Access[/url]


Gab

oh right I see you what you mean. hmmm that's interesting. It brings to mind an interesting debate I've been following around university campuses in Canada where schools are taking away club status and funding for pro-life club groups. the pro-life groups are obviously upset and some of them are getting their status back as a result even after rightfully loosing their funding because of basically harassing women at abortion clinics. there's been a lot on written about it (especially on the Carleton campus)

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Women to go on strike in Poland in protest at planned abortion law

Thousands of women are expected to go on strike across Poland in protest against a new law that would effectively ban abortion.

Poland already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with terminations legally permitted only when the life of the foetus is under threat, when there is a grave threat to the health of the mother, and in the instance that the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

Were the proposed ban to be enacted, all terminations would be criminalised, with women punishable with up to five years in prison. Doctors found to have assisted with a termination would also be liable for prosecution and a prison term.

Critics say that would mean that even a woman who suffers a miscarriage could be under criminal suspicion, and that doctors might be put off conducting even routine procedures on pregnant women for fear of being accused of facilitating a termination.

Although a ban has received public support from elements of the Catholic church and Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS), neither initiated the proposals. They were drafted by hardline conservative advocacy group Ordo Iuris and submitted by the Stop Abortion coalition as a “citizens’ initiative” – a petition considered by parliament once it has received more than 100,000 signatures.

quote:

Many Polish women say they are sick of deals being cut over their fundamental reproductive and human rights, which they argue threaten both their safety and their dignity.

“A lot of women and girls in this country have felt that they don’t have any power, that they are not equal, that they don’t have the right to an opinion,” said Magda Staroszczyk, a strike co-ordinator. “This is a chance for us to be seen, and to be heard.”

Monday’s protest was inspired by an all-out strike more than 40 years ago by the women of Iceland, when 90% of women refused to work, cook, or look after their children for a day in October 1975....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Portraits of Women on Strike Against Poland's Ban on Abortion

Monday, the 3rd of October, was marked "Black Monday" in Poland. Women from all over the country went on a nationwide, general strike to oppose a new proposed anti-abortion law. The new law would make abortions illegal in the country – with women who have an abortion and doctors facilitating the procedure facing up to five years in prison.

Several protests have taken place all over the country over the last few weeks but yesterday Polish women took it one step further by skipping work or school, dressing in black and coming together to demand their right to use their body as they wish. We asked a few of them to explain their motivation to strike....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Polish women flood streets in nationwide strike to protest proposed abortion ban

The new legislation would ban all abortions, including pregnancies from rape or incest, or that endangered the mother’s life.

Polish women donned black, waved black flags and took to Poland’s streets in large numbers on Monday, boycotting jobs and classes as part of a nationwide strike to protest a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion.

Many men — including public figures — joined the thousands of women on the streets of Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and elsewhere across the largely Catholic nation on what was dubbed “Black Monday.” The country already has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws and opinion surveys show very little support for an even stricter law, despite the nation’s deep Catholicism and conservative political direction.

Those who support abortion rights hailed the huge show of anger as a big success. Some voiced hope that it could weaken the hold of Poland’s right-wing ruling party, Law and Justice, which has courted controversy during its nearly one year in power by weakening the judiciary and pushing a Catholic world view that has alienated secular Poles and liberals.

“I am very happy. This is the beginning of something,” said one of the protesters in Warsaw, Elzbieta Turczynska. “I treat it as the end of some era, hopefully a very short one, but a really dangerous one for us.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Warsaw protests put an end to a proposal for an absolute ban on abortions in Poland

Thousands of umbrellas filling the streets of Warsaw.

And below them, thousands of women protesting a proposal to ban abortions in Poland.

All abortions. No matter the circumstances.

The measure would also punish women who got an abortion, as well as doctors who performed them, with up to five years in jail.

But the protest worked. The country's leaders now say they don't support a total ban and that the women's protests "taught us humility." On Thursday, Parliament formally rejected the bill.

"The PiS has backtracked because it was scared by all the women who hit the streets in protest," liberal member of parliament and former prime minister Ewa Kopacz told AFP following the committee vote. "But the fight isn't over yet," she warned, noting that the bill still needs to be rejected by a majority of lawmakers.

And the BBC adds: "The deputy prime minister told Radio Koszalin in northern Poland that the current abortion exceptions would remain. 'I want to reassure those who fear that in Poland abortion will be completely prohibited,' he said. 'A total ban certainly won't get through. Abortion will certainly not be banned when the woman is the victim of rape or if her life or her health is in danger,' he added.".....