.- A new bill tabled in the Canadian Parliament last week proposes to limit abortion to 20 weeks gestation. Currently, there are no limits to abortion in Canada, making it available at any point in a woman’s pregnancy.
The bill was tabled June 21 by Liberal MP Paul Steckle. Bill C-338, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (procuring a miscarriage after twenty weeks of gestation), would make those who perform an abortion after 20 weeks gestation guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment of up to five years, or else jail for up to two years and/or a fine up to $100,000.
The bill provides for exceptions where abortion beyond 20 weeks would be permitted "to save the life of a woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself" and also to "prevent severe, pathological, physical morbidity of the woman."
Pro-life groups in Canada are encouraged by the bill. The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) said the bill is “a step in the right direction.”
“We hope that the members of the Canadian Parliament will take advantage of this occasion to reconsider the best interests of Canada as regards the protection of the human fetus,” said Michele Boulva of COLF in a statement. “This law would enable them to limit the damage that is caused to Canadian society by abortion.”
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), the political arm of the pro-life movement in Canada, applauded the initiative.
"Every poll on the abortion issue, taken in the last 10 years, has indicated that a majority of Canadians favor some restrictions," Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC national organizer told Lifesite. "Too often, political parties have ignored the wishes of the people to discuss crucial issues and have feared even to address the abortion topic.”
The latest statistics from October 2005 showed that 60 per cent of Canadians would like to see human life legally protected some time prior to birth (either at conception or after three or six months of pregnancy).