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LETTER: Mitchell clarifies Charter rights on abortion issue

Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor.
Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network

EDITOR:

Regarding an opinion piece in the Feb. 13 issue of The Guardian, which claims that access to abortion is a Charter Right in Canada, former P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Gerard Mitchell wrote on May 22, 2014 that, in the 1988 Morgantaler decision that: "None of the seven judges held that there was a constitutional right to abortion on demand. All of the judges acknowledged the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn. Even Madam Justice Wilson, who rendered the most liberal opinion in favour of a woman’s rights, advocated an approach to abortion that would balance those rights with the state’s interest in protecting the unborn."

To summarize, one judge found there was a constitutional right to abortion in the early stages of pregnancy only: Madam Justice Wilson. Two judges found there was no constitutional right to abortion: Justices McIntyre and La Forest. Four judges found it unnecessary to decide whether a constitutional right to abortion exists: Justices Dickson, Lamer, Beetz and Estey.

Desmond Colohan, MD

Charlottetown

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