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Abortion Chronology of Laws

Chronology of worldwide abortion

The first country in the world to legalize abortion was Russia in 1921 shortly after the atheist, communist revolution of 1917. As Russia conquered its eastern European neighbours, these ‘communist block’ countries behind the iron curtain legalized abortion through the 1920’s and 1930’s. This first wave of abortion expansion was halted for a period of years after communist dictator Josef Stalin made it illegal, not due to any moral reason, but solely because he realized that abortion was threatening the Soviet Union’s future supply of soldiers. Then in the 1950’s a second massive wave of abortion expansion occurred when Russian dictator Krushiev re-instated abortion and spread it to all the countries under Russian influence in Eastern Europe. For instance, Catholic Poland was forced to legalize abortion in 1956 because of communism at that time.

The first so-called democratic country to legalize abortion was England in 1967. From there, a domino effect occurred amongst the non-communist countries of the West with one country’s laws creating a political climate for change in the next. Canada legalized abortion in 1969 with Trudeau’s omnibus bill. America legalized it in 1973. Proceeding rapidly throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, literally every democratic country in western Europe has legalized abortion with the exception of Malta and Ireland. Today there are 50 million abortions committed annually throughout the world.

While abortion was imposed in eastern Europe by atheist, anti-Christian communist dictators, it took root in western nations following the widespread acceptance of pornography and contraception. The contraceptive mentality is such that it divorces the idea of pregnancy and childbearing from the sexual act. It makes sex something you can do casually without consequences - like going to a movie, a lunch date or playing tennis. The contraceptive mentality fuels the idea that pregnancy is a ‘problem’ to be avoided and thus, when contraception fails, abortion becomes the logical ‘solution’. Despite the widespread belief that ‘good contraception’ helps reduce abortions, the direct opposite is true. The contraceptive mentality encourages promiscuity and pre-marital sex and thus creates a "demand" for abortion when these behaviors inevitably increase the number of crisis pregnancies.

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Milestones in Canadian history affecting sanctity of life, family & faith

The passage of the Omnibus Bill on May 14, 1969 did not happen in a vacuum. In Canada the way had been prepared by a decade of concerted efforts by professional organizations, some left-wing religious groups and the media, to liberalize the laws on marriage/divorce, homosexuality, and abortion. Here is a brief overview of the key milestones leading up to 1969 and the aftermath with which Canadians have had to contend.

1892 Canada’s Parliament enacts the first Criminal Code, which prohibited abortion as well as the sale, distribution and advertisements of contraception.

1955 The law is clarified in a way so there was no doubt that abortion was prohibited even in cases to save the life of the mother.

1959 Chatelaine magazine is the first major publication to advocate changes to Canada’s abortion law when in its August edition author Joan Finnigan pens an article entitled "Should Canada change its abortion law?"

1961 The Globe and Mail and the United Church Observer become proponents of change in the abortion law, with the former running editorials calling for an amendment to the Criminal Code.

1963 Two major professional organizations, the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Medical Association begin to agitate for a widening of the law to permit what they claimed was going on anyway in many hospitals: illegal abortions carried out to save the life or protect the health of the mother.

1963 The CMA initiates a special committee to examine sterilization and therapeutic abortion. Ontario’s attorney-general, Arthur Wishart, has a policy of not prosecuting abortionists, setting the stage for "the selective enforcement of the law" in the province.

1963-64 The United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada begin to soften their opposition to abortion, favouring exceptions for the life and health of the mother. Soon after, the United Church officially supported abortion without reservation.

1965 Some Canadian politicians are openly discussing liberalizing the divorce and contraception laws, which like abortion were part of the Criminal Code.

1966 Lester Pearson’s Liberal minority government moves discussion of divorce, contraception and abortion to a standing committee of the House of Commons

1966 Toronto Liberal MP Ian Wahn introduces a two-part private member’s bill liberalizing abortion and contraception.

1966 Stephen Lewis, an NDP member of the Ontario provincial parliament, introduces a bill to liberalize abortion law, although it dies on the order paper in 1967.

1967 The CMA endorses changing the Criminal Code to allow abortion to protect the life and health of the mother and in cases of rape and incest.

1967 Abortion supporters concoct numbers of women who die from illegal, ‘unsafe’ abortions. The fabricated numbers galvanize politicians, professional organizations and segments of the media. Maclean’s magazine jumps aboard the pro-abortion media wagon.

1967 Feminist groups begin claiming that abortion is a matter of choice, casting the fight for abortion as part of the women’s liberation movement. The Globe and Mail begins articulating a concept of abortion as a right.

1967 Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who calls himself a Catholic, is named Pearson’s justice minister in April. Then in May, the Pearson government, during the Speech from the Throne, commits itself to liberalize divorce laws, but makes no mention of abortion.

1967 In October, hearings on the latter topic begins in the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare with discussion of NDP MP Grace MacInnis’s private member’s bill permitting abortion to protect the life and health of the mother, in cases of rape and incest and when there was the possibility of a "defective" child.

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