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CLC Blog

Pro-life leader calls on Trudeau to protect preborn children 35 years after flawed ‘Morgentaler’ decision

Photo: CLC National President Jeff Gunnarson

January 26, 2023 (Campaign Life Coalition) – Canadian pro-life leader Jeff Gunnarson has penned a powerful letter to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (read full letter here) demanding that the Prime Minister take up the Supreme Court’s 1988 invitation that Parliament pass a law protecting humans in the womb. The letter comes on the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision where the Supreme Court, siding with abortionist Henry Morgentaler, struck down Canada’s law governing abortion.

“The Supreme Court justices did not want the Canada we live in today when it comes to abortion. In fact, the court was unanimous in finding that the state has an interest in protecting the lives of humans in the womb,” wrote Gunnarson in his letter to the Prime Minister. Gunnarson, flanked by pro-life advocates, read his letter publicly this morning in front of the Supreme Court building in Ottawa before walking over to Parliament and delivering it by hand. Watch full press conference here

It was in 1969 that Justin Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliot Trudeau oversaw the passage of a law that decriminalized abortion. Prior to 1969, abortion was illegal and humans living in their mothers’ wombs were protected.

The new 1969 abortion provisions in section 251 of the criminal code allowed a woman to have an abortion under certain conditions, including that the abortion be approved by a “therapeutic abortion committee” and that the abortion happens in an “approved hospital.”

Abortionist Henry Morgentaler challenged the law by running illegal abortion mills. He was charged. His case wound its way through the courts, eventually ending up in the Supreme Court in 1988. The court found that the 1969 abortion provisions were arbitrary and unfair. They found that the provisions allowing for an abortion violated a woman’s right to “security of the person.” The provisions were deemed “unconstitutional” and the entire law, including the first two sections which offered some protection to preborn children, was repealed. This left the country with no law protecting preborn human life. Because of this decision, abortion suddenly became available throughout all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason at all, or no reason. The decision essentially declared open killing season on preborn children.    

“Pause for a moment to consider that over three million precious children — boys and girls — have been eliminated by abortion since this decision,” wrote Gunnarson in his letter.

“The destruction of every one of these children is a tragic loss for their families, their communities, and for the whole country. Each one was beautifully and wonderfully made by God. Each came into existence to love and needing to be loved. Each had unique talents and gifts to share with others. Each had the power to dream, to create, to change the world. As a full member of the human family, each had an inalienable dignity and each was endowed with human rights, including the right to life,” he continued.

“Abortion violence cut their lives short, stripping them of all they had to offer, all they had to contribute. It stripped them of their futures, their opportunities, their dreams. They were never given the chance to go to school, to become a scientist, doctor, or musician, to help build up this country, making it a better place to live,” he added.

Gunnarson noted, however, that the court was “unanimous in finding that the state has an interest in protecting the lives of humans in the womb.”

“Prime Minister, Parliament has yet to honour the Supreme Court’s invitation that it pass legislation protecting life in the womb, though some flawed attempts have been made. Science has now irrefutably proven that human life begins at fertilization. Medical technology has opened a window to the womb, showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the new life in the womb is a human life with a body different from the mother’s body, a tiny person, with unique DNA and fingerprints, a someone whom all of us have a responsibility to care for,” he wrote.

“Prime Minister, I call upon you and upon Parliament to follow the invitation of the Supreme Court and pass legislation protecting children in the womb. Such legislation must reflect what science and medical advancements reveal to us about life in the womb, namely, that it is a fully human life. Such legislation, if it is to truly remedy the current wrongs suffered by preborn humans, must restore their legal protection from the first moment of their existence,” he added.

Gunnarson concluded his letter with a plea to the Prime Minister to stand up for preborn children targeted for abortion.

“It has been said that a nation will be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. Prime Minister, I present to you the preborn human child, the most vulnerable among us. These smallest members of the human family are waiting on you and on Parliament to act on their behalf. I ask you, please, stand up for them.”

The letter was also copied to the leaders of political parties holding seats, including Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Yves‐François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, and Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Read Jeff Gunnarson's full letter here.