Abortion Law in Canada

1892: Canada’s Criminal Code prohibits abortion.

When Canada became an independent country in 1867, it continued to be governed by English common law. “When the Canadian Criminal Code was consolidated in 1892 and incorporated the existing law on abortion, modelled after the British Offences Against the Person Act, the relevant sections were Sections 271- 274 of the Criminal Code which made it illegal and punishable by life imprisonment to procure a woman’s miscarriage, and made self-inducement of abortion subject to seven years in prison. But there was a clear ‘saving’ provision in the Code which absolved doctors who acted to preserve a woman’s life and thereby killed the foetus.”(1)
Abortion: Constitutional and Legal Developments

(1) Jane Jenson, “Getting to Morgentaler: From One Representation to Another,” M. Janine Brodie et al, The Politics of Abortion (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1992) p. 24.

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