May 5, 2022
The Liberal government is prepared to introduce an abortion bill for the first time in 31 years “if we need to,” according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau told reporters yesterday the Liberals will “move forward as necessary on ensuring that not just under this government, but under any future government the rights of women are properly protected,” according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“There is a majority of members of this House who will always defend women’s rights and if we need to move to legislation we can do so over the objection of the Conservatives,” Trudeau said. The last cabinet bill on abortion was defeated in the Senate in 1991.
“We are looking at this legal framework now to see how we can ensure that women’s rights will always be respected,” said Trudeau.
“We know unfortunately with what we see among our neighbours to the south, but also with what we see in the debates within the Conservative Party of Canada that we need to ensure there are protections.”
The last attempt by a government to legislate abortion, Bill C-43 An Act Respecting Abortion, was sponsored by then-Justice Minister Kim Campbell. It proposed some restrictions on the procedure after the Supreme Court in 1988 struck down regulation of abortion as unconstitutional in R. v. Morgentaler.
The bill failed on a Senate tie but passed the House of Commons on May 29, 1990 by a vote of 140 to 131. Lawmakers who voted for abortion restrictions included five Bloc Québécois MPs, Conservatives MP Jean Charest (Sherbrook, Que.) and Joe Clark (Yellowhead, Alta.) and two Liberal MPs, former Prime Minister John Turner (Vancouver Quadra) and future House of Commons speaker Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands, Ont.).