Liberal MP Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce) recently introduced a private member's bill to restrict partial-birth abortions. His bill imposes penalties of 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Luckily, only one third of MPs are anti-choice. That's a lot more than there were before the last election (78 of the 100 anti-choice MPs are Conservative), but it's not enough for the bill to pass.
In his speech introducing the bill, Steckle said that Canada is one of the only countries in the world that provides no legal protection for the unborn. Here's another take on the same statistic:
As the only democratic country in the world with no legal restrictions against abortion, Canada serves as a valuable model for other countries. In the eighteen years since the Supreme Court declared our abortion law unconstitutional, we've shown that a lack of laws actually leads to earlier and safer abortions. In Canada, about 90 percent of abortions are done by 12 weeks, and about 97 percent by 16 weeks. This is a better record than in the US, where numerous legal restrictions serve mainly to delay abortions and increase the medical risk. Moreover, Canadian women have almost one-third fewer abortions than American women, and at rates comparable to countries in western Europe. Canada also enjoys one of the lowest maternal mortality and complication rates for abortion in the world.
We're not doing as well as that might sound. For example:
* Less than 18% of Canadian hospitals perform abortions, and many communities - including all of Nunavit and PEI - have no hospitals that perform abortions at all.
* The abortion drug mifepristone (RU-486) is not yet available in Canada.
* There are often insufficient services available to women with unwanted pregnancies to help them find the solution that is right for them, which may very well not be abortion.