The death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler on May 29, 2013 has prompted many to revisit R. v. Morgentaler, the seminal 1988 decision in which Section 251 of the Criminal Code, Canada’s longstanding abortion law, was struck down as unconstitutional. The case is so significant in part because it represents one of the Supreme Court’s earliest attempts at defining the scope of Section 7 of the Charter, which guarantees the right to life, liberty, and security of the person. Ultimately, the Court concluded that Section 251 was a violation of security of the person. Thereafter, Canada’s legal landscape was dramatically changed. This week’s Digest of the Week contains summaries of the three majority opinions and the dissent that emerged from this landmark case.
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