Throughout the world, many factors influence a countries legal standpoint on any number of issues. Some legal systems are strongly influenced by the religious beliefs held by the citizens of a country. Others are affected by historical alliances or even the outcome of wars. I have selected two nations with opposite cultures, one eastern, one western but both with strong religious influences to compare with Canada's legal standing.
Abortion, the termination of a human fetus during pregnancy, is not a crime in Canada, but the laws are unclear. The Supreme Court of Canada, which can overrule Parliament, declared that the Criminal Code was not compatible with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. An action can only be considered criminal if a federal law specifically prohibits it. When the Criminal Code became law in 1969 it was illegal to "procure a miscarriage" and anyone convicted of carrying out this indictable offense was liable to life in prison.
Doctors were exempted if a medical committee signed a statement that the "continuation of the pregnancy of the female person would or would likely to endanger (the pregnant woman's) life or health. Section 7 of the Charter says that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice." The laws as it stands infringes on the rights not only of the mother but also of the fetus. A decision has yet to be reached in Canada and the ambiguity of our laws are open to various interpretations. The current Liberal government in Ottawa has made it clear that they do not wish to make any amendments to the Criminal Code in regards to abortion.
The Catholic Church's influence on Irish law is very evident...