Few issues have polarized Canadians and Americans as much as the abortion debate. In this thoughtful and thought-provoking reflection on the implications the law on abortion has on democracy, Mark MacGuigan brings a much-needed perspective to this controversial subject. Few people are as well qualified to do so: MacGuigan is a former law professor, minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, a Catholic, and a federal appellate-court judge.
Distinguishing carefully between morality and the law, MacGuigan includes a history of the criminal law, the Catholic Church's views, and the often-ignored roles of individual conscience, freedom and responsibility in democracy. He reviews the essential debate, important case histories, and the evolving social perspectives that have attached themselves to discussions of abortion. he also includes chapters on the related issues of contraception and euthanasia.
MacGuigan refers to a wide range of influential and international documents and judgements: papal encyclicals, the Wolfenden Report, Roe vs. Wade, a ruling in a case that involved Dr. Henry Morgentaler, and numerous other sources. With great candour, MacGuigan also explores how his own attitude and position have changed to the point where he now opposes any legislation limiting abortion before viability.
Those who are seeking clarity of the issues and those who want to uncloud the rhetoric and the arguments should not miss reading this important work.close this panel
Mark MacGuigan, son of a former P.E.I. attorney general and supreme court judge, was educated at St. Dunstan's (P.E.I.), University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School and Columbia University. He holds two earned doctorates and four honorary ones. From 1960 to 1968, he held various teaching positions, culminating at the University of Windsor, where he was founding dean of the Faculty of Law. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1968, and re-elected in 1972, 1974, 1979 and 1980. He was appointed secretary of state for external affairs in 1982, and judge of the Federal Court of Appeal in 1984.close this panel
"Macguigan balances his internal obligation to his faith against the challenge a judge faces to serve all Canadians. He sets a brilliant example of the bench at its best."