Until the late 1960s, abortion
was prohibited in Canada and was considered to be a criminal offense. As a
result, a woman was not able to obtain an abortion in Canada. However, the
Canadian Supreme Court overturned the legislation that outlawed abortion.
Currently, Canada maintains
very few abortion laws regulating the acquisition of abortions. As a result, a
woman is now able to obtain an abortion in Canada. Each province is responsible
for establishing regulations regarding abortion funding. Abortions are widely
funded through Medicare, though each province must determine how much it will
These relatively nonrestrictive
abortion laws have caused extensive debate in Canada. Many individuals believe
that Canada should create more restrictive abortion laws and regulations. In
recent years, doctors who perform this procedure have been targeted by pro-life
advocates in sometimes violent attacks.
additional information regarding abortion and associated regulations.le to obtain an abortion in Canada. However, the Canadian Supreme Court overturned the legislation that outlawed abortion. Currently, Canada maintains very few abortion laws regulating the acquisition of abortions. As a result, a woman is now able to obtain an abortion in Canada. Each province is responsible for establishing regulations regarding abortion funding. Abortions are widely funded through Medicare, though each province must determine how much it will fund abortions. These relatively nonrestrictive abortion laws have caused extensive debate in Canada. Many individuals believe that Canada should create more restrictive abortion laws and regulations. In recent years, doctors who perform this procedure have been targeted by pro-life advocates, in sometimes violent attacks.
Constitutional law contains additional information regarding abortion and associated regulations.
Constitutional law is the highest ruling law in the United States. Formally, Constitutional law is found in the U.S. Constitution, which outlines rights and rules which the people of the United States are afforded. Constitutional laws help to provide regulated power to different areas of Government in the United States to better support the American Public and protect them.
One of the
basic functions of a constitution is to provide for the governmental and legal
structure of the area which it covers, which most conventionally comprises an
entire country. A basic definition of a constitution’s scope is that it
provides for the rights which the government under its control may and may not
The rule of
law of a government should be provided for by a well-devised constitution. This
principle is normally framed in the terms of the government being ruled by the
laws, as opposed to the government controlling the laws. In addition to these
ideological precepts for the rights of citizens, constitutions also have the
more neutrally conceived task of assuring the efficiency of the government’s
operations. Procedural and humanitarian considerations generally operate in
concert in determining the shape which a constitution mandates for a country’s
The modern mold for constitutions is often
considered that of the United States Constitution. One of the significant tasks
undertaken by this document was the division of the government of the United
States into separate parts, each given its own powers and tasked toward a
specific end. This division took a tripartite form, creating judicial,
executive, and legislative branches.
The idea was
derived by the United States Constitution’s drafters, the American
“Founding fathers,” from the French philosopher Montesquieu. This
function, termed the “separation of powers,” has often occurred in
subsequent governments and is conceived as a device for preventing one section
of the government from assuming too much control over the others.
Another basic task for a constitution is to
address where power is actually located in a government, which in turn
determines the basis by which it may wield it. The way in which a government
operates is in part determined by how the constitution defines the
“distribution of sovereignty”.
kinds of sovereignty according to constitutional law theory are unitary,
federal, and confederal. For instance, a unitary constitution considers that
authority comes from the state itself. Different sections of the country only
possess power in relation to the central authority. By contrast, a federal
constitution, such as that of the United States, splits the sovereignty of the
government between the central administrative center and the various regions
which it governs. Certain powers are given to the central government while
others are accorded to the provinces or states. In a confederal state, there is
a central administrative center but the balance of power in government is
oriented toward the provinces. The actual sovereignty is located in the
provincial areas, while the central state has, at most, only the ability to
provide for coordination between them.
An essentially procedural task for the
constitution to undertake toward a nation’s governmental system is that of the
“lines of accountability”. This principle refers to the hierarchies
of responsibility and supervision in the government. Often the lines of accountability
will give the chief executive precedence over cabinet ministers or secretaries,
whom the chief executive can both appoint and dismiss.
A basic concern of the practice
of a constitution is the protection of what we would now term human rights,
which at another point in human history were referred to as natural rights. In
a more neutral sense, a typical constitution might be understood as providing a
codified structure for the functions and operation of government. In placing
government operations on a regular basis, however, the state’s relations with
its citizens are also normalized, which generally tends toward the end of assuring
the liberties and privileges associated with human rights.
When members of a government go
beyond the powers granted to them in their constitution or by statutes of law,
then they can be considered “ultra vires”. Similarly, lawful acts
which are nonetheless offensive toward human rights or in some other
undesirable way can generally be addressed by a constitution.
In most systems of
constitutional law, the constitution is understood as the basis for law and
thus takes precedence over statutes. Statutes which are found in violation of
the applicable constitution can generally be declared null and void ab initio, or “from the creation”.
European thinkers arrived at
the idea of natural rights partly through observation of indigenous and tribal
peoples elsewhere in the world, whose societies were often assumed to be less
restricted than those of Europe. Modern human rights theory avoids such
generalizations about early human society, but proceeds to the similar
conclusion that certain rights are innately due to all people.
Constitutions can vary according to the kind of political entity they govern and the extent to which they govern it. In this sense, perhaps the most widely considered form of constitutional law is that placed on a national level, as in the case of the United States Constitution, generally considered the modern world's most influential constitution.
Constitutions may exist for specific regions, provinces or states within the larger framework of a nation and, in that sense, national constitutional law. Constitutional theory also allows for the possible existence of a constitution across national borders, or in the terminology of this area, a supranational constitution. Groups which are not formerly part of governments but which exist for the express purpose of influencing politics, such as unions, interest groups and parties, are likely to also have constitutions. Outside of the political realm, the written framework for large organizations is not often referred to as a constitution but may be plausibly referred to as one.
The essential concept of a constitution is tied in with writing and codification. That being said, some constitutions exist on an unwritten basis. To reach far back in history, the organization of the Iroquois Nation of North America, believed to have occurred somewhere around the 11th and 12th centuries, occurred without any writing but possessed enough similarities to the developing European model for constitutional law to be later cited by the "Founding Fathers" of the United States as an influence.
The best-known of the unwritten constitutions, and one furnished by the European experience, is that of the United Kingdom, which, through its early control over the North American colonies and in other ways, profoundly influenced the rights and provisions addressed in the written United States Constitution.
Another division to be drawn between constitutions can be found on the issue of whether or not they are codified. Codification is the most strategic in constitutional law, but several constitutions exist in the world that are in uncodified form. The concept is similar but not identical to the issue of whether a constitution is written.
Codification generally allows constitutional law to serve as precedent in court over statutory law, as, for instance, in the United States a law might be rejected by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional. Codification generally occurs first at a single and identifiable historical moment, as in the United States' transition from the Articles of Confederation to a period of Federal power.
Codification of constitutional law generally identifies and firmly guarantees its most basic principles. By contrast, constitutions which are not codified rely on a past body of legal precedent as it has gradually taken shape, rather being decisively put into practice. Non-codified constitutions can be found in complete form in the United Kingdom, Israel and New Zealand, while only partially codified constitutions also exist in Australia and other nations, in the sense of some fundamental principles lying outside the primary document of the constitution. Non-codified constitutions are likely to be "written," however, in the sense of being enumerated in written documents.