May 14, 1969 


P.E. Trudeau’s Liberal government passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act. The bill amended the Criminal Code by partially decriminalizing abortion, along with homosexuality, and birth control. The longstanding criminal prohibition of abortion was amended by s. 251 of the Criminal Code, which provided an exception where the abortion was approved by a Therapeutic Abortion Committee (TAC).  TACs were established by hospitals (at their discretion) and consisted of a minimum of three physicians who certified in writing that continuing a pregnancy would threaten a woman’s life or health. Hospitals were not legally obligated to consider requests or provide abortion services. Section 251 of the Criminal Code was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court on January 28, 1988. 




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Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, SC, c 38, s 18