CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Abortion and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Type:
Assignment
Subjects:
Business Studies, Political Science
Duration:
2 lessons
Purpose:
To understand applications of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Summary:
Students will examine the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and determine if and how it was used to defend Dr. Morgentaler.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students what they know about Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Record their answers on the board or chart paper.


Provide each student with the download sheet Abortion and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Compare their list with the summary and note which rights and freedoms, if any, the class did not identify.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students work in groups of three or four to review the clips titled "Challenging the law", "Abortion law ruled unconstitutional", "Morgentaler's controversial legacy", "Ontario jury acquits Morgentaler," "The end of a fight," and "Abortion issue, ten years later" on the topic Dr. Henry Morgentaler: Fighting Canada's Abortion Laws on the CBC Digital Archives website. As they review the clips, students should take note of all pertinent points about the legal argument over abortion.


Then have students use their summary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and identify how the charter was applied to the issue of abortion in Dr. Morgentaler's case. Students should write a one- to two-page analysis explaining if and how the charter was used to defend Dr. Morgentaler.

Revisit and Reflect

Have students share their analyses in small groups. They should note whether group members have different views about if and how the charter was applied, and why that might be so.


Gather the groups and ask them to share their ideas of how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms helped Dr. Morgentaler. Extend the discussion by brainstorming other issue-based court decisions where changes in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms might change the results of a legal battle.

Extension

Students can write a report comparing the Canadian Bill of Rights with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and discuss how Morgentaler's defence was different after the Charter was enacted.

Download PDF


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