Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Abortion and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Ask students what they know about
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Record their answers on the board or
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.
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.