AuthorM.H. Ogilvie
The interaction of law and religion in relation to health h as largely been
concerned with the begi nning and end of life in thi s world and has
traditionally been regulated by the crimi nal law, which historically
sought to uphold Christian beliefs about the sanctity of life as a divine
gift to be given and ta ken again by God. The Criminal Code continues
to make provision for matters relating to suicide, the preservation of
life, and the right to die. While the original reason for the criminaliz-
ation of these matters was theological, in recent years their legal con-
sideration has been largely secularized and constitutionalized after the
introduction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thus, the
abortion provisions of the Code have been found to be an i nfringement
of section 7 of the Charter1 and legal issues at the end of life have been
said to be protected because they ref‌lect “fundamental values” in Can-
adian so ciety,2 without a court stating either what those va lues are or
their ultimate source. The courts no longer frame t hese issues as issues
in moral theology, rather as issues of secular law, so no further discus-
sion is possible in a legal text. But for religious people of all faith s, they
continue to be so considered and practised in daily life.
1 For a discuss ion of these, see, generally, chapter 5, section s M–P.
2 Rodriguez v. A.G. B.C., [1993] 3 S.C.R. 519.

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