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Government adds indecency, abortion offences to list of ‘unjust’ historic convictions

Police historically used indecency charges to target and raid LGBTQ nightclubs and swingers clubs
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The Canadian flag flies on top of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, March 6, 2023. People who have been convicted of a number of indecency and anti-abortion offences that are no longer on the books can now apply to have those convictions expunged.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

People who have been convicted of a number of indecency and anti-abortion offences that are no longer on the books can now have those convictions expunged.

The list of “historically unjust offences” is being expanded to include a raft of charges that date back to 1892 and were largely directed at the LGBTQ community and women.

The government says police historically used certain indecency charges to target and raid bathhouses, LGBTQ nightclubs and swingers clubs.

Some of the now-repealed laws targeted women for “procuring their own miscarriage” and seeking an abortion and targeted abortion providers.

People can apply to the Parole Board have their criminal records cleared of these offences, and family members or trustees can apply on behalf of people who have died.

The RCMP’s national criminal records repository lists more than 18,500 records related to bawdy-houses, indecent acts and abortion-related offences on the new list.

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