Canada's highest court sidestepped making a decision Thursday on whether the unborn have a constitutional right to life and refused to make a ruling in a court challenge by an anti-abortion crusader.

Canada has been without an abortion law since the Supreme Court 14 months ago struck down a 19-year-old law that permitted abortions only in cases of medical necessity.The seven Supreme Court judges who deliberated a challenge by the country's leading anti-abortion activist, Joe Borowski, said the case was "moot as there is no longer a concrete legal dispute."

The court said the "live controversy" underlying the new case disappeared when the old abortion law was struck down and ordered the Canadian government to pay the costs of the court challenge, saying it should have moved to have the cased quashed since the appeal was brought last fall, after the abortion law had been abolished.