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Canada's tiniest province with a population to match is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of Canadian politics. Thought of as a quiet backwater, Prince Edward Island is renowned for its picturesque scenery, red-sand beaches, lighthouses, and quaint villages and churches. It also boasts the longest bridge in Canada, as well as the country's best lobster suppers (in my opinion). To top it off, P.E.I. is the birthplace of Confederation, the home of Anne of Green Gables, and a Life Sanctuary.
SAN ANTONIO -- In Texas, how far women have come can be measured by how far they have to go. Scores of medical facilities have been shuttered in Texas, stranding almost a million women hundreds of miles from a health-care facility that they might need. The reason? These facilities provide, among other services, safe, legal abortions. Last week, the U.S. Appeals Court for the 5th Circuit affirmed Texas state restrictions on abortion access, closing 13 more clinics overnight. Overall, 80 per cent of Texas abortion clinics have closed since the law went into effect.
An important day just went by, marked by hundreds of events and campaigns and lots of noise around the world. Some of you may have never heard of it before, but to an abortion rights activist like me, it's practically a statutory holiday.
September 28 is the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. The day originated two decades ago in Latin America and the Caribbean where women's groups have been pushing governments to decriminalize abortion and provide safe and affordable access. The date itself commemorates the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1871, and came to be adopted by Brazilian women as the day of the "free womb."
In April, when New Brunswick's Morgentaler Clinic announced it would be forced to close, the barriers to accessing abortion in the Maritimes came to national attention. Now, with the New Brunswick election on September 23 and the federal election coming in 2015, reproductive justice activists across Canada are hoping to keep the momentum going for change.
This Saturday, September 20, will mark a National Day of Action for Reproductive Justice, with rallies set for cities across Canada in solidarity with activists in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, who are demanding equal access to a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion.
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Justin Trudeau's statement that any new candidate for the Liberal Party must agree to vote pro-choice on any bills is positive and entirely appropriate. It stirred up a surprising amount of criticism and confusion in the media, however, in addition to the expected histrionics from anti-choice and religious communities.