What's on the horizon for reproductive rights in Canada for 2015? Let's take a look back at 2014, especially at some ongoing initiatives that may prove very fruitful for 2015.
Anti-choice dinosaurs now extinct in Liberal Party
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.
The government of New Brunswick has embarked upon a perilous political path in recent weeks. It has decided to directly endanger the health and lives of New Brunswick women on the basis of its presumed "pro-life" religious beliefs. The main person behind this decision is, ironically, Health Minister Ted Flemming.
One out of every three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. But behind that statistic hides overwhelming stress, anxiety, tough decisions and physical symptoms. Behind every “one” is a woman who had to make a potentially life-changing decision. Especially in a society that offers little to no support with a side of judgment, these women deserve our support.
Check out the 1 in 3 campaign for personal stories, statistics, and resources to help end society’s judgment and shame surrounding the “taboo” topic that directly affects one billion women around the world.