On Tuesday, word broke that Ottawa's mayor Jim Watson had signed a proclamation declaring today, May 12, as "Respect For Life Day." This was to honour the annual "March For Life" anti-choice/anti-abortion march that is taking place today.
One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories
One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories is exactly what the subtitle suggests: a selection of portraits and accounts of women who have had abortions in Canada, collected by photographer Kathryn Palmateer and editor Martha Solomon.
The title comes from Lori, the last woman of the collection, who says of her abortion, "The support I would have appreciated: one kind word from anyone."
Lori's wish is echoed through many of the experiences shared by many of the women in this collection who perceive a lack of kindness and respect extended to women who seek an abortion in Canada.
When Health Minister Doug Currie was found to have called off the Health PEI working group that would have established a regular abortion clinic at a PEI hospital, it became incontrivertibly clear that political interference is the only reason PEI remains the only province in Canada to not offer in-province access to safe, legal abortion.
Before the closure of the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic this summer, Ruth Lockhart of the Mabel Wadsworth Women's Health Center in Bangor, Maine, saw a client from New Brunswick every eight-to-ten weeks.
That number has jumped to five New Brunswick clients accessing her clinic's services every week.
"We do about 500 abortions a year. We see maybe ten to 15 [clients] a week, and … we had one to two [women from New Brunswick] in a six-month period," said Lockhart.
"And then in the last couple of weeks, it's changed from that to half our clients. We're talking a small number to start with, but still. Where we're doing ten procedures and five are from Maine and five are from New Brunswick, it's hard not to notice."
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."
Related rabble.ca story:
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.