On Monday morning’s daily commute, I tuned into my favourite CBC morning radio show, the Current. The topic was abortion in Canada and the show addressed recent speculation that the abortion debate may be re-opening since Harper recently excluded abortion from Canada’s International Maternal Health Plan.
A history of un-debate
I’ll keep this short because not everyone loves history or politics, but during this program I learned that Canada doesn’t have any explicit laws on abortion. The program goes on to talk about Canada’s lack of political will to debate this issue because it’s so divisive and so un-Canadian to confront this difficult issue. The truce that’s be in place for the last 22 years since the Supreme Court had a free vote seems to have appeased most Canadians because there’s no legislation against it, nor is there legislation for it. Ironically, it’s “an accident of history” that abortion is not illegal in Canada.
Canadian women’s voices
A short clip from May 1970 was played (14:05 to 15:24). It replays an emotionally intense dialogue between two women during a two-day demonstration in which 35 women chained themselves to the Parliamentary Gallery to demand the right to choose. The emotion and intensity is palpable in this precious archive.
A legacy to be grateful for
I was completely struck by the brave women who put themselves on the line to fight for a woman’s right to choose—for my right to choose. In that moment, for the first time, I connected to the courageous Canadian women who lived before me. I actually heard their voices fighting for my rights and my future. And I wished I could thank them for it. Writing this blog in their honour is the closest I could come.
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