Friday, January 28, 2011

Thanks Again AGAIN, Henry!

Happy 23rd anniversary of the Morgentaler decision, everyone! This is a good day. We need to remember what a big deal it was to decriminalize abortion in Canada; we only need to look to the south to see that our approach is STILL innovative and progressive.

Of course we have a long way to go within our own country; there is so much stigma around abortion, reproductive health care and women's sexuality in general. And the opposition to abortion rights is nothing to be scoffed at: they have a lot of power and influence, and they are keeping us on our toes every day. Also, access to abortion in this country is shameful, particularly for rural, poor, racialized and otherwise marginalized women. There is still a lot of work for the pro-choice movement in Canada.

Still, I would like to raise a glass to Dr. Morgentaler - a Canadian hero - and all the women who stood with him through his struggles to eventually win this great victory. And of course to all the clinic staff and volunteers, activists and allies, friends and lovers who work every day to not only maintain the right to choose, but also to make abortion services better, easier to access, and more respectful. Thank you for trusting women.

I want to share this wonderful piece that one of my colleagues, a counsellor at the clinic where I work, wrote for the Globe and Mail: The human drama of abortion counselling.

Keep fighting the good fight, friends.


JeninCanada said...

Wee! :) Happy Anniversary and that is a great article in the Globe & Mail.

a.x.i.sanchez said...

Hello, I guess you can label me anti-choice, however my mom thinks I'm awesome. ;) I've been involved with pro-life work for only a short time but I only want to respectively bring to your attention of something that shocked me from the beginning. It seems that most young woman who desire to receive an abortion or inquire about the procedure and costs are often times in a horrible position in their lives that it leads me to believe that for these particular young women, they really have no choice at all. One girl who ended up having the procedure admitted that she really believed that her parents were going to literally kill her. For her, she had no choice. Also one girl who I'm happy to say changed her mind after counseling, said that her boyfriend threatened to leave her and gave her an ultimatum, The baby or him. She also felt she didn't have a choice because she said she loved this dirtbag too much to let him go. So really it was HIS choice. And the last case that I'm able to relay was an older woman who was pregnant going in for an abortion who admitted that her husband was "physical" with her and she did not want to abort her baby but felt she had no choice in the matter. In her disposition, she said she loved her baby so much she could not possibly bring her into the world of abuse. This to me was the most disturbing. Loving someone so much that you feel you must end her life in hopes of sparing her abuse! This was the first time I cried but not the last. But in all these cases, the two young girls and young woman really felt they had no choice. I don't know if you ever have done any sidewalk counseling or volunteered in a woman crisis center, but being pro-life is not about taking away a choice from a woman, but rather granting a choice of life for her baby. And in so doing you come to find out most of these women think they have no choice at all. So by being actively pro-life, I see first hand the difficulties that these women go through and I thank God for programs that aim to really empower women, whether it is to get them counseling after an abortion or help when they feel they have NO real choice. Thanks for reading. Maybe you can write about these situations since they are alarmingly high and more people should at least know that often times women "choices" are really Non-choices. Thanks again.

The Pedgehog said...

No I've never done "sidewalk counselling", because not only is it creepy to shout advice to people who didn't ask for it, it's also harassment.

However, I agree with you that many women who "choose" either abortion or continuing a pregnancy don't really have a choice. That's why most pro-choice activists (myself included) also advocate for: free and accessible birth control, comprehensive sex education, sexual violence prevention, healthy relationship education, intimate partner violence support centres and crisis lines and shelters, universal daycare and childcare, and in general, a society where women and girls are not treated as property or second class citizens.

Being pro-life is fine. When you start to hurt women is when you try to steer them away from a choice they want to make (like abortion) because of your own moral agenda. The best way to ensure women have a real choice is by TRUSTING WOMEN.