Monday, January 28, 2013

25th Anniversary of the Morgentaler Decision: Round Up

Happy anniversary everyone! Y'all know I have a lot to say about what decrim hasn't done, but today is a day to celebrate the work of our mothers and grandmothers, along with Dr. Morgentaler, in getting the law struck down. That is not nothing!

I've rounded up some info for you if you're interested in reading up on the anniversary and/or attending a celebratory event in your community. Feel free to let me know in comments if there's anything I've missed!


Calgary - "Status Quo?" Screening of the NFB documentary, followed by a short Q&A on the unfinished business of the Morgentaler decision and the state of reproductive rights in Canada. The Plaza Theatre, 7pm Jan. 28, $5 at the door. Presented by the Calgary Pro-Choice Coalition.

Toronto - 25 Years Since the Morgentaler Decision: A Celebration! Panel featuring Judy Rebick, Michele Landsburg, Carolyn Egan, Angela Robertson, and Jillian Bardsley. Followed by a screening of The Life and Times of Henry Morgentaler. Innis Town Hall, 7pm Jan. 28, $5 at the door. Presented by OCAC.

Toronto - Morgentaler Decision Panel Discussion. Panel featuring Dr. Robert Scott, Morris Manning, Kirk Makin, Lorraine Weinrib, and Carolyn Egan. Bennett Lecture Hall, University of Toronto, 5:30pm Jan. 29, FREE (Registration required!!). Presented by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights.

Sudbury - A Celebration of Struggle. Screening of "Abortion: Stories of Choice" followed by discussion. Women's Centre, Laurentian University, 2:30pm Jan. 28, FREE. Presented by Department of Women's Studies, Women's Studies Association, the Women's Centre and the Mineure en etudes des femmes.

Ottawa - Reception & Discussion. Live streaming of Toronto panel discussion, light refreshments, and speeches by Ottawa activists Melanie Jubinville-Stafford and Sahra Maclean. Room 7-50, 131 Queen St., 6pm Jan. 28, FREE (RSVP required!!). Presented by Niki Ashton and ACPD.

Everywhere - sign the guestbook with a message of thanks for Dr. M on ARCC's anniversary website


25 Year After R. v. Morgentaler: Where does the law go from here? by me and Not Guilty (Abortion Gang)

Access Still the Issue on Anniversary of Supreme Court Decision by Women's Equality Prince Edward Island (PEI ACSW)

Twenty-five years on: how we won abortion rights by Carolyn Egan (

Stories from the front lines of the abortion victory in Canada by Judy Rebick (

Henry Morgentaler's Supreme Court win a landmark for abortion rights by Heather Mallick (Toronto Star)

Let's protect the rights we've earned by Vicki Saporta (Vancouver Sun)

Celebrating the Morgentaler Decision by Michelle Lovegrove Thomson (The Paltry Sapien)

Call to Action: 25th Anniversary of the Morgentaler Decision by the Radical Handmaids (Radical Handmaids)

The Morgentaler decision, 25 years on by Jesse McLaren (Socialist Worker)

Thank you Dr. Morgentaler! by Jennifer Rowe (Fat and Not Afraid)

Friday, January 25, 2013

In Honour of the 25th Anniversary of No Abortion Law

A press release from ARCC-CDAC

Abortion Rights Group Launches Website to Celebrate Jan 28, 1988 Supreme Court Decision and Dr. Henry Morgentaler
NATIONAL – In honour of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic 1988 decision to overturn the nation’s criminal abortion law, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada is delighted to dedicate a new website to the anniversary:
The day of the court decision – January 28, 1988 – was one of jubilant celebration for Dr. Henry Morgentaler and pro-choice movement activists who had worked for decades to win abortion rights. “Our website honours the heroic sacrifices of Dr. Morgentaler, including numerous trials and a jail sentence, before he was finally and fully vindicated by the court,” said Julie Lalonde, the Ottawa-based spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC).
“The website also lists the benefits that decriminalizing abortion has had for Canadian women and society, including improved health outcomes and more equality for women,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of ARCC. “Canada is the first country in the world to prove that abortion care can be ethically and effectively managed as part of standard healthcare practice, without being controlled by any civil or criminal law. Our success should be a role model to the world, because Canada’s experience is proof that laws against abortion are unnecessary,” said Arthur.
The Supreme Court of Canada had struck down the abortion law because it violated women’s rights to bodily security, as well as life, liberty, and autonomy. The justices ruled the law unconstitutional because it required a woman to obtain approval from a committee of three doctors before she could get an abortion, resulting in discriminatory obstacles and delays that increased medical risks.
“We invite the media and public celebrate the anniversary with us by signing the Guestbook on our website, checking out one of the events listed on our Events page, sharing a personal story about meeting Dr. Morgentaler, or sending him a private message, said Lalonde. ”The site is also a place to learn more about Canada’s abortion rights history and the Morgentaler Decision.”
The website contains many articles and photos related to the historic Supreme Court decision and the decades-long struggle by the pro-choice movement to achieve access to abortion for women. It includes a biography of Henry Morgentaler, a list of books and films featuring Dr. Morgentaler, a comprehensive history of the struggle for abortion rights, excerpts from the Supreme Court decision, updates on abortion access today in each province, and much more.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

25th Anniversary Reflections (and events!)

January 28th, 2013 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision. This is an occasion, for some, of pure celebration, but for the rest of us I believe it will be more a time of reflection - on what has been achieved, certainly, but also on what hasn't happened, and on where we go from here. The Canadian movement seriously needs to talk about how the Morgentaler decision - while momentous - was the culmination of a push towards goals that serve only white, urban, middle class cis women and leave the needs of poor, rural, racialized and trans people sorely unmet. We need to move beyond legislation, beyond access, towards justice.

I do think it is important to thank Dr. Morgentaler and the courageous folks who fought beside him, and this is as good a time as any! You can check out the pretty great site ARCC put up to commemorate the anniversary, which allows you to leave a special message of thanks (or whatever) to Dr. Morgentaler. You could also use this occasion as an excuse to check out your local clinic, maybe contact them to see if they need volunteers, or just send a card of thanks and appreciation. Personally I am celebrating by having a new IUD inserted, because I am a festive kind of lady.

In news more on the "reflection and moving forward" side of things, guys, you should all check out Status Quo?: the unfinished business of feminism in Canada. Here is the trailer:

There is going to be a Cinema Politica screening in Toronto on Feb. 5th at the Bloor Cinema - please come if you can! I promise you will love the film, and you'll even get to see me! In the film and also watching the film! Super meta.

In Fredericton, Cinema Politica is screening it on March 1st, so go check it out if you can. If you are not in either of these places, look out for it, because around International Women's Day (March 8) it should be playing in lots of cool places.