It starts with an “A” and it rhymes with “smushmortion”
This guest article from last week’s Toronto Star brought attention to the 20-year anniversary today of abortion being declared legal by the Supreme Court of Canada.
In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law as unconstitutional. The law was found to violate Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringed upon a woman’s right to “life, liberty and security of person.”
Chief Justice Brian Dickson wrote: “Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus a violation of her security of the person.”
Canada became one of a small number of countries without a law restricting abortion. Abortion was now treated like any other medical procedure and was governed by provincial and medical regulations. (link)
This is important to note because I feel younger women such as myself might have taken it for granted as a right that was fought for, especially women such as myself who never took women’s studies courses in school. As the author of the Star column writes about how Dr. Morgentaler’s clinic was firebombed years after the decision because there was still so much opposition to the ruling:
young women today may know our reproductive rights, but we do not realize the full extent of the battle that was waged so that we could sit in a clinic in 2008 and wait for a legal, safe abortion free of institutional hassle. With only a set of legal facts constituting our social memory, we cannot fully appreciate the sacrifices women and men made, risking their personal safety in order to champion our ability to make responsible decisions about our bodies. (link)
For more information about the history of abortion in Canada and about Dr. Morgentaler’s bravery in performing abortions illegally prior to 1988 for desperate women click here and if anyone else has helpful links let me know please!
UPDATE: The Globe has an excellent piece today celebrating the 20th anniversary