The United States Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs Wade. It was a monumental court case decided way back in 1973 that established abortion as a “right” in every state in the US.
By removing this fundamental right, about half of states in the US now plan to ban or criminalize the procedure.
This takes away people’s freedom.
It also puts poor people and people of colour at more risk because rich people can always find a way to pay for an abortion. Thousands will die as a result.
The change in the US has people here in Canada thinking about the issue. But, as it stands, Canada doesn’t have any laws about abortion.
That’s because an abortion is a medical procedure. And why would we have laws about medical procedures?
Should we have laws about heart surgery? How about surgery for testicular cancer?
Yes, we have regulations about these procedures. We have tests to ensure a person is healthy enough to survive a surgery. We have rules to make sure the surgeon is qualified.
But the regulations are in place to ensure surgeries are as safe as possible. It’s the same with abortions.
We’d like to think we no longer have to worry about access to abortions. We wish the issue were a thing of the past. But there are some very stark signs that that’s not the case.
Of the current Conservative members of parliament, 73 percent are in favour of forced birth.
Some folks who are concerned about attacks on pregnant folks migrating north of the border have called for new laws to protect our “right to abortion.” In fact, according to a poll by Maru Public Opinion, 83 percent of British Columbians support introducing laws to protect abortion rights.
Sure, laws may seem like a good option. But creating legislation in Canada could actually make it easier for us to follow in America’s footsteps.
Making abortions a “right” like in the US turns a medical procedure into a political hot potato.
Would you ever fight for your right to get a hip replaced or a cyst removed?
Abortion should not be treated differently from any other form of medical care.
Abortions should never be politicized.
The treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is abortion. The treatment for a septic uterus is abortion. The treatment for a miscarriage that your body won’t release is abortion.
If you can’t get those abortions, you die.
Governments and “rights” have nothing to do with it.
Passing an abortion-rights law also creates the opportunity for political movements to try to put boundaries and stipulations around that “right.” We don’t talk about any other medical procedure in this way.
Including this new “right” in the law books would open the door to future governments’ more-restrictive amendments.
So if you want to protect abortion in Canada, keep talking about it. Have open conversations that encourage empathy and understanding.
At the end of the day, no one wants to have an abortion. But if we treat it as a difficult—and private—medical decision, we can find the common ground and understanding needed to move forward into a safer future.