January 28, 2008 was an important occasion. As many know, and many read, it was the anniversary of the decision which gave Canadian women reproductive liberty.
All such momentous occasions give rise to statements from our chatty politicians. Following are the statements from the party leaders;
Hmmmm….seems there were no statements.
Here are the addresses of the leaders, let’s send them a statement!
Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca Dion.S@parl.gc.ca Harper.S@parl.gc.ca Layton.J@parl.gc.ca
this is the message I sent if you would like to copy and paste (though I am sure you can come up with something much more creative)
January 28th, 2008 was an important event for Canadian women. It marked the Supreme Court decision on a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.
No party in this country came forward with a statement. Every party chose to ignore this historic occasion and by association the women who fought for, support and have been touched by, this decision. (and by extension the friends and families of these women)
It is shameful that in our country politicians feel that an issue as important as this deserves no mention.
While still not leaders statements, at least two statements were made. Where for art thou leaders?
Mrs. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, January 28 was the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Morgentaler decision, which decriminalized abortion in Canada. The legal decision was a victory for Canadian women. The court fully recognized that the law was unfair and that it presented unreasonable obstacles to women seeking abortions.
While the Morgentaler decision is something to celebrate, women in Canada still face obstacles in accessing abortion services. The number of hospitals in Canada providing these services is declining and some provincial governments are violating the Canada Health Act by refusing to fund clinics, thus leaving women without the right to choose.
The government is failing ordinary women in Canada by not ensuring equal and accessible abortion services. This is an equality issue and another example of the government’s disregard for the welfare and rights of women.
Ms. Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ):
Mr. Speaker, this week marks the 20th anniversary of a very important ruling for women. In the Dr. Morgentaler case, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized abortion.
After a tough 20-year battle led by doctors and women’s groups, this ruling finally allowed women to take control of their bodies and their pregnancies and to have access to safe abortion. Since then, they have had the freedom to choose.
That is why any threat by this Conservative government to limit the right to abortion is a direct affront to women’s rights. Bill C-484 by the hon. Conservative member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park opens the door to criminalizing abortion.
We are against taking any steps backward. Abortion is a vested right ensuring the well-being and equality of women.
*statements via Hansard*
Right to Abortion—Twentieth Anniversary
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, this week marks the twentieth anniversary of the Morgentaler decision. Indeed, it was on January 28, 1988, that the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized abortion. This historic decision gave Canadian women the freedom to control their own fertility and it blew a gust of freedom into their lives.
We can thank Dr. Morgentaler for his boldness, courage and determination. Besides him, several Canadian women were involved in this fight, including Dr. Lise Fortier, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Notre-Dame Hospital in Montreal. Thanks to their efforts and many sacrifices, this injustice done to women has been corrected.
This 20th anniversary is a well-deserved time of celebration. We must, however, take this opportunity to take stock. The truth is that the right to abortion remains a fragile one in Canada.
Abortion services are unevenly dispersed across Canada. Today still, women seeking to terminate a pregnancy continue to face contempt and even pressure, often from medical personnel.
Access to abortion services is already limited, and yet there are people trying to set us back 20 years by restricting a woman’s ability to choose, while others simply want abortion to be made illegal again.
All this prompts us to be more vigilant. Losing this right for which several generations of Canadians, both men and women, have fought is out of the question.
As honourable senators no doubt recall, the reason that termination of pregnancy as we know it is still possible is because, in January 1991, new legislation that would have made abortion illegal was blocked in the Senate.
It is now up to us, the younger senators among us in particular, to carry the torch. We must never forget that the fight for these rights has been long and hard, but that they could be lost very quickly.
Let us celebrate fittingly, stay vigilant and look to the future.