June 24th, 2022
Statement on Abortion Rights and Overturn of Roe v. Wade Decision
While I am unsurprised by the announcement today that the Supreme Court of the United States of America has overthrown the long-standing decision in Roe vs. Wade, which has protected an individuals’ right to the full range of reproductive health options, including access to abortion since 1973, I am nevertheless horrified and shocked by this blatant attack on the rights of women. This decision follows a trend by many states to limit or restrict women’s rights – something pushed by far-right extremists and anti-choice organizations.
While the assault on women’s freedom of choice that we are seeing in the US is abhorrent, it is important to recognize that women’s and human’s rights are under attack around the world, including in Canada. This decision is proof that we can’t assume that our rights will remain protected. Today, access to reproductive health services is severely restricted for some people in Canada, including those in Indigenous, rural and remote communities, and in provinces where the federal government has not done enough to ensure access is available. We have also seen strong opposition to examining abortion and reproductive rights in the House of Commons led by members of the Conservative Party of Canada, many of whom receive significant financial support from anti-abortion groups. I will continue to resist the attacks on women’s, trans’, and all human rights by the Conservatives in Canada.
We must acknowledge that restricting access to reproductive health options for women does not stop abortions from happening, it simply stops legal, safe, and medically appropriate abortions from happening. Racialized people, those from lower socioeconomic households, young people, and other marginalized people will bear the brunt of reduced access. Wealthy, predominantly white women, will always have access to the reproductive services they require because they have the means to access abortion and other services elsewhere.
I have worked around the world on human rights issues for decades. I have seen firsthand what happens when reproductive rights are restricted or taken away. People die. Lives are ruined. I am a mother of a teenage daughter, and I will do whatever I can to ensure she, and all young people in Canada and elsewhere in the world, have the right to make their own decisions for their health, their bodies, and their future.