Reproductive Justice & You

photo of a pro-abortion protest

“To be clear, reproductive justice is not a label —it’s a mission. It describes our collective vision: a world where all people have the social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about gender, bodies, sexuality, reproduction, and families for themselves and their communities.”

~ Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Kierra Johnson 

Reproductive justice, as defined by SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, “is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.”

Reproductive justice encompasses not only reproductive rights, including abortion rights, but also the social, economic, and political conditions that impact individuals’ choices around bearing and raising children.

 On June 24th of this year, I, like most people, was stunned when the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the long-standing ruling of Roe v. Wade. The action surprised no one. The struggle for sexual health and reproductive rights is more important than ever.

Why should Canadians be alarmed by this judgement? 

Abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1988. But it is not a right under our Constitution. Instead, abortion is a publicly funded medical procedure regulated by our federal Health Act and provincial health care systems. However, access to such care is often challenging for those who live outside urban centres. Also, Indigenous and other racialized communities are woefully underserved. Reproductive rights and sexual health care are not equable across our country.  This may not affect you personally — but it will affect your children, your grandchildren and your other loved ones.

In Canada and other countries, anti-choice organizations emboldened by the reversal of Roe v Wade have radically increased their push to gain power and control over vulnerable individuals and groups. 

As Canadians, who believe that reproductive justice is for everyone, we must work to ensure our government strengthens Canada’s Health Act to provide universal sexual health and reproductive rights throughout the country — in large cities and rural areas in every province. 

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

We must stand in solidarity with all people, here in Canada, in the U.S and around the globe, who require sexual and reproductive health care. We must support those in Indigenous, LGBTQA+, People of Colour and other marginalized communities where the lack of health care is most dire. We must demand that all persons have bodily autonomy. We must stand against the misogynist pursuit of power by the anti-abortion movement. 

Abortion Myth Busting 
The anti-choice movement often spreads disinformation to prevent access to abortion. Pregnancy counselling agencies, such as the Crisis Pregnancy Centre, masquerade as pro-choice clinics to convince people to carry a pregnancy to term. These “clinics” use deceptive measures to prevent people from accessing abortions, including hiding their religious affiliation and offering false facts about abortion. Many people, including some government officials, use disinformation to further their cause. These beliefs are harmful as they can inappropriately affect reproductive health decisions. 

Six Abortion Myths — Debunked 
MYTH — Abortions cause breast cancer. 
FACT — While breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, scientific research has shown no evidence that abortion increases the risk of breast or any other type of cancer.  

MYTH — All religions oppose abortion rights. 
FACT — According to Pew Research Center, not all religions are against abortion. Some religious Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the United Methodist Church support abortion rights with some limitations. Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, the Presbyterian Church USA, Unitarian Universalist, and the United Church of Christ uphold abortion rights with few or no limits. 

Photo by Katie Godowski from Pexels

MYTH — Abortions are dangerous. 
FACT — Abortion is a routine medical procedure. When performed by qualified health care professionals, abortion (surgical and medication) is one of the safest medical treatments. The World Health Organization reports that 73 million induced abortions are performed every year. Abortion is unsafe when undertaken by untrained individuals and/or when done where minimal medical standards are lacking. 

MYTH — Emergency contraceptives such as “Plan B” cause abortions. 
FACT — Plan B and other prescribed emergency contraceptives work by delaying or inhibiting the release of a mature egg, preventing fertilization. Emergency contraceptives have no effect if ovulation has already occurred and will not cause an abortion if an egg has been fertilized. 

MYTH — Only cisgender women and girls require abortions. 
FACT — Intersex people, non-binary people, transgender men and boys, and others who have the
capacity to become pregnant may need access to safe, non-judgemental reproductive health care
such as abortion. 

MYTH — Criminalizing abortion will help prevent unintended pregnancies and stop abortions. 
FACT — Guttmacher Institute states in their March 2022 Fact Sheet on Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion Worldwide Fact Sheet: “Unintended pregnancy rates are highest in countries that restrict abortion access and lowest in countries where abortion is broadly legal. As a result, abortion rates are similar in countries where abortion is restricted and those where the procedure is broadly legal (i.e., where it is available on request or on socioeconomic grounds).” 

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Reasons to Have an Abortion
When a pregnancy endangers the well-being or life of the birth giver
When pregnancy is a result of rape or incest 
When the fetus is not viable

You can talk about the many reasons abortion should be a constitutional right. But the simple truth is that abortion is healthcare, period.

That should be reason enough.