Now is the time to protect a woman’s right to choose

In the interest of full disclosure before even getting into this week’s topic of weighing in on the possible demise of Roe v. Wade, it should be acknowledged that there’s literally millions of people more qualified to speak to the issue.

More specifically, any woman across Canada would be far better equipped to offer their opinion on the issue of the right to access safe, medical abortion-a right that, for what it’s worth, this reporter full-heartedly supports. Unfortunately however people who should have no say on the matter of a woman’s right to choose continue to insist on chiming in, which is how we got here in the first place.

As news of a leaked document showing the Supreme Court of the United States’ possible intention to overturn the landmark 1973 decision to declare restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional, Canadians immediately got to thinking if the same could happen here. More than a few Canadians, this writer included, were surprised to learn no such right to an abortion exists in Canada the way it currently does (for the time being) in the United States. Though abortion has been decriminalized in Canada since 1988, no bill has ever actually been enacted into law to enshrine a woman’s right to access an abortion into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That fact was brought to light to many when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to protect the right to legally access a safe abortion, though he didn’t go into many details as to how he plans to do that. Making it a law certainly seems like a good start and the sooner, the better. If there’s any good that can come out of what’s going south of the 49th parallel, it’s that it can prompt our leaders to look ahead and try to steer any threats to a woman’s right to choose long before any thought of revoking them can gain any traction among certain circles.

For what it’s worth, the Progressive Conservatives’ official position is that their government would not support any legislation to regulate abortion-which does provide some level of comfort but there are still some within the party who have expressed a desire to re-examine that stance.

As so many much more qualified people have eloquently stated over the last few days a government can’t actually successfully prevent abortions from taking place. Making it illegal only serves to ban safe, medically supervised abortion. There are a myriad of reasons why a woman may make the difficult decision to have the procedure done, none of which are anyone’s business but their own. Not everyone has to agree with it, but as Canadians we need to recognize the right to choose is very much a right-not an issue that could be brought to the table in any given election cycle. For that reason it’s better to speak out now, no matter how farfetched the notion of that decision being reversed may be today because tomorrow it may suddenly not seem so unlikely. On some issues it’s better to overact as opposed to having trying to re-act after the fact.

Adam Prudhomme

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