Has it already been a year since my last Blog for Choice post? Blog for Choice day was created to get people talking about choice and abortion rights, and January 21 (yes, I'm a day late) marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. This year's question is:
Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
This question is even more USA-centered than usual, which frustrates me a little bit because bloggers from all over the world blog for choice. However, I am not going to let that stop me this year.
Last spring, I wrote about Senator Nancy Ruth telling Canadian women to "Shut the fuck up" about abortion or it will become an election issue. That hasn't changed. Funding to women's groups is being cut drastically at an alarming rate, and little is being done about it. These funding cuts, along with the end of the mandatory long for census, is going to change the way research on women is conducted in Canada. This terrifies me. It is an attack on women, and one of the first things to go might be access to abortions.
At the municipal elections that took place a few months ago, some very conservative mayors were elected, such as Rob Ford in Toronto (if you haven't heard of him, just google his name... I am baffled that he could win an election after some of the comments that he has made). The new mayor in my city has made it very obvious that she works for the corporations, and people were largely accepting of that. If this plays out in the provincial and federal elections to come, who knows what could happen.
This summer, there was a group of anti-abortion protestors that sat outside the hospital, which is the only location that I am aware of that provides abortions in Northeastern Ontario (meaning a lot of people cannot access abortions, even though they are free and legal). This doctor has said that he refuses to work anywhere outside of the hospital for safety reasons. Anyway, driving past these protestors made me really angry... it gave me this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I thought about how it might make women who have had abortions or are considering having an abortion feel when they saw this... how it might influence their choices... and how it might make other people feel justified in thier judgements of women who have had abortions. They were there for about a month, from morning to night, with their signs about how God chooses life or some such statement and pictures of fetuses. And I heard random people talking about how they were glad these people were there getting this important message across.
Am I concerned about choice in 2011? Absolutely. If we are not careful, this is exactly when we are going to lose access to safe, legal, and free abortions in Canada.