Seriously, I’m too old for this shit. I feel like I’ve been giving the same lessons on the fundamentals of women’s rights since the 1970s. A court decision ushered in a short period of relative calm and rationality concerning our reproductive rights. It was a done deal, Canadian women had full autonomy of their bodies, and we breathed freely and focused on other work to improve the lives of women and girls.
Harper knew this was the status quo and perfectly acceptable to most, except for a small, loud and annoying minority. That’s why Harper disingenuously claimed that he would not re-open the abortion debate. He was walking that tightline between moderating his image for the general public and appeasing his hard right supporters. But Harper is a liar and pushed his agenda incrementally. It’s been a carousel of slight of hand initiatives (e.g., the Status of Women cuts and mandate changes, the CIDA maternal health program and defunding of Planned Parenthood, the appointment of a rookie, anti-abortion backbencher as Minister for the Status of Women) and disingenuous motions from individual backbench MPs (e.g., Epps, Vellacott, Bruinooge).
The bottom line is that Woodsworth is a dishonest, evangelical, woman-hating creep who is more concerned with getting a toe in on criminalizing abortion than about updating a 400 year old law where the toe in a birth canal is some defining benchmark for legal personhood. And it’s galling to see self-described progressives claim that such a debate is timely and reasonable.
There are no nuances that need debating when it comes to my right to decide what I do with my body FULL STOP. My ‘lady bits’ (h/t Alison) are wizened and of little interest to these patriarchal hacks, but I will continue to kick and scream in order to protect the rights of younger women and future generations, so they too can consult with their GPs about health decisions in privacy and without intimidation.
Meanwhile, let’s hope we manage to save universal healthcare so that clinical termination of pregnancies and knee replacement surgery remain accessible for all.