In advance of the New Brunswick provincial elections, activists across Canada joined a Pan Canadian Day of Action demanding reproductive justice and equal access to abortion, particularly in the Maritimes, where people are demanding the repeal of NB’s regulation 84-20, which limits basic reproductive healthcare in contravention to the Canada Health Act.
Rallies in Halifax, Charlottetown, Vancouver, Montreal, Guelph, and Sackville, Fredericton and other cities called for solidarity with women in NB and PEI and those in rural and northern communities that do not have access to abortions.
In Toronto at Ryerson University’s Lake Devo, speakers gathered beside a giant coat hanger, symbolic of the unsafe abortions women need to resort to when legal, safe healthcare is not available.
Jordana Greenblatt of OCAC stated “This is a major disparity in terms of access. It’s a violation of the Canada Health Act, which the federal government refuses to enforce. And it is truly shameful.”
Marie Clarke Walker, Exec VP, Canadian Labour Congress asked “Who the hell is Stephen Harper and his government and the right wing to tell me, my daughter, my granddaughter and you what the hell they can do with their own bodies? It’s outright classism and racism - we’ve said to the marginalized women in this country that you can’t have what is rightfully yours.”
Speaker after speaker noted their incredulity to be at yet another rally, in the year 2014, demanding what was legislated over 25 years ago as a basic healthcare to which all women in Canada are entitled.
Afterwards there was a spirited march to Yonge & Dundas. Marchers carrying placards and the giant coat hanger crisscrossed the intersection in a “scramble for access.”
The struggle continues
In post-election NB, Brian Gallant the Premier-elect, is assembling a committee to look at how to make it easier for women to have abortions, in an attempt to appease social conservatives and sidestepping the obvious remedy of an outright repeal of regulation 84-20.