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We Will Not Go Back! Full Access To Free Abortion For All!

Carolyn Egan

May 3, 2022
Outrage spread across the United States as leaked information became public that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court was about to overturn Roe v Wade. This would have a devastating effect on thousands, denying access to abortion in almost half the states in the US by leaving it up to state legislatures to determine local regulations.
The news was not unexpected as we saw anti-abortion justices appointed to the highest court, state assemblies pass restrictive legislation, and politicians denouncing those who sought to have control over their own bodies. In Texas a young woman, Lizelle Herrera from Rio Grande City, was arrested for murder for inducing an abortion. Only after a huge outcry were the charges dropped and she was freed. It is the most vulnerable who will be most affected from Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and poor communities. It is they who are standing up and fighting in groups such as Sister Song
The majority of Americans do not want to see Roe v Wade overturned in recent polls. This does not seem to bother the ideologically driven supreme court justices. Samuel Alito said in the document obtained by Politico, “We can’t allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences, such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work.” He showed total contempt for the rights of those seeking an abortion as well as the will of the majority.  There is a slogan that we used to chant, “Campaign Life your name’s a lie! You don’t care if people die”! They don’t care, and there is no doubt that if this comes to pass we will see the return of back street, illegal abortions.
I had a call from a woman in Detroit, Michigan this morning asking if Roe was overturned could people come to Canada to seek abortions. It brought me back to the days before the Morgentaler decision in January 1988, when the Canadian Supreme Court overturned the federal abortion law here. In those days we helped many travel to Buffalo. Sometimes we went down with them, but most often they traveled alone because there were so many who were being denied in Canada. The same was happening in the Atlantic provinces, in British Columbia, in Manitoba, Saskachewan and Alberta. 
American reproductive rights organizations, physicians and others reached out to Canadians, and networks were established to make accessing the procedure as easy as possible. This was absolutely necessary to give those seeking abortions the dignity and respect that they deserved.
But the key was building a mass movement that fought for reproductive justice and access to abortion for all. We set out to organize that movement in communities across the country, involving trade unions, racialized communities, Indigenous activists, students, faith communities, and all who were willing to fight for the change we needed.  
Organization such as the Black Action Defense Committee, the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Canadian Labour Congress, Women Working with Immigrant Women, The Ontario Organization of Visible Minority Women, the Canadian Federation of Students, and so many more became actively involved in the fight for reproductive justice.
We fought for universal childcare, birth control in our own communities and our own languages, an end to forced sterilization that particularly affected Indigenous women, for decent jobs, for an end to racial and sexual harassment, and employment equity, as well as full access to free abortion. We went into the streets with mass demonstrations and were able to organize the pro-choice sentiment in this country into a strong movement that won the overturning of the federal abortion law. Much more still had to be done but it was an important victory.
Hopefully there will be a similar uprising across the United States that will mobilize millions to stop this vicious right wing attack on abortion rights. We will fight along side all those Americans who are in the streets in Houston, New York, Boston, San Francisco and so many other cities. We will not go back! 
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