Thirty five years after the landmark Morgentaler decision the fight continues to ensure that the right to abortion is accessible to all.
Original published in Rabble by Frédérique Chabot from Action Canada and Jill Doctoroff from the National Abortion Federation Canada
Abortion was decriminalized in Canada 35 years ago this Saturday, January 28. 36 years ago, if you wanted an abortion, it meant sitting in front of a panel of doctors, usually men, who would decide if your abortion was “necessary.” That is, if you could access such a hospital. Not all hospitals created those committees, effectively refusing to provide abortion care at all. If such a committee did deem your story good enough to warrant an abortion—many did not—delays could span weeks.
Today, the legal hurdles are gone, but access is still a privilege not everyone in Canada has, and another question looms: Could what happened in the U.S. happen here too?
The answer is no, and yes, and it’s more complicated than that.