This year, we are celebrating 30 years since the decriminalization of abortion in Canada, thanks to the Morgentaler ruling, which overturned provisions in the Criminal Code on abortion. Despite this historical celebration, the right to abortion remains vulnerable in Canada, especially since the Canadian Conservative Party regularly brings it up in debate.
The ability to plan births allows women to better balance the different stages they go through in their lives. Women need this balance in order to be able to take on their rightful roles in society. How can women be expected to occupy positions in what are still male-dominated circles of power if they don’t have control over their own bodies? Abortion has been one of the most important feminist battles throughout history, and today we need to make sure we retain this right permanently in order to stay on a path toward gender equality.
In the last year, we have seen setbacks abroad in this respect. For example, in Brazil, various authorities are currently reviewing legislation to completely criminalize abortion under any circumstances. In the United States, Trump openly supports anti-abortion groups. Several States also adopted regulations that cut women’s rights. In fact, since June 2017, a law in the State of Missouri allows employers to fire a woman for taking birth-control pills or having had an abortion. There is however a glimmer of hope in Ireland where a referendum will be held on abortion rights in May 2018, which could put an end to the most repressive anti-abortion policy in Europe.