Anyone who believes that abortion rights are safe in Canada should really read this article. Heather Mallick talks about the state of abortion rights in New Brunswick and how they are being slowly chipped away.

Since almost no New Brunswick hospitals perform abortions anyway, women must discover their pregnancy very early, find a local doctor who’ll refer them (difficult), and travel to a city to find another doctor to sign for them (expensive), and then book the operation (sometimes cancelled and impossible to rebook).

She must then go to the Morgentaler Clinic and pay for her abortion. Anti-abortionists bought the house next to the Fredericton clinic, where they try to lure women to change their minds, terrifying them with misleading photographs and false information.

When she escapes these people, she will get her abortion and then make her way home, often shamed and traumatized for what is a perfectly simple procedure elsewhere in Canada (except in P.E.I., where abortions are unavailable).

This is terrible and I urge you all to fill out the petition that I posted earlier here and send it in. You will most likely be hearing more about New Brunswick’s abortion rights very soon as there is an upcoming court case that will be challenging their current laws.

The Morgentaler Clinic has sued the provincial government, and its court case will begin May 16. At the moment, the young premier’s lawyers are arguing that since Henry Morgentaler is not a woman, he should have no standing in the case. It’s difficult to find a local woman willing to go to court, so Dr. Morgentaler, 84-year-old former prisoner of both the Nazis and the Canadian government, has stepped forward once again.

Wow. This man is amazing! (perhaps I should see if I can get an interview and feature him in one of our upcoming ‘Men we Love’ features). What this ‘difficulty’ in finding a local woman who will be willing to stand up for her abortion rights as well as, the difficulty that women face in finding an abortion provider really points out is the ways in which we need to reconfigure the public discourse around abortion. I like Ms. Magazine’s ‘We had Abortions’ list as well as, these t-shirts that you can get that proudly say ‘I had an abortion’. Its about time that we stopped looking at abortion as a terrible or shameful thing and start seeing it for what it is – a routine medical procedure.

This article also made me question the role of men in both the pro-life and pro-choice movements, something that I’ve had many discussions about with both male and female, pro-life and pro-choice friends. It was particularly brought home for me in that this legal fight is between two men: the New Brunswick Premier and Mortengaler. I would say this is quite representative of the ways in which women’s reproductive choices have been debated and legislated throughout history.

So, I’m going to play the pot-stirrer and try to spark this debate. Should men be allowed to have an opinion about abortion rights given that they will never have to face having an abortion themselves? Here’s a quote from Mallick’s article to generate some debate:

A Frederictonian in the audience, who introduced himself to me later as Eric Wright, stood and addressed himself to anti-choice males: “If you guys are so opposed to abortions, don’t have one.”

I had to laugh. It really is that simple. It’s not your business.

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