Why Canadians should care about Roe v. Wade
C/O Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash
Roe v. Wade should be an eyeopener for Canadians on its issues surrounding abortion access
In 1973, Roe v. Wade became a landmark case for reproductive rights as the United States Supreme Court affirmed the right to abortion. On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, making abortion illegal or highly restricted in twenty states as of July 9, 2022, with others slowly following.
Being Canadian, I am beyond grateful for the ease I have had in terms of healthcare and knowing certain accommodations and procedures will always be available for me, but not every Canadian can say the same.
For instance, individuals living in provinces and territories such as Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories and Yukon, face many issues when it comes to receiving abortions. These regions often only have one abortion provider, usually found in urban areas. Moreover, these provinces and territories only have a gestational limit of 12 to 16 weeks, whereas here in Ontario the limit is around 23 to 24 weeks.
This lack of accessibility only makes it so much more difficult for individuals to go and receive abortions due to both location as there are so few providers and the shorter gestational limit.
Additionally, abortions are not only used when one wishes to terminate a pregnancy. They are the procedure when an individual has a miscarriage or is in a condition where the baby cannot survive and will only cause harm and danger to the mother's body. Meaning as ironic as the concept of abortions may be to some, they do also save lives.
It has also been well established that restricting abortion access impacts marginalized populations heavily. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 38 per cent of Inuit women and one in four off-reserve Indigenous and Métis women cited the most common reason for dropping out of school was pregnancy. In a study on young pregnancies in Nunavut, researchers found that Inuit women generally, have their first child at an early age and have more children than other non-Indigenous women.
Given the state the ongoing effects of COVID-19 has left our economy and society in, our government not solving current challenge and causing even more challenges for marginalized communities is more than reason enough for why we should care about what's happening here.
With the lack of funding, access, care and the history our country has over controlling certain communities, it becomes immensely difficult. This law change affects individuals economically, it will increase poverty rates, kill mothers and leave families grieving and disproportionately affect marginalized communities.
Currently in Canada inter-provincial abortions are restricted to those who can afford to travel, have the money and the available necessities. With all of the major changes happening around abortion laws and rights in the States, it should make you open your eyes to what is happening here, especially with the preconceived notion that Canada’s abortion laws are perfect. It is important we continue to do our research, never stay quiet and support our peers, even as we still have improvements to make ourselves.