Today, online and off, there are Defund Abortion 'rallies' happening across Canada and Twitter. I only found out about it last night and therefore quickly threw plans together to head to my Member of Provincial Parliament's office today with a letter and a sign. The idea of defunding abortion is laughable, as the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada points out in an excellent article from last year: it all boils down to basically that women's rights, my rights to my own body and to make decisions about it and my life, are NOT UP FOR DEBATE.
Here's my letter to my MPP and the sign I made (that unfortunately couldn't come with me because I was taking the bus and simply ran out of hands, dammit. It's still a great sign and I'm keeping it for future use for sure!) Sorry about the poor quality photo, all I had was my cell. It says on the left: "My children were a CHOICE not a CONSEQUENCE" and on the right "1/3 women will have an abortion. Keep it safe, funded and legal! My tax $$ protects women."
To the Honourable Member of Provincial Parliament David Orazietti,
Goodmorning! My name is Jennifer and I am a constituent of yours. Today is a day where across Canada there are being held rallies to defund a basic, necessary medical service for women; abortion. I know that this is a touchy subject but as a mom of two this is a topic close to my heart. I believe every woman should have the opportunity to decide for herself when, if and how many children she will have. This isn't political for me, or any other woman, which is why I'm writing to you today.
Politics comes into play when MPs and MPPs try to introduce legislation to limit or destroy women's ability to make choices about thier own lives. Recently, despite our Prime Minister's statements not to bring abortion into the House, it has happened several times with typical results; the House has blocked or voted down those measures, as they should. The decision to protect a woman's right to chose was made before I was born and I hope it's still in place for my grat grandchildren to enjoy. Trying to obscure this simple fact with talk of 'defunding abortion' is, not to put too fine a point on it, silly; we don't get to decide where our tax dollars go. We all pay in and then that money is used as the government sees fit. Abortion is a necessary, safe and legal medical procedure that one in three women will get, and it's a part of our universal healthcare system. To start picking and choosing which operations or procedures go ahead based on one's own morality is a very slippery slope into a nightmarish world akin to Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale". If we decide not to fund abortion because a very small, but very loud, segment of the population gets it's way, then I suppose we should not fund any medical services fo people who hurt themselves in impaired driving accidents. They made the bad choice to get behind the wheel while drunk, so their injuries are none of my concern. They should just have to live with the consequences of their actions and the bankruptcy that goes with it.
I'm being sarcastic of course; despite my personal feelings about people who choose to drink and drive I would never dream of trying to take away their healthcare. Instead, I would say we need to be doing more to ensure that this particular healthcare option for women is more widely available. Unless you live in a major urban centre and abortion can be difficult to get despite its legality. First Nations women on remote reserves and other women in rural settings may have to travel many hours to get to a clinic or hospital, and the majority of those women already have children at home. Going to get an abortion becomes a bigger ordeal; having to take time off work, arranging child care, having the money on hand incase an overnight stay is needed, etc. This decision can already be very difficult, let's not make it harder by even considering defunding abortion care.
Thank you for your time and I appreciate any response I recieve. As a woman speaking from experience I hope you'll take my words seriously and remember them if you're ever faced with a choice to make when it comes to women's health.