Canada’s Challenges in 2008

Pamela Pizarro

Here in Canada there are a number of issues that are going to come up in the new year in regards to sexual and reproductive health and rights -- perhaps most prominently, the Unborn Victims of Violence Bill.

A new year is upon us and it is time to make resolutions, think of accomplishments ahead, and reflect on the year that passed. 2007 was a year of change for me: I left the organization for which I had been working for almost four years, I went back to school and I rediscovered my inner activist. As I begin to think about the year ahead, I hope that my passion for sexual and reproductive issues and women's rights stays with me and challenges me to make a difference.

Here in Canada there are a number of issues that are going to come up in the new year in regards to sexual and reproductive health and rights. The first being an issue that I discussed in my last posting — and that is the Unborn Victims of Violence Bill that will once again be debated in Canada's House of Commons. Support from the pro-choice side is strong, but fighting the anti-choice agenda will be difficult. A well organized and vocal opposition to abortion has started to take root in Canada and with the upcoming anniversary of the Morgentaler decision; pro-choice activists will have their work cut out for them. The landmark case that did away with abortion laws under the Canada Criminal Code will come upon its 20th anniversary, but there are still some that would like to see Canada introduce stricter abortion laws including criminal charges against women who seek abortions and doctors who perform them.

In the weeks coming up I suspect that we will all see a lot of attention surrounding the Morgentaler anniversary with anti-choice spokespeople coming out of the woodwork to denounce the ruling. However we must remember that it is as important as ever to protect the right of women in Canada to be able to make their own choices when it comes to their bodies. We have made a lot of progress in the last two decades but work still needs to be done to ensure that every woman across Canada has equal access to abortion services. I hope that all Canadians remember how lucky we are to live here under a Charter that guarantees our rights and freedoms, may 2008 be a year of achievements and milestones!

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