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I am proud to live in Canada, especially during this prosperous time for our modern, expanding economy. This country is healing its past injustices and overcoming ignorant attitudes - as it was not that long ago that First Nations people and Women could not vote, and colonialist policies like immigrant head taxes and residential schools segregated and punished groups of people based on race. I am proud to say we are acknowledging the past to create new, stronger relationships with First Peoples - recognizing that their concepts of sustainability and protecting resources have significant impact in a global economy today. New immigration initiatives, enhanced equal employment opportunities and more seniors' services will continue to provide Canada with a growing workforce, a diverse population and a strong social economy.
I believe that we are on a continual journey towards acceptance - when regardless of age, ability, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, place of residence, socio-economic status or level of education - all Canadians will be respected for their unique contributions to our incredible country.
To pave that journey, all Canadians must have access to the information, resources and services required to make and exercise informed choices on ALL aspects of their individual, family and community health. This includes providing access to information to help each of us understand our sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Concerted efforts must be made to inform all Canadians - from students to seniors - about the choices they can make about their own bodies. Training and communication with health care professionals must include informing them about services they are mandated to provide for women at all stages of their decision about abortion - from counselors to admissions nurses to doctors. It is not their right to choose for anyone else, but to support those in each stage of their own choice.
Regardless of whether Canadians would consider abortion as an option for themselves, regardless of which circumstances (if any) they might choose abortion, we must all recognize that in Canada it is every Woman's right to control their own fertility. Whether you choose some method of birth control, abstinence, abortion, or adoption, only through education and open dialogue can we continue to create a Canada that respects and accepts the choices of all its citizens.
For the last 20 years, there has been safe and legal reproductive choice in Canada. It is time to celebrate that choice - and our freedom of choice - even if it is a choice you may never make yourself.
In honour and respect,
I want a pro-life Canada.
I want it to be okay for me to love myself and think of myself when faced with life-altering decisions. I want to be honoured for thinking of the life of the child that I may already have, and the life that I want for myself, without having to feel morally conflicted about the potential life that I am not ready for. I want to make choices free from shame and judgment, as it is a decision that I do not make without careful considerations of all that I have and all that I have to lose. I want to be pro-my-life.
I want to feel supported by the community around me when I choose what I feel is right for me. I want to be surrounded by a community that supports me for who I am and what I strive to be, regardless of my age, race, religion, or sexual orientation. I want to be part of a society that provides me with the necessary resources to be more than I already am: to help improve my language skills, educational level, and social and economical situation. I donít want to be held back by the things my community should help to provide me with. I want to live in a community that will stand up against poverty and violence, and will work together to help everyone achieve a higher quality of life. I want to be part of a community that is truly pro-human-life.
I want to possess the life skills needed to bring another life into this world. I want to become a mother on my own terms, when I can love myself enough to love the life that I will create. I want to expand my family when I know that I can give to a new child without taking away from the others I may already have. I want to have the time and energy needed to be the best mother I can be. I want to have the skills, time, and energy needed to be the best woman I can be, even if I choose to never be a mother, because I am still a sister, lover, aunt, and friend. I will choose choice for all the women in every country, because I value their healthmind, body, and soulmore than the potential life that their government or religion deems more worthy. I am a pro-choice mother and I believe in reproductive rights, social justice, and the beauty of a happy life. I am pro-life, and I hope Canada can be too.
If you can tremble with indignation every time an injustice is committed in the world, we are comrades.
I feel that the decriminalization of abortion was the step women needed to take control of their reproductive organs. Before this time women needed to go basically to court to see if they 'qualified' for an abortion. I ask this "Who's right is it to a woman's reproductive organs and choice to have children, the law or that womans?" I strongly feel that EVERY woman has the right to choice. It is our body and we will be held 100% responsible for that baby should a woman decide or rather be forced to have that baby. Hospitals should be ashamed that considering how medically advanced our society has become they are still so far behind. (Mainly due to the medical model used by Western culture which is predominately male centered and focused)
I knew the very minute I became pregnant. I'm not sure why I did and I don't know if thats normal but I immediately knew I was in trouble. The funny thing was that i didn't even want to sleep with that guy but was young and felt obligated, absurd I know but its true.
The next morning I remembered that I had heard someone talking about the "morning after pill", relieved I called the hospital and asked the reseptionist how i could get it. She told me it didn't exist and hung up on me.a few weeksd later when my period was finally due I took the test. I stared at the stick for a few minutes praying that somehow that plus sign would turn into a minus, it never did.
I made an appointment the next day for the sexual health center in fredericton.
They confirmed my findings and told me to wait a week before deciding what i wanted to do.
I thought about it lots, weighed the pros and cons. Finally it came down to the fact that i would be a single teen age mom who was currently unemployed and living on friends couches. i know that women have managed but I just didn't feel it was in the best interest of anyone, including my baby.
I went back to the clinic and told them I knew I wanted to have an abortion. They were very booked up and barely got me in under the time limit. They managed though and booked me an appointment that was 2 days before the cut off for receiveing an (medically unnessecary)abortion.
For the next couple weeks I dreamt about my baby, each time he looked the same.
Finally the day before the scheduled abortion came when they put something inside you that helps with the procedure the next day. while waiting I went to the bathroom, had my first ever panic attack and passed out on the bathroom floor. Luckily no one came in and I woke up before missing the appointment.
The next day I went to the hospital, a friend came with me. I remember wondering how we would get home because I didn't even have the $5 for a cab after.
While waiting a doctor came over to talk to me and lectured me about being a smoker, I remember thinking how odd it was considering the circumstances.
All i remember, after it was over, is waking up on a bed crying. I was wishing it didn't have to be the way it was.
Its been 8 years. That means my child would be 8 years old now. I think about him some but I also think about the things I would have put him through in the last 8 years. I made the right choice and I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't as legal option. i guess I would have gotten rid of the baby through any means necessary.
This may not have been what you were looking for in submissions but I thank you for allowing me to write this all out and I thank you for working for woman like me.
Ebony That Girl I'd always thought only certain types of girls would be "that girl" and get pregnant and need or choose an abortion ... until a family member did, and then me. In both situations, I was stunned at the banality of the situation at the time and later, the overwhelming shame and grief. My own prejudices about abortion came crashing down on me as I had to reconcile that I was, indeed, "that girl." I was pregnant, out of wedlock, and I wanted an abortion.What does a pro-choice Canada mean to me? It means a safe place to call when I needed advice. It means advanced medical guidance and care. It means no judgment. It means counselling, support, and someone to hold my hand. It means not having to pay for it. It means follow-up medical and psychological care as long as I needed it and it means confidentiality if I wanted it.I was so lucky and blessed to live in a community with a Women's Health Care Centre and a country where abortion is a safe and legal choice. I may be "that girl" but I was that girl who could and did have a hard choice to make, and a free and safe country in which to make it.Congratulations Canada for 20 years! Now let's make it even better for the next 20 yrs.-Sarah I have marched for pro choice in the 60's,when my 14 year old daughter became pregnant in the 70's I was able after three doctors examined her to access a safe abortion. How very much I would have like to have had a abortion in 1957 when there was no choice for either birth control or abortion and I was pregnant and forced to give a child up for adoption. As a Birthmother I have done many reunions many were sexually assulted and had to give up their children which today makes reunions very difficult.In a very difficult marriage I was informed in 1964 that I could go to sweden for an abortion. No I could not cross in to the U.S. So she is now my pride and Joy but I wonder if she could not have been born in a relationship that would have given her a father that loved her.A friend of mine in the 60's did abortions with a vaccume cleaner."Why is a pro-choice Canada so important?"Every Tuesday morning, I get up early. I walk fifteen minutes to the abortion clinic. I go in, say hello to any of the staff that I see, put on my blue pinney, and go outside to wait for the first patients of the day.I am a volunteer patient escort at the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic. My job consists of making sure that women come into the clinic safely, and are protected from the harassment and intimidation of the protesters who wait outside each week. The protesters (there are usually between ten and twelve) carry signs and sometimes graphic posters, and they try to lure the women into their crisis pregnancy centre next door. Most of the protesters are middle-aged men, and three of them are priests. Sometimes they carry rosaries. Sometimes they call out to the women, in judgment and in plea, and other times they walk silently. Either way, their presence there is an act of violence against women and the main result is to shame women into giving up control of their own bodies.Everyone knows the ins and outs of the abortion debate. What people do not know is how much is being robbed from us already, outside of the right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. Before someone very close to me started working at the clinic, I did not know that escorts were even necessary. I did not know that every Tuesday (the day that abortions are performed), upwards of ten protesters stand outside the clinic and harass the women on their way in. I did not know that the house next door to the clinic was owned by those protesters and used as one of the infamous "crisis pregnancy centres" that are springing up across the country. I did not know that New Brunswick is violating the Canada Health Act by forcing women to seek the approval of a doctor and a gynecologist in order to have a publicly funded abortion. I did not know that the focus on birth control in the province of New Brunswick was declining; when the Planned Parenthood in Fredericton shut its doors last year due to a lack of funding and lack of doctors, a woman over 21 without a family doctor had nowhere she could go in the city for a pap test. Since I am no longer a student and have no doctor, I have to go to the after hours clinic to get a prescription for birth control. Since I have no insurance, I pay twenty dollars a month for the pill. I was shocked when I discovered all of this. It was as if I had traveled backwards in time. I no longer live in Fredericton. I live in the 1950s.These things disgust me. How can women be so abused by the system when all this time we thought we were living in an enlightened society? No woman, faced with an unplanned pregnancy, should have to go through the ordeal of finding a doctor who will give her a referral (hard enough in this anti-choice province), then a gynecologist, before MAYBE being put on a waiting list so that she can have what will probably end up being a second-trimester abortion; the other choice being to pay out of pocket and run the gamut of protesters at the private clinic. No woman should have her choices about her own body questioned in such a way. As long as there is still one woman facing that kind of patriarchal judgment in order to have an abortion, we do not live in a pro-choice Canada.There is some irony in the fact that the same people who systematically create hurdles for women seeking abortions also work at the other end of the spectrum to obstruct these women from preventing pregnancy in the first place. I have two close friends whose doctors will not even give them pap tests because it goes against the doctor's religious beliefs. If your doctor will not give you a pap test, good luck getting a script for birth control! And even if you do manage that, there are plenty of pharmacists (a growing number, it seems) who will not fill that prescription on moral grounds. It seems the only solution is to not have sex. Forget making choices about your own sexuality. That's just the ladies, of course - men are still free to do what they like with their penises, including committing at least fourteen unreported rapes a year on the UNB campus alone. I hope you're not thinking of terminating that rape pregnancy, by the way. That would be immoral.This is why I put on my blue pinney every Tuesday morning: because I believe that women deserve to be able to come in and access a legal medical service without being harassed or judged. I believe every woman deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. And I believe that every woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body - to choose to have sex, to choose not to have sex, to choose who she sleeps with and who she doesn't, to choose her preferred method of birth control, and to choose if and when she will reproduce. Her body, her choice; and that doesn't just mean abortion.Because abortion is legal in Canada, we believe we have a pro-choice Canada. But we don't. Because pro-choice means that EVERYONE has access to abortion care. Pro-choice means EVERYONE has access to affordable birth control. Pro-choice means everyone has the information at their fingertips to allow them to make informed, responsible choices about their reproductive health. Pro-choice means that every woman is treated with respect regardless of her colour, size, age, class, background, sexuality or relationship status. Pro-choice means every woman has the right to choose; and that does not just mean abortion. It is about giving women the benefit of the doubt, believing that we have the intelligence and the wisdom to make the right choices for ourselves. A pro-choice Canada is important because any other Canada is unacceptable. A pro-choice Canada is the only Canada I want to live in. And as a valuable, contributing member of society AND as a woman, a pro-choice Canada is important to me because that is the Canada I deserve.-Peggy Cooke, Winner of the Canadians for Choice Pro-Choice Canada Contest Janís AbortionWhen I was nineteen years old my closest friend Jan* called me from a payphone. She told me that the night before she had been drinking and had met a guy. Four drinks- that was it! she shakily repeated. Yet she couldnt remember a thing that happened after picking up her coat. I arrived to her location- a cheap well known motel- in record time. Crawling into my car I couldnt help but notice her scratched arms and legs. Hysterically she recounted her entire evening. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Jans capacity to drink a half dozen beer was proven on our prom night- so four beer affecting her so strongly didnt make sense. Days turned into weeks. Needless to say, her male companion never surfaced. Through help of a counselor- my friend was advised that she had likely been given a date rape drug known as rohiptnol. Tearfully, she made her way to the Sexual Health Center to have the required tests performed. Jan was advised that she did not have any STIs, but instead was three weeks pregnant. This was an insult to her already traumatic situation.Many people think that choosing an abortion is easy. Its not. After two more weeks of intense counseling- Jan went ahead with the abortion. It was the toughest decision of her life. The drive to the hospital was the longest drive Ive ever had. Silence and sorrow swirled around us. I didnt know what to say. I just knew it was important to be there and support her.The abortion took less than an hour. Other girls were waiting in line, and they all wore the same sorrowful look. Granted- their circumstances varied, however none of them smiled. Every single female wore the same drawn face, red eyes, and tear stained shirt that my friend had. This wasnt an easy choice for anybody.On the nineteenth of every April, Jan calls. She doesnt plan it on her calendar, the date isnt written on any type of organizer- but she will remember it forever. This would have been her babys birthday. We talk about her guilt, shame, happiness, and strength. We discuss what could have been and what has happened since. Its always an emotionally draining conversation but it is an important to have. Through counseling and support, Jan has moved on with her life. She is happy and motivated and will be graduating from her faculty this April.No matter what the circumstance, abortion is not an easy choice to make. Not everyone feels that abortion is the right choice for them. The IMPORTANT part of this statement is that it is- in fact- a CHOICE. Abortion is a choice that all women have the right to make and it affects not only their bodies- but their lives. I am happy to say I am a Canadian because our law supports a womans right to choose. I just hope that less and less women will have to make that difficult decision.-Malinda from Newfoundland/LabradorPro Education It's been an endless debate all over the world, all across time, over abortion rights. Being pro-choice is important because it's displays respect for others, especially women. It's common courtesy and decency. Once a ban is placed on a particular right, it could lead to other rights being stripped from women, and possibly the entire population. It's basically a step backwards. I don't see how it could possibly be immoral as most pro-life people make it out to be. Maybe in some cases inappropriate, but never evil. It's also about education. A lot of the people who support pro-life causes seem to be more religious, more conservative, and there are quite a lot of men. People who have not benefitted from proper sexual education and have no doubt been repressed in their lives in terms of the things they have done. Living in the Southern United States, I have seen the health classes performed poorly with little information and leading to more misunderstanding and fear about the human body, and women's bodies. If we are trying to move forward in civilization, why not try to educate? All advances in life have come from learning. Pro-choice is so important now more than ever before because in some ways, we are regressing slightly, when really we should keep pushing forward. We don't want to relive the past.-Sarah, Nova ScotiaI was 25 when my 75-year old Grandmother (Nagymama is Hungarian) told me about an abortion she had had during the Depression. Up until this point I was raised as a pro-life Catholic! It made me ill to hear about a dirty apartment, a coat hanger and a Russian woman who performed it. It still get shivers thinking about Nagymama's story. At that point, I strongly believed that who was I to judge why a woman might decide to have an abortion and should she not be entitled to a clean, safe environment when making one of the most difficult choices in her life!?!!-JanI am a 77-year-old grandmother of 12; I am so proud of my country, whichtreats pregnant women as intelligent persons well able to make choice intheir own life..I would be terrified to live in the United States or anywhere else apregnant woman's vagina and womb become public property -- open tohysterical assault (mostly by men) and condemned to carry through apregnancy I did not want.I am proud that in the bad old days before the Morgentaler decision I helpedseveral women obain the abortions they wanted without having to go toback-street practioners.I noted above that many of the people involved in the anti-choice movementare men; I think that there is some sense among them that everything thatcomes from their penis is precious -- otherwise how would they know they aremen?I have nine grandsons --aged 34 to four months -- and I want them all togrow up recognizing the rights of women, the most important of which is theright of each woman to the integrity of her own body. I want my threegranddaughters brought up in a society that values and respects them.I should tell you that I am the mother of seven children, each of whom waswanted; now, toward the end of my life, I know that the decisions I madewere right for me and I yearn for the day that every woman, anywhere in theworld, has the rights my wonderful country recognized in me.Sincerely,Sheila
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