26th Anniversary of Morgentaler Decision – Choice is Limited for Women in Rural Manitoba

A farmer harvesting his field near Gimli is swarmed by seagulls on Friday, September 14, 2012. (STAN MILOSEVIC / CHRISD.CA)

A group of women’s health advocates is celebrating the 26th anniversary of the Morgentaler Decision by drawing attention to the limitations faced by rural women who seek abortions.

“Choice is not just about abortion being legal in Canada, it also needs to be available. If a woman can’t access an abortion, then for her choice is a pretty hollow concept. There are a number of reasons she may be unable to access service, location being just one of them,” said Joan Dawkins, executive director of the Women’s Health Clinic. “We need to start talking about the barriers that keep women from receiving this publicly funded health service and the need to improve access so that all women in Manitoba have a choice.”

It was in 1988 that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the abortion provision in the Criminal Code of Canada as unconstitutional. Since this time, Canada has had no criminal laws regulating abortion.

But Reproductive Rights Manitoba and the Women’s Health Clinic are concerned that in practice, rural women have less access to reproductive freedom than those who live in urban centers. To bring attention to the issue, an event will be held tonight at the Women’s Health Clinic to celebrate reproductive freedom in Manitoba and across Canada, while also examining access issues women face in rural communities.

The Celebrate Choice event takes place tonight from 5:30-7:30pm at Women’s Health Clinic located at 419 Graham Avenue. The event will feature speakers and an art installation celebrating choice by prominent local artist Kal Barteski. Admission is only to those who have RSVP’d at reprorightsmb@gmail.com

— Staff