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A Sad Day for Women: What Can We Do to Help?

The Durant Barristers team is dismayed to read that the Supreme Court of the United States is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and the aftermath that will result for American women, the LGBTQ+ community and those seeking equality and justice through our legal institutions. We have not had a productive day while we consider the implications and how we can prevent a similar erosion of rights here in Canada.

The truth is, there are people who believe very strongly that abortion should be illegal. These individuals and groups act strategically in funding and promoting politicians who share their beliefs. We have seen these groups be very active in every election and every leadership campaign for the major political parties - including during the current Conservative leadership race. We cannot afford to be complacent and to think "this cannot happen here." In fact, it can. And in some provinces, access to abortion is already so limited that it may as well not exist at all. I draw your attention to the ongoing litigation in New Brunswick involving the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, LEAF and other intervenors. There is a lot of work do to right here at home to preserve and obtain access to reproductive rights.

On a day like today it is easy to feel helpless. We sure do. We have spent this afternoon thinking about we can do. We came up with two possibilities.

First, we can support reproductive rights and advocacy in Canada with financial donations and by drawing attention to the organizations who are doing great work. We are proud to already be financial supporters of LEAF and to re-state our commitment today that we will continue to support their advocacy work in this area. We have also researched and considered other organizations who may benefit from increased support during these challenging times:

Second, we are also spending some time learning about the challenges that still exist within Canada when it comes to reproductive rights. While it is easy to patronize our neighbours to the south and think that things are better and more stable here, we must remember that there are locations throughout our own country where getting an abortion is extremely difficult.

And while today it frustrating and scary, especially being a neighbour to the US, it can be nice to remind ourselves that the battle for women's rights is being fought across the world, and some people are winning. In February of this year, Colombia removed abortion from their criminal code. In November of 2021, Benin, a country located in Africa, became the seventh country on the continent to allow abortion in most circumstances. And in October 2021, Mexico decriminalized abortion. Reflecting on these wins, in areas of the world where access to abortion has long been denied, reminds us that this is a long battle, that we will keep fighting, and there are wins to celebrate along the way.

Keep fighting.

Erin Durant and Leslie Anne St. Amour

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