Episode 29: Reproductive Rights

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This week's episode of Underwire has both Virginia and Alice feeling angry about reproductive rights here in Canada. Specifically, 5 major things have been on their minds. It was tough to narrow it down, but throughout some positivity and some bouts of music, Virginia and Alice tackle:

1. Pro Lifers, or as we like to call them - Anti-Choicers. Their aggression, their privilege, and what they should really be “fighting” for

2. Accessibility. A reality that impacts more women and trans men outside of Toronto, but also has its own definition for Toronto abortion and clinics, and how accessibility impacts different women in different areas of Canada

3. Stigma! There’s so much to say here - slut shaming, terrible micro aggressions about “making a mistake,” or “feeling ashamed”, or what an abortion can do to you. This could truly be it’s own series

4. “Qualifiers” for abortion, and the policing of woman and trans bodies - the belief that some circumstances condone abortion, while others do not. More non-consensual, patriarchal bullsh*t

5. Isolation, and how making reproductive choices often leaves someone feeling alone, helpless, and marginalized from society. It is consistently viewed as an individual or women’s issue, instead of a collective societal issue because it affects EVERYONE

With heavy hearts, it was not easy topic to take on - but a very necessary topic with what goes on in our country. Sure, it can certainly be easy to pull focus towards all the headlines in the United States, but Canada is almost constantly guilty of showing itself, or pretending to be, something that it is not. 

Is abortion and access to reproductive health care still a human right in Canada when it isn’t accessible for more than half of the population? Is banning protestors from the grounds of women’s clinics solving stigma? Are we holding cis men accountable for their role in reproductive rights? We. Think. Not. 

During the recording, Virginia also shares her personal experience with having an abortion as a teen, and how her perspective has changed since then. 

We induct the IUD Whisperer herself, Dr. Ellen Wiebe, whose research into women's health has expanded our knowledge of IUDs and led to Canada approving the abortion pill. She is a clinical professor at University of British Columbia and the medical director at Willow Women's Clinic. She has published over 40 studies and has delved into many areas of women's health that are not oft tread. Thank you, Dr. Ellen Wiebe, you are a national treasure. 

In activism we honoured the landmark decision in 2016 that brought abortions to the island of PEI. Activists from Access Abortion Now PEI and Women's Legal Education and Action Fund threatened legal action against the PEI government who were in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We also included a handy list of ways to radicalize yourself and your loved ones to the pro-choice cause. Just in time for the holiday season! If you would like more information check out Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, National Abortion FederationFédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances (FQPN), and Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. Also, this is a list of abortion clinics in Canada. 

Music used in this episode:

  • Ani DiFranco - Hello Birmingham
  • Nicki Minaj - All Things Go
  • Cat Power - Nude As The News
  • Robyn - Giving You Back
  • Bif Naked - Chotee
  • Madonna - Papa Don't Preach
  • Lauryn Hill - To Zion
  • Lunachicks - Fallopian Rhapsody