We gathered. We rallied. We marched.
Saturday October 2nd Options for Sexual Health hosted a rally to bring awareness to reproductive rights and justice on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-waututh) peoples. After hearing a couple of rousing speeches to ground our amazing contingent of committed activists and allies, we walked on mass from šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza) to the American Embassy, receiving cheers and honks along the way. We were joined by folks like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, ARCC, Access BC, and the 604 Handmaidens. We are grateful for their support and the push on social media from BC Women’s Health Foundation, the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity, Feminists Deliver, and Women’s Health Research Centre!
In Canada there is a perception that we have no barriers to access abortion, so for many, this may not seem like something we need to be vocal about. For others, they look to the current situation in the US and realize that if Roe v. Wade can be overturned, the impact could be felt here in Canada. And so, we rallied, we marched, and we took action to make our voices heard.
What many of us do not see is that the while we in Canada enjoy certain rights and freedoms around reproductive choice, the choice is far from universal and far from equal. Being able to have an abortion is one thing, but actually being able to access the services is a completely different story altogether. Rural and remote communities have limited access to abortion services, requiring travel for aspiration abortion, and often not being able to find a clinician or pharmacy to provide medication abortion.
Travel can cost upwards of $500, and even if that is financially possible, in the winter months it might not be possible to make that travel happen. Suffice it to say, abortion may be a protected right but that does not mean it is an accessible option to every Canadian.
Here’s a video from our rally: