Yesterday brought devastating news as the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. There is no doubt that this decision is nothing short of an attack on women, other child-bearing people, and families and has dramatic consequences on reproductive justice in the United States.
As our comrades from the National Nurses United in the United States have said so clearly:
“As health care providers, we know from experience that abortions will not stop. They will continue underground because they are a vital medical necessity, a basic health care service. Abortions will simply become more expensive, harder to access, and in many cases unsafe. Those with money and resources will continue to be able to get safe abortions, and those without will not, those who cannot find safe, clinical spaces to get abortion services will resort to DIY methods.”
Trade unionists in Canada must understand that the situation arising in the United States is not the same here in Canada, but that reproductive rights fought for over decades are not to be taken for granted. We understand that the working class and marginalized groups will bear the brunt of the consequences of this decision. We are not isolated from the harmful coordinated rightwing efforts to control working people by removing their power and bodily autonomy.
What can we do as workers’ advocates and trade unionists to continue the decades-long fight for hard-earned reproductive justice rights in Canada?
We must oppose any attacks on reproductive health, and we need to voice our opposition to the systematic deterioration of publicly funded health services.
We must call out the federal government for not living up to its commitments to provide adequate and accessible health services as stipulated under the Canada Health Act.
We must pressure provincial government to expand and strengthen access to publicly-funded abortion services, because there are multiple areas in Canada where they are not available at all.
We must challenge ourselves to see reproductive justice as an all-encompassing issue as one that reflects the realities of women and other people, with varying age, race, sexual orientation and more.
We must never put our guard down because rights are only ever secured through struggle.
This is also why we need a modern social union that fights for everyone, with everyone.