Oxfam Canada reaction to US Supreme Court ruling on abortion
In reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion, Lauren Ravon, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada stated:
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a devastating blow to women’s human rights, declaring through the reversal of Roe v. Wade that reproductive rights, including the right to access safe, legal abortion care, no longer exist in the United States.
As an organization dedicated to women’s rights and gender justice, we at Oxfam Canada are devastated by this news. While this ruling will have far-reaching impacts, we know it will fall hardest on low-income women and girls, racialized people, gender-diverse people, people with disabilities, people with irregular immigration status and others who already face systemic barriers to sexual and reproductive health services. As our colleagues at Oxfam America noted, with the U.S. Supreme Court removing all federal protections for abortion access, abortion rights in the country “will now be rooted in inequality, doled out based on the privilege of who you are, where you live, how much money you have.”
Access to safe, legal and comprehensive abortion services continues to be out of reach for too many people worldwide. Approximately 45 per cent of all abortions globally are unsafe; 97 per cent of all unsafe abortions occur in low- and middle-income countries, predominantly affecting women living in poverty and rural areas.
Access to abortion care also continues to be fraught with challenges in Canada. Abortion services are virtually only available in urban centres, creating enormous challenges for those living in rural and remote areas if they lack the financial resources and logistical means to travel to access abortion care. Undocumented migrants, and those who experience precarious housing or intimate partner violence, also struggle to access abortion services. Previous experiences of discrimination within the Canadian health care system also create access barriers for many marginalized groups, such as Indigenous and racialized people, members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities, adolescents and young people.
Bodily autonomy is foundational for gender equality. It is also critical for achieving civil, political and economic rights, and in turn for the empowerment of all women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people.
Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling will endanger the health and lives of countless people. It will undoubtedly feed abortion stigma and misinformation and animate anti-choice actors and their movements in Canada and abroad. This, in turn, could further compromise abortion access, along with the ability of women, girls, and gender-diverse people to exercise their rights and make decisions over their own lives and future. The evidence is clear: restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the number of abortions, only the number of safe abortions.
We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Oxfam America, our feminist allies across the United States and our partners working on sexual and reproductive rights worldwide. Now more than ever, we need Canada to speak up for and invest in initiatives to protect and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights at home and internationally. Canada can contribute to saving lives and prevent the backsliding of women’s rights and gender equality. Now is the time to step up, not back down.”
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