valeriekeefe (valeriekeefe) wrote,

Imagine You're a Woman* in Canada in 1970

And your swinging prime minister has just passed a 'very progressive' law through in the last couple of years detailing when and where you could finally be allowed the control over your own body that is your birthright.

Bill C-150 made it legal for women to get an abortion if a committee of three doctors felt the pregnancy endangered the mental, emotional or physical well-being of the mother.
This was an act that ended the practice of arbitrarily making women and doctors fear the state, for their arbitrary enforcement of the law, and made women needing help fear doctors who were now the arbiters of what was a worthy and an unworthy reason to get an abortion.

This meant that women were, in many cases, petrified of contradicting a doctor's narrative on reproductive health, for fear that they would lose their rights, because they couldn't just pack up and move to another city or province or country, say, Thailand Switzerland and have the procedure done there.

So, we had a law that forced women to lie, regarding the inconsequential, to doctors to get treatment. It was a law that was clearly more harsh towards working class women than the wealthy, and the patients were in a crisis situation, waiting on doctors to deign to treat them, to, among other consequences, reduce their risk of suicide.

Opponents of the procedure focused on the lives of the potential patients, the fiction required in an unequal medical model, the risk of complications, and the rate of regret, as well as implicitly tapping into an instinctive opprobrium that tended to dissipate with education on the issue.

Brave doctors, Henry Morgentaler among them, said that this model of determining what is a 'true medical abortion' and what is not, was inherently anti-human and anti-woman and began to treat women on an informed consent basis.

Women, women who didn't necessarily need this treatment, but understood that their sisters were being oppressed, fought the law, and supported informed consent for women. Women like Judy Rebick, fought until the system that allowed doctors to dangle treatment, simple treatment, for women on a string, was brought down.

Judy Rebick testified for the defense in Nixon v. Vancouver Rape Relief. The defense which responded to the suit by becoming, among other things, a hate site. A site that mocks, on basis of lives lived, saying that certain women are not women, that relies on the dishonesty required by the current medical model, and appeals to allies, like Margaret Wente, citing the rate of regret, and trying to evoke a public's implicit disgust at the idea of 'mutilation.'

It's good to know that after all this time, there's no sense of history or propriety. It's good to know that, when the chips are down, you can have a pretty good idea of where the second-wavers lie.

*Like most people who claim to be gender experts in 1970, assume cis. Demographics indicate there have been lots of men who have had abortions... just typically not before transition.
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