It has been more than a month since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. On June 24th, 2022, the landmark decision that has allowed pregnant Americans to get safe, legal abortions was changed. Roe v. Wade has acted as a precedential decision that forbade states from prohibiting abortion access before a fetus was considered viable (typically determined as 24 weeks gestation, or capable of living outside of the womb). Since this change, individual states are now in charge of dictating their own reproductive health laws, and it has been awful, to say the least. Serious restrictions on abortions as medical procedures are already starting to cause serious implications for pregnant people. As Canadians, it's hard to understand what this means for us. Do we have to worry about these laws affecting us? Is there something we can do to help our neighbours? What does this mean for other precedential laws next door? We might not have the ease to all of your worries, but we’re here to have the open conversation about how crappy this feels and how we, as Canadians, can respond.
I hope it comes as no surprise what side of this debate we at Reya Health align with. Abortion is a human right, for any reason, always. We strongly stand against this Supreme Court decision. As Canadians, we’ve had our fair share of miseducation and lack of abortion care access, with outdated sex education curriculums and rural and Indigenous communities still lacking suitable healthcare access. The big worries lay in the possibilities of changes to abortion access in our country if advocacy and protection are not at the forefront of decision making for reproductive health. There is a great worry that these changes in the U.S. will be a catalyst for anti-abortion folks to push for legislation here at home.
How does this affect Canadians?
Canada hasn’t had any laws governing abortion since its decriminalization in the 80’s, and the plan is to keep it that way. After the leaked documents alluding to the eventual overturn of Roe v. Wade, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, took to Twitter to and press conferences alike to publicly announce that Canadians could be confident in our abortion rights and protections. The fear of misinformation and powerful force of public outcry still weighs on the shoulders of Canadians. These changes could also affect Canadians who travel, work, live, or study in the U.S., where they risk lack of access in case of emergencies. It has started to affect the conversations we are having and the worries we are facing as Canadians who have already seen an alarming rise in racism, homophobia, and right-wing propaganda over the past few years.
“The overturning of women’s rights anywhere is an affront to the progress made by women’s right activists for many years,” says Thara Vayali, one Reya Health’s in-house Medical Advisors and Health Educator, “When political systems start to view people who can get pregnant as juvenile and incapable of decision making for themselves, it creates a restrictive society for those whose rights have been taken away. This is the beginning of targeting women and people that don’t fit specific parameters. It is what North Americans have worked hard against for decades. The laws that uphold the rights to abortion access in Canada are vastly different than what created the rights to abortion in the United States, but people and their views do not remain within borders. The tide of people who may take action and harm based on the belief that women should not choose what is right for their own lives is what we need to be watching for, wary of and vocal about”.
How to talk about it, and why it's important to keep doing so
“If you dont want to have a baby, you shouldn’t have sex”. We’ve heard this one before, right? Reya is a space for birth control users, and birth control users have had this one-liner thrown to them forever. It seems to me that the same folks who take issue with birth control tend to lean the obvious yet nasty way of anti-abortion, too. The most important rule when navigating how to talk about it is to just make sure that you continue to talk about it. Openly discussing and advocating will continue the necessary conversation for the protection of these rights in Canada. Not only that, but continuing to speak out against the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court will likely align you with people who are sharing valuable, scientific, cited information about the issues. If you are pro- LGBTQ+, pro-equality, pro-Black, pro-choice, pro-everything that is good in this world, talk about it. People who are struggling will see your support and feel it. People who need educating will find your resources and hopefully learn something. Ensure that you stay up to date on unbiased news often, and chat about it with people that you trust. It's okay if this is affecting your mental health, your hope, or your actions. It's affecting ours too, and we know we aren't alone. Talk about it with your loved ones to make sure that whatever you're feeling about it isn't going unchecked or unvalidated, because this hasn’t been an easy topic to digest for our Reya community.
Support, support, support
If you remember Reya Health’s founder’s story about building a trusting relationship with her body and choices in her recent blog, My Body My Boundaries, you’ll know that we are forever in the market for protecting and caring for our bodies and our medical choices. Being a part of movements and conversations is already an act of support (look at you go!). So is reading this blog, or any other educational material you can get your hands on. Staying resourced and educated will allow for the conversations you’re having to have more of an impact. I know it seems like there isn’t much we can do from our side of the border, but each step towards better is still something good. When it comes to understanding abortion care in Canada, remmeber that its not at all the same as the U.S (even if they do seem too close for comfort). Using educational tools such as Planned Parenthood or the Canadian Abortion Providers Support will keep you up-to-date and in the know.
So, now what?
I wish we had all of the answers for you. What we do have is a community of supporters, friends, and open communicators here at Reya Health who are ready to tackle the hard conversations and support you in your birth control journey in whatever way you need. We know that Canadians are still thankfully protected from changes in law that could affect our access to abortion care. We know that there are millions of people around the world on our side - fighting for equality, equitable healthcare, women's rights, your rights. We know that this can be a hard topic to understand and that this resource is one of many that are flooding the internet with information and how-to’s, but you’re in the right place if you’re looking for people in the same boat - people wanting to know more, do better, and support.
To all of Reya’s American readers and users, we send you love, and we will keep doing what we can from across the border. Take care of each other today and every day. We’re here if you need us.
“Now more than ever, we want to come together and foster innovations in reproductive health. We are already seeing how resilient and powerful our community can be in the wake of Roe, and I am confident that this isn't the end, but instead the beginning of some real prominent change. As for Reya, we are here for you. Using a birth control option that is the right fit and one that you feel comfortable using can significantly increase your chances of using the method properly and continually, thereby decreasing your risk of unwanted pregnancy (if that’s your goal). We need to remember the power of proper, thoughtful medicine and the power of this community, and recognize it for the secret weapon that it is!” - Dallas Barnes, CEO and Founder of Reya Health
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