Without Apology

Until the late 1960s, the authorities on abortion were for the most part men—politicians, clergy, lawyers, physicians, all of whom had an interest in regulating women’s bodies. Even today, when we hear women speak publicly about abortion, the voices are usually those of the leaders of women’s and abortion rights organizations, women who hold political office, and, on occasion, female physicians. We also hear quite frequently from spokeswomen for anti-abortion groups. Rarely, however, do we hear the voices of ordinary women—women whose lives have been in some way touched by abortion. Their thoughts typically owe more to human circumstance than to ideology, and without them, we run the risk of thinking and talking about the issue of abortion only in the abstract.

Without Apology seeks to address this issue by gathering the voices of activists, feminists, and scholars as well as abortion providers and clinic support staff alongside the stories of women whose experience with abortion is more personal. With the particular aim of moving beyond the polarizing rhetoric that has characterized the issue of abortion and reproductive justice for so long, Without Apology is an engrossing and arresting account that will promote both reflection and discussion.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Title 4
Copyright 5
Contents 6
Acknowledgements 10
Without Apology: An Introduction 14
A Brief History of Abortion in Canada 42
PART ONE: SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE 86
An Abortion Palimpsest: Writing the Hidden Stories of Our Bodies 88
T.A. 94
But I Kept All These Things, and Pondered Them in My Heart 102
Keep It Small 110
A Bad Law and a Bold Woman 124
A Lonely Ride 128
[untitled] 134
PART TWO: ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVISM 140
Reproductive Freedom: The Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics and the Campaign to Overturn the Federal Abortion Law 142
Handmaids on the Hill: Defending Our Rights One Womb at a Time 150
Breaking the Silence Through Portrait and Story: Arts4Choice 162
“We Can Get There Faster If We All Move Together”: The Birth and Evolution of a Reproductive Justice Activist 168
Waves of Change in Prince Edward Island: Opening the Dialogue on Abortion Access 174
PART THREE: CHALLENGING OPPOSING POSITIONS 178
Blinded by the Right: My Past as an Anti-abortion Activist 180
One Life Change Leads to Another: My Evolving View of Abortion 190
Pro-Choice for God’s Sake 194
Pro-choice with No “Buts”: Three Commentaries 202
Expanding the Reproductive Justice Lexicon: A Case for the Label Pro-abortion 212
Same as It Ever Was: Anti-Choice Extremism and the “Third Way” 220
Women over Ideology 242
PART FOUR: PRACTITIONERS AND CLINIC SUPPORT 248
Dissolving Fear, Fostering Trust: Lessons from Life in Abortion Care 250
“Do you think I will go to hell for this?” 254
Countering Shame with Compassion: The Role of the Abortion Counsellor 258
Women Judging Women: Whose Reasons Are “Good Enough”? Whose Choice Is OK? 266
Therapeutic Abortion: A Nonnegotiable Women’s Right 268
On Becoming an Abortion Provider: An Interview 272
PART FIVE: SITES OF STRUGGLE 286
The Myth of Reproductive Choice: A Call for Radical Change 288
Sex-Selective Abortion and the Politics of Race in Multicultural Canada 300
The Public Pregnancy: How the Fetal Debut and the Public Health Paradigm Affect Pregnancy Practice 316
A Harm-Reduction Approach to Abortion 328
The Unfinished Revolution 344
List of Contributors 360