Guelph Student Group Joins National Day for Reproductive Justice

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

  • GRC-GED at the University of Guelph

    GRC-GED at the University of Guelph

  • Promotional material for the National Day for Reproductive Justice

    Promotional material for the National Day for Reproductive Justice

Written by Pegleess Barrios

This weekend,  a group of University of Guelph students will be participating in the National Day for Reproductive Justice.  Guelphites for Reproductive Rights, or “GRR”, is a student-led group run through the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (GRC-GED). The group is open to campus and community members within Guelph and beyond.

GRR began as a reading group and online discussion forum, and was founded by Guelph students who wanted to educate themselves on what reproductive justice entailed and why it matters, in a safe, community space. Over the summer, GRR expanded into direct action in the name of reproductive justice, as members became involved in Guelph student Heather Millman’s campaign to remove the anti-choice bus ads from city buses, and spoke at council. Members were ignited into action again with the closing of the Morgentaler abortion clinic in New Brunswick, supporting the crowdsourcing campaign started by Reproductive Justice NB, and is continuing to take action to support Canadians’ reproductive rights by participating in the National Day for Reproductive Justice.

The full name of the event is the “National Day of Action for Reproductive Justice – Equal Access Now”. The nation-wide event has been organized by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to show solidarity with the reproductive justice movement and activists in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Asia Barclay, co-founder of GRR, tells TheCannon.ca, “Although abortion accessibility is not at the level it should be in Canada as a whole, the Maritime provinces especially have been suffering lately. To receive abortion services in New Brunswick requires two doctors' signatures of approval, or the abortion must be paid for out-of-pocket—assuming one can find a clinic that provides that essential healthcare service. P.E.I. has zero clinics on the island, and women must travel to other provinces should they require an abortion. Differences across groups of women also come into play as abortion inaccessibility becomes further exacerbated for women with lower incomes, Aboriginal women, women of colour, women with disabilities, trans* women, and more. This is a national healthcare issue and events like these help foster discussion and solidarity as we move forward with this agenda.”

The closure of the Morgentaler clinic has been a topic of importance among reproductive rights activists in Canada, many of whom see it as a mark of a societal regression in reproductive justice. Law student Geneva McSheffery told CBC that the restrictions on abortion access could cause some young people to leave New Brunswick. “The economy’s not great,” McSheffery explains, “and sometimes it seems like opportunities are few and far between, and this is another nail in the coffin, so to speak.” Judy Burwell of Reproductive Justice NB adds, “The status quo is not acceptable. Reproductive Justice NB, the Fredericton Youth Feminists and supporters from across Canada will not stop until safe and timely abortion services, covered by medicare, are available whether performed in a hospital setting or a medical clinic.” And indeed, two months later, they are still fighting and creating events to promote national awareness for their situation.

The Guelph chapter of this event is taking place on Saturday, September 20thwithin and outside of the Farmer's Market. GRR invites the public to to contact them through GRC-GED with any questions about reproductive justice, the event, or how they can help.

For more information on the NDORJ: https://www.facebook.com/events/551179511655500/?fref=ts

GRR on Twitter: @GWReproRights

Abortion Access NB: http://www.abortionaccessnb.ca/

ARCC: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/

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