Every year in Ottawa an anti-choice march is held in May to promote the criminalization of abortion, drawing in thousands of misogynists. This year, however, the Proletarian Feminist Front of Ottawa and its allies, including the Revolutionary Student Movement, decided to break with traditional sidewalk protesting and took to the streets to fight this gendered and anti-proletarian repression. Unwanted children, after all, force mothers into poverty.
When other feminists present saw that the anti-choice march had been successfully halted they began to follow the PFF’s lead and rally in the street. Eventually the anti-choice march was forced to divert its course onto the other side of the street where they were heckled and booed—and some young students that were only there only for a field trip were hopefully educated. This is a definite victory not just the Proletarian Feminist Front but for working-class feminism as a whole in Canada. We are one step closer to shutting down this week of patriarchal celebration.
And to the (very few) pro-choicers who refused to show solidarity and join us in the streets because they believed our actions were “violent” we say this: marching and celebrating invasive restrictions on our bodies is violent. We need to take a bold stand against these attempts by the Anti-Choice activists and their allies in the Harper government to re-criminalize abortion. There is also a need to develop a strong movement to demand free and universal access to abortion.
Even if abortion is officially legal since the Supreme Court ruling in 1988, it is not at all accessible for those who need it. In rural areas, the Maritimes, the north, and most of western Canada, abortion is expensive, distant, and barely respects the privacy of individual women. PEI does not offer abortions at all, regardless of the fact that this is illegal. Universal access to abortion will not be accomplished by voting for this or that party; we cannot continue recycling the same old process of bourgeois democratic rights and expect different outcomes. Women’s right to abortion will be won in the streets!