Today, a small group of pro-choicers proudly walked in downtown Montréal to remind their fellow citizens of this important date, and show that they want abortion in Canada to remain legal, safe, accessible and free.
Despite our numbers, the event was a success because the participants responded individually to this call for action. They walked in the cold, not because they're part of some group or organization that told them to be there, but because they believe in reproductive freedom.
Secondly, it was also a success because approximately one third of the participants were men who are equally concerned about the issue of freedom of choice, and who don't dismiss it as a "women's issue."
Finally, our little, spontaneous march received some excellent media coverage, thanks to our wonderful volunteer publicist, MJ.
However, I was disappointed by the abysmal apathy of the people that we had contacted over the last few months. Most of them either did not give us any answers, or told us that they were not interested in participating. In addition, some people who had said they would attend the event never actually showed up.
But above everything else, I was extremely disappointed by the blatant lack of support of women's organization (namely, the Fédération des femmes du Québec and the Fédération pour le planning des naissances du Québec), and of student associations.
Despite having been notified months ago that we wanted to organize an event to celebrate the anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler, it was only until recently that the FFQ contacted us to inquire into our actions.
To my knowledge, no FFQ member or representative attended the march today.
Although the FFQ, along with other Québec pro-choice and women's groups, is to hold a press conference tomorrow to commemorate this anniversary, this initiative suspiciously looks like a last minute attempt to show that they're still on top of their things and that they care about reproductive rights.
Well, big effing deal.
The FFQ had other plans, months in the making. As a matter of fact, they'd been planning another event for January 26th, 2008. That is, this protest for peace in the Middle East and the preservation of environment. Though these are important issues as well, I can't help to have the uneasy feeling that the FFQ somehow forgot to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaler ruling, or that they *just* thought that it was more important, this January 2008, to celebrate something else.
I can only wish that this administrative decision will be explained shortly, and that the people responsible will be held accountable.
Our freedom of choice is a right that can't afford being kept in the dark by the very people who should be upholding it.