When I was determining the working title for this project, Canadian Abortion Experience came to me quickly. I wanted this collection to reflect the thoughts, experiences, and ideas of women (and men) from across the country. The subtitle, Voices on Choice(s), came less easily and it is one I am not entirely comfortable with. And yet, it remains.
To be honest, “choice” is a word that makes me a little uncomfortable. When I first became active in the pro-choice movement, it resonated strongly with me and I know it continues to do so for many women. Over time, I’ve grown less attached to the word because I've come to see “choice” as an illusion – far too few women who make the “choice” to have an abortion truly enjoy the freedom and equality necessary to make that a real (and empowering) decision. Others, I know, see “choice” as the ideal to which we should strive. Still others see it as euphemistic – a shying away from the word “abortion”. A dialogue on the meanings of “choice” is but one of the outcomes I hope from this project.
My aim is for Canadian Abortion Experience: Voices on Choice(s) to provide a space for dialogue among activists, academics, practitioners, and other Canadians interested in abortion on myriad aspects of the issue. As members of a movement (or movements) we make choices on how we perceive and frame issues and those choices evolve (or don’t) over time. Whether we agree, disagree, or agree to disagree, ongoing dialogue keeps the movement(s) healthy and relevant and strong.
The other part of the book, narratives on the abortion experiences of Canadians, is also about choices – the choice (even when there are constraints) to have an abortion, the choice to provide abortion services, the choice to fight for reproductive freedom. These are the stories we need to record and remember.