A feminist activist who had to undergo a clandestine abortion in Montreal in the 1960s recalls that there are still battles to be fought on the matter while the future of pregnancy terminations is at stake in the United States.
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“The consequences of a retreat [de l’accès à l’avortement] would be a return to a certain Great Darkness,” says Claire Aubin.
The 74-year-old artist knows something about it. When she was in her early twenties, she had to undergo a clandestine abortion in an office tower on the West Island of Montreal, since her general practitioner refused to perform the act.
The abortion, which would have been performed by a doctor, cost her $400, the equivalent of more than $3,000 today.
“Once he took the fetus out, putting it in the garbage he said, ‘It’s a boy’. I saw there an attempt to humiliate me or make me feel guilty, ”recalls Mme Aubin.
“The women lived in a regime of terror, because they were afraid every month of finding themselves pregnant […] Women were submissive to their spouses, could not refuse sex and had no contraceptives. It’s really terrible, “says activist Louise Desmarais, author of the book The Battle of Abortion: Quebec Chronicle.
If Claire Aubin did not suffer complications following the intervention, not all were so lucky.
Some women will die of it, while others will have generalized infections, the uterus completely destroyed, or will be infertile, in particular.
According to the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, the forerunner of Statistics Canada, abortion was the leading cause of hospitalization for women in the country in 1966, with 45,482 admissions.
“Learning about the consequences for women of being left on their own was a big influence on me to get involved in the feminist movement,” says Ms.me Aubin.
According to Claire Aubin, a world without legal abortion in 2022 would however be very different from sixty years ago.
“Women are always going to get by, especially with modern technology. I don’t think we would go back to the state of the 1950s and 1960s, given the progress in the pharmacopoeia,” she explains.
The way out for her would be the abortion pill. “If the surgical route is no longer possible in the United States, perhaps women will increasingly resort to this,” believes Ms.me Aubin.
Currently, more than half of American women wishing to end their pregnancy do so using the abortion pill, but only 12% of Quebec women used this method in 2020.
According to a Léger poll, 61% of Quebec women do not know that there is a non-surgical abortion option.
“For us, having security services also means being able to make an informed choice and that the choice we make is respected,” believes Anne-Valérie Lemieux Breton, co-coordinator of the Regroupement des groupe de femmes de la region. of the National Capital.
“Everything is not acquired for women in many areas. Equality in rights also means having this freedom to dispose of our body, ”concludes Ms.me Aubin.
– With Roxane Trudel
The Canadian News
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