To mark the 30th anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion in Canada, this bilingual two-day conference organized by the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF) and the Centre for Research on Gender, Health, and Medicine will focus on "self-management" in order to assess contemporary questions, research, and activism around abortion both locally and globally.
The very recent legalization of the abortion pill (mifepristone) in 2016, with distribution being rolled out as of 2017, raises new issues and opportunities surrounding access, autonomy, and experience of abortion in Canada. The 45th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in the United States, and the restrictions on abortion access in the U.S. and globally, resulting from Donald Trump's presidency also influences our debates, culture, and politics of abortion at this moment. However, these constraints and politics are also emerging alongside novel conditions for the global circulation of information, knowledge, and resources through new (and old) technologies of the internet (e.g., telemedicine), media (e.g., smartphones), and modes of drug delivery (e.g., drones). These conditions have already and will continue to give rise to new forms of activism, extra-clinical abortion care providers, and abortion provision in multiple settings and contexts. For more on the history of Canadian abortion rights view our brief timeline.
Thirty years after the legalization of abortion in Canada, how should we reassess what women need from abortion legislation, technology, care, access, and reproductive justice while respecting the specific conditions and contexts within which abortion is sought? What kinds of needs are made invisible or neglected by current standards, and what are the creative means, often born out of necessity, that women have deployed access to abortion for themselves or others?