Quebec’s Reproductive Rights

Ghislain Patry-Buisson the president of the Federation Des Femmes Du Quebec (FFQ)said in an interview “we shouldn’t forget our history” (Rebick, 51). I agree with her and believe that we should not forget any of our Canadian history in the fight for reproductive rights. One part of our history that is often forgotten or unknown to the rest of Canada is that of the Quebec’s fight for reproductive rights.

Patry-Buisson and the group FFQ were important for the reproductive rights movement. According to Patry-Buisson the FFQ “did a lot for women at the time” (Rebick, 51). The federation supported abortion and wanted the establishment of therapeutic abortion committees because the organisation was worried about young women who were getting abortions under bad conditions in Montreal. This was -and still is- a common argument in the support for abortion; if women are not provided with safe legal abortions they may seek them in unsafe and bad conditions. The Quebec movement and the entire Canadian movement saw access to safe abortions as important.

One way that the Quebec movement is unique is the use of women’s bookstores and women’s magazines such as La Vie en rose, Quebecoise deboutte!, and Le Temps fou (Rebick, 57) to fight for reproductive rights. These bookstores and magazines gave women a way to gather and communicate. Magazines and bookstores were also used but in the research I have done they are more common in Quebec than the rest of Canada. These bookstores were a location for women to come together and share ideas about what is important to them and use this information to come together and fight for reproductive rights. Francine Pelletier a women who was involved in La Vie en rose described her first time in a women’s bookstore in Montreal in 1975:

it was packed full of women…talking about their experiences as women:about being afraid to talk, about being humiliated…I had never known what solidarity meant, that great thing about the women’s movement. It’s not complicated. It’s not academic. It’s a gut feeling that you relate to and that you can share. You feel connected to these women. I had never felt that…suddenly, I had people. I immediately became involved.(Rebick, 57)

Solidarity and companionship has been an important part of women’s movements around the world. Women have been connecting together and greeting a change for the world they want to see. They share their own stories that often involve reproductive rights; the personal stories of women have often been the main ways women new about birth control or found places to get abortions. In Quebec changes were made through meetings at women’s bookstores, sharing information through magazines and pamphlets, and the creation of women’s organizations, which were used to fight for reproductive rights.


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