On January 18, Amnesty International will take to the streets for the third Women’s March to bring attention to the alarming rollback on bodily autonomy experienced by women, transgender, and non-binary people in Canada and around the world.
The proposed Bill 207 in Alberta would limit access to sexual and reproductive health services including abortion and gender-affirming healthcare by allowing physicians to refuse to provide care they feel is contrary to their beliefs. The last free-standing abortion clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick is up for sale. Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people continue to be sterilized without their free, full, and informed consent.
It’s clear that people who can get pregnant in Canada are facing barriers accessing comprehensive sexual health information and services, and having their rights fully protected when they access such services. This is consistent with a global trend, which has seen increasing restrictions on access to abortions in the United States, and continued criminalization of abortion in countries like El Salvador and Argentina.
This is why Amnesty is partnering with Women’s March Global, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and She Decides to dedicate the 2020 Women’s March to protecting bodily autonomy.
Women’s rights are human rights, and sexual and reproductive health and rights must be protected. Everyone has the right to make their own free decisions about their body, life, and future.
- Check the Women’s March Global website to see if there is a Women’s March being organized in your community.
- Connect with organizers to ensure that the march in your community is taking an anti-oppression approach and is centred on the most marginalized women, girls, transgender, and non-binary people. Who is involved in organizing the march and how is this group representative of the community? How are the perspectives and specific needs of Indigenous, Black, other people of colour, transgender, and non-binary people reflected in the event? How is the event following Indigenous protocols? Some Women’s March events have been criticized in past years for not being centred on the voices of the most marginalized. Make sure you are contributing to marches that are responding to this criticism. Amnesty’s Youth Fellow, Serisha Iyar, is gathering perspectives from young people about the Women’s March. Connect with Serisha to learn more and share your thoughts.
- Consider organizing an Amnesty marching contingent. We have placards available at our office in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa, as well as placards that can be downloaded and printed: “Women’s rights are human rights” sign, “No more stolen sisters” sign, “LGBTI rights are human rights” sign, “Love is not a crime” sign, “Resistance is a human right” sign
- Bring noise-makers or consider inviting a drummer to join your marching contingent. Brainstorm a few marching chants. Here are some examples: “Women’s rights are human rights! LGBTI rights are human rights! Trans rights are human rights!” “What do we want? Sexual and reproductive rights! When do we want them? Now!” “Tell me what a feminist looks like! This is what a feminist looks like!”
- Make sure to dress for the weather, and bring water, snacks, and a fully charged cell phone.
- Many marches include an activism fair, or other opportunities to promote Amnesty actions including petitions. Promote the petition calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take immediate action to end sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada without their consent, and ensure justice for survivors. Other actions are available here.
- Post photos on social media, tagging @AmnestyNow @womensmarchglobal and #marchforourhumanrights
- For more information visit the Women’s March Global on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.