Unborn children are not a minority identity group, nor are abortions performed by political fiat for the purpose of furthering solidarity amongst some dominant group. Every abortion is an individual choice made by an individual woman.

Barbara Kay, “Women deserve better than abortion,” National Post, 4 February 2009.


According to SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, which is one of the first organizations founded to build a reproductive justice movement, the term reproductive justice is “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” Reproductive justice is different from the reproductive rights movements of the 1970s as it moves beyond pro-choice versus pro-life debates by acknowledging the fact that there are intersecting factors such as race and class that impact marginalized groups differently. This means that particularly women with low incomes, women of color, women with disabilities, and LGBTQIA2S people do not always have the freedom to choose what they want to do as far as reproduction is concerned and that their options are sometimes limited by oppressive circumstances or lack of access to services.

In this module, we explore the ways in which reproduction has become a social justice issue. We will focus on the history of abortion law in Canada and address how and why abortion rights are political. As you will see, despite the fact that Canada does not have any laws regulating abortions, access to abortions is not the same for everybody.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Describe important moments in the history of abortion access in Canada.
  • Describe the ways that the Canadian anti-abortion movement has shifted in recent decades.
  • Define reproductive justice.

Moving Forward

Each module contains a big idea + lesson, assigned resources, and a summary page. Visit each section below by clicking or tapping the images.