Human Rights: Do you want to live in a Canada without them?

My immediate response to this question is of course “no” and I believe the majority of Canadians would respond the same.

Human Rights, simply put, means “equality, justice and freedoms for all” and I believe we all can agree we have the right to be free from discrimination and discriminating behaviour.

The fundamental truth to rights and freedoms is that no person shall be discriminated against for any reason and 32 years ago, in 1982, the Canadian government, recognizing this truth, brought into being the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” and set out the ground rules for all. The Charter basically states no one has the right to discriminate against another based on whether you are male or female, the colour of your skin, your type of religious or spiritual beliefs, your sexual orientation, any physical or mental disabilities, what age you are, where you or your ancestors come from originally, the language you speak, how much you weigh, how you appear, and numerous other points of being. The Charter also contains the truth of the human right to life, liberty and security of person.

In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada Justices ruled that the criminal laws which had governed women’s reproduction were against women’s human rights and struck them down. Their reasoning was based on the human rights of liberty, fundamental justice, security of person and the right of freedom of conscience. Further in 1989, because some did not believe that women were equal and were thus entitled to equality rights, they challenged women’s rights in the judicial system. The end result was that the Supreme Court Justices ruled that there was no other persons’, or non-persons’, rights involved in the reproductive equation, nor would there ever be. A woman has the right to control her own body, full stop. They determined there is no “we” in pregnancy, a woman bears all the physical and mental consequences, not society, nor the male in the equation. They also determined a woman is entitled to security of person without the fear of discrimination or discriminatory actions when exercising their rights to have self-dominion.

The Justice’s position was based on the long standing legal principle that “a person may not (cannot) be compelled to use his or her body at the service of another, even if the other person’s life is in danger”. This legal principal prevents slavery, conscription into war and now women’s rights to self-determine their life, liberty and security of person.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, there are not two sides to women’s reproductive rights. There is one side only, and that one side is a woman’s human right to have dominion over herself, and the right to be free from discrimination when she exercises self-dominion.

Canadians would not tolerate people demonstrating for the right to be racist, the right to oppress differing peoples or religious beliefs, the right to be a slave owner, the right of governments to take our children without their consent to be a part of the war machine, or the right to throw someone in jail based upon sexual orientation.

The question we should ask ourselves is: Why are we tolerating people demonstrating and advertising for a right to take women’s human rights away from them?

It is not a positive thing in this community, nor any other, no matter what some people may try to say.

Rita Rewerts
Valemount, BC