Martine Biron, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, announces that she wants to legislate to protect the right to abortion in Quebec. If his intention is laudable, the exercise is not necessary.

Canada is the only Western country that meets its international obligations regarding women’s reproductive autonomy under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the major convention on womens rights.

Indeed, since the Morgentaler judgment of 1988, Canada has not adopted any law that regulates, limits or restricts in any way access to this health care. No woman can be criminalized for obtaining an abortion, regardless of the reason or the number of weeks of pregnancy.

In four major decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right to reproductive autonomy of women based on the rights to liberty, security and equality guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Any federal or provincial law that would limit access to abortion would infringe these rights.

There is therefore no “legislative void or vagueness”; In a democracy, what is not forbidden is permitted. Do we need a specific law to ensure accessibility to cardiac procedures?

We should not underestimate the influence in Canada of the decline in women’s rights in our neighbors to the south. Vigilance must be maintained. However, the adoption of a law to recognize the right to this health care in Quebec would serve as a spokesperson for anti-abortion groups. We can already imagine the debates between anti-abortion and pro-choice activists. The constitutional validity of the law would be immediately attacked by religious groups. Quebec (nor Canada for that matter) does not need such a law.

However, the situation is not perfect. Ms. Biron should instead ensure that women have access to health professionals and completely free oral contraceptives. Why do residents of Quebec City have to wait over a month to get the first appointment for an abortion? Why don’t they have access to a dedicated phone line like in Montreal? Is the abortion pill available locally?

The real debate should not take place on the legislative field, but rather on accessibility to health care.