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Lecture 4

WMST 1000Y Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Sexual Sterilization Act Of Alberta, Pauperism, Corrective Rape

Women's Studies
Course Code
WMST 1000Y
Funke A

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Reproductive Rights and Wrongs
Lecture Outline
o Reproductive health and rights
o Reproductive rights in Canada
o Birth control and eugenics
o Family planning from a global context
o Challenges to reproductive rights
o Film
Reproductive health
o “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the
absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 1948)
o satisfying and safe sex life with the capacity to reproduce and the freedom to
decide if, when and how often to do so
o safe, effective, affordable access to family planning methods
o a lot of this is connected to legislation
o based on social factors such as class, race, education, gender, access in
community, ethnicity, education…
o access to appropriate reproductive health
o made relationship between reproductive health with status, power, processes of
race and class
reproductive rights
o three basic aspects in order to have reproductive rights: the number, the spacing,
the information
o right to decide freely the number and spacing of children and to have the
information and means to do so
o the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health
o the right to make decisions free of discrimination, coercion or violence
reproductive rights in Canada
o pre-1960s: info about birth control and abortion illegal
info for married couples only
cue heteronormative sex equation
o 1969: Bill C-150 decriminalized contraception and made abortion legal (must be
approved by three or more doctors)
only for pregnancies if they threatened life or health
abortion caravan in 1970
o 1988: supreme court ruled that the sections of the Criminal Code governing
abortion in was unconstitutional because it undermined a woman’s personal right
to have access to reproductive care
Eugenics in early 20th Century Canada
o Context of moral reform
Increasing urbanization
Increasing immigration
Health concerns (venereal diseases)
Fear of rise of crime
o Concept of eugenics introduced in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, founder of
eugenics movement in England in 1904
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