Friday, December 4, 2020

NetGalley ARC | The Abortion Caravan: When Women Took to the Streets, Shut Down the Government, and Battled for the Right to Choose


I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐

It kind of bothers me that I was not as hooked by this one as I thought I would be. I am not sure if it was the writing style or what. It was very dry, I felt. Maybe it was because it is the story of reproductive rights in a country other than the one I live in. I really don't know. The story is an important one though, and that is why I continued reading, even when it became more of a chore than anything else.

The idea for the caravan began in January of 1970 and the Vancouver Women's Caucus began putting together a plan for how best to petition the government to bring about the legalization of abortion in Canada. It is important to remember that this was, of course, long before social media was a thing. Even long-distance calls were not common - or cheap. Yet even with these challenges, a group of seventeen women left Vancouver, a collection of women from various walks of life all crammed into a convertible, a VW bus, and a truck. Over the course of their journey toward Ottawa, the women made stops in various towns and cities to get their message across, hold rallies and give speeches, to gather support, and to draw more attention to the cause they fought for - the fundamental right for a woman to have control over her own body.

The journey was not easy and there were squabbles among the women traveling, arguments sometimes that threatened to pull their mission apart. But even so, day after day and mile after mile, they continued on, knowing their purpose and their end goal was so important. Thousands of women died each year from botched abortions performed by back-ally doctors who were not often actual doctors. It had to end, and abortion had to become legal and SAFE.

After over 3,000 miles the Abortion Caravan reached its destination - Parliament Hill in Ottawa. There they staged their grandest performances yet, drawing the attention of the entire country. The women camped out on Pierre Trudeau's lawn in protest and managed to infiltrate the visitor galleries of parliament and chain themselves to their chairs, demanding that their voices be heard. Parliament was effectively shut down as a result, but their efforts worked in the long run. While the Abortion Caravan became a unifying symbol for women across the whole of Canada who believed in their right to be in charge of their own bodies, it would take another 18 years for reproductive rights laws to officially changed. In that time doctors were performing abortions, and were often charged with the 'crime', but were often also acquitted.

Over all the book was very informative, but simply not told in a very engaging way and I really had to force myself to finish reading it.


  1. I had the same problem with the Alice Paul book. How anyone can make such exciting, difficult and heroic efforts dry is beyond me. The suffragists in Alice Paul's time also did such road trips complete with the bickering and discomfort. That was one of the most fun parts to read about.

    1. YES!! It was so painfully DULL. Like, come on. These women are literally fighting to have control over their own bodies, and man it took me forever to get through.


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