Book Review: Without Apology: Writings on Abortion in Canada by Shannon Stettner

I recently wrote a book review on Without Apology: Writings on Abortion in Canada by Shannon Stettner for Studies in Social Justice. After I wrote it, I decided to adopt the book as a text for my upcoming course in Gender Studies at SFU: GSWS 318-4 Reproductive Rights and Justice. 

Not only is this an important contribution to ongoing struggles for reproductive justice, but it is also an open access book under creative commons license. Adopting this as a text is part of my commitment to using open access resources in my courses whenever possible.

The journal is likewise open access, so you can freely read my review. I’ll add an excerpt here though:

Reflecting on the collection as a whole, I am struck by the ways in which the stories and experiences continue on in the real-time, real world struggle for reproductive justice both in Canada and globally. When I drive on Highway 1 toward Chilliwack from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, anti-choice billboards pepper the landscape. In Judith Mintz’ chapter, an autoethnography of abortion after emergency contraceptive was ineffective, she writes of calling Motherrisk to discuss risks of birth defects from a failed “morning after” pill. We now know that Motherrisk is embroiled in its own horrific injustices, perpetuated by its flawed hair-testing laboratory that led to state-sanctioned kidnapping of many children in eastern Canada.[i] Worldwide, 25.5% of people reside in countries where abortion is completely restricted and about 14% where abortion is only permitted to save the life of the pregnant person.[ii] As of this writing, Ireland is set to hold a referendum on legalizing abortion. In Trump’s America, undocumented migrant teens in custody are denied abortions.[iii] When the reader sets these facts against the horrific experiences described in the book Canada, where abortion is not even illegal, it becomes clear that global reproductive justice will not rend itself easily or quickly. Without Apology is a commendable survey of abortion in Canada that gives space to a wide range of voices while also acknowledging the work still to be done.

[i] See for example

[ii] Approximately 40% of the world’s population lives in countries with permissive abortion laws, where one can legally get an abortion for any reason. See for these statistics and how they are measured.

[iii] See