No Place for the State

Dr Steve Hewitt, Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies, has contributed to a new publication looking at the origins and legacies of the 1969 Omnibus Bill in Canada.

No Place for the StateIn No Place for the State, contributors offer complex and often contrasting perspectives as they assess how the 1969 Omnibus Bill helped shape sexual and moral politics in Canada by examining the bill’s origins, social implications, and repercussions. The new legal regime had significant consequences in such areas as adoption, divorce, and suicide. After the bill passed, a great many Canadians continued to challenge how sexual behaviour was governed; and feminist and gay liberation activists took the reforms as a starting point, demanding much more exhaustive changes to the law.

In their contribution ‘Seeing Red: The Toronto Women’s Caucus, the RCMP Security Service, and the Campaign to Repeal the 1969 Abortion Law’, Steve Hewitt and Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa) examine the active resistance campaign launched by a number of women's liberation groups, including the Toronto Women's Caucus, against the reforms that still denied women complete control of their bodies and their reproductive rights.  In turn, the long campaign by activists against the s, which would culminate in a 1988 court decision that overturned Canada's abortion restrictions, found itself targeted by Canada's national police force. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police spied on the protests and protesters and infiltrated the movement with informants in order to track its efforts and to monitor the involvement of Trotskyists.