Examples of LEAF Interventions Related to Sexuality and Reproductive Health
The SCC decision in R. v. Ewanchuk (1999) decision upheld the principle that no one can sexually touch another person without that person’s clear consent. Stereotypes about gender roles, such as believing that a woman wants to have sex because she’s acting or even dressed a certain way (“implied consent”) is not enough. Ewanchuk really goes beyond “no means no”; the message is instead: “only yes means yes”.
In R. v Lewis (1996) and R v Demers(2003) and Watson v. R; Spratt v. R (2006), British Columbia’s Access to Abortion Services Act, that requires anti-abortion protestors to remain a certain distance away from abortion clinics was upheld. Women seeking access to abortion are entitled to equality, privacy and security of the person. The courts recognized that “health care has a fundamental value in our society…” and can therefore trump other rights, such as freedom of association, of assembly and of religion.
In R v. Darrach, The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld provisions in the Criminal Code, which limit the use of a woman’s sexual past history as evidence. LEAF argued that using women’s sexual past as evidence in a sexual assault was an attack on her dignity and a violation of her equality rights. This decision upheld what are often called the “rape shield” laws, which “shield” the complainant’s past sexual history from being used against her in court to dismiss her complaint or imply consent. Click here to download Reproductive Rights Fact Sheet.