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Olson: The Call

Recorded April 2023 at Christ Church Cathedral

The term “reproductive justice” had not yet been coined in June, 1987, when Rosemary Brown gave a passionate speech opposing a private member’s bill in the House of Commons that would have made abortion illegal in Canada. But as I set her words to music, I found myself thinking more broadly about reproductive issues; not just the people forced to carry pregnancies to term against their will, but also those subjected to involuntary sterilization and forced abortions. And then the question of how well (or poorly) we - as individuals and as a society - provide support to new parents and safe environments in which children can be raised.

Across the globe, people’s “right to control the terms and circumstances of [their] reproduction” seems to be continuously in flux. In every country there are those who press for the preservation or return of laws and policies that force gestation and birth on some and/or limit it for others. As Brown says, we must question why anyone would support these horrifying measures, and how it is that their advocacy sometimes meets with success. Then each of us must decide what we will do about it.

I am very grateful to musica intima and to the SOCAN Foundation for commissioning this piece. I also offer my deepest thanks to UBC Rare Books and Special Collections for giving me legal permission, and to Cleta Brown for giving me moral permission to set these texts to music. (TO, 2023)


Christina Cichos
Lucy Smith
Tabitha Brasso-Ernst
Katherine Evans
Deanna Gestrin
Carman J. Price
Taka Shimojima
Asitha Tennekoon
Steven Bélanger
Jacob Gramit
Steve Maddock



Audio Engineer: Don Harder
Director: Mike Southworth
Producer: Joanna Dundas
Cameras: Mike Southworth, Barry Ambrosio, Brandon Fletcher
Lighting Design: Jason Conroy
Editors: Doug Fury & Mike Southworth

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