Do Not Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
“Do Not Let the Bastards Grind You Down” -Chapter 9, The Handmaid’s Tale

Motion 312, or M-312 is a private member’s bill proposed by Conservative backbencher Stephen Woodworth asking for the appointment of a twelve member special committee to review Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code for the purpose of examining existing medical evidence to demonstrate whether or not a child is a human being before ‘complete birth,’ the legal impact and consequences on the human rights of a ‘child’ before the moment of ‘complete birth’ and what options are available to amend or replace Subsection 223(1), which has thus far serviced our Criminal Law more than adequately for several hundred years.

Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code was written as part of British Common Law and states that:

223. (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not
(a) it has breathed;
(b) it has an independent circulation; or
(c) the navel string is severed.
Marginal note: Killing child

(2) A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.

[Read more...]

The Crime of Abortion in Canada

I live in a country where abortion is not a crime but floats in legal limbo. Canada has no law regarding abortion; regulations and access vary from province to province and are prey to the whims of whomever is holding the purse strings. Despite a federal ruling that all provinces must fully fund abortions, Nova Scotia provides limited funding for abortion while New Brunswick provides zip, zero, zilch, thereby breaking the law and thumbing their noses at the Canada Health Act. Nationally we have 151 abortion facilities as opposed to the 197 ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ festering across the Great White North. In Quebec there are 61 abortion facilities, in Prince Edward Island there are none.

As Pedgehog noted in her moving post about Dr. Henry Morgantaler, it was his lengthy legal battle, R. v. Morgantaler that resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada striking down the existing abortion law on January 28, 1988. The existing law was found to violate section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringed upon a woman’s right to life, liberty and security of person. Chief Justice Brian Dickson wrote:

“Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus a violation of her security of the person.”

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the matter. There have been over 35 anti-choice private member bills introduced in Parliament since 1987. Some of the more notable cases are Tremblay v. Daigle and Borowski v. Canada, both introduced in 1989. [Read more...]

Dr. Henry Morgantaler is a Hero of Canada

Today’s post comes to us from Pedgehog, who usually blogs over at Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome. Pedgehog works at a Morgantaler Clinic in Toronto, Canada.

In 2005, Dr. Henry Morgentaler was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario. If you are not Canadian, chances are you don’t know what any or all of that means. Neither did I, at the time.

I remember when it was in the news that Dr. Morgentaler would be receiving the degree, because we were discussing it at the dinner table. A friend of mine was attending UWO (or ‘Western’ as it is more commonly known) at the time and her mother objected to the famous abortion provider being honoured there. All I knew about Dr. Morgentaler was that he had something to do with the legal status of abortion in Canada. I had no interest in the pro-choice movement at that point, having only just begun to discover my feminist self.

My father was firm in his support of the honorary degree, and in an uncharacteristically passionate outburst, he declared: “Henry Morgentaler deserves that degree, and an Order of Canada on top of it! That man has done more than anyone else for women’s rights in this country.” [Read more...]

Crisis Pregnancy Centers? More Like Anti-Abortion Extremism Shelters

Thanks to Roxana Bennett for submitting another hard-hitting guest post, which was originally published on Roxanna’s site Choose Your Own Adventure.

The current issue of MS. Magazine, Fall 2010, features an article by journalist Kathryn Joyce titled “The Clinic Across the Street.” One of the most well-researched and insightful articles I have read in a long time, Joyce details links between ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centres’ and known anti-abortion extremists.

A ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centre’ is a delightful misnomer for an anti-abortion ‘clinic’, usually placed next door to, on the same floor as, or as geographically near to as possible, an actual abortion clinic. If a CPC is at ground level, chances are they will be fenced with ‘sidewalk counselors’, people who try their utmost to lure pregnant women away from the abortion clinic to the CPC. In her article, Joyce uncovered the alarming truth that many of these CPCs are used as shelters and storage for people who are known to be violent anti-abortion extremists. The kind of people who shoot doctors who perform abortions and blow up clinics. The kind of people who advocate ‘justifiable homicide‘ and regularly stage clinic blockades.

I had the privilege of speaking with Kathryn Joyce about her article and research. One of the points she makes in her article is that many CPCs falsely advertise their services; thankfully, many states are requiring these clinics to post signs in their offices advertising exactly what they do and do not provide, or face a daily monetary fine. [Read more...]

Canada’s C-510 Would Set a Bad Precedent for Women’s Health

Fetus at 8 weeks

Today’s post comes to us from guest blogger Roxanna Bennett, a Canadian blogger and freelance writer. The post was originally published on her site, Choose Your Own Adventure. Please give her a warm Feminists For Choice welcome!

Those sneaky fuckers! Please for the love of freedom take a second to print out this sample letter and send it to your appropriate Member of Parliament. Apparently while busy legalizing prostitution thus waving something shiny to distract us, a group of assholes is trying to quietly push through Bill C-510.

The following has been taken from a press release from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada:

A bill recently introduced by a Conservative MP to criminalize “coercing” a woman into abortion should be scuttled in favour of a bill prohibiting the much more common practice of coercing a woman into childbirth, says the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), a national pro-choice group.

“It’s wrong to pressure women into an abortion, but this does not occur on the grand scale often
claimed by anti-choice propagandists. It mostly stems from situations of domestic abuse,” said Joyce Arthur, Coordinator of ARCC. Arthur pointed to a recent U.S. study that examined reproductive control of women by abusive male partners. “Some were pressured to have an abortion, but women also reported that their partners prevented them from obtaining or using birth control, threatened them with pregnancy, or forced unprotected sex on them. If they became pregnant and wanted an abortion, some partners threatened or pressured them to carry to term.”

In 1989, Chantal Daigle of Quebec had to travel to the U.S. for an abortion after her boyfriend got an injunction preventing her from having an abortion. Canada’s Supreme Court subsequently ruled that male partners cannot force a woman to have a baby. “It’s not just partners or family members who try to compel women and girls to have babies against their will,” said Arthur. “The entire anti-choice movement has been trying to force women into pregnancy and motherhood for decades, by working to outlaw or restrict abortion. Perhaps we need to protect women from this coercion by criminalizing anti-choice activism!”  [Read more...]

Abortion in TV: Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation

To quote Gloria Feldt, “Media portrayals, real or fictional, don’t merely inform us — they form us.” In this series, I will be examining five films – classic, mainstream, independent, foreign, and pre-Roe – and five television shows – daytime soap, pre-Roe, drama, critically lauded, and teen-oriented – that address unexpected pregnancy, to examine how past portrayals can influence and reflect society’s view of abortion.

My parents didn’t let my sister and I watch a lot of television when we were kids, which might explain my pop-culture obsession as an adult. One of the few shows that we were allowed to see, however, was a Canadian teen drama called Degrassi Junior High. We lived close enough to the U.S.-Canadian border that the CBC was one of the few stations our TV antenna could pick up, and every Monday evening the entire family would settle in for a half-hour of the finest teen angst north of the border. Degrassi Junior High eventually morphed into Degrassi High, which spawned the current incarnation, Degrassi: The Next Generation, currently airing on TeenNick (formerly known as The N).

Degrassi distinguished itself by constantly exploring dramatic issues in a pretty realistic manner, and the handling of abortion is no exception. There have been two significant storylines involving abortion, one on Degrassi High in 1989 and the other on Next Generation in 2004. Both storylines generated controversy; when the 1989 episode was aired in the U.S., scenes of protestors were edited out and the character’s ultimate decision was left unclear. In 2005, TeenNick refused to air either the two-part abortion episode or the episode immediately following them. The previous year, the network had declined to air Next Generation’s abortion episodes, finally broadcasting them in 2006.

[Read more...]

Canada Misses the Boat on Maternal Health

Canada confirmed on Monday that they won’t be funding abortions as a part of their foreign aid initiative at this years G-8 summit. A slightly contradictory position considering Canada’s recent pledge to make maternal and children’s health their central priority at the G-8 summit in June. News-flash: you can’t effectively promote maternal health care without a commitment to providing safe and legal abortions. Fortunately, the British foreign secretary and Hillary Clinton have both called Canada out on their bullshit.

The stance on abortion is in disagreement with Clinton, who was adamant at a G-8 meeting last month that any international effort to boost maternal health must include family planning, including access to safe abortions. [Read more...]

Monday Click List

rainbowmouseThe Ethics of Public Sex – Great Christina’s Blog
How Do I Talk to My Partner About Transitioning? – Feministing
As Helen Keller Honored at US Capitol, Her Lifelong Radical Politics Get Ignored – Democracy Now
Needle Exchanges Face Opposition in Congress – NPR
Muslim Groups Move to Ban Burqua in Canada – The Globe and Mail
Should the Burqua Be Banned in a Free Society? – Irshad Manji
Help! My Partner Doesn’t Satisfy Me Sexually – RH Reality Check

Monday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270First of all, my apologies for the brevity of content today. I woke up yesterday to a dead laptop. My cat managed to spill a glass of water on top of the computer. And I think the rest of the story is self explanatory. Hopefully the nice geeks at the Genius Bar will give me a new laptop and get me back in business within a day. I think a low-cut shirt should help my cause. Thank goodness for extended warranties and external hard drives.

Here’s your Monday click list. Happy reading!

Canadian Government Won’t Appeal Abortion Ruling – Times & Transcript
Canadian Abortion Clinics Exempted From New Law Regulating Surgical Centers – Montreal Gazette
Emergency Contraception: Have We Come Full Circle? – RH Reality Check
Abortion Myths v. Reality in the Health Care Debate – PPAZ Community Action Blog
Did You Know Justice Ginsburg Started the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in 1972? – ACLU
Saving the World’s Women – New York Times
Hillary’s Response to the War on Women – Department of Homegirl Security
Can I be Sexually Active with HPV? – Feministing