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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Consequences of Unsafe Abortion

There is a special supplement out of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics dealing with the consequences of unsafe abortion that we can all add to our reading lists.

Unfortunately, before long, we'll be able to do a study of the impact of unsafe abortion in the United States, I suspect, as abortion becomes increasingly difficult to access with new draconian and ill-informed laws. It is as though the members of the right are trying to out do each other in their frenzy against women.

News stories are coming forward though, one off examples of terrible repercussions of ridiculous laws. One that is haunting me is about a teenage pregnant girl who died after her chemotherapy was delayed because it might cause her to abort. This is what happens when legislation is passed against abortion under all circumstances. Women die. Another story that is haunting me is one from Arizona, where state legislators have determined that pregnancy starts from the first day of your last menstrual period, effectively two weeks before conception. Pregnancy starts two weeks before conception. Hmmm. So a woman is always pregnant, or potentially pregnant except while menstruating, or at least on that first day. Which means, if we follow the illogical logic of the misogynist Republicans to the end, that women can NEVER have control of their own health.

It hasn't come to that yet, but I can see how it might. The fact that I just wrote that sentence scares me.

But the remarks of imbeciles like Akin help us in a way. They bring forward stories that indicate how bad things really are, already, even before Akin opened his mouth. This is a story of an American woman whose rapist attempted to get custody of the child that resulted from the rape. And beyond the borders of the United States, the remarks remind us that although they may be (for a while at least) considered outrageous in the US, they are pretty typical in other parts of the world where women face this kind of misogyny all the time. See this great op ed by Gail Collins for more about that.

And they remind us not to let the fetus fetishists like Woodworth, Trost, Kenney and the like get control of the agenda in Canadian Parliament. Remember to speak out against Motion 312. Apparently, Conservative anti-choice MP Colin Carrie (Oshawa) has come out in favour of the motion. Write him a letter if you get a chance. He can be found at colin.carrie@parl.gc.ca. And if you don't know what to say, here is a good sample. Write again to all the anti-choice MPs. Or just speak from your heart. Tell them that it is your right to control your own body, to determine your own health care. Tell them that their actions are misogynist. Define the word for them. Chances are, they won't know  what it means.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The good and the bad - Vernon show and Motion 312

This should probably be two blog posts, but here goes. 

Here's a little press from the upcoming Vernon show from the Vernon Morning Star. Nice to see, in spite of the fact they got my name wrong. Maybe I'll be June for the rest of the month and see what that's like. 

It might not be a bad idea. Being someone else is sometimes appealing, especially when the going gets rough. I won't get into the grimy details, but the going is a little rough right now. I try to take time every day to remember the positive, remember all the things for which I am grateful. 

That's true on the repro rights front too. In spite of the ridiculous motion 312, good things are happening. Maybe good things are happening because of the motion. And wouldn't that be grand? A big ironic pie in the face to Woodworth and his ilk. For example, the Canadian Medical Association came out in strong support of women's rights and against the misogyny of Motion 312. (Hey, new name: The Misogyny Motion). Read about that here in the Globe and Mail.  By the way, the next hour of debate is scheduled for September 21 with the vote being held on September 26. As DammitJanet says, another six weeks of fetus fetishists and prayer ahead. Ug. But again, on the bright side, we'll have another six weeks for others to support the rights of women. 

What else is happening for which we can be grateful? Planning is in the works for a magnificent reproductive justice day in October. I'll give more details in the future. Would this have happened without the challenge to our rights posed by M-312? Who knows? Maybe. The anniversary of the Morgentaler decision is sparking some actions and this may have come about anyway, although the timing is maybe a little different. It's good to see so many young activists getting involved. 

In spite of the current life difficulties, I've written an essay for an upcoming book edited by Shannon Stettner on choice. I am really looking forward to seeing this one in print.

And then there is the lovely Jessika LaFramboise, bringing my show to the heartland, Vernon, BC. Jessika contacted me after seeing the show in Calgary in 2010. She had just had a baby, and had, in the process, become an even stronger advocate for choice. The same thing happened to me. Although I had always been pro-choice, after I had my daughter twenty years ago, my belief that women must be able to choose this path of their own free will became even stronger. To look at the beautiful child I had and try to imagine raising her without knowing that every fibre of my being wanted her, chose her, would do anything for her... well that was unthinkable. Parenting is not a job to be done by half measures and without total conviction. And it's not something that's easy to run away from. We can't just change our names and pretend that baby isn't ours. No, we are in it for the long haul. We must choose it - not be thrown into it by an accident or a failure of birth control. We must know when the going gets tough (and it always does in parenting) that this was our choice. 

So sending lots of love to my little girl, now a grown up, and doing so well. Another thing for which to be grateful. Like me, she has the right to choose. Like me, she is in charge of what happens to her own body. There is a lot to be grateful for in that. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Is My Body

There is a great new campaign, This Is My Body, originating in the US with this fantastic video.  Now it has a Canadian counterpart. This is one to watch. 

I'd like to dedicate a monologue to the infamous members of the secretive pro-life caucus. Yes, that means you, MPs Woodworth, Trost, Kenney, et al. This is MY BODY, NOT YOURS. When will they get it?

This is a great time to submit, what with the fetus-centric Motion 312 coming back to haunt us very soon.

I am delighted to see these projects calling out the misogyny in the myriad ways some try to bully and blame women and control our bodies. And I'm delighted by the last lines of the American video. It's almost a manifesto, and there's nothing I love more than a good manifesto. (Maybe a good rant. Maybe I love them both the same.) Go think about it. And then submit.