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Monday, May 16, 2011

When is doing nothing doing something?

Will the Conservatives challenge abortion rights or won't they? The to-ing and fro-ing is getting to be too much to bother recounting on this blog. I could spend my life being a clipping service. Although I would like to plug Dammit Janet's recent post on the subject because it was particularly good, I'll leave the others for you to find yourself. Suffice it to say, opinion is divided. Generally, the pro-conservative bunch say they won't challenge abortion rights and the anti-conservative bunch say they will.

There are lots of ways to challenge reproductive rights. One is by doing NOTHING. For example, currently the federal government is doing NOTHING to resolve the situation in New Brunswick where the provincial government is violating the Charter and forcing women to pay out of pocket for their own abortion care. They are also doing NOTHING to prevent private members' bills coming forward that limit various aspects of abortion care. They are doing NOTHING to improve access to abortion care throughout Canada, particularly where it is scant or non-existent like in the North, rural areas, Prince Edward Island and so on. They are doing NOTHING to ensure that abortion care is available to women in other countries through the much debated Maternal Health Initiative.

Doing nothing is doing something. It will be a war won by attrition by the cons, if we don't do anything to challenge their nothing by demanding a positive action to support reproductive rights. In other words, they don't have to do anything. Just stay the course and in no time, we'll be set back a generation. But there is hope. I like the movement in BC to fully fund contraceptives for all women, as long as it is done in conjunction with full access to the whole range of sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. I also find hope in Judith Timson's recent article about the SlutWalks. The walks are happening all over the place and are also much debated, but Timson makes the point that one thing the walks are doing is getting young women comfortable with street protest, and that is an important thing. I can only hope these same women and more will be willing to take to the streets again when their reproductive rights are threatened.

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