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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Resources for you

What a good time to remember to be grateful for all of the health care workers out there who keep us well. Many of them are working while the rest of us have our holidays, taking time away from their own families to be with ours in our time of need. Thank you to all of you.

Extra thanks to those health care workers who provide abortion care with such sensitivity and faith in women.

If you are stumped for a gift this season or just feeling the spirit of generosity move you, consider making a donation to one of the many pro-choice charities in Canada.

If you are experiencing an unintended pregnancy, or a pregnancy that has become unwanted, this is a particularly tough time of year. I send my love to you and my belief that you will do what is right for you.

There are so many women and men who have worked hard to make sure you have choices, that proper care is available to you and that you can access the resources you need. If you are having trouble finding help, check out the websites below. They will help you find what you need.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
and see all the links on their page for local clinics and other information. I feel grateful every time I check this list for all the people who dedicate themselves to protecting my rights and keeping us healthy. And once again, I will also direct you to my favourite local site for more general information on sexual health, at Calgary Sexual Health Clinic.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Inflamed Anti's and a new comment policy

My gosh, you'd think I'd taken a stick and poked them in the eye. I had no idea so many anti's were reading my little blog. Please, do me a favour and read the play. Maybe you'll see where I'm really coming from then.

But what was it that bugged you the most? The fact I said we'd won? Or that I said we didn't have to engage with bullies and abusers?

I'll give you all the abridged version of comments. One anti suggested we hadn't really won because the Supreme Court left open the possibility of a new law that will withstand a charter challenge. Hmmm. It's been nearly 25 years now. A generation. That feels pretty good to me. Maybe the reason there isn't a new law is because it's pretty hard to take away a person's control of their body and still say they have rights or security of the person. And there was one attempt, if you will recall, which didn't make it.

Others say things like "You just keep telling yourself that, sweetie," which was my absolute favourite. Thanks buddy, whoever you are. Of course, I don't know because you are anonymous. To be honest, I don't think I'm really his sweetie at all. He's definitely a man though. In fact, I think he'd like to use quite another word for me. Someone else is annoyed that I didn't post their link to anti choice business. Hello? This is a pro-choice blog. She wants me to engage in debate on the blog after saying I won't debate. Another blogger, an anti who lists the Bible as her favourite book, (which is really very sweet and I mean that genuinely), thinks that because on my first post I said I won't debate and on the second added nuance means I've contradicted myself. Read it again, dear heart. No I won't debate. But that doesn't mean I don't speak up. She thinks she could destroy me. I like the implied violence. That was my favourite part. To use the words of someone else, "You just keep telling yourself that, sweetie." Finally, I got a diatribe on why American women are useless (that's not really the word he used) and why American men should only marry foreign women, and really, I don't know how that fits into this at all. But if I could reply, Sir, good luck to you finding any woman at all, foreign or domestic.

This is what having a blog is like, for those of you who've thought about it and wonder if it's worth it. Of course, all these folks are anonymous. Just sayin'.

But really, the point I was making on day two of my post about debating was that it is a waste of my activist time, as is reading comments from people not brave enough to put their name down. So from now on, if you want to comment, you have to be a member.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Debate about (Not) Debating

This is more on yesterday's post.

Not debating the anti's doesn't mean not speaking. As Audre Lorde said, our silence does not protect us. No one can accuse me of being silent, by the way. As we all know, nature abhors a vacuum. It's important that we speak, or the anti's fill the public space with their nonsense and it goes unchallenged. How many women have heard the lie that abortion is linked to breast cancer? We need to speak to counter the lies and misinformation they spread. The question is more where we start and who we speak to.

What the anti's are demanding of us in their recent tirades is different. They want us to"debate" with those whose minds will never change. As an activist, I know it's important to spend my energy where it counts. This is an important tactical issue. It's in their interests to have us all burn out spinning our wheels to them alone. My time is more important to me than that. I can spend 100 hours preparing debates for the nutties who picket the clinics and show the fetus porn and it will be a waste of 100 hours. They know that. And I end up using words like "nutties" and "fetus porn" because it's so frustrating. And why would it be otherwise? Likewise, they waste their activist time speaking to me.

Further, we are in no way obliged to engage with bullies, abusers, and people who hate monger. In fact, it is unwise to do so. 

Instead, if I put 100 hours into speaking to general audiences, writing a play, or even doing this blog, the outcome is much different. There are more openings, more opportunities for nuance and often, more truth. If anti's want to read my blog, that's fine. But it's not directed at them and I have no expectation of changing their minds.

When I speak to the public, I speak from a Canadian perspective in which abortion is safe and legal (actually a-legal, but we can do that another time) as it should be. As I said, we've won that point. The Supreme Court agreed. Check. Now we can talk about why we need to make it even more accesesible and present the evidence on how it has improved women's health. We can ensure it is included in health care and under reciprocal billing. We can talk about why it is so important that medical schools expand their training to ensure all future doctors are familiar with the procedure and can counsel their patients well. If we want to talk historically, we are coming up to the 25th Anniversary of the Morgentaler decision, a significant reason and opportunity to celebrate, to offer more education and information to the public, and to put this great win into a historical and political context. For younger women, this might be new and important information. But let's offer it in our true context, the context in which we have won.

Our work is by no means done. It will continue to take a tremendous amount of our energy. And it is important to do. I will always talk publicly about why I care so much about this (and always have) and will talk to any general public group that invites me to do so. Without the right to choose, I am not free. But I won't "debate" with the anti's. They want me to waste my time.

The Abortion Monologues is available for purchase at www.abortionmonologues.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Debate about (Not) Debating

The anti's have been kicking up a fuss because they want to debate. There have been several articles on this recently. They all boil down to a school yard taunt of clucking like a chicken. Our side, the pro-choice side, has offered reasons why we don't debate to the anti's. You can find these in any legitimate pro-choice forum. I don't need to repeat them here. But these reasons seem unreasonable to the anti's. The clucking like a chicken goes on. So I'll give another reason, the one we all know but don't say.

Are you ready? It's earth shattering.

We don't debate because we already won.

My friends in business tell me a big rule of sales is not to sell past the close. This deal is closed, people, and we won. For us, debate is a waste of our time. In the real world, the world in which abortion is legal and considered a human right, our time is better spent ensuring access is available to all women, that those in PEI and New Brunswick who continue to flagrantly defy the law stop, and that reproductive justice is available to everyone. We need to make sure our providers are safe from the crazy zealots who wish they were dead. We need to continue to take the shame and stigma out of sexuality. We don't need to run the part of the race we've already won over again. We need to concentrate on what's ahead, not on what's behind.

We won.

(Please see December 9 and 10 posts for more on this.)

The Abortion Monologues is available for purchase at www.abortionmonologues.com and available as an e-book here at Smashwords.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Globally, women need access

There have been a few articles recently about the need for women to have access to safe abortion globally to reduce unnecessary maternal deaths. Of course, I like these articles because they support a position I hold and have debated publicly.

Two of my favourites are at RH Reality Check, one by Elizabeth Maguire and another by Jodi Jacobson relaying information on the Declaration in Support of a Global Campaign for Safe Abortion Access, which was a focus of this year's International Conference on Family Planning. Both are important to read. The conclusions, of course, are that all women must have access to a full continuum of care: contraceptives, postabortion care and safe induced abortion in order to reduce and eliminate unnecessary deaths.

No big surprise here, but our own government fails to listen. It still fails to provide aid for a full continuum of care under its much ballyhooed Maternal Health Initiative. This is resulting in unnecessary deaths, right now. It is unacceptable.