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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laws Criminalizing Abortion are an Abuse of State Power

The United Nations is advising member nations that the criminalization of abortion is an abuse of state power. See this article from RH Reality Check. The first paragraph makes me so happy, I have to excerpt it.

"On Monday October 24, 2011 the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health will present a report to the UN that unequivocally tells governments they must remove laws that criminalize abortion. This is not the first time a branch of the UN has recommended reforming restrictive abortion laws to protect women’s human rights but it will be the first time that governments at the UN will be told loud and clear that these laws are an abuse of State power and there are no excuses for their continued existence."

What great news.

Ten Ways to Support Choice

Here are 10 ways to support choice. Although some specifically mention the Calgary Pro-Choice Coalition, (forgive me, but I live in Calgary) they pretty much apply everywhere in Canada, so I hope this gives you some ideas. Please feel free to add more ideas in the comments. All are welcome and this is, by no means, a comprehensive list.

1.      Get Informed. It’s pretty hard to speak about your beliefs at the best of times, but when your beliefs are understood by a few people to be controversial, it’s sometimes even harder. One thing that makes it easier is getting good information and knowing a few facts – like most Canadians are pro-choice, that about one third of all women have an abortion at some time in their reproductive lives, and that most women who have an abortion are already mothers. To get really well informed, look at sites like the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. They have short, easy to understand answers to most of the questions and arguments that are made about and against abortion. Check out their “On the Issues” section at http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/ontheissues.html. Check out some good pro-choice blogs and keep on top of the issues.

2.      Challenge anti-choice misinformation. In the newspaper, in the classroom, at dinner, at a party, everywhere. When you hear it, challenge it. Again, remember most people agree with you.

3.      Speak openly about it. Stigma around abortion keeps many pro-choice people quiet. Abortion, like anything to do with sexuality, is too often shamed. Speaking openly about it reduces the stigma. Lead by example and provide others with an opportunity to join the conversation. If you don’t like speaking in groups, you can express your ideas in lots of ways – write a story, a play, a comic book (see www.thinkprochoice.com) take some photographs (see www.arts4choice.com) or paint a picture. However you do it, speak up.

4.      When you see an anti-choice article or letter to the editor in the paper, write back. Don’t let it go unchallenged. Say your side. Some papers (especially in Calgary) seem to be a bit fixated on the abortion issue and tend to be anti-choice. Don’t be afraid to weigh in.

5.      Contact your provincial MLA and your federal MP to tell them that you are pro-choice, you expect them to protect a woman’s right to choose and that you believe abortion must remain fully funded.

6.      Demand improved accessibility. Contact your local hospital if they don’t perform abortions and request that they do. Contact your MP and demand that abortion be made available to all women no matter what their location is in Canada. The issue goes beyond Canada. Right now, Canada offers foreign aid through the Maternal Health Initiative that is intended to save women’s lives but the MHI does not include funding for abortion. Write to your MP and ask for this important life saving procedure to be funded.

7.      Donate funds to pro-choice organizations like the National Abortion Federation’s Patient Assistance Fund. This money goes to help women who incur costs they can’t afford in order to travel to a clinic and stay overnight at a motel.

8.      “Like” the Calgary Pro-Choice Coalition’s Facebook page and encourage your friends to “Like” it too. There’s power in numbers. Checking the page is a good way to know if there is an initiative underway that you might be able to participate in.

9.      Demand that your school provide unbiased, comprehensive sexuality education. If you are in University, demand that your medical school includes abortion training as a mandatory subject. Consider joining Medical Students for Choice or FIRE at the University of Calgary.

10.  Most importantly, don’t take your right to choose for granted. Right now, there are people in Canada who want to take that away from you. Don’t let them do it.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ten questions for those who want to ban abortion

Ten questions for those who want to ban abortion are posed on a recent MS Magazine blog. The writer is thinking through the consequences of such a ban on the criminal justice system, and more. It is worth taking a look at.

I particularly like the questions about how much jail time they think a woman should serve for having an abortion and if a repeat "offense" deserves more time. There is a good deal of food for thought here. The last question is really the best, and makes an important point too often overlooked. I won't spoil the surprise for you.

Here is the article.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Abortion care must be fully funded.

Don't forget about the rally in Toronto on October 22 regarding abortion funding.

Joyce Arthur at ARCC has a great article up on why abortion care must be fully funded. Have a look at it here. There is a link to a longer piece with the details of the research. Thanks to Joyce for providing all the facts.

We have to be glad that Hudak didn't win the Ontario election. But complacency remains our biggest challenge. It is "the enemy within." If I were to rewrite the Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol" for modern times, the three beings at thee feet of The Ghost of Christmas Present would be Complacency, Apathy and Pragmatism. If you are in the Toronto area, go to the rally. And west coasters can rock for choice this Saturday in Victoria.

Have fun!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Most women who have abortions are already mothers

Sixty one percent of women who have abortions are already mothers. a recent article in Slate provides the details and links to research you may want to look at. Although I was certainly aware that many women making this choice were already mothers, even I didn't realize it was quite so high. What can we learn from this? Well, according to the Slate article, women want to be the best mothers they can be. Women choose abortion so that they can be a good mother to their existing children. Sometimes having another feels like too much, like they will be stretched too thin in too many ways to be able to cope. This is important. It's important because we are talking about a group of women who know - really know - the ups and downs, the benefits and costs, the wonderful and the terrible, about mothering. The anti's often suggest that these women don't understand what they are "giving up." They assume "if women only knew" what they were casting aside, they would change their minds. That's why the push is on to make every woman see her ultrasound. Believe me, she already knows all too well. These women are informed decision makers. Let's respect their choice.

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

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Support Choice Now

There are a couple of great opportunities to support a woman's right to choose coming up across the country. If you're wondering why anyone isn't sticking up for women, I would ask you first to look in the mirror. Are you? If not, it's time. The Regressive Conservatives are all tied up in knots about Planned Parenthood and have backbenchers itching to outlaw abortion. The next round of private members' bills is upon us. Ontario could be headed for an end to abortion funding by OHC if Hudak wins and all across Canada, the anti's are out with their placards and fetus porn. If you are in Toronto or Victoria or anywhere nearby, consider attending these events. If not, check out your local pro-choice organizations and see what's up in your neck of the woods. Be pro-active. Be pro-choice.

In Toronto
Saturday October 22, 1 pm, NE corner College and University, Rally for Abortion Rights
see http://ocac-choice.com/events/ for more information.
In Victoria
Saturday October 22 , 1-4 pm Rock for Reproductive Justice at Victoria's Spirit Square (in Centennial Square)
see http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=279463742078654 for more details
And don't forget the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's Video For Choice contest. Deadline for submissions is December 31. Get going. For more details, see http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/video/contest.html