Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vasectomies for some, miniature Canadian flags for others!


Do yourself a favour and go read this excellent piece by Leigha Ariana at the Toast, about how a woman named Norma Ellen Verwey trolled the entire country by proposing mandatory vasectomies to the Royal Commission on the Status of women. An important part of our history.

Everything, according to Norma, went exactly as she’d hoped. After being called onto talk show after talk show – “as expected, the moderators who contacted me were either impolite, chauvinistic and sarcastic, or patronising and full of good-humoured male upmanship,” she writes – she eventually got more than one medical doctor to call in, amidst the vulgar phone calls and personal attacks aplenty, to admit that, even in 1968, vasectomies had 60-70% reversibility. Some men phoned in to admit they’d had a vasectomy, and that they were happier for it, while others phoned in to express a wish to get a vasectomy; and soon, the conversation about vasectomies began to change. 
By the end of it, she says, no matter what else you wanted to say about it, “No listener in the Vancouver area, male or female, could claim that they had never heard of reversible vasectomy.” 
So please, never forget, if you are Canadian or even if you are not, this courageous woman who almost single-handedly changed the landscape of the Canadian birth control story with what began as a social experiment. She endured a great deal of ridicule in order to give this gift to us; the threatening phone calls did not end, though she received several in her support as well, and she was a topic in the papers for years to come.

#neverforget


Thursday, September 18, 2014

National Day of Action for Access - September 20, 2014


The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC-CDAC) is hosting a National Day of Action this Saturday - come on out if there is an event in your city! If not, I highly recommend you get in touch with ARCC or with RJNB for tips on how you can help in the battle for abortion access in the Maritimes.

The Toronto event will be featuring a speech by yours truly! (Exciting, I know). Here is the ARCC release in full:

Reproductive Justice Rallies Across the Country: Sep 20

National Day of Action in Solidarity with New Brunswick and PEI: Equal Access Now! 

NATIONAL – Reproductive justice activists across the country will be rallying this Saturday
September 20 to stand in solidarity with the citizens of New Brunswick and PEI, who lack
access to abortion. The former Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton was forced to close in July for
financial reasons, because the provincial government had refused to fund it for 20 years in
violation of federal law and Supreme Court precedent. The province continues to refuse to
improve access, even though many women are now being forced to travel out of province.

In Prince Edward Island, Health PEI blocked the application of three doctors willing to provide
abortions at the Charlottetown hospital, saying "it was not in line with current government
policies." But the PEI government does not have a policy on abortion, or any other excuse. The
proposal was cost-neutral, and lack of a provider has been the only barrier to providing services
on-Island.

Across Canada, especially in northern, rural, conservative, and low-income areas, there is often
a lack of access to basic sexual and reproductive health services (SRH) and information.
The most vulnerable usually pay the highest price, including youth, LGBTQ people, Aboriginals,
refugees, racialized communities, people with disabilities or health issues, and those of low
income. To achieve equality and justice, women and marginalized communities in NB, PEI, and
across Canada are demanding recognition of their rights, and Equal Access Now to services.
Reproductive justice includes a range of issues that are integral to equality for all, including not
just access to SRH services, but also affordable childcare, pay equity, housing, stopping
violence against women, defeating racism and colonialism, and transgender people’s right to
non-discriminatory access to healthcare and employment. Saturday’s rallies will feature
speakers on many of these issues.

Rally Information

Halifax: Equal Access Now Event--National Day of Action. 1pm, Victoria Park.
https://www.facebook.com/events/780975405298334/

New Brunswick: National Day of Action: Equal Access Now / Journée nationale d’action :
Pour l’équité, dès maintenant. https://www.facebook.com/events/330343923809712/

• Rothesay: Rally, 9-10am, look for our red banner on Hampton Rd.
• Sackville: 12:30pm, Fall Fair Parade (starting from 165 Main Street)
• Fredericton: Photo booth at Farmers Market Boyce (8 am to 13 pm)

Charlottetown: Rally for Abortion Access at Province House. Noon, Province House.
https://www.facebook.com/events/749681305098414/

Montréal: Journée nationale d’action : La justice reproductive : Pour l’équité, dès maintenant.
2-4pm, Place Émilie-Gamelin. https://www.facebook.com/events/284717198387009/

Toronto: Rally & March, Reproductive Justice: EQUAL ACCESS NOW! 11am. Lake Devo,
Ryerson U. (corner of Victoria and Gould Streets).
https://www.facebook.com/events/902219373124893/

Vancouver: Reproductive Justice Solidarity Rally. Noon, Thornton Park, 1166 Main Street.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1503188986585849/

Resources and Further Info:

National Day of Action Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/551179511655500/
Reproductive Justice New Brunswick website: http://rjnb.org/
Abortion Access in New Brunswick (ARCC): www.abortionaccessnb.ca

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sex & Health: All about abortion


FYI, Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances (FQPN) has produced this new card game(!) called Sex & Health: All about abortion. From the description:

"A very handy tool comprised of 52 questions/answers about abortion and abortion access in Canada. Ideal to stimulate a group discussion, spread some knowledge end refresh memories! 
How to recognize a crisis pregnancy centre? Is it necessary to obtain the consent of one's sexual partner(s) before having an abortion? Do all women have free access to abortion in Canada? Who is Chantal Daigle?"

It's available on the FQPN website for $10 ($15 with shipping) and also comes in an accessible format. Order it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Without Access there is No Choice


On September 20th, ARCC is hosting a National Day of Action on Reproductive Justice, the theme being Equal Access Now! Check out the Facebook event here for details.

Something that is often missed in the mainstream pro-choice movement is the fact that abortion being legal does not make it accessible - and the same goes for other reproductive and sexual health care. Stigma, accessible facilities, a strong support network, a solid financial situation, relationship status, systemic oppression - these are all factors in the accessibility of reproductive health care.

At the recent Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution conference in PEI, many of the international delegates were shocked to find that Canada was not the abortion haven they had all pictured, this free and easy abortions-on-demand paradise of reproductive justice. Just because there is no abortion law does not make things rosy for Canadians looking to exercise their rights over their bodies. Check out this video from PEI Pro-choice:




And for more info on how a lack of access affects our ability to "choose" our pregnancy outcomes, check out this paper: Travel and Access to Abortion.

Join us on September 20 - and check out ARCC's new page on abortion access in New Brunswick for more info on how you can help. RJNB also has the latest on their campaign to repeal the restrictions on abortion there.