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.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Contraceptives of the Future!


I know this is kind of old news, but a friend of mine sent me this story and I've been meaning to blog about it for weeks.

Future contraceptives will let women remote-control their fertility

The gist is that the Gates Foundation is backing a biotech company specifically to design and build a contraceptive device straight out of science fiction. Here's the scoop:

MicroCHIPS has been testing the "intelligent drug delivery system" with osteoporosis patients who would otherwise require a daily barrage of injections. Bill-and-Melinda Gates and MIT's Robert Langer, however, believe that the technology could solve the family planning crisis that exists in the world's poorest countries. Reservoirs of levonogestrel, a contraceptive hormone would be kept inside the 1.5cm device, and could be activated and deactivated at the whims of the user with some sort of wireless device. 

So - that's a thing. Here are my thoughts.

1. I love that the Gates Foundation is just quietly on the forefront of every new BC technology lately (so it seems, anyway) - and more often than not, it's not just a birth control/family planning focus but a real bodily autonomy concern - of marginalized bodies - that is their motivation. Like I really am into the Gates Foundation in a big way.

2. Hippie granola concern: having a drug dispenser inside of me for 16 years doesn't really appeal to me, but I guess it's not really me that it would be targeted at. I just feel like we should be moving away from long-term drug-based contraceptives because we don't really know yet all the ways it fucks up our bodies and the environment. It worries me that people are on hormonal birth control from 14 to 44, only stopping to have a couple kids.

3. Security seems like a really big hurdle to get over with this - how are they going to ensure that it can't be screwed with? It's one thing to poke a hole in a condom, or replace a pill with a sugar pill; it's another thing to control the drugs being pumped into someone's bloodstream. This could be a suuuuuuuper easy way to kill someone and get away with it.

4. I would love to see less focus on the fancy technology of birth control and more on simpler ways of making it available and accessible to people and educating folks about their options. I feel like that's the greater need. Like I could see this being great for Western middle-class women, but if you're in a position where birth control is societally condemned and/or not available, this won't really help that much.

Mostly I'm all about concerns #3 and #4. I do applaud the Gates Foundation for being forward-thinking and all, but I feel like they need to back up a few steps and find a more productive way to use all that money. Let's assess the real problem vis-a-vis contraceptives in the world right now: the technology is not the problem. Inequality is the problem - unequal access, a lack of education, and oppressive systems that keep people from determining what they want for their bodies, and being informed enough - and free enough - to ask for that. I am oversimplifying it but there you are.

Thoughts? Is this something you would use (once they figure out the glaring security issue)?