Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cold and Carols

Happy holidays! I hope you've all enjoyed whatever time off you've managed to scrounge, and have spent it in the warm relaxing glow of your family/friends/partner/pets/spectacular self. Personally I am one of those nasty people who don't celebrate Christmas, who don't even celebrate Chanukah for heaven's sake, but I do love a little extra napping time, and the company and judgemental glares of my extended family. I also like to drink. It's win-win!

We did have a clinic last week, I just didn't blog about it because of my aforementioned schedule of napping and drinking. It was quite a horrible clinic day for my escorts, as it was terribly cold out. Even the protesters were going in shifts. Plus, half my volunteers emailed me in the days leading up to Tuesday to let me know that they couldn't make it, then another couple just didn't show up, so I was left with only two on the first shift and just one on the second. It blew. But you know, it's that time of year. It's cold and people have other obligations.

No clinic today, although I have to wonder if the protesters are out marching around anyway, the silly buggers. It used to be kind of funny to think of them out there when there was no clinic happening, but now it just makes me roll my eyes. They lose their amusement value after a while. Perhaps it will come back to me in the new year.

Oh I forgot to mention, the protesters were singing last week. A medley of Christmas carols. We couldn't hear them inside, but one of the escorts let me know. I suppose Christmas carols are infinitely better and more appropriate than "We Shall Overcome". Be thankful for small miracles.

I hope you all have a happy and relaxing end to 2008.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nothing Much

Hi friends. First I want to thank everyone who voted for me in the Canadian Blog Awards - I didn't win, but I did make the finals so that's something. I know you love me.

Yesterday's clinic was pretty good. The guy who yelled at Peter Ryan came over to apologize to him - must be that holiday spirit. Our doctor brought chocolates for the escorts, which was lovely of her. And it wasn't too cold out, although it did get a little chilly later in the morning.

I don't have much to blog about because it was a fairly uneventful morning. I do wish I had something interesting to write on this, my 100th post (!), but alas, sometimes the good stuff just doesn't happen.

I hope you are all keeping warm. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby It's Crap Outside

Yesterday was freezing. I did not envy my poor frozen escorts. I brought out the toe warmers for the first time this winter, and we have a lovely new "take off your shoes" sign for when people come in (gotta protect the carpets, you know).

There was some excitement outside this week. First I should explain how the area is set up - there's the clinic, and then a little lane right next to it. You can't park or stop out front of the clinic, because that's the street - you have to turn down the lane and come around the back. Across the lane from us are two businesses - a hearing aid store and a real estate office. They both have two or three parking spaces. They are both very protective of those spaces. We have a relatively good relationship with both businesses, in the sense that they would like being next to us a lot more if the protesters weren't there.

So Peter Ryan was doing some obnoxious walking slowly across the lane while people were trying to pull in. I'm not sure if he thinks he can stop people from having abortions by doing this, or if he's just that oblivious. Anyway, yesterday one of the people he temporarily blocked was the guy who runs the hearing aid place. Well I guess the guy got (justifiably) mad and started yelling and swearing at Peter Ryan. AMAZING! It's always great when someone not affiliated with the clinic lets these people know what assholes they're being.

The other thing that happened was that there was a guy at the bus station across the street taking pictures of the clinic. There wasn't much we could do about it, and luckily he wasn't taking any pictures of the women going in. But still, you have to wonder. I mean, if you're doing something legitimate like a news story, it's not that hard to come ask us if you can take pictures. Which makes me think that people who don't ask are doing something that ISN'T legitimate.

I feel like I had something else to write about but I can't remember. Oh well. I do want to thank everyone who voted for me in the Canadian Blog Awards. They will be announcing the winners this week so I will let you all know how it turns out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Old Man Winter's Coalition Jive Time

December is here. It's not too winter-y at all, and none of the snow has stuck yet, so that's been lovely. Plus, there's a coalition in the air! Can you believe it? After a supremely unexciting and useless election, suddenly Canadian politics means something again. Oh frabjous day.

Yesterday's clinic was fine. Not too many protesters out - Peter Ryan made an appearance. They seem to be moving away from "old dudes with signs" and more towards "old women with rosaries". Never a dull moment with these next door neighbours, let me tell ya. Amazing.

I received holiday cards from two of my escorts yesterday, which was lovely and unexpected. I am just so pleased with what a great group of volunteers we have. Oh, and a random passerby asked how he could be a volunteer, so I passed on my contact info to him.

I'm part of the feminist collective (or whatever we're calling it) at CHSR, and we do a radio show called Ovary Acting. My turn to come up with a theme is long overdue, so I'm currently working on a show about (what else?) abortion. So if anyone knows of any awesome Youtube clips or songs or whatever, let me know. And yes, I've already seen the Ali G. one.

Just think...the next time I blog we might have a whole other government. SO EXCITED!

Also, round 2 of voting is now open in the Canadian Blog Awards. Go vote! (I am in the Best Feminist Blog category).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking a Breath

Hi, friends. I know it sucks when a blog you like doesn't get updated for a while. You know what also sucks? Stress migraines. So please know that while I love you, and appreciate having readers, blogging is about seventeenth on my priority list right now. Thanks.

I don't have anything to blog about regarding clinic yesterday, because I wasn't there, on account of the aforementioned headache. I do vaguely remember some shenanigans last week though...a car that slowed down so the driver could yell at the protesters. I didn't actually see it happening (one of my escorts told me about it later), but I hope it was my old friend Guy in the SUV who used to come by a lot last year. It's good to have a nutbar or two on our side, as well.

So, because I don't have much to say about clinic stuff, I'll go in kind of a different direction. Last night I spoke on a panel at STU as part of their Sexuality Awareness Week. The topic was "Why Feminism is not a Four Letter Word", and my particular section was about how you probably already are a feminist, and what to do about it. It was quite fun, and I was not expecting much of a turnout, or for people to be as engaged as they were. A couple young women came up to me afterwards to ask how they could get started in feminist volunteering!! So I gave them my info and hopefully this means two more escorts at the clinic.

Tonight I will be up on campus again, this time at UNB. I'm standing at an info booth for ARCC, which should be pretty interesting. Drop by if you're around - I have pro-choice buttons! And of course this is right before Sue Johanson's talk, which I will be sticking around for because I LOVE HER.

This past weekend I was at kind of a mini-conference in Moncton, called Skills for Change. It was put on by the Advisory Council so it was very...how can I say this...government-y? But it's always useful to get media training practice so I definitely enjoyed that part of it. And I have two wonderful friends in Moncton and was happy to have the chance to see them.

So that's a tiny fraction of what's going on with me right now....aren't you glad you asked? :)

P.S. Don't forget to vote for me for Best Feminist Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meeting Time

No clinic yesterday, as it was Remembrance Day. I couldn't tell you if the protesters were out or not, because I was sleeping in. Which was amazing.

I called a meeting for the escorts, because we've never had one since I've been here and I think it's a good idea sometimes to go over some issues that might have slipped through the cracks. Escorting itself is not that challenging (although having Glare-y Mary stare at you for an hour and a half can take its toll), but there are certain situations that sometimes arise. Like when the police turn up, or the media.

It was a great meeting - I had a much better turn-out than I expected, and everyone had lots of good questions and comments. Plus people wanted to take the tour! I love giving the tour. One of our escorts, CP, even brought a friend, who we didn't scare away! So she is starting next week, which is awesome.

We just have such a great group of escorts. The patients really appreciate having them out there and I feel like they (the escorts) need to be reminded that what they do is really important.

In other news, I'll be speaking on a panel for STU Sexuality Awareness Week (Nov. 24th-28th) on "Why Feminism is Not a Four-Letter Word". I think it's on the Tuesday but I'll have to get back to you. Sue Johansson will be giving a talk on the Wednesday night, so absolutely do not miss that, because she's amazing. AMAZING.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trying Not to Just Focus on Silver Fox Joe Biden....


I can't stop smiling. :)

It's bittersweet, of course, because while a lot of the anti-choice amendments were shot down (hurrah!), a lot of anti-gay rights ones passed. Feministing has the round up.

I know I can't be all taking up my blog with American election stuff, so even though it's ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT, I'll stop now. And leave you with this quote: "Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so that Obama could run. Obama is running so that we all can fly." - Jay-Z.

So yeah, life goes on here in conservative ol' Canada. :) Clinic yesterday was pretty normal; thank goodness the weather hasn't become too winter-y yet. We said goodbye to one of our wonderful escorts, MR - we will miss you! Good luck in the next great adventure. We are getting two more newbies next week, so the cycle continues.

A lot of our escorts (and a lot of the people in my life in general) have been deeply impacted by the murder of John McKendy. I never met John but from what I've heard, it's a great loss to the STU community and for everyone who knew him. The manner of his death is especially poignant considering how much of his life he spent working towards finding alternatives to violence. I know this seems out of place on this blog but believe me, it's all interconnected. And I just wanted to extend my condolences to his family and his many friends, students and admirers.

As you can probably tell, all my thoughts are a bit convoluted right now. I didn't really have a lot to say about the clinic per say, but I did think it would be good to check in since I forgot to post last week. There was a woman last week who changed her mind, which is always quite dramatic. Well, she wasn't sure what to do so we sent her home to think about it, and rebook if she wanted to. It is tough to see women struggling with such a difficult decision. I just don't know what I would do.

Ah, I'm all befuddled. I will leave it at that. Well, also one more thing that I never thought I would get the chance to say: THANK YOU AMERICA!...for making the right decision. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Prayers and Chills

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but friends, I believe winter is almost upon us.

That said, the protesters are amazing. The cold weather seems to energize them; they were out like fiends again this week. Peter Ryan was among them. Oh and wonderful Crazy Legs, looking smashing as always.

I was in Halifax this past weekend and had the pleasure of seeing the protesters they have there, at the hospital. They seemed to be involved in the 40 Days for Life thing, because they were there at all hours of the day, just constantly. Their protesters provide an even more pathetic spectical than ours, believe it or not - they have to stay outside the fence around the hospital parking lot, and I would imagine most women going in for an abortion wouldn't even notice them. Their signs are fairly tame, too - they just say "Pray to end abortion".

I was at a rather clinical seminar in Halifax, learning more than I care to know about unusual ultrasounds and how much blood loss is too much (any, really). I did enjoy getting to spend some QT with the rest of the staff, most of whom I only see on Tuesdays. I also got to visit my surprisingly bouyant grandmother, who is 94 years old. Fun times.

I am a little sad because I think I might have missed a "prayer siege" here at home - the Bound4Life group in NB has split into two - a Saint John group and a Fredericton group. I was keen to see the first event as a Fredericton group. Oh well, there will be others, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, I am (still) loving this blog. She has had the abortion, and is now exploring the issue in more depth. I love her style and her sense of humour. You should all check it out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election Hangover

Boo useless elections! That is all.

I was at the Toujours Rebelles conference in Montreal this weekend and arrived back home at 2am on Tuesday, just in time to get four hours of sleep, so I was not 100% at clinic yesterday morning. Regardless, everything was fine - we even got yet another new volunteer trained.

Peter Ryan was out with the protesters, even holding a sign of his own. I was told that he was in Quebec City over the weekend, protesting at Henry Morgentaler's induction (is that the right word?) into the Order of Canada. Lovely to know that even if I go to another province, Peter Ryan goes with me.

The conference was very interesting, by the way. It was pretty fantastic to see so many young feminists from across the country, and to catch up with old friends again. I had a couple issues with the actual content - I wanted it to be more radical and more challenging - but overall I think the organizers did a fantastic job. Outside of the conference I had some conversations that definitely challenged me.

Jessica Yee was there. I love her, she is my hero of life. If you've never read anything she has written, you are missing out, and I urge you to Google her immediately. If you are white, prepare to have your privilege examined. Motherfucka. (Sorry, that just seemed to fit).

I was in the abortion workshop at the conference, and the action we chose to do was to take all the stats about access in Canada and write them all over the place in chalk. So if you're walking around in Montreal this week (particularly by the Berri-UQAM metro station) and you find out that 15.9% of Canadian hospitals provide abortions, you have me to thank. Ha ha.

I am off somewhere else this weekend, so it's kind of stressful times, but those of you who read this blog often are probably sensing a pattern with that. It's good stress, though. Rock on.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debate Shenanigans

Hi friends. I am sick. It sucks.

We are getting lots of new volunteers, which is awesome. It seems like every week another escort is starting. Kudos to my existing volunteers for their recruiting skills.

Of course, the other side is no slacker when it comes to recruiting - there was a new protester out this week, a middle-aged woman with a sign ("How much does abortion cost? One life") and an attitude. I caught a glimpse of Peter Ryan out there too. I guess the Life Chain was this past weekend (was it? I haven't seen any media) but I didn't catch it, as I had a JAM PACKED Saturday (for real, I bought a hat).

I was at one of the candidates' debates last night, which is always fun. As always, the best (worst?) part is questions from the floor. I have to tell you about this one amazing dude who asked a question. Fair warning, I'm paraphrasing (I don't remember exactly what was said), so amazing dude, if you feel misrepresented, let me know.

Question dude: My name is [something something] and I live in Fredericton. First of all, can I ask a question with an "a" part and a "b" part?

Moderator: Well, we have a lot of people, and limited time...

QD: Other people have done it!

[at this point everyone could already tell he was a beligerent asshole]

Moderator: Sir, there are a lot of other people with questions -

QD: Look, [self-important puffery]

Mod: Ok, ok, if it's succinct. No preamble.

QD: Ok. [Proceeds to give a lengthy preamble, the gist of which was that the candidates were to represent themselves in their answers, and not the party or the party leader.] Part "A" - if your party was in power, and you found your party supported a policy that allowed the torture of Canadian citizens, would you go against party lines to oppose that policy?

[Pause while everyone waits for the part "b", which is not forthcoming]

Mary Lou Babineau: I need to hear the second part.

QD: Well, just answer that part first.

[general outcry and rolling of eyes]

Mod: Sir, you're obviously trying to set them up. Give them the second part.

[some back-and-forth]

QD: Fine, you asked for it. Part "b" - describe what you think happens during an abortion procedure.

Brilliant, right? Hahaha. At this point there was some booing from the audience, and some guy yelled out "it's a closed issue, jerk!". I probably would have booed or yelled myself, except that I was sitting there with my jaw on the floor. I mean, really! I just love how these people make themselves look crazy so we don't have to.

Mary Lou opted to answer the question, and stated that she was pro-choice, the Green party is pro-choice, and that she would "fight tooth and nail to defend that right". The Canadian Action Party candidate said about the same thing, and the Liberal and Conservative candidates both stated simply that they would not reopen the debate. Jesse Travis from the NDP said he was pro-choice, but went on a little side rant about the Christian community (he's Baptist) needing to provide better choices.

Afterwards the question dude was still up there, and said that his question had not been answered. You could tell the moderator wanted to throttle him, but instead asked him to sit down. The whole thing was fantastic. I hope that dude is at the Thursday debate.

Peace out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back to it, once again

Hi, friends.

I know I've been AWOL for a while. It's been a CRAZY month. Crazy.

First of all, we had to rearrange our clinic days for various reasons. So while we did have a couple ordinary Tuesday clinics, we also had a Friday clinic, a Monday clinic, and last week we didn't have clinic at all. So the good thing is that it's confused the protesters, but it has been playing havoc with everyone else's schedule as well.

Personally, I have been extremely busy this month. I spoke at the Take Back the Night March on the 19th, which was a wonderful experience. From that I've had a couple people contact me to start volunteering, so that's awesome. This past weekend I spoke on a panel about restricting access to rights at the New Brunswick Social Forum - so cool. I got to be on the panel with Andrea Bear Nicholas who is my new hero of life.

Also last weekend a guy I used to work with passed away, so there was that to deal with. And as always, work is afoot on the Toujours Rebelles conference that we are leaving for in NINE DAYS, holy crap. That is taking up a lot of my time and energy. I think it will be worth it.

Oh, and I also joined a group of feminists who are putting together a radio show on CHSR on Monday nights - more on that later.

SO. That is why you haven't seen me. But I am still here, fear not. Yesterday I got to be outside with the escorts for a change, which was cool. I had three new escorts to train (hooray!), and they got to see some of the best protesters, including Crazy Legs. Sadly, Glare-y Mary didn't put in an appearance.

Not much other news at the clinic. Dr. Morgentaler was granted standing in his lawsuit against the province, but the province is appealing the decision....which makes me pretty much want to stab myself in the face. The life tape people have split the Bound4Life New Brunswick group into a Saint John group and a Fredericton group...not sure how/if that will affect us at all, I guess we'll just wait and see. Oh, and it's about that time of year again: the "life chain" will probably be happening this weekend, so if you don't get enough ridiculousness in your everyday life, be sure to come out and see it.

I guess that's all I really have to say. For some awesome feminist analysis (and some larfs), check us out on Ovary Acting (This is What a Feminist Sounds Like) on CHSR (97.9FM), Monday nights at 9:30pm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mixing and Matching

It's been a fun couple weeks. We had to do a lot of rescheduling of clinics for various reasons, which hopefully has been confusing the pants off the protesters. The first week of September, we didn't have a clinic on Tuesday (the 2nd), so they were out protesting nothing, which amused me. Then we had a clinic that Friday (the 5th), so once they realized what was going on, they had to all scramble out with their signs. On Tuesday (the 9th), things were back to normal.

Friday was pretty weird - they sent out mostly the aggressive people, maybe to make up for the hour of protesting that they had lost by not being prepared for our sneakiness. There was a new woman, whom EI has christened Mean Marge, because she seems to be taking glaring lessons from Glary Mary.

At the end of the morning AL came in to let me know that one of the women was sprinkling dirt on the ground around the clinic. I'm not famailiar with Catholicism enough to know what the point of that was, but it amused me greatly.

I'm at work and a guy just called asking if we do pre-employment drug-screening urine tests. (We don't).

So Tuesday was fun too; the protesters haven't given up their tactic of sending out the meanest and most aggressive people to do their "sidewalk counselling". Crazy Legs is even back to her old tricks of throwing herself on cars. It certainly gives our new escorts some experience, which is probably the only positive thing one can say, really.

That's all the news. Check this blog out for an interesting take on actually choosing abortion - I've been reading it a lot lately.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


No clinic today. I just wanted to express how happy it makes me to see the protesters standing outside with their signs, and looks of confusion on their faces. Perhaps they think they stopped us once and for all. Heh heh heh.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Blogging! Yes. So clinic has been weird the last couple weeks. It's like the protesters have decided that there's no way we're getting a bubble zone, so they've given up trying to appear peaceful/respectable. The women, especially, have become very aggressively vocal over the last couple weeks.

On Tuesday, Crazy Legs was out, and not just at the end of the morning. She was actually back to her old tricks - running up to cars, yelling things out, etc. This is pretty unfortunate for patients, but I have some pretty awesome escorts who are always one step ahead of her. Oh, and the male protesters have taken up their old habit of making comments to the escorts, calling them sluts and harpies and whatever else.

I really don't know the extent of the change because obviously being inside I can't see everything that happens. But I can tell that something's up by the way the patients act when they get into the clinic. In the last couple weeks there have been more patients commenting on the protesters as soon as they get inside. I had one wonderful woman offer to take care of them for a discount on her procedure. She was funny - she went out front to have a smoke and chat with the escorts, and she stared down every protester who glanced her way. Sometimes our patients are hard as fuck - I could never be that tough in that situation.

Life outside of Tuesdays is good too. Yesterday I interviewed a new escort, so that's good; I'm hoping that as the students come back, there will be an increase in our numbers.

In other news, I've been asked to sit on a panel at the upcoming New Brunswick Social Forum, and to give a brief talk on restriction to access to abortion in NB. The forum is going to be amazing; lots of great speakers and interesting topics; for an intersectionality enthusiast like myself, it's going to be very cool to see how all the topics are interconnected. For more info, you can check out the website (which is currently under construction), or drop me an email and I will direct you to the planning committee.

Rock on friends, and enjoy the last days of the summer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I shouldn't be blogging right now, because I'm in a very blah mood, but oh well.

Yesterday's clinic was fine. Mr. Mumbles called two of the female escorts "little sluts" or something like that, and Crazy Legs was out, but apart from that, things went along as usual.

As I was leaving, there was a woman standing outside having a smoke who stopped me to talk to me. She was with someone who was having an abortion, and she was upset because she couldn't be in the room with them. This is a simple space issue, and I think that if the woman had seen the OR she would understand, but still, it sucks. I think a lot of people would like to have someone in there with them, even though we have a nurse to hold their hand, and our doctor is very sweet and comforting.

I don't know what else to write. I'm kind of distracted (in case you couldn't tell) so maybe I will add more later in the week.

Shout out to my big sister - happy birthday EC!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tit Thrusting and Steps Forward

This week at clinic, I was sitting at the front desk doing nothing in particular when MP came in and informed me that Mr. Mumbles was tit thrusting LS. I went outside to have a look, but he had stopped.

Apparently he kept shuffling up to LS and sort of mushing himself against her. She wasn't very happy about it. I told her if he did again, to let us know so we could call the police - or at the very least warn him that he was assaulting her. The escorts then proceeded to spend some time discussing what exactly is wrong with Mr. Mumbles. I won't speculate here, for fear of being mean/sued for libel, but I have some ideas.

Another interesting bump in our Tuesday was a couple who showed up with two small children in tow. This happens more often than you might think. Unfortunately, we just can't allow children in the waiting room because not only is it potentially disruptive, it makes already vulnerable women very, very uncomfortable.

The couple were very understanding (people usually are), and a couple of our escorts had the pleasure of playing with the kids. They were very sweet and well-behaved. Oh my goodness they were adorable. They definitely brightened my day, and I didn't even get to play with them.

So the step forward I am referring to in the title of this post is some fantastic news we received last week - Henry has standing!! In case you have no idea what I am talking about, last May Henry Morgentaler had a hearing to determine whether he has standing to bring forward a case against New Brunswick (trying to make them cover abortions under Medicare). Well, after almost a year and a half of waiting, the judge finally made a decision in Henry's favour. So that means the case can go forward!! It's going to be a long process, but this first step forward is definitely fantastic news.

Other good news - yesterday I was interviewed for a piece about abortion access in Canada for section15.ca. It might turn into a series!! It's going to include input from some other fantastic young activists, as well. I will keep you posted!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two Happy Stories

I don't have much to write about the clinic this week - the only notable thing that happened was that Mr. Mumbles called a couple of the escorts "she-devils". Awesome. So I thought I would share two positive stories that I've heard this week.

The first is from a friend in a different city, who was talking to a woman who was recently at the clinic. The woman was suffering from a disease that would have made continuing the pregnancy absolutely unbearable, so, even though it was a wanted pregnancy, she chose to have an abortion rather than suffer. She told my friend that it made her feel angry and upset to see the protesters out there, because they didn't know anything about her situation and what she was dealing with. She also said that if the escorts hadn't been there, she might not have been able to go in. She said they were helpful, non-judgemental, and friendly, and if she lived in Fredericton she would volunteer here as well.

A lot of people don't realize that the escorts are volunteers, so it's wonderful to hear from the patients that they are making a difference. I'm so proud of my little gang of blue-pinneyed heroes, for being so awesome and friendly and completely committed to making the experience easier for women coming to the clinic.

The other story I heard from JD, another friend of mine who happens to be an escort. She said she ran into a guy she used to go to school with, and while making small talk about the latest stuff that was going on in their lives, the guy said that his girlfriend was pregnant, and he was going to "make her get an abortion". JD was (obviously) taken aback, but had the presence of mind (and feminist awesomeness) to explain to him that it was a woman's choice to make, and to suggest that he talk things out with his girlfriend and maybe they could come to a decision together, instead of telling her what to do and possibly completely alienating her. JD said that a couple weeks later the guy's Facebook status said he was going to be a proud papa. :)

Choice is so, so important. I know that it seems like some of the time my only concern is that women can access safe, legal abortion if that's the choice they make, but the bigger issue is that women can actually MAKE that choice. Our staff is not interested in providing abortions to people who don't want them. As a society, we shouldn't be interested in forcing women to stay pregnant when they don't want to be. Every individual woman deserves the right to make decisions about her own body. So I am super impressed and proud of JD for helping that guy to understand that. I hope that he and his girlfriend can help each other stay happy and healthy and have a wonderful child.

Happy long weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I don't know what to call this one

So here I am, blogging, as promised.

The Arts Auction for Choice, which was held last Wednesday at the Palate, was a smashing success, and a lovely evening to boot. We were raising money for Dr. Morgentaler's legal defence fund in his suit against the province. There was some gorgeous art - if only I had the money to buy it/space to hang it!! Dang.

Right now I'm wrapped up in the middle of the organizing committee for another big event, and beginning to learn for the millionth time that my supply of both time and energy is finite. So I haven't been concentrating too much on the whole abortion "debate", which usually takes up so much of my attention.

I will say that the Andrew Coyne article about abortion in last week's Maclean's was total and absolute paternalistic bullshit, in my personal opinion. But I thoroughly enjoyed the Globe's take on the subject later in the week. I think it was Saturday. I can't keep track.

Clinic has been a bit nuts, with lots more protesters than usual, and they are more aggressive as well. Crazy Legs has been out, the Holy Ghost and Glarey Mary are both swooping like fiends, and the Tenor is being loud and obnoxious. There are new signs. An Anger Twin is back. In some ways it's so frustrating to be in here on reception and not see what's going on, but really I'm glad I'm not out there. My stress levels are just high enough that I might do something I'd regret.

I know I shouldn't delve into personal stuff too much on here but I feel like I owe my faithful readers an apology for recent slackness. I usually do get stressed when I have lots to do, but I thrive on it too, and it makes me get stuff done. But right now it's not just being busy, I'm also dealing with some emotional stuff...my grandmother is not well, and she lives in another province, and, well, I'll leave it at that.

Yours in feminism. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quick Check-in

I know, I didn't blog last week. I am useless. I am just really busy, as mentioned in an earlier post. It's madness.

I can't really get into anything now, as I'm building a trifle for a potluck, but I just wanted to check in and let you all know I'm still kicking. Last week the protesters were aggressive and vocal, and there were some old favourites making an appearance - the Tenor, and one half of the Anger Twins. Crazy Legs was out as well. Oh, and the big sign, the one that looks like a lizard trapped in a bubble. I'll get to this week when I can.

Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Order, the Madness

So it has been madness, just madness. This Order of Canada stuff is getting blown way out of proportion, as a small but vocal majority are shrieking their lungs out to have it revoked. I've done interviews for CTV, Global and CBC. It's worth noting that Global was the only one that got my name right.

Clinic this week was much like last week - the protesters didn't show up until later, and when they did, it was just a few of them. The glariest of them though. What fun they all must be in their personal lives.

Speaking of the protesters, I think the highlight of my week was seeing Peter Ryan on Global saying that Henry Morgentaler makes Paul Bernardo look like a saint. I mean, really. I sincerely hope none of the family members of Bernardo's victims saw that, because if I were in their shoes I would be...well, writing a strongly worded letter, at the very least. Can you imagine?

The anti-choicers are so weird. They paint this picture of Henry as this totally amoral, money-grubbing doctor who just loves to kill babies and then roll around in his money. I know I've been through this before, but it baffles and enrages me. And I hate to say it, but I think it's a bit anti-Semitic. I know that's a heavy accusation to throw around, and I don't mean it about any one person, really. I just think it's kind of embedded in our cultural psyche, this image of the rich Jewish doctor with no scruples, and I think it's easy for the anti-choicers to latch on to it and stick it to Henry, who they hate anyway. Him being Jewish makes it easier to dehumanize him. I know I'm going to be hearing about this.

I am so tired. I had one of those extremely stressful weeks where your whole world starts to revolve around the things you have to get done, and then something huge comes along to snap you out of it. For me it was kind of two huge things - first, a guy I graduated from high school with died in Afghanistan. Then, my sister broke her leg. So it's been nuts. I'm going away to a friend's wedding this weekend and on the one hand, I welcome the break, but on the other hand I think I would rather be here...looking after things. My life. Whatever, it could always be worse.

Sorry this blog is a bit personal. I will leave you with another little story from the clinic. I was working at reception and one of the patients came up with her completed forms and asked me if there were needles, because she was afraid of needles. I could sympathize, not being a big fan of needles myself. So I said well, there's just one, but you won't even see it. It goes in your cervix. Her eyes got so wide and she said "in my WHAT??". Hahaha. Ok maybe you had to be there.

Anyway rock on peeps. I will hopefully be feeling a lot more bubbly when I get home.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Best Canada Day EVER!

Well things have been crazy on the blog (see the gazillion comments on my last post), but whatever. I am so, so excited!! Guess why!!

There was no clinic yesterday, because it was Canada Day. I hope that you all raised your glasses not just to our country's birthday, but to the great Dr. Henry Morgentaler's long overdue appointment to the Order of Canada. I cannot think of a more deserving recepient of Canada's highest civilian honour.

Long live Henry, and thank you for everything you've done for choice!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Shows

Yesterday was very weird, because for the first hour and a half of the clinic, there were no protesters. Not a one.

Just after the escorts' shift change, a couple of them showed up - the Holy Ghost, Mad Thad. Crazy Legs was out there too, and she was being aggressive. There must have been something going on though, because why weren't they all there? Especially Father Grim, who is always out - I can't remember him ever missing a week.

So that was strange.

I don't really have much to write about - I have about eight hundred things on the go all of a sudden, so it's been kind of hectic in my life. Planning committees. It's good to be busy. Anyway sorry about the shortness of the blog, hopefully next time the protesters will give me something to write about.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

People are Strange, When You're a Stranger...

My job (or rather, my workplace) is kind of bizarre. I mean when you think about the abortion issue a lot, some things start to seem commonplace. But then when you take it out of the context of an abortion clinic, it's like, holy hell that's weird. The weird, almost illegibly religious (it exists) faxes and emails, the strange questions, the inability to do certain normal things. It is a weird work environment.

You think it can't really get any more bizarre, but the protesters are always willing to kick it up a notch. It's hard to describe how they do this, because to the casual observer it's not noticable. As SL was telling me today, it's hardly even worth bothering to talk about the creepiness, because very few people will understand.

It's the signless women - the Holy Ghost and Glarey Mary. Mostly Glarey Mary. It's not that she stares at people - many of the protesters do that - but she really GLARES, with all the hatred and meanness she can muster. She looks...mean. If she glares at you, you can't help but immediately feel as if she hates you, which is just weird. She doesn't even know us, or most of the people she glares at. But the feeling of it is intense. I have never (to my knowledge) been glared at with such vitriol in all my life, nor have most people, I imagine. On an intellectual level, I obviously don't care what Glarey Mary thinks of me, but on an emotional one, it can wear you down. More than one escort has switched from the back to the front, or even come inside for a few minutes, just to experience not being glared at for a while.

Glarey Mary and the Holy Ghost together are trying to do something that Crazy Legs used to do, but more subtly; swarming. Crazy Legs used to run up to people and to cars, and do everything short of getting in the front seat with people in order to block them from entering the clinic. She was loud and obnoxious and awful about it. These two are slower, quieter and creepier, which might just be worse. It's putting the escorts in a situation where they have to do what we used to have to do all the time (before the threat of a bubble zone); put their bodies in between the protesters and the patients. It's all you can do, really.

This return to old techniques on the part of the protesters makes me worry for the physical safety of both my escorts and the patients. Which is exactly the argument behind the bubble zone.

There was more nonsense yesterday - some of the male protesters were riling each other up, in the words of one of the escorts (KR). They were talking loudly about "murder" and saying they hoped "they" (hmm...who could that mean?) lost sleep, and woke up blind, or with boils, and so on. It reminds me of last week (or was it the week before) when one of them told the doctor that he hoped her hands would shake. That is some mean, nasty, old-timey prayer. I'm talking Inquisition-timey prayer. Since when do people pray that bad things will happen to other people? What kind of Christianity is that?

So to sum up, there have been a lot of subtle changes that have made the overall picture seem a lot crazier than it did before. Maybe they're up to something, maybe there's something in the air. Maybe they're just getting frustrated. I thought I'd seen it all that time that Peter Ryan came outside cradling a huge statue of the Virgin Mary in his arms, but every week I start to feel more confident that they are capable of something even stranger. I'm just on the edge of my seat to see what it is.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Warming Up

So, it's been kind of a busy couple weeks, with escorts leaving and new ones coming, just like at the start of every season, it seems. I've been loving the summer at the clinic so far, because the protesters seem to be bringing back all the old favourites. With the exception of the Anger Twins, who I had hoped would be back out now that the semester is over; but then again, maybe they aren't in school at all.

Tuesday's clinic was fine. More middle-aged men than usual (protesting, I mean). A lot of them were really givin' it on the prayers, too, getting all mumbly and worked up. So awesome. They only made one patient cry though, so I guess they'll have to try harder next week.

Patients can be kind of funny sometimes. When they call to confirm their appointments, we run through a checklist of things with them, like don't wear perfume, drink lots of water, etc. One thing we don't tell them is to wear comfortable clothing, since I guess it's really up to them what to wear. To me it's kind of a no-brainer; I mean, it's a doctor's appointment, you know you're going to be up on a table with your vag in the air, why wouldn't you have something comfy to put on while you recover? And while you wait, for that matter. I mean I wouldn't show up in my pyjamas (although some people do), but I would definitely have on some kind of relax-y pants.

So every now and then we get the occasional woman who is dressed totally inappropriately for the doctor's office, or for anything besides the club, really. We had one of those on Tuesday. She breezed in over an hour late (being the last appointment of the day, this was especially annoying), wearing a LOT of perfume (not allowed! thanks), and dressed....well, she was working it. Tight little sweater, tight little shorts (shorts? really?), very high heels, and tons of makeup. Whatever; to each her own, I suppose. It's just kind of funny sometimes. What are people thinking?

The weather is lovely now, by the way. It was a bit cold and gloomy on Tuesday, but I think it should be picking up and the next few weeks will be great for the escorts (and the protesters too, I suppose, although I'm not entirely sure if they notice things like that).

Oh, one more thing, that has nothing to do with abortion. I saw the greatest bumper sticker the other day! It said something like "this car is fueled by the power of prayer". LOVE IT. Although, as the driver of the car I was in snidely pointed out, "I'm pretty sure they have to fill it with gas, too."

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have to say, I'm glad that people liked the last post and that it got some really good responses. That's why I left it up for so long (also, I'm lazy).

This week at the clinic we had a new fellow out. He was handing out some sort of flyer to the other protesters, and was quite vocal. When the doctor was coming in, he told her he hoped her hands would shake. Charming.

It was kind of a crazy day at the clinic - no particular reason, just one of those days when there's an extra buzz in the air. I had two patients who, along with their entourages of friends and family members, decided they would rather stand around in the vestibule than sit in the waiting room. It was a big pain in the ass, not to mention kind of a safety hazzard (I had to ask them repeatedly to stop standing in front of my little window, because I couldn't see who was at the door). It made me antsy, it made the patients coming in antsy, and it was just an all around nuisance. I probably have to learn to be more assertive - I asked them several times if they'd like to come into the waiting room, but I was being too polite. I need to take some lessons from the nurses and just tell people what to do.

Don't forget that this weekend is the Pill Kills campaign - I know you're all so excited! I don't know if there's any official protests planned for Canada, so maybe you'll just have to travel down to the States to witness the madness. It'll be worth it, I promise - I know you all want one of those super sexy lime green t-shirts.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Long and Boring Rant About Privilege - Read at Your Own Risk

***Disclaimer: I wrote and rewrote this twenty times in my head, and it kept coming across as...arrogant, I guess, and judgemental. But I feel like my feelings on the issue are legitimate, and I wanted to express them anyway. So, sorry if this post makes me seem like an ass. I'm really not, most of the time.***

The Bound4Life people were back this Saturday. One of our escorts, the fantastic JF, went out with tape over his mouth that said "Choice" and just stood with them. Ballsy. Afterwards they were quite nice and a couple of them introduced themselves - including the ringleader, KT.

I've been thinking a lot about the B4L kids and I'm still rather torn. On the one hand, they only come on Saturdays so patients don't see them - they are harmless. They are different than the regular protesters; they're not there to harrass people, or even really to be seen, so much as they just want God to stop abortion. It's kind of sweet, in an ignorant and misguided way. I do respect their enthusiasm though, and their desire to avoid confrontation and offence, even though sometimes good intentions aren't quite enough.

So I do think they're okay. I don't have much of a problem with them. But then, on the other hand...

It's kind of complicated. I've discovered the concept of privilege relatively recently, and it's a bitch, let me tell you. It's an ongoing series of "aha!" moments, but not the fun ones, more like the "oh god, I'm talking out my big, pale, white ass again" ones. It is very, very difficult to escape one's own privilege; I'm not actually sure it can be done. However, you can examine your own privilege and be aware of it, which is something I've been working on over the last couple years. It's painful, especially when you've got so much of it - whiteness, money, education, opportunity, etc. etc.

Male privilege is pretty bad (just look at our regular protesters), but I think white privilege is the worst. Or at least, whatever you would call the kind of privilege that incorporates white skin, middle or upper middle class upbringing, and living in North America. I'll just call it WASP privilege, although that's not the best term as it is both too inclusive and not inclusive enough for the group I'm thinking of. Regardless, it's the group that includes me and people like me - including KT.

The point of all this is, I think what the B4L people do is kind of off-putting because it demonstrates such a painful lack of self-examination. These kids have no idea of their own privilege; if they did, they would be ashamed to be out there in public, being so ridiculously clueless. It's their idealism and their naivete that makes them so pathetic - you can tell that they really believe in saving the little babies, and that if they could have a few minutes alone with a woman considering abortion, they could not only change her mind, but also probably bring her to Christ.

Because they see the world through a lens of WASP privilege, however, they have no way of identifying with the situation at all. True, some women who come into the clinic are also born of privilege, but the vast majority are not - they are in far shittier situations than people like me could imagine. And people like KT, with her support network of friends and family, her money and social status, they think it's just a matter of changing her mind. They just have no concept of having NO OTHER OPTION.

Abortion is shitty, it's true. But for some people, it's the lesser of two evils. If you've never been in the situation, you won't understand. Hell I haven't, and I don't. But at least I'm not trying to undermine people's choices. At least I recognize that I am far too privileged to understand a given situation, and I have no right to interfere without permission into someone's life.

KT thinks she's helping people, but she isn't. Because they didn't ask for her help, and she doesn't know how to help. How do you talk from privilege? How do you ask someone to consider an option that their money, status and skin colour CANNOT buy? It's not an option at all!

The other thing that pisses me off (related to all this) is the whole idea of asking God to end abortion. I mean what the fuck, really? They're not asking Him to solve the problems that lead to abortion, or to help the women who choose abortion out of the shitty situation they are inevitably in. They don't give a shit, they just don't want the babies to die. They don't care about the women, nor do they try to care. They don't understand the complexities of the issue at all. They just identify a situation that doesn't fit in with their sunny, rosy, WASPy vision of the world, and they pray for it to end, without giving a flying fuck about the people that NEED the option to be there.

These are the people that, if they wanted to "help" people in Burma, would ask God to end cyclones. As if that's the problem. Not poverty, debt, oppressive government, first world apathy, nothing like that. Just fucking cyclones.

So my point is, I like their enthusiam, I am appalled by their arrogance, ignorance and lack of self-examination. It's not their fault they are born of privilege, just like it's not my fault I am either. But it is their fault that they have no interest in analysing an issue they supposedly care so much about, and it is their fault they can't see past their own privilege in order to actually help people. Sorry for sounding extremely privileged and intellectually elitist, and probably hypocritical, but some things make me really mad. So there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Old and New Faces

I know, I haven't blogged. I'm sorry.

It's been a big week. I was in Nova Scotia this weekend - saw Leonard Cohen in Halifax....AMAZING. Everything I was hoping for and more. I cried and cried, it was pretty appalling. Good times.

After that we were in LaHave (well, just outside of it) for a memorial for my recently deceased Great-Uncle Eric. I also just heard that my good friends ET and WJ, who live out in BC, have given birth to their first child. It's a boy! And so, to wax philosophical, the wheel of life turns.

Tuesday's clinic was fine. The protesters have a new sign, a lovely picture of the Virgin Mary. Also, Glare-y Mary made her triumphant return to the protesting circuit. They're just bringing back all the old favourites for summer! So exciting. We're making a few changes ourselves; losing some escorts, gaining some new ones. Spring is in the air!

Just an added tidbit, when EN was coming back from the bakery, Glare-y Mary said over him to another protester (but obviously directed at EN), "We've already won". This makes me laugh. Mostly because people are still having legal abortions, so clearly they haven't won. I just love Glare-y Mary. I want to take her out for tea.

Clearly I don't have much to write about, but there was some grumbling among the regulars so I thought I would at least make an appearance. I promise I will try harder next week. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Questions and Answers

Tuesday's clinic was pretty tame. The protesters were slow coming out, and then went inside when the escorts left. The only thing out of the ordinary was that Crazy Legs was out (I guess her leg healed) - they had her holding a sign, though; presumably to hamper her ability to chase people down and throw herself in front of cars.

When I got here on Tuesday the first person who spoke to me was a woman who came up to my desk with her forms and asked me how to spell 'chlamydia' (even now I don't think I have it right). It got me thinking about all the funny (and sometimes heartbreaking) things people ask or say to me in this job.

Here are some:

"Is your doctor qualified?"

No, actually every week we pick a new hobo off the street to come in and perform the procedure. This week it's the guy who masturbates in the Pita Pit bathroom. Enjoy!

"Can you tell me if --- has an appointment there this week/was there last week?"

Sure, why don't I just give you a list of the people who were here, along with their phone numbers and medical histories? It's called confidentiality.

"My daughter got herself pregnant, and needs to have an abortion."

Amazing! Did she artificially inseminate herself just so she could have an abortion, or did her male genitals accidentally touch her female ones (hate it when that happens!)?

"Do I have to wait in the waiting room with everyone else?"

Of course not! We have individual waiting rooms for every patient. The building is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside.

"Is it legal?"

Nope, so some of the money you pay us goes towards bribes for the cops. Oh, and for the phonebook people.

"Is there any way I can find out who the father is before you do the procedure?"

Yes, it's called DNA testing and it costs a lot of money. Strangely enough, we're not equipped to do it here.

...so those are just some of them. They make me laugh, which makes the sad questions a lot more bearable. I also get a lot of questions that come from general misinformation and ignorance about abortion, like if they will be infertile afterwards, and if it causes breast cancer. A lot of people just cannot believe we are a legit operation like any other doctor's clinic. I guess a lot of the lies spread by the anti-choice movement have worked (to a certain extent), which is too bad.

In other news, I'm going to have an article about repro rights published in the Colorado-based Weird Sisters West magazine, which is pretty cool.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Protests

Well, it's kind of stupid to be blogging today since I will probably be blogging tomorrow as well, but whatever, there's stuff I wanted to mention that I didn't get to over the weekend.

The March for Life was on Wednesday, so I went down to check it out, along with a competent squad of pro-choice spies. And a dog. It was kind of like Scooby Doo, actually. (Now I have this wonderful mental image of someone pulling a vampire mask off a guy, only to discover that - gasp! - it was Peter Ryan all along! "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you nosey abortionists!"). The whole thing seemed much smaller than last year, and I didn't see any media - I assume the planning was a bit rushed because of the flood. Of course there were still busloads of people from all over the province. And Knights of Columbus, all dressed up in their ridiculous capes and fuzzy hats.

After their usual self-congratulatory speeches and so on, they "marched" to the CPC and stood around in the parking lot. They were supposed to be praying for teh babiezz, but a lot of them spent the silent prayer period glaring at us as we stood, grinning and waving, in the clinic parking lot. I think they were already feeling a little nasty because they weren't allowed to put roses around the Legislature. They still managed to find a way to waste money, though - by putting them in front of the LAW SCHOOL. WTF??

They put a bucket of roses on a chair facing the clinic, with a poem on it about babies or something (I didn't actually read it). When we went over to take a picture of it, which necessitated getting close to the fence, one of the men leaned over the fence right in front of us, and made a cross out of holy water on the clinic, while all the while giving us the stink eye. Sometimes I think these people really need to re-read their own mythology, because I really don't think Jesus went around giving his "enemies" the stink eye. They tend to try to use that one time he got mad at the money-lenders as justification for their general douchebaggery towards people who don't agree with them.

My favourite sign at the march had a picture of the Virgin Mary on it, and then all around it just said "pray pray pray pray pray pray" etc.

They ended up getting a little write up in the Gleaner, but it was mostly Peter Ryan spewing his bullshit about abortion being the reason the population is declining in New Brunswick. I am going to have to address this in a future blog, because it is just too ridiculous for me to leave alone.

On Saturday, we had our rally against Bill C-484 at City Hall. It was bloody cold, so I was pleasantly surprised that we had a pretty good turnout (the CBC said 60 people, but I would put it closer to 40). We had two very good speakers, and I was interviewed by both CBC and KHJ, so that was awesome. I was so glad we had the media there - coverage is the important thing, after all. Look, even people in little ol' Fredericton care about this bill, and think it's bullshit!

The best part about the whole thing was that our protest consisted of mainly people under thirty, which was a great counter-point to the largely male, geriatric population of the March for Life.

I watched 'Lake of Fire' this weekend so I will probably be blogging about that soon, too. But I'm going to stop now.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, and that the flood cleanup is going well!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Protecting teh Babiezz

Just to keep you all posted, the flood is over (at least in Fredericton), but I am still not back in my apartment. There is still water in the basement - they've turned the power back on, but not the hot water as of yet. Even when they do I might have to stay away for a while longer until they get the basement cleaned up, because it's going to be moldy, and I really would enjoy never having another bronchial spasm.

So I'm at my parents' place for the time being, which is fine, although I miss having my cats and partner around. Could be worse.

There was no clinic today; just cleaning up a little after the flood.

Tomorrow is the annual March for Life at the Legislature. It starts at 12:30, if you'd like to go down and have a peek. And just so that's not the scariest thing you see this week, check this out. That's right, you murdering whores - birth control kills babies.

Some days I despair for the world.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Postcard from the Flood Zone

This post is a little outside of what I normally write about, but I just wanted you all to know what was up in Fredericton.

If you know anyone who has lived in Fredericton all their lives, you probably have heard a story or two about the flood of '73. My family and I are relative newbies to the city but I have definitely heard many tales of canoeing down this or that downtown street, etc. The flood of '73 is quite the local legend. So it feels somewhat exciting to be in the middle of what will definitely become a new legend...I can just imagine telling my grandkids about the flood of aught eight. I really hope I don't still live here then, though.

Even though I work and live downtown, I didn't really think I would be that affected. But I guess the fact that I'm writing this from New Maryland says otherwise. Luckily EN (my partner) is housesitting a place out here, so we have a refuge from the water.

We left Wednesday night, when after dinner and drinks in one of the few restaurants still open downtown, our landlord asked us not to flush the toilet or use the drains. A bit of flooding in the basement, you see. We took off that night - our street was already closed, and the water seemed to be only getting higher.

Yesterday morning we came back into town to rescue the cats, and perishable food since we were afraid they might have turned off our power (they being the power company, not the cats). Because our street was closed, we had to come at our house from behind, where a path connects it to the walking trail. All fine, except our backyard was a lake. It turns out they were pumping all the water out of the house into the backyard, so we had to wade through a foot of icy cold, foul-smelling water to get to the house. We repacked our bags with clean clothes, packed up the perishable food and the cats (I still have the battle scars from that), and waded back through the gross water. The basket of food was heavy, but I was glad I wasn't carrying the cats (who could stand to eat less). It definitely wasn't a pleasant experience, but when EN asked me if I wanted him to make two trips, so I didn't have to carry anything, I was actually able to laugh. We've done worse, I reminded him. On that Costa Rica trip I mentioned last week, we carried heavier things along longer paths.

Getting the cats out and to a safe place (EN's parents house) was definitely not the least fun thing we did yesterday. I got a call from SL (the clinic manager) who wanted us to come help her fight back the rising water in the basement. We went over and helped to carry medical equipment to higher places while the plumber installed a second sump pump. We sloshed our way through the basement to throw out wet cardboard boxes. JB bought the last two shop vacs at the hardware store, and we spent a good two hours just sucking up water. It was a lot more uncomfortable than it sounds. We'll be back there again today, as the water kept rising and the second sump pump faltered last night.

So in conclusion, living (and working) in the flood zone is no fun. I can only really think about how thankful I am that I'm privileged enough to have a place to stay, and that our actual house isn't flooded. And I'm just really glad the cats are safe.

Oh and I had to postpone my rally (the anti-C-484 one) to next Saturday (May 10), because I really don't think City Hall will be in great shape by tomorrow. And I heard they're cancelling the market tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surprise! No Staplers on THIS Ultrasound

It was rainy today, which made people a bit cranky, I think. I was cranky, anyway. Well, just in the early morning. I'm used to my solitary Tuesday routine: getting up early, eating breakfast in the quiet darkness, enjoying the still-slightly-dark, alone-with-my-thoughts walk to the clinic. My partner (whose exams are now finished) came with me this week, which was great, but it totally shattered my quiet routine and put me in a weird funk for the first little while. I am very sensitive to both noise and change. Just so you know.

Anyway, clinic was fine. There weren't many protesters out - I think the Saint John folks decided not to make the drive in this weather. Father Grim and Mr. Mumbles were out in their matching bright yellow rain suits, which definitely makes it worth getting up in the morning. It's so funny to see Father Grim, with his standard glare, in such a cheery outfit.

People were a bit off kilter inside today; nothing major, just a couple grumpies. It's forgivable, really; I would be pretty grumpy if someone was fixing to put a needle in my cervix. *shudder*

One of the patients changed her mind, which has been known to happen from time to time. I don't think she told anyone but me; she just got up after returning from her ultrasound and told me she'd changed her mind, and left. SL came out a few minutes later to call her in for her payment, and I had to tell her the patient had left. Which isn't a big deal - we couldn't care less, really. You don't want to do it, don't do it. What's funny is that since she changed her mind right after the ultrasound, and the ultrasound showed she was carrying twins, it's not that far out there to assume that's why she changed her mind.

I don't think it's the first time that's ever happened. Logically, it makes no sense to me. No matter what your reasons for choosing to end a pregnancy, whether financial, emotional, whatever, surely they would only be compounded by the idea of TWO potential children? Personally speaking, if I were to become pregnant at this stage of my life, assuming I chose to have an abortion (which isn't necessarily what I would choose), my main reason would probably be a lack of stability - mainly financial, but also just life in general. So if I couldn't afford to have one kid, I sure as hell couldn't afford two.

But of course this stuff isn't really logical, otherwise there would be agreement on the abortion debate and we could all put energy into other stuff. As Dr. George Tiller noted, "Abortion is not a cerebral or a reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart. For until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all."

So I've been struggling to understand the decision on an emotional level, to put myself in the shoes of a woman who goes in thinking she will abort, finds out it's twins, and decides to keep them. What difference does it make, I wonder? Is it harder to end two potential lives than one? Does it make them seem more human? Is it that she really isn't 100% certain of her decision, and this is an easy straw to grasp? It's really impossible to say without knowing the woman in question, and even then, who knows. I would love some face time with women who make that decision, just to see what they were thinking and feeling. I hope the woman today is happy with her decision in the end, and that everything works out for her and the twins.

It makes me think about these laws in the States where they make women having abortions look at the ultrasound. As in, mandatory. As if we can't trust women to know what they want. Lots of women aren't sure about the decision when they go in to a clinic, and they ask to see the ultrasound, and they decide not to abort. That's fine - it's a choice. But when a woman comes in who is 100% sure of the decision, and has no interest whatsoever in looking at the ultrasound, why should she have to? Why do legislators feel the need to hold women's hands every step of the way through a very personal and (for many) agonizing decision? Women aren't stupid, we aren't imbeciles. We can make up our minds for ourselves, and (here's a news flash) when women are pregnant, they KNOW what's in there! They don't think it's a fish, or a stapler. We don't need an ultrasound to tell us.

I think people who ask to see the ultrasound should be allowed to, of course. For some women it's the information they need to show themselves that they can't go through with it. For others, it's a piece of the grieving process. But I think the key to all of this (and really to all of health care) is respect. Just be respectful. Don't make people do shit they don't want to do. Trust women.

My posts have been getting a bit convoluted lately, eh? Sorry about that.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Finally, the Post About Sex Selective Abortion

I want to talk about sex selective abortion. In the anti-choice blogosphere, the issue has become an easy way to condemn abortion, and attempt to make feminists look stupid at the same time. As if by allowing abortion to become legal, this is what we must reap. Well, fuck that. Sex selection is not acceptable. Abortion is. How can that be??

Most of you probably know that both sex selective abortion and infanticide are huge problems in places like India and China, where having a girl means eventually having to pay a dowry, among other (mostly financial) concerns. Of course this has led to a big shortage of women to marry for a whole generation of Chinese men, but we'll let them figure that out. The point is, this isn't just a problem that's happening "over there". In Canada, specifically BC, there have definitely been "birth disparities" (ie an unnaturally high ratio of boys to girls) that, while they have been pinpointed to certain cultural groups, are nevertheless a concern of all of ours.

I saw a terrific presentation on this subject at the NAF conference by a representative of the SOGC. Her main concern was disclosure. While we can all agree that sex selection is unethical, what is the doctor's responsibility in disclosing the sex of the fetus, especially if he/she suspects that it is for sex selective reasons?

Well, according to the SOGC guidelines, if asked, the doctor cannot withold the information. This is becoming old news though, because now there are these special clinics where, at eight or nine weeks into the pregnancy, for a considerable sum of money, you can find out the sex of your baby. There is no doctor needed, and it's completely anonymous. Not to sound like a typical anti-choicer here, but what kind of person runs these clinics? Who would want to profit from something so vile?

Anyway, obviously it's a more complicated societal problem than I'm making it sound. But that's the point, really; it's societal attitudes that are the problem, not disclosure and certainly not abortion. It's the attitudes and beliefs that we have about women that make it okay to use sex selection. Outlawing abortion will not help; it will just lead to more female infanticide, which I hope we can all agree is WAY worse.

For a bit of a convoluted metaphor, think of a machete. You might think machetes are terrible because, like me, you've read all kinds of stuff about the Rwandan genocide and are repulsed by the thought of how many people were hacked to bits using them. On the other hand, while working on a fruit farm in Costa Rica I found the machete to be an extremely useful tool that not only helped the other volunteers and me to cut away unwanted weeds, build lots of things like a compost box and a new outhouse, but also kill deadly things like scorpions that found their way into our bedrooms. Without machetes, we wouldn't have been able to do anything useful at all. So you see, the machete itself is a neutral tool. It's the person who determines to what use it should be put. (I told you it was convoluted).

Abortion is like that, in this instance. It may seem evil because it is helping in the sex selection, but when you use it to help women who genuinely need it, it's good. But the truth is, like the machete, abortion is neither good nor bad.

The problem, as outlined at this presentation I went to, is that science is ahead of both ethics and the law. We can do so many things now that we didn't know would come so fast, and we just haven't had the discussions we need to have about how to ethically use this technology. It's like these crazy 4D ultrasounds or whatever. Imagine being able to see things like the facial features of your future child. For some people this is going to be a really exciting addition to the joy of expecting a baby, but for others there's the possibility of genetic selection, and abortion based not just on diseases and disabilities, but also on what the kid will look like.

Basically, it's a very scary slippery slope and the lawmakers and ethicists and society in general need to get on this FAST. So, you know, Margaret Somerville needs to stop bleating about abortion and teh gayzz and start actually being an ethicist.

On the other hand, I don't think I really want Somerville making the decisions about this stuff.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Springtime Cheer

I'm late on this again. If it makes people feel any better, there were a million other things I meant to do yesterday that I also didn't get to. The spring weather makes me restless.

Yesterday was a pretty standard day at the clinic, all the usual protesters were out and about. Because we finished relatively early, and I wanted to stick around because there were some things I needed to do, I got the rare pleasure of seeing the protesters hang around after the patients were all inside and the escorts had left. I kind of assumed that they went inside as soon as all the escorts took off; but no, they were still out there, pacing up and down. Even the Holy Ghost, who doesn't carry a sign and whose whole purpose is "sidewalk counselling". Is she trying to get them on the way out?

In other news, as I mentioned briefly before, I'm taking charge of the Fredericton branch of this rally against Bill C-484. It's kind of exhilirating to do this kind of grass-roots organizing because you really never know who is going to come out of the woodwork. I kind of expected to get very little interest, but people have been falling over themselves to help out. It's been awesome, and I'm actually feeling okay about the turnout we're going to get. I'm just hoping for fifty people, and already on the Facebook group there are over sixty confirmed. So that is awesome. I even have speakers!! I feel like a real grown up who organizes things. :P

Bah, I still have so many issues I want to blog about, like sex-selective abortion, this new Bill C-537, and on and on. But I'm not going to now because I don't have my notes with me and because I'm very busy. Well I'm not really very busy, but I feel like I am.

One thing I do just have to mention is that yesterday there was a guy who was bringing his girlfriend, and he didn't want to come in - he just waited in the car - because he was scared of the protesters. Can you imagine? I know I've said this before, but really; if it's ever me coming here, the guy with whom I am in this situation would damn well be coming in with me. It takes two to tango people!! I feel like I should start putting that at the end of my post, like Sue Johanson and her corny condom slogans.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Differences of Opinion

Before I talk about today I want to draw your attention to this great article in the Ottawa Citizen about sex-selective abortion. It's a topic that I've been thinking, hearing and reading a lot about lately and I do intend to blog about it soon.

That said, I was back at the clinic and escorting this week for the first time in what seems like a million years. It was great to be back, to catch up with my escorts and all the news regarding their various academic and career pursuits. We definitely had an interesting conversation about relationships, and where you draw the line in terms of ideological differences. As in, could someone like me successfully date a Catholic? And I'm not just talking someone who was raised Catholic but is kind of lapsed; I mean a full on, church-going, rosary-praying type. And it's not the difference in spiritual paths that would bother me so much as the ideological differences and political differences. Abortion is an obvious one. Because I could date someone who was opposed to some other political issue, but abortion could become so personal. As in, if I got pregnant and my decision was an abortion, could he get behind that and respect my choice? Or, in the case that we were discussing, if she decided to be an abortion provider, could he step back and respect that? And so on. It raises all kinds of interesting questions.

It was good to be out now that the weather is getting warmer. The protesters hardly gave us any trouble today. The Holy Ghost slips in to talk to a patient any time we're not paying close enough attention, but she's so ineffective it doesn't really matter.

One funny/irritating thing did happen. One of the other escorts was walking a patient and her partner up the ramp. The partner was drinking a coffee, and the escort, TH, said something along the lines of, oh, I bet you wish you could have a coffee (as the patients are only allowed to drink water). And the partner said, well it's her fault. Or something along those lines. Can you imagine? If I were getting an abortion, the dude involved would be taking me there, keeping his mouth shut, and taking me out for lunch afterwards. I mean really, it takes two to tango, there, smarty-pants.

I thought I might do some shameless cross-promotion here and mention that I am organizing a protest on May 3rd against Bill C-484, in solidarity with the protest taking place in Ottawa the same day. For details, you can email me or check out the Facebook event.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Few Ideas for the Protesters

I have lots of stuff I want to write about all the things I learned this weekend, but I'll have to do that a bit later when I've gathered my thoughts on all of it. I hope you all had a chance to listen to the CBC story on Monday. I want to write this blog and direct it towards both the protesters, and any other assholes who feel the need to email me (or comment here) and be patronizing and/or judgemental about my decision to do what I do.

Being an escort is, believe it or not, not about abortion. Being an escort is something we would do for any person accessing any medical service who was feeling threatened and harrassed. Many of our escorts, I'm sure, have moral issues or questions about abortion that they are struggling with. So when people criticize our decision to "get involved with abortion", they really have no idea what they are talking about. The need and desire to protect these women from harm exists separately from one's moral view on abortion.

I don't care if you are anti-abortion. That is fine. I understand and respect that viewpoint, even if I don't share it. You can write all the letters to the paper you want about it, you can have a big anti-abortion party and congratulate yourself on all the precious babies you save, that's fine, I don't give a shit. However, your rights end where they start to infringe on mine. Your right to free speech ends where you start to infringe on someone else's right to access legal medical services without being harrassed.

This is a democracy (supposedly, but I won't get into that). There are SO MANY WAYS you can have your voice heard without hurting others. If you want to change the law, there are many avenues you can pursue. NONE of these avenues involve standing outside the clinic with a sign and glaring at vulnerable people as they try to enter. That makes you a creep and a jackass, not a valuable citizen of the democracy.

Pro-choicers used these aforementioned democratic avenues to lobby long and hard for a change in abortion law. They succeeded in having Canada's abortion law struck down not by acting threatening and glaring at strangers, but through activism and through the courts. That is how you make change in this country.

Against legalized abortion? Tell it to the editorial page, tell it to your elected representative, tell it to the courts. But don't take it out on the women exercising their LEGAL right to choose. Because I have news for you: they have the right not to give a flying fuck what you think.

I don't know how wise it is for me to be giving out advice to the protesters, but I know they won't take it anyway so I guess it doesn't matter. I just want them to know that standing out there impotently with their ridiculous signs doesn't change anything. It has never changed the mind of any woman going into the clinic. It only makes their side look crazier than they really are - therefore eroding their chances at being taken seriously should they actually try to pursue democratic action.

In conclusion: you may think I'm young, and I am; but I think you are stupid. And I can always get older.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Trials of Air Travel

Oh, Air Canada. You trickster, you.

So I was supposed to be at the clinic this week, and then write a hilarious and wonderful blog (as always) for your enjoyment. Unfortunately, it took a whole day longer than it should have to get back here from New York. I'm not going to get into details, suffice it to say there were problems and/or delays on every single leg of the journey, including legs that were added because of said problems and delays. So I missed clinic. Which sucks, because I am going to be missing it next week as well.

I thought I would blog in the interim though, just to let you all know that I am still alive and well. While in New York I saw the Bodies Exhibition at the South Street Seaport, and I highly recommend it (there are other exhibits with similar names and themse that travel around, so see if you can catch it near you). It was a very educational look at how our bodies work, and what all the gooey insides look like.

I mention this because it was one of the few times I was away that I thought about work - there was a display of babies and fetuses that was really cool and informative. There were fetuses in every week of development. It made me understand a bit more about why people get upset about abortion, and why some doctors (including our own) decide to limit themselves to sixteen weeks and under. But on the other hand, it sure made those stupid explode-y fetus pictures look ridiculous. I mean, the thing does NOT look human. If there hadn't been labels, I would have thought it was a collection of various sized peanuts floating in jars. Anyway it was cool to see up close and personal, and gave me lots to think about.

Also, the Maritime Noon story about me (well, partly) is going to be on either Monday or Tuesday. I won't be here those days so you'll all have to figure it out for yourselves. But don't worry about me (I'm sure you were!), my lovely mother will tape it for me, I'm sure.

Looks like the snow is melting! Yay!

***Edited to add: My interview is going to definitely be on Maritime Noon (on CBC) this coming Monday, April 7th.***

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Maybe Spring is in the Dumpster...

This morning it was cold. WHERE IS SPRING??? It's making me very anxious.

We had a couple of STU students come down to film the protesters - they were doing a project on the bubble zone. They also interviewed me. I was hoping someone else might want to do the interview - one of the other escorts - but no one did. There wasn't much to it, since I don't know much about the bubble zone and not much is happening with it right now.

Mr. Mumbles was in top form today, mumbling about as always. Today also saw the triumphant return of the commemorative "aborted babies" sign with the cross made out of fake flowers. It is an excellent creation, let me tell you. Some church ladies had a hell of a time putting that together. Oh well, you always have to keep women busy, otherwise they might think, or something.

Half my escorts didn't show up, so I had to stay for the second shift. Luckily the last patient came early so I didn't have to stay out for long, because I was dying of cold. And EO didn't even have any mittens on! I'm not really sure how her hands didn't fall off. Seriously, what is wrong with this place?

I've been thinking a lot about dumpster diving lately, specifically dumpster-diving anti-choicers. This recent train of thought has been prompted by this entry over at JJ's blog. I just can't figure out why people feel it's necessary to go through an abortion clinic's dumpster to make an argument against abortion. Either you will find nothing incriminating (the most likely outcome, since MEDICAL WASTE DOES NOT GO IN THE DUMPSTER), or you will find (surprise!) aborted fetuses ("dead babies", in their lingo - not the fetuses', the protesters'). So what does that prove? ZOMG, they're doing ABORTIONS at the ABORTION CLINIC!! Who knew??!! At most, it's grounds to complain that the clinic is not disposing of its medical waste properly, but even filing such a report would involve the police finding out that you were going through their garbage, which surely can't be legal.

It just sucks because we have to have a lock on our dumpster, even though we most certainly do not dispose of any medical waste OR medical records in there. Just another one of those things to make you shake your head and wonder what on earth is wrong with the world.

Oh and just FYI, I will be internetless from Thursday to Monday as I will be in glorious NYC. So if you try to post a comment and it doesn't come up for a while, it just means I haven't had a chance to look at it. But I will take care of any and all comments when I get back.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eventful Morning

So I've been catching some flak for not having updated the blog for a little while. I know, gentle readers, that you wait breathlessly for the next update, and I'm sorry. I have been away. And I remain insanely distracted (I am talking distracted to an unhealthy degree, like I've been having dreams about it) by the quest for tickets to Leonard Cohen. INSANE. So I haven't blogged.

I'm back on track now though, believe it or not. (Believe it!). Today I was outside with the others, escorting, and of course it was extremely cold. I have lost all feeling in my toes. Well, not really. Having suffered a mild case of hypothermia while in Montreal a couple weeks ago, I feel much better equipped (although not any happier) to face the cold.

We had a special guest today, a reporter from the CBC who is doing a piece on the escorts for Maritime Noon (I will let you know as soon as I find out when it's going to air). So that was fun, getting to chat to her, and see her attempt to tear herself away from an interview with Earpiece Charlie (!). It should be a really interesting piece, all told.

Lots of protesters out today, including at least one new guy - a young fellow with a cross on the ass of his jeans. STYLE. Jesus appreciates it. One of the highlights of the morning was the guy in the snow removal vehicle yelling at the protesters to get out of his way. However, this was followed by about eight different city vehicles going back and forth over the same patch of Brunswick Street, not actually removing any snow that I could see, but making lots of noise. Your tax dollars at work.

Some of the clinic staff have been getting a bit upset lately about Earpiece Charlie and a couple of the other (male) protesters who stare in through the clinic windows at staff and patients. The concern is that this constitutes harrassment. Well this week a couple letters were written and (hand) delivered to the offending parties. I was asked to take the first one to the quiet guy with the grey hair (he's so generic looking I don't even have a nickname for him). I went up to him and tried to hand him the envelope, and we had the following conversation:

Me: Excuse me. This is for you.

Him: Is it a love letter?

Me: No.

Him: I don't think I should accept any hate mail.

Me: It isn't.

Him: What is it?

Me: It isn't from me. It's from inside.

Him: I don't think I should take it.

Me: Just take the letter.

At this point I sort of thrust it into his hands and walked away. He called after me: "Jesus loves you!", and then let SF and SS know that Jesus loves them, as well.

The letters were read (apparently) but the protesters continued to stand still and stare through the windows. Finally, the law on our side - SL called the cops. A police officer came and chatted with the protesters, basically letting them know that they were allowed to be there but they had to keep moving. A tiny victory for us.

Also, some awesome news: our doctor, SR, asked me if I want to go with her to the NAF conference in April! Of course I said yes. I'm super stoked - it's such a good opportunity to learn more about a field that I might very possibly be involved in for a while, and also to network (which I hate doing, but it's a necessary evil). I am very excited that she would think of me.

It's kind of funny...I'm very passionate about the issue of abortion rights and access, and I love this job, but I was sort of thinking of it as something I would do for a couple years while I wait for my partner to finish law school. But now all these things keep happening - the essay contest, the recognition the blog is getting, media interviews, and now this conference. It's as if the universe is telling me this is something I might actually do...with my life. A career in repro rights advocacy. Possibly. Not necessarily here in NB (lord forbid, actually - sorry gang, I hate the climate), but wherever I eventually end up. So I guess it's something to think about. I always sort of envisioned myself with a career that involved helping people in need, which I automatically assumed meant working in international development. But there are a lot of women in need in this country and in the states, who are lacking access to good health care - sexual, reproductive and otherwise. So maybe it's a start.

Anyway...enough of my personal musings. Things are looking up, even though Spring is nowhere to be seen. The only thing that would make my week better would be getting those Leonard Cohen tickets. Please please please please please.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ups and Downs (but mostly downs)

Hi. I didn't blog this week because I wasn't at the clinic. I was in Montreal, enjoying the vocal stylings of a talented young up-and-comer...Bruce...something. Spring...steen? Charming fellow. Going places, you mark my words. ;)

Seriously though, the concert rocked my socks. MY SOCKS. I know it must look, from reading this blog since the start of the year, that I go all over the place, all the time. The truth is I don't know what's going on, it's like I've squashed all the trips I would normally take in a year, into a two month period. It's probably not a great idea, work-wise; and I don't have any money left, I'll tell you that. Plus I'm taking two more trips this month. After that - no more, I promise.

I don't have much else to say, obviously. I don't want to talk about the stupid fetus bill because it makes me depressed. I'm not the hyper-patriotic type, but it is pretty maddening to see your country slowly follow America down the toilet.

Meanwhile, life goes on. I think winter is getting to everyone a little - am I right? The sidewalks are crap. It's depressing. I think even our charming next door neighbours are blue - I saw one of our favourite protesters hobbling around on crutches the other day...maybe she fell on the ice? Bah. Weather.

Anyway, I'm going to stop before I stab myself in the face. Here's hoping Spring comes soon, and with it a bubble zone, a decision on standing, an Order of Canada for Henry, and heck, a magical unicorn with a pan of delicious brownies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mini-Holidays and Rhetorical (Maybe) Questions

This morning I was out on the front lines once again - SL decided to send me outside with the other escorts. I can't decide if I like escorting or being at the front desk more; both definitely have their advantages. Outside, I feel as if I am doing something that is directly beneficial to the patients. I get to chat to my friends, and see more of what the protesters are up to. But inside, I get to organize stuff (my secret love) and I get paid (hey, it had to be said).

I have to say, it was rough outside in terms of the cold - I could only hack one shift. It was good though, the Saint John crew was there so I got to see ol' Earpiece Charlie and the gang face to face. They weren't too bad today, but there were a couple drivers who expressed some interest in telling the protesters where to go, so that's always fun. All in all, it was nice to be outside again. A change is as good as a holiday, or so they say.

I'm having an interesting internet experience at the moment. In my essay that I read at the Ottawa celebrations, I mentioned that two of my friends in New Brunswick were refused pap tests by their doctors. It was an anecdotal example that was part of a larger point I was making about limits on access to reproductive health care in the province. Anyway, last week I received an email from Pamela Pizarro, who writes for RH Reality Check. She wanted to know more about my friends' experiences. Well, I couldn't really tell her much, since it was secondhand information to begin with, and it really wasn't a big focus in my essay. Anyway, I told her what I could. Well, she ran with it, and this is the result.

Since that story ran, I've been getting emails from random people, wanting to know who these doctors are, why my friends were refused paps, how many doctors I think might be doing this same thing, etc. etc. Which is fine; I've just been emailing them back with what I basically wrote in the paragraph above: I don't know any more about it than what my friends have told me; it was not the main point of my essay, or even of that sentence of my essay; and even if I knew who the doctors were, I'm not about to risk my butt by calling them out on it based on secondhand evidence (as much as I do trust the friends in question). So that's that, right?

Well imagine my surprise when yesterday I saw this posted at Feministing (internet love of my life). I left a comment to say I didn't think it was as big a deal as the author of the piece was implying, but I don't think anyone paid attention. I'm a little worried that this concern over "NB doctors refusing to give pap tests" is completely unfounded, or at least founded on an offhand remark I made in my essay. I guess when people pick up something shocking like this, they run with it, and it's easy to get outraged over something that doesn't really exist.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing Pizarro or Feministing. Obviously my story was true and they thought it was something we should be concerned about. I'm just weirded out because I'm getting these emails and it wasn't even the point of my essay. I feel like the internet attention focused on this "crisis" that is almost definitely NOT a crisis, is kind of ironic considering the essay was actually about a crisis that really DOES exist - the insanely insufficient standard of health care in New Brunswick, particularly for women.

Am I being a bitch about this? What do you guys think?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Battles Won, and Those Ongoing

First of all, thank you so, so much, those of you who voted for me in the Canadian F-Word Blog Awards!! I won my category (Reproductive Liberty), so hoorah, and better yet I have discovered a lot of awesome feminist blogs in the process. Everybody wins! Go here to see the other winners (and runners up), and read the awesome message from none other than Heather Mallick, the love of my intellectual life.

On Saturday we had another stare-off with the kids from Bound 4 Life, who came to "siege" (their word) the clinic with...prayer. We were all pretty scared. Wink. Strangely enough I didn't get nearly as large a turnout of counter protesters as I did last time, even though it was much more planned out this time (ie a Facebook event was made), but I think this was mainly due to the hippie-friendly film festival ("Boost Your Eco") going on at the same time.

Regardless, we stood outside with our signs and faced them. This time their leader, KT, was not wearing the life tape - she was wearing tape across her stomach that said "spokesperson". However, when we tried to ask her questions, she told us that she was there to answer the questions of random passers by, and was not interested in debating with us. Boo.

I believe they are going to be doing this monthly. So we will do it monthly, too. I don't want their protests to go unanswered, and here's why: on their Facebook event this time, they put a little disclaimer about how they are not "against women's rights or people who are pro-choice", but that they are instead "for life". I don't know what their motivation would be for writing this, but they are wrong. They are against abortion, and the right to choose abortion is a woman's right - thus, against a woman's right. I believe that you can pray all you want to end abortion, you can pray and pray and pray, but as soon as you step outside and slap tape over your mouth and start "sieging" an abortion clinic, THEN you are making a political statement. And I sure as hell won't leave you alone just because you're "praying silently". Bullshit. You could pray silently at home. You want to be seen, for whatever reason, and if that's the case, I want to be seen opposing you. You make a political statement, I'll make one right back. The right of a woman to choose abortion is not one that we are just going to sit back and let you pray away.

That said, feast your eyes on the lovely picture below. I hope you all had a good weekend.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Because It's Fun to Vote

Thank you all for voting for me in the first round of the Canadian F-Word Blog Awards. I made it to the finals!! The final round of voting is up now (only until tomorrow!), so don't forget to vote for who you really want to win!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

First, Bill Clinton gives it to the anti-choicers. Then, Charles Barkley (of all people) gives it to the "fake Christians".

Thanks, guys. I think I could probably stop blogging now - it's all been said.