Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekly Reader

Lots of Motion 312 news this week, obviously! It would be difficult to summarize all the articles, so I'm just going to tell you where they're from:

First some information on M-312 from ARCC and Abortion Monologues, and a statement of solidarity from the Canadian Labour Congress.

Pre-debate coverage of the Motion and the Radical Handmaids protest from:

The Globe and Mail
The Edmonton Journal
The Ottawa Sun
The Ottawa Citizen
The London Free Press
The Toronto Star
The Province
The National Post
The Winnipeg Free Press

A Mississauga Catholic school teacher brought a pro-M312 petition to school for the kids to sign.

Coverage of the debate from CBC, the Toronto Star and Sun, The Spec, Metro, Winnipeg Free Press, the Montreal Gazette, Macleans, Northumberland View, and the Star Phoenix.

Blog reactions from meJane Cawthorne, and rabble.

Feel free to share more coverage and opinion in comments.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Truer Words, etc.

"Whether one accepts it or not, abortion is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations in which some women may have to choose the option of abortion. No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against abortion, abortion cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition." - Gordon O'Connor, Chief Government Whip, Conservative Party of Canada.

Read my thoughts on M-312 here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Handmaids on the Hill

Have I mentioned how much I effing love the Radical Handmaids? Here is their press release. "OfStephen"! So good. (Via. French version here.)

*Handmaids on the Hill protest Conservatives’ Anti-Abortion Bill.*

OTTAWA - On the eve of the introduction of Conservative MP backbencher Stephen Woodworth’s anti-abortion private member’s bill, a determined group of women calling themselves the Radical Handmaids are getting together on Parliament Hill for a little “causeplay” in support of reproductive rights.

Sporting red garments and “Flying Nun” hats in an allusion to Margaret Atwood’s classic novel *The Handmaid’s Tale*, the Handmaids are protesting Bill M-312 as a regressive attack on women.

“*The Handmaid’s Tale* shouldn’t be an instruction manual,” said one young woman, who identified herself only as “OfStephen” (“Woodworth or Harper, take your pick”).

In Atwood’s novel, set in a futuristic America transformed by religious fundamentalists into the Republic of Gilead, women are judged by whether or not they are capable of bearing children and, if fertile, are enslaved to men of the ruling elite who forcibly impregnate them.

“We’re watching what’s going on in the United States with the war on women and we know the Conservatives are trying to sneak it up here,” said another OfStephen, standing in front of a display of brightly-coloured knitted uteruses.

Supporters across the country have been sending the Handmaids knitted wombs and vulvas, using patterns available on the Internet. When they have enough, the Handmaids say they will deliver the woolly parts to any MPs who vote in favour of Woodworth’s bill.

“If they want to control our uteruses so badly, they can have a womb of their own,” said OfStephen.

If it passes in the House of Commons, M-312 would create a Parliamentary Committee to revisit the question of fetal personhood. The Radical Handmaids point to the futility of reopening the abortion debate, arguing that Parliamentary resources could be better used to restore the national childcare program the Conservatives killed on their election in 2006.

“Affordable daycare for working parents isn’t on the agenda,” OfStephen said. “Apparently you have to be a fetus to matter to a Conservative.”

*For more information, please contact OfStephen (Julie Lalonde) at 613-301-2697 or OfStephen (Aalya Ahmad) at 613-327-1177.*

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weekly Reader

So sorry to be late with this, friends! Here's what I've been reading about this week:

The whole sex-selective abortion issue is rearing its ugly head once again. Of course, don't show them the ultrasound! That should solve it.

Here's a summary of coverage, and here's a good piece on the real problem.

Calgarians respond to the re-opening of the abortion debate

Woodworth and Motion 312! Get yer wombs for Woodworth, read (and submit to) Voices Against M312, and check out events in Ottawa (with transportation from Montreal), Victoria, Toronto, and take action!

What have you been reading?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Meet the Handmaids!

I wonder if Margaret Atwood ever gets tired of being right. No really you guys, do you remember the first time you read The Handmaid's Tale (I do, but it was recently)? Remember how it sent a chill down your spine? For me, Oryx and Crake was even worse for this, with the genetic engineering and the internet porn/death scenes. TOO REAL MARGARET.

Anyway, I just want to tell you about some really awesome folks who have started a group called the Radical Handmaids, after the handmaids in Atwood's most famous book. They even have fabulous costumes! They formed in preparation for the April 26 debate on women's rights fetal rights in Parliament, as part of Motion 312 put forth by Stephen Woodworth, MP and all-around douchecanoe.

Please check out the Handmaids on Facebook and Twitter, and also ARCC's action alert on Motion 312, which includes instructions on how to make your own handmaid outfit!

I love the fun and humour these folks have injected into the debate; I also think they strike exactly the right tone. If you think we're so far from living in Gilead, I feel like you need to re-read the book, and then maybe read the news - especially in the States. And then start sewing yourself a hat.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekly Reader

Hey friends, sorry there was no post this week; I spent my weekend nursing a very sick fellow. :(

Here is what I've been reading:

This Wildrose scandal won't go away! Here's the various news outlets reporting on Smith insisting that she is pro-choice, and here's Jane's take and Warren Kinsella (I know, I know).

For your edification, a fact sheet on Motion 312.

My latest at Abortion Gang, being a humourless feminist as usual.

And that's it! Feel free to share more links in comments.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thank You!

Thanks so much to everyone who donated to my month-long campaign to raise money for the PEI Reproductive Rights Organization, and to those who spread the word. We didn't make it to the $1000 goal, but we did raise $655 which, believe me, will go a long way towards helping folks from the Island to access abortion and reproductive health care. Many women have appointments at the clinic in Fredericton, or the hospital in Halifax, and just need gas money or bridge toll fare, and your kindness and generosity means there will be a couple fewer things they have to worry about that day.

Of course PEI is still struggling, and the amazing grassroots activists there can use your help - and can stretch every donation to its fullest potential. Please consider giving them a little help if you are able. Check out the PRRO website or contact me if you are interested in helping out - pedgehog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weekly Reader

Hey folks, here's what's been happening this week:

Abortion and reproductive rights podcast at

Lots of great, angry and articulate reactions to M-312 (Woodworth's proposed abortion debate), and all your questions answered - and Joyce Arthur debates the man himself!

5 signs you're arguing with an incognito anti-choicer

There was a big abortion protest in St. John's

And in case you missed the big Wildrose scandal this week, it starts here and here, and then coverage spreads pretty much everywhere

Also, it's not too late to donate to the PEI abortion fund!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

How to be a Fauxgressive

Step 1: Convince people you are progressive. Maybe get a blog, join some kind of "progressive bloggers" aggregator or blogroll.

Step 2: Write some progressive stuff on the blog. Or at least, you know, liberal stuff. Be vaguely anti-oppression, take potshots at conservatives. Draw people in.

Step 3: Avoid checking your own privilege.

Step 4: Characterize the rights of a minority group to which you do not belong as fodder for stimulating political discussion.

Step 5: Refuse to listen to members of said group when they tell you that their lives and freedoms are not up for debate.

Step 6: Characterize the whole argument as a "pissing match" and, in case there was any doubt that you are not genuinely progressive, start calling fetuses "unborn children".

Or, save yourself time and just be this guy.

For the full ridiculous story, DJ! has your back.