Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Boiling Over

This week so far has been like a strange dream that I have floated through. The decision out of Ferguson did not surprise me but it stunned me, and ever since I have been detached and numb. It can't help that I had my IUD removed (more on that in another post!), had a flu shot, went to the Ferguson solidarity rally here in Toronto and screamed my frustration and anger and hopelessness into the cold air. And now this announcement - the newly-elected New Brunswick Liberals have taken a baby step towards improving access to abortion in NB by getting rid of the infamous "two doctor rule". What does this mean?

First, you might wonder why I write on the blog so infrequently these days. I have my reasons, but mostly the frustration of being outside of New Brunswick - but still caring very much what happens there - has made me somewhat cynical. And when I offer my input, being treated as a "from away" who doesn't understand the issues has made me somewhat bitter. Typical Fredericton, of course (love ya New Brunny!). Not entirely unjustified. But still, there it is.

I want to be as hopeful and idealistic as I always was, and failing that, I want to keep my cynicism off this blog. Its home is in my weekly calls with my mum, where we indulge in it together as family tradition dictates.

So anyway, this is big news, and full credit should go to the hardworking activists who have been pushing for years/decades - yes, including me; I may have come from away and left again but I did work hard and still do - and not to the ultimately cynical (glass houses I know) Liberal Party, who did this out of strategy and practicality and nothing more, which, fine, that's how politics works. Let's just try not to pretend it's anything it ain't.

And of course there's more to do, as wisely pointed out in the RJNB press release. This means nothing without more doctors - the two that have been performing abortions in hospitals have been turning people away since they started because the demand is simply too high. And the "only in a hospital" rule needs to go. The Liberals are being dicks even as they give us a victory, blindsiding us with the announcement to elicit the outpouring of unexamined gratitude. Well fuck that. The response is, as it should be, "Thanks - finally! Now what about the rest?"

The words "the system isn't broken, it was built this way" have been echoing through my head since last night at the rally. Here is yet another example. Failing tearing down the whole system, each piecemeal improvement has to be relentlessly fought for, and even then, who does it help? Those on the margins, the rural, poor and the racialized, can no more get to one of the two hospitals than they could to the clinic. For many New Brunswickers those hospitals may as well be on the moon.

A system couldn't be built to be impenetrable, so it had to be built in such a way that each small change, each tiny capitulation, needed to be ripped and squeezed over lifetimes, on the backs of those with the heaviest burdens.

Anyway, I am still angry.


Mamile said...

Celebrate today knowing you fight tomorrow I guess. It's a small step forward, but it's still forward. I know that it's something I've wanted to see for a long, long time.

Just as long as we don't characterize this conceit as the smashing of barriers, the tearing down of walls (which it absolutely is not), but treat it as institutions making small treads into the lukewarm waters of progressivism, then it will pave the way for a victory tomorrow. And maybe a victory after that, who knows? Keep the pace up, and thanks for writing the way you do.

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