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 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!!