Friday, April 24, 2009

A Brief Update

I am so behind on everything this week, and I really have no excuse. Oh well, TGIF. Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the F-Word awards; I believe they are announcing the winners tomorrow (the 25th).

So at the clinic this week we had a new protester. She was wearing a vry fetching cape-type garment, which is going to earn her a bat/vampire-related nickname. I'm putting a poll up on the side so you can choose. It's between Batwoman and Elvira. If you have other suggestions, let me know.

The protesters are getting all riled, which isn't really a surprise. Mother's Day is coming up, as is the annual March for Life. This time of year really brings out their charm.

I'm still working on my Plan B project, and have received some interest from CBC's Maritime Noon, which is awesome.

I had some other stuff I wanted to blog about but, as mentioned earlier, I'm behind this week, so there's some things I really have to do. I might blog again during the week though. Hold on to your butts!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Know Your Plan B

I know, I usually blog earlier in the week. I don't know, sometimes someone just needs to come light a fire under my ass about it.

Tuesday's clinic was a gong show outside, as is the norm these days. Pink Hat was agressive and awful, and the others were their usual zombie selves. It being National Volunteer Appreciation Week, I made cupcakes for my lovely volunteers. A few of them are leaving now that school is done, which is sad.

Yesterday I started on a project to find out what the availability and accessibility of Plan B is like in various pharmacies throughout the province. I've called all the pharmacies in Fredericton so far (there are over thirty, which I never would have guessed) and the price ranges from $20 to $40. Also, even though it's supposed to be available on the shelf, the majority of places still keep it behind the counter, so you have to ask for it; at some pharmacies, you have to have a "consultation" with a pharmacist before they will let you buy it.

So that was pretty unimpressive. I'm going to work through some of the other areas of the province, and then eventually we'll be able to put this info together for women who come to the clinic.

Last night I went to see Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes speak at the law school. He is an awesome gay rights activist (and Order of Canada recipient), and his speech was really fucking amazing. I just cried and cried through the whole thing. We ran into him afterwards at a bar downtown and he sat and chatted with us; he is a really cool guy. They followed up his talk with a presentation on the legal history of gay rights in Canada by Dr. Karen Pearlston, who is a kickass local activist/prof. It was a good night.

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the F-Word blog awards. I made it through the elimination round in the Reproductive Liberties category, so please vote in the final round, which starts on the 18th at midnight and finishes on the 19th at midnight. Thanks friends!! Here are the other finalists if you are interested.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

Oh hai, just wanted to pop in and mention that I've been nominated, once again, in the F-Word Blog Awards over at A Creative Revolution. So awesome!! So if you like my blog and want to vote for me, there's two rounds of voting. The first one is going on now, until April 14th.

You can vote here. The voting is on the right side of the page, and I am nominated in two categories: Oh! Canada English, and Best Reproductive Liberties Blog (of which I am a past winner).

Thanks so much for the nomination, and for all your support!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rain and Awkward Moments

Yesterday's clinic was....wet. It was very, very rainy outside. Like, pouring. My poor escorts were quite soaked, and this week we went back to the two-shift system, so they were soaked for an hour and a half instead of an hour. We even had a new guy, GA. Luckily he had a good time anyway and is coming back. Hooray new blood!

The protesters were out as well, despite the rain. I was very disappointed to see they weren't wearing their matching yellow rainsuits; I guess they just weren't prepared. Or maybe they realized how silly they look. Regardless, they were there. Pink Beret was even wearing one of those little plastic rain hats over her pink beret. Why bother with the beret, you ask? Well, you'd have to ask her.

They were quite aggressive; the Holy Ghost had herself perched up on what remained of the snowbank, so she could yell at patients as they came in. One of the as yet un-nicknamed protesters, a lady holding a sign that said "All babies are precious" (or some equally nauseating nonsense), came up to a couple of the escorts (including the new guy) and said "How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?". Yeah. Think about that.

So it was a circus as usual. Inside, I had one of those awkward situations that I occasionally face, when someone I know comes in for an appointment. It is always a vague acquaintance, so I never really know how things are going to go down. This woman was awesome about it though; she greeted me right away with "oh! I didn't know you worked here!", and then we had a totally non-awkward discussion about how sick the pregnancy was making her. It was awesome, I love it when people are relaxed. Because really, it doesn't matter to me if someone I know is having an abortion, obviously, but I know for them it can be awkward. So, if you know me and you're ever coming in for an abortion, just a head's up that I would never violate your confidentiality, nor would I judge you.

Spring is in the air, friends. I have to hope that doesn't mean renewed vigour on the part of the protesters, but I fear that it might. On a positive note, it's lovely outside (when it isn't raining like crazy) and soon it will be time to start riding my bike again. Awesome.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TV Abortion Fail

Clinic yesterday was ok. I am currently battling a cold so I spent most of the time blowing my nose and sanitizing my hands. Also, working. The protesters came out late but in full force, including Crazy Legs. Nothing particularly notable happened. Winter continues to engulf us.

So, I was doing some abortion-related musing that I might as well share with you all. When you work/volunteer/advocate for pro-choice orgs, you spend a lot of time thinking about abortion. At least, I do. I have analyzed the topic in pretty much every way my tiny brain can. I know last year there was a lot of talk, after Juno and Knocked Up, about how abortion is portrayed in the media. I think about that a lot.

I find it very interesting, the disparity between real-life abortion situations and TV/movie mentions of abortion. In that, it happens ALL THE TIME in real life, and ALMOST NEVER in TV and movies. It's kind of like the whole gay thing; I remember as a teenager feeling a little weirded out that I knew so many gay-identified people, and on TV they were almost always either one hilarious sidekick, or a punchline. And their defining feature was their gayness. Now, this is changing, for sure. But it's the same kind of thing; real life is not being reflected accurately.

Unwanted/unexpected pregnancies do come up a lot, because it's a super convenient plot twist that opens up all kinds of story arcs. But abortion and adoption are almost never considered, and when they are, they're dismissed for whatever reason. Now, I don't watch a huge amount of TV shows, so maybe I'm out of the loop. But when I do see it, it bothers me. Not because I think fictional characters should be having more abortions; but I think the viewer should be given more credit. I mean come on - what women, faced with an unplanned pregnancy, hasn't even CONSIDERED abortion or adoption?

This came up because I was watching Scrubs the other day and Jordan found out she was pregnant. I haven't seen enough of the show to know how the story develops, but in the episode I watched, she (and Perry, her partner) were clearly miserable about the situation. The reason for the pregnancy was a vasectomy that "didn't take", so clearly they didn't want any more kids. And yet, they spend the whole episode moping about it, and then eventually accept it, but still somewhat unhappily. There is no discussion of the alternatives. None. I know it's a comedy, but come on! He is a doctor and she is on the hospital board; it's not like they can't afford an abortion, or like they wouldn't know how to get one. WTF? Why wouldn't the show take the opportunity to at least tackle the issue; Jordan could still decide to parent in the end, and they could go ahead with whatever baby story they're shooting for.

The same thing bothered me, to a lesser extent, on Friends. When Rachel found out she was pregnant, it was so unrealistic that a woman in her position (single, career-driven, living in an apartment) wouldn't consider abortion. Not that she would have one, but that she wouldn't even consider it! Come on! And this is a show that took on surragacy - TWICE! And adoption.

I know that both these women (Jordan from Scrubs and Rachel from Friends) would most likely ultimately end up parenting, because their respective TV universes have given them what they need to do so; willing partners, strong support networks, money, etc. But both are presented as independent, intelligent and rational people; why wouldn't they think about their options?

To be clear, I don't think it would be super fantastic if people on every show were having abortions all over the place. But I feel like unexpected pregnancies happen all the time on TV (as they do in real life), and yet abortion, which happens ALL THE TIME to TONS AND TONS OF ORDINARY WOMEN is almost never mentioned as an option. I feel like this serves to further stigmatize it. Especially since it seems like when women do choose abortion in TV/movies, they either change their mind when they get in there (Juno, Sex and the City), face gloms of scary protesters (Degrassi), or it's referred to as something they did when they were young (which, admittedly, is better than nothing; at least they're talking about it).

If I watched more TV and movies, I could probably offer better analysis. It just sucks that in pop culture abortion is either a deadly serious, underground operation or...not even mentioned. Come on people. This isn't 1952. There are a lot of real women out there who would probably love to see their story reflected in the media, instead of being isolated for doing something that thousands of ordinary women do, every day.