Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Matter of the Heart

"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." - Dr. George Tiller

I know I should blog about Dr. Tiller, because when you have a lot of feelings (as I do), it’s good to get them out. And in case you hadn’t noticed, I get a lot of that stuff out by writing.

I am not a journalist. This has already been reported, opined on and blogged about all over the internet. The best coverage, comments, and things you can do are on Feministing, and they’ve also rounded up some of the other very good coverage and opinion. Anyway, I just want to talk about my feelings; this is more for my benefit than your edification. Read at your own peril.

When I first opened the email from ARCC this afternoon and read that Dr. Tiller had been killed, I was shocked. Since then I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions. I’m not really good yet, and I probably shouldn’t be writing about it yet (my hands are still shaking on the keyboard), but I gotta get it out.

Sadness – obviously, first and foremost, I’m devastated for his family and loved ones. How horrendous to have someone you love and support gunned down in a place of worship and peace. It breaks my heart to think what they must be going through right now, and will continue to go through for a long time.

Anger – this is the main one. I’m so fucking mad I can’t even see straight. George Tiller was a courageous, strong, compassionate person who gave up his safety and ultimately his life to help women who had nowhere else to go. Abortion providers go through so much more shit than anyone could ever know. You don’t do that to get rich. You do it because you care. What kind of sick piece of crap thinks it’s justified to take his life?

What makes me even more livid is that any anti-abortion organization or individual has the temerity to speak out about this – for or against. Fuck you. You created the atmosphere of fear in which abortion providers live every day of their lives. You put their names and faces on your websites, you spew lies, you draw in people with just the right amount of crazy and need to belong that they would go out and shoot someone because of your cause. YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN, and you can go fuck yourselves.

Hopelessness – not much to say about that. Coming so soon after the appeal win, it’s like we’re back to square one in the fight against the anti-choicers.

Fear – I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the protesters in terms of the threat they present. The ones at our clinic seem harmless enough. But it just takes one person to take one step over the edge, and that’s it. How hard would it be for them to find out our names, addresses, habits? How hard would it be for them to bomb us? This changes everything; I feel very on edge about going to work at the clinic after this. I’m scared for the volunteers, I’m scared for our doctor, I’m scared for the staff, I’m scared for the patients, I’m scared for myself.

So, in conclusion, I pretty much want to curl up and die. I feel a deeper sense of loss than I thought possible for a person I met once, very briefly. I feel like it’s a lot easier to say “we can’t let them win” when it’s over things like signs and pink hats. I still believe it, of course – we can’t let them win. I just feel like this is going to take us a long time to get over. I know it’s going to take me a long time.

But you know, like Dr. Tiller said, “attitude is everything”. I have to believe we can recover, and fight back, and be stronger than ever. Pro-woman, pro-child, pro-choice. Rest in peace, Dr. Tiller. You will be greatly missed.

RIP George Tiller

I just found out that George Tiller died; he was shot to death at church this morning.

I will have more to say on this when I get myself together. I just thought y'all should know.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Short One

Yesterday's clinic started out wonderfully; the protesters were not there for the majority of the morning, and the change in atmosphere was palpable. No one came in crying, everyone was a lot less tense, which makes the staff less tense, which makes everything pretty awesome.

Of course, they did show up eventually. Pink Hat was no longer wearing her pink hat! It wasn't a particularly warm day so I can't imagine why she didn't feel the need to wear it. What a pity.

Meanwhile, I'm going in today to meet with a woman from the CBC who wants to talk to me about my morning after pill project. Speaking of media, I wonder if you caught me on the radio talking about the Morgentaler appeal decision? If not, you can read the article here.

The email campaign asking Mike Murphy to resign is going very well; lots of people have contacted him. Now it's all just a waiting game to see if the province decides to go to the Supreme Court. Things are brewing though; the next few months are going to be exciting (I hope!).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spring Shenanigans

So, there was no clinic this week, which is kind of a good thing because I have lots of other stuff to talk about.

First of all, I went to check out the March for Life at the provincial legislature on Thursday. What a good time! It was smaller than last year, and as always I found it thoroughly amusing/terrifying that most of the attendees were either male, or below or above reproductive age. I really want these people deciding what goes on in my uterus.

I was joined by some pro-choice friends, and we skulked around in the background, listening to the speeches. There were some pro-choice people who looked to be high school age, who showed up with signs and engaged some of the lifers in debate. Of course the media was quick to come over to them, so I hope they were able to hold their own. I briefly considered giving a comment but as soon as I heard they were debating, I decided to stay out of it. I'm trying not to get drawn into pointless arguments any more, on the internet and certainly in real life (especially when representing the clinic or ARCC!).

We followed the march back to Brunswick Street, where they went behind their building to pray and carry on for a bit. They didn't stay too long, though, as their reception was being held this year in the brand new Knights of Columbus hall. I bet they had really delicious cookies.

One of the people who spoke at the March for Life was our horrible Minister of Health, Mike Murphy. Afterwards he (foolishly) commented to the media that he is "not entirely" comfortable enforcing laws and policies on abortion, because of his pro-life beliefs. Surprise! If you can't do your job without letting your personal beliefs interfere...RESIGN!

So ARCC and the NB Rebelles are calling for Mr. Murphy's resignation. You can read the ARCC press release, and then email Murphy at and ask him to step down. If you'd like a sample email to send, I have one all written, so just drop me a line at If you would rather call his office, the number is (506) 457-4800.

And finally, some good news! The NB Court of Appeal has FINALLY said no to the province, and Dr. Morgentaler has been granted standing to bring his suit. So....maybe a trial is in the future? This is really, really good news as it's been a long and difficult struggle to get this far. There are so many exciting possibilities from here.

That's all the news right now...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tech Updates for Feminist Nerds

The May Madness continues at the clinic. It sometimes seems ok, like when it's 8:30 and there's no protesters yet, but then they'll all come out at once and start screeching and carrying on. Yesterday Pink Hat went wild at one particular young woman, telling her "They're after your baby!" and "I can tell you don't want to do this!". God she's awful. I wonder how difficult it is for them to justify making people cry by yelling at them?

Inside the clinic, one of the patients was suffering some severe nausea as a symptom of the pregnancy, and spent most of her waiting time throwing up. I felt really bad for her. I can't even imagine suffering through that for nine whole months. Thank goodness we have SOME choice/access here.

I wonder if you noticed that I made a couple additions to my "Pedgehog Reads..." section? The first is the NB Rebelles blog. If you are at all interested, it informs people of upcoming events (not just NB Rebelles stuff, and not just Fredericton!), and it also has links to our merchandise for sale and so on. I could go on, but I don't want this to be an ad for NB Rebelles. Just check out the website and you'll get the idea.

The second addition is Confabulous, a great feminist blog based in Canada. I love a lot of feminist blogs, most notably Feministing, but I get a little sad that there's not much Canadian content. Confabulous is Canadian, and feminist, and thus it is awesome.

And, while I'm plugging stuff, I will let you know that you can follow me, NB Rebelles, and ARCC on Twitter. And you should.

The antis are holding their annual March for Life tomorrow. It should be interesting, as always. I always like to see which elected representatives are actively working against women's rights in New Brunswick.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Hi, faithful readers. Sorry I didn't blog earlier this week - I left town right after clinic on Tuesday for a brief mid-week out-of-town trip to see my grandmother: props to Nanny on her 95th birthday! Booya!

Anyway, Tuesday's clinic was pretty exciting, as far as these things go. First of all, two of our most awesome escorts (EO and AD) wore charming pink berets, in tribute to the always entertaining protester, Pink Hat. She seemed pretty peeved about it. It's always fun to find a way to poke fun at the protesters without disturbing or upsetting the patients. The only downside is having "Raspberry Beret" in my head for the rest of the day.

In between shifts, just as the last of my early shifters was leaving, I heard a loud voice as outside door was closing. I went outside to check it out; it was a dude on a motorcycle, who had pulled over to the side of the road to give the protesters a piece of his mind. He called them "terrorists", and told them they really ought to read the Supreme Court decision before they stood out there protesting (I have to say, I agree, although I don't know, maybe they have read it). He was quite angry and carried on for a while before zooming off.

Afterwards, one of the escorts mentioned that they thought he was probably the same guy who used to pull over in his silver SUV to yell at the protesters - he used some of the same language. I think it's pretty likely. His new nickname will be Old Yeller.

The protesters are, as I mentioned before, always quite riled in May, because of Mother's Day and the March for Life. On Tuesday morning they had one of their trucks in their parking lot blaring Jesus music - Amazing Grace and so on. Every week it's something new and hilarious with them.

I've talked before about the awkwardness of having someone I know come in for an abortion. Something that is quite possibly more awkward is when someone I know comes in with someone having an abortion. It's worse because I don't know beforehand like I would if they were a patient, so I'm unprepared. It happened this weekend - someone I know vaguely from high school - and I must have been more taken aback than I thought, because I knocked a whole bunch of stuff over when I was getting her friend's forms. Or maybe I'm just a clutz.

If you have bottles/recycleables, email before tomorrow, and we'll come pick 'em up!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just Stopping By!

There was no clinic this week. The folks next door are busy as ever, though, no doubt still gearing up for the March for Life.

I won Best Reproductive Liberties Blog in the F-Word Blog Awards; thanks so much for voting for me!! I have the best readers ever. If I could figure out how to put a little badge on my blog, I could boast a little more.

Not much has happened, I just wanted to check in so y'all didn't think I was dead. Or had swine flu or something. Remember, if you find me so fascinating you can't stand our internet time apart, you can follow me on twitter. I am @pedgehog.

Hey, if you're in Fredericton, and you have some bottles/recyclables, email and we'll come get 'em for you next Saturday.