Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekly Reader

This week, I have two different posts up about the first anniversary of Dr. Tiller's murder - one here and one at Abortion Gang. Check 'em out.

And in other news...

It turns out the Cons ignored their own advice on abortion.

Here's more news on how the abortion debate is "stalling" the maternal health initiative. Also, people are recommending more money in the initiative, and getting to it already.

But what's this? A bunch of academics say abortions must be included!

Back at home, a lot of people have opinions about Stephen Harper's relationship with the abortion issue.

Oh, and remember that douchebag Cardinal? He's still talking about reopening the abortion debate. So some Canadian bloggers told him to fuck right off.

Some good news: Canada's teen pregnancy rate fell!

ARCC asserts that there is no merit to the anti-choice lawsuit against UVic.

And in international news, the Premier of my old stomping ground, Western Australia, has rejected anti-abortion amendments (hooray!).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Year Later: Still Mad as Hell

Clinic was pretty tame on Tuesday, which is convenient for me because I don't want to blog about clinic today. I want to blog about Dr. Tiller's death.

It has been (almost) a year since Dr. Tiller was shot in the head, in his church in Kansas. I didn't know him personally so I can only speak to how I feel as a person who has lost a hero and a leader of the pro-choice movement. His death is not a personal loss to me so much as it is a symbolic one, and I hope that it does not offend anyone for me to address it in this way.

I don't have a lot of experience with loss, but I do know that there is a big difference when someone goes before their time. A friend of mine took his own life three years ago. While I did love him and consider him a friend, we weren't particularly close and didn't hang out a lot. And yet, I still feel that loss every day. Literally every single day, for three years, I have thought of him. His suicide is an open wound for me, and I imagine for others who loved him. I don't feel the same way about his death as I do about, for example, my 95-year-old grandmother, who passed much more recently. For both I am sad, but for Nathan I am also angry.

So when I went back in my blog to find my reaction to Dr. Tiller's murder, I was not surprised to see that it was overwhelmingly angry. I am still angry. My entire professional life is changed by his murder; every security decision we make is seen through the lens of what happened to George Tiller. I feel that will be the case for a long time. But also on a personal level, I am deeply angry about his premature death. His MURDER. I think about it all the time.

I have already written my thoughts for Abortion Gang and I will let you know when my post goes up. There will be reflections from the whole gang about Dr. Tiller's murder this weekend, so make sure you check it out (if you're interested). I just wanted to say, over here at my own blog, that the loss of Dr. Tiller continues to affect everyone who works in reproductive health care and especially abortion services. No one should have to fear for their life because of the choice they have made to help women in need. When I think about our doctor, it makes me so angry to think that someone would want to harm her. She is a warm and lovely person who has sacrificed A LOT to perform abortions, to help women.

I still get scared. When I think about how much was spent on keeping George Tiller safe, the fact that he was shot in his makes me feel hopeless. I read Susan Wicklund's book, This Common Secret (highly recommended), and there is one part where a fellow provider explains to her that he no longer wears a bulletproof vest to work, because "they know to shoot for the head". And they did. We live in a world where people who want women to be able to make decisions about their own bodies GET SHOT IN THE HEAD. Are we so afraid of women's freedom?

This is all feelings, no flow. Sorry. If you are thinking about Dr. Tiller and you have a couple bucks, you can donate to the George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund, or if you are looking to help out women here in Canada there is always the Morgentaler Defense Fund. We will keep fighting, friends.

If you are about to comment to tell me that maybe I shouldn't be so angry, please stop, reconsider, check your privilege, and then go fuck yourself. Thanks.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekly Reader

Hello friends! Sorry I'm a day late with the round-up; it is the long weekend and I was off galivanting with friends and (mercifully) away from the computer for a couple days. But now I'm back, so here's what's been happening in Canada this week, abortion-wise:

We really couldn't figure out what was up with Stephen Harper. Of course having no abortion law here at home, but not funding abortions as part of our maternal health initiative makes us look like hypocrites.

We need to put up the money for abortion internationally. But Harper still wants to focus on international aid that isn't "controversial".

A lot of people thought a vote on abortion was on the horizon; Margaret Wente assures us it isn't.

A Cardinal in Quebec said some really hateful shit about abortion and rape; Quebec reacted by challenging Harper to clear up the ambiguity around abortion.

So, Harper has reignited the abortion debate, and it seems very clear that his stance isn't resonating with the majority of Canadians.

So, even though it seems that Harper might reopen the debate, he has come out and said he will not be voting for the "coerced abortion" bill, and will likely reject attempts to come up with new abortion law.

Meanwhile, aid groups and Planned Parenthood continue to suffer, not to mention women globally.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I've been reluctant to blog this week because there wasn't a lot to say. Lady in Red was walking around with Pink Hat, which didn't clash too horribly as Pink Hat's had is really more red than pink.

I feel like my reports on the protesters are getting a bit monotonous - they really aren't mixing it up very much, and apart from Pink Hat's occasional rants, nothing notable happens from week to week. Not that this is a bad thing, of course! I just hope that y'all aren't bored of my terribly similar blog posts.

One cool thing is the nursing students we've had at the clinic lately. It's great to see people who are just getting into medicine showing some enthusiasm for reproductive health care. Along the same vein (ha), one of our escorts just got accepted into nursing! TO THE FUTURE!

Perhaps the protesters are getting a little stir crazy with this lovely spring weather - who wants to be harrassing women when there's picnics to be had and bike rides to be taken? I would venture to say the reason I'm doing such a horrific job of writing this week is that my heart really isn't in it...everything looks better OUTside my window...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekly Reader

Hello my lovelies! It is time for the weekly collection of abortion in the news (and around the interwebs).

First, a Mother's Day post from April Reign.

Some more on the STFU fiasco.

Attending a NAF conference and what it means to be an abortion provider.

More anti-choice controversy, this time at University of Clagary.

A hospital refuses to provide abortion numbers.

Some news from the annual March for Life in Ottawa, and a few things that JJ had to say about it.

More on G8/maternal health stuff: while women's groups and Planned Parenthood get the silent treatment here in Canada, the UN is steering clear of abortion altogether. Apparently Stephen Harper is being praised for his Bush-style approach, and an abortion vote is "inevitable".

Concerned? Here are some ways you can get involved.

And in international news, the struggle for legal abortion continues in Brazil, and the Globe and Mail has a great piece on backroom abortions in Africa.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Haters Gonna Hate

Did you think I was not going to blog this week? Haha, I tricked you! The March for Life was yesterday and I wanted to wait until it was over so I could report back. Especially since this week's clinic was surprisingly tame, protester-wise; just Pink Hat's usual nonsense, telling escorts they can't stand still on the sidewalk, and accusing them of harrassing/intimidating her.

I took a stroll down to the Legislature yesterday to take in the March for Life festivities with SL. We were careful to stand off to the side, but we got noticed, regardless. First the Mad Chatter came over to us to make sure we felt "welcome", and to tell SL that she had a Christmas gift for her that she hadn't had a chance to give her. It was a book, she said, and it would take SL "a lot of courage" to read it. I can't wait to see what it is. SL and I both hope it's The Shack.

We managed to take in the event in relative peace for a little while, but someone must have let the media know who we are, because all of sudden three of them swooped over to us with their cameras and notepads. I figured SL wouldn't want to call attention to us, but she happily gave them a quick interview pointing out that we totally support the antis having their rallies and protests at the Leg - we just don't like it when they harrass women in front of our clinic. I forgot to watch the news so I don't know if they used it (it was Rogers and CTV).

So we're standing there, taking in some super informative speeches by middle-aged men about what women should do, when this priest wanders over. He wanted to talk to us about our point of view because he likes to see the other side of issues. Which was fine. He was a very sweet fellow, actually, a priest of the "Father What-a-waste" variety, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately we were also joined by Mary Beth, a woman who has protested at the clinic in the past. She wanted to let us know that it is not the protesters' intent to intimidate or harrass anyone. I explained to her that it doesn't matter what her intent was, women feel intimidated and that was the point. She said "There are some things more important than feelings" and flounced out of the conversation. *sigh*

I was surprised that at the rally they didn't talk at all about the G8 maternal health stuff. They were mainly focused on the few abortions being performed in hospitals (and covered by Medicare) in New Brunswick. It was a smaller crowd than last year, and there was a noticeable age gap - I didn't see many people between the ages of 12 and 60.

Afterwards they marched to the parking lot of the Mother and Child Welcome Centre next door, and I watched from our parking lot as they offered up many prayers for me and the rest of the staff, so that we would turn from our wicked ways. One older fellow kept turning to pointedly take pictures of me, and also seemed fascinated that I was texting (although I wasn't, I was Tweeting). iPhone: tool of the devil?

So, a fairly lackluster March for Life this year, and barely any excitement leading up to it. I'm sure it was a different story in Ottawa and other places where they get bigger crowds.

We are drawing near the first anniversary of Dr. Tiller's murder. If the people next door dare to acknowledge it in any way I am going to be pretty fucking mad. Just sayin'.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekly Reader

So...around Tuesday of this week, I already had about a gazillion links for the round-up. It's going to be a big one, my friends, and here's why: Senator Nancy Ruth warned/threatened aid groups and women's organizations to "shut the fuck up" about abortion being missing from Harper's maternal health initiative. Yikes.

Here is my take on the whole thing for Abortion Gang.

Of course everybody had to weigh in! Some thoughts from JJ (twice!), pale (twice!), Dave, CaitieCat, Judy Rebick, and many, many others. Seriously, a lot of people. A lot. There was even a website created.

And if you're curious as to what is still happening in terms of the maternal health initiative, there has been an awful lot of discussion around that as well! Some from the Globe and Mail, the CBC, a lot of other news outlets, JJ again, and even The Lancet weighs in. And of course the opposing parties have something to say, including these brave MPPs.

Also, rather suspiciously, a lot of women's groups in Canada seem to be losing their funding. March International is not going down without a fight.

And one more story: an anti-abortion group is suing UVic.

There's only two more weeks to donate to Trust Women!

Let me know what you've been reading in the comments.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Which I Decline to STFU

Oh goodness friends, get your reading faces on for Sunday, because it's only Wednesday and I already have ELEVENTY BILLION links for the weekly reader. Nancy Ruth, you make my life difficult.

So, yesterday's clinic was a bit busy inside; whenever we skip a week (as we did last week) we have a lot of patients for the next one. At first I thought it was going to be pretty bad: a big clinic plus lots of protesters. But thankfully there were not a lot of protesters; perhaps they are gearing up for Mother's Day.

Pink Hat was particularly aggressive, of course. She has been walking along the side of the clinic screaming out stuff like "abortion kills more women every year than any other cause", which, as volunteer KM points out, is just patently ridiculous for several reasons (not least of all that it is absolutely false). She is also still waving her sad little one-armed Jesus all around.

There was a new guy out there today (at least, I've never seen him before). He wasn't super interesting though; just holding one of the standard signs.

Speaking of signs, we got a sign! The CPC next door (where the protesters hang out) has one of those standing up double-sided signs (like restaurants have out front, with the specials) that proclaims their expertise in all options following a pregnancy, and has the details of their business and so on. So we just got a lovely new sign that lets people know we exist, who we are, and that we are open. Hopefully this will cut down in the number of people who go next door by mistake, thinking it is the clinic.

I interviewed a new volunteer today! Hooray!

I am seriously exhausted with all the reading and writing I've been doing in the last two days, so I'm going to leave it there. Keep your eyes peeled for a post I did for Abortion Gang that should be up soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekly Reader

Hi friends! Sorry there was no blog post this week, but there was no clinic. And I have been kind of busy moving out of my apartment and gumbooting at Halifax May Day celebrations and so on. Whatever, here is the stuff I have been reading this week:

The Canadian government decidednot to include abortion funding in their international aid plan for maternal and child health.

A lot of people had something to say about that.

Here are a few more reactions.

PM Stephen Harper defends the abortion decision, but aid groups are worried.

Why are Canada's female politicians silent on women's health?

Sex education: too important to be left to parents.

Planned Parenthood waits to hear about funding.