Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekly Reader

Here's what I've been reading this week (sorry it's a couple days late!):

Linda Gibbons was arrested at the Toronto Morgentaler Clinic

These idiotic anti-choice billboards about sad toys are back

Some idiot MP wants to re-open the abortion debate (surprise!) by arguing about the definition of personhood. Nothing new here.

PEI is pretty happy with the way they're ignoring women's rights.

What have you been reading over the holidays?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly Reader

Hey everyone, here's what I've been reading about this week:

Chretien warns that abortion and gay marriage could be on the chopping block

Linda Gibbons gets her day in court

Dunville responds to anti-abortion display

PEI pro-choice groups meet with the Health Minister, but things don't look promising

What have you been reading?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Pedgehog's Holiday Gift Guide 2011

It's that time of year again! When I encourage those of you who celebrate gift-giving holidays to curb your mindless consumerism and re-evaluate meaningful gifts by supporting worthwhile organizations (yes I am aware I am kind of a buzzkill).

Last year I talked about four organizations (ARCC, ACORN Canada, ACR and the Stephen Lewis Foundation) that you could donate to - on someone else's behalf or just out of the goodness of your heart - and I still encourage you to check those orgs out and give them some love. This year I have a few more suggestions, including actual things you can buy!

Most of the following are organizations/projects that I have been involved in OR that my friends and/or loved ones work or volunteer for. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in comments!


Occupy Toronto (or your local Occupy)

Things to Buy

Global Grassroots: Perspectives on International Organizing (Edited by Wade Rathke)

ACORN Canada 2012 calendars: contact your local office for information

A subscription to Bitch Magazine

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Reader

Here's what I've been reading this week:

News and coverage of the situation in PEI continues to pour in

Don't forget to enter ARCC's video contest

A good editorial on Canada's maternal health policy

On debating with anti-choicers

Feel free to share more links in comments!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Some Reminders

Hi everyone! I just wanted to remind y'all that the ARCC video contest is still open and accepting entries!

I also hope that you will check out the first round of voting at the Canadian Blog Awards, which continues until December 24th (after which the top five from each category will go on to a second round). There are some terrific blogs that I had never heard of, so go check it out and I promise you will discover something awesome!

I will have a gift guide post next week, but I do want to remind you that if you're the type that donates, especially around this time of year, please don't forget ARCC - this is a fantastic organization that runs on donations and lobbies tirelessly for abortion rights and access in Canada. Also please consider contacting your local clinic to see what they need; volunteers are hard to come by at this busy time of year. Even just dropping off some hot chocolate is a real morale booster!

And because I love to shamelessly self promote...if you're looking to kick back and relax with a good book, why not one set in Toronto?

Be well, friends.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Island Fight

Ok, so is anyone else totally excited to see what's happening around abortion access in PEI? My last two weekly readers have been chock full of news around this, and I keep reading more and more about it.

For those who don't know, there is no abortion access on PEI at all. Those women who do need/want an abortion generally do one of two things: travel to Fredericton to have an abortion done at the Morgentaler Clinic for $600 - $800; or travel to Halifax to have an abortion at the hospital, which is covered under the reciprocal billing agreement between Nova Scotia and PEI.

Obviously there are a lot of problems with these two options, the main one being that out-of-province travel is not something that everyone has access to all the time. Especially travelling to Fredericton, where the abortion is done as an outpatient procedure in one early morning, weekday appointment. That is all kinds of inconvenient for the majority of PEI women.

Some other hurdles in this system include:
- Availability of appointments (at both locations; many times it is difficult for providers to keep up with the demand)
- Finding someone to drive/accompany you
- Paying for gas and/or overnight stay
- Lost day of work; childcare/petcare arrangements
- Explaining to the people in your life who might notice, why you went to Fredericton or Halifax for the day (assuming you don't want to tell them about your abortion)
- Navigating a potentially unfamiliar city, in the presence of protesters
- Suffering the potential discomfort or painful after effects of surgery during a prolonged car ride
- Making travel and accommodation arrangements around an early morning appointment
- Money, money, money!

...and on and on. This is assuming a woman even has the resources and support to know about those two options, and is able to get an appointment in time (the Fredericton clinic's gestational limit is sixteen weeks).

So you can see how this is a very difficult situation for any woman on PEI seeking an abortion, on top of which there is a shortage of doctors and a stigma around abortion.

All that said, it is amazing and inspiring to see Island activists rising up and demanding something better. I was active in reproductive rights activism for three years in Fredericton so I know a little bit about the difficulties of going against the grain in a small city with a certain outlook. People in the Maritimes are great, but sometimes the social climate is stifling - WASP-y, puritanical, ridiculously conservative/traditional and most of all, silent (and silencing). I would even say Victorian, at times. It's a difficult place to be a young person, a progressive, and especially someone from a marginalized group.

The result is a difficult uphill battle for activists. And maybe the silver lining is that the Maritimes builds fierce, resilient activists. My heart goes out to the brave people fighting the powers that be on PEI; please think of them and do what you can to help.