Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Reader

It's a little bit lighter this week:

Margaret Somerville is still the least effective ethicist ever

The Montreal Gazette weighs in on sex-selective abortion, and how Harper's government is ignoring reality

Joyce Arthur warns us to beware of Crisis Pregnancy Centres

And the National Post continues to harp on about this new poll data

What have you been reading about?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Poll Data Doesn't Matter

So, I guess there's been an Angus Reid poll that found that 51% of Canadians favour some restrictions on abortion - and 60% favour restricting sex-selective abortion. I have some thoughts.

First of all, who are these people who don't think there should be any restrictions, but then do think that, oh yeah, if it's for sex selection then we should really clamp down. What? I have so many questions for them. Like: how do we determine someone's reason for aborting? How hard do you think it would be to get around such a restriction? What do you think it says about our society that sex selective abortion even exists? What other reasons are good enough to say no, you can't have this?

But mostly I just think, who cares? I wouldn't give a shit if 99% of the population thought abortion should be illegal, all the time, forever. Majority opinion =/= justice.

I don't know what polls like this are supposed to prove. People's right to have a say over their own bodies is not changeable with the whims of the populace, or at least it shouldn't be. I'm sure there was a time when a lot of shitty things were 51% approved by the population of this or another country. You know the shit I'm talking about, don't make me Godwin this.

I also wouldn't really care that much if the poll said 99% of people were for no limits on abortion law/access, unless it actually made a practical difference in people's lives. Look at PEI - even if everyone on the island agreed that abortion was a-ok, that doesn't build a clinic, or the political will to make it happen. Reproductive rights are looking more and more like something to add to our list of things we will need to take back (as opposed to waiting for them to be handed to us).

I guess it doesn't really matter what polls we do, I don't really feel that they are reflective of folks' lived experiences, which tend to get undervalued.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekly Reader

There was A LOT of stuff going on this week! Super size reader! Watch out!

Abortion rights are queer rights

The Liberal Party has decided it will penalize provinces for restricting abortion access; which obviously has implications for PEI.

And speaking of abortion on PEI, the premier is co-chairing a working group on healthcare innovation, which seems a little hypocritical.

The CTV did a sting "hidden camera" operation on a CPC in Surrey - here's my take

Barbara Kay is an idiot selective abortion!! Here are a whole bunch of articles on possibly not telling women their medical information and how that will help solve the problem. Coverage on Jezebel!

The doctor who did the study defends it.

Here are some op-eds about it!

Here are some letters in the Star, and here's some discussion of the Orientalist tone of the debate. And here's why I think it's a waste of time.

Of course the idiots at the National Post had a field day with it.

What have you been reading about?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why the Sex Selective Abortion Debate is Bullshit

So the old sex selective abortion topic is coming up again in Canada; you might have seen it in the news (I have lots more links for Sunday's round up, don't worry). Can I just say, I can't believe this is being dragged out again as if there is a legislative solution. I mean really.

It seems fairly obvious from where I'm sitting that sex selective abortion, and infanticide, is a symptom of a much larger problem: the value we place on gender in our society. Obviously it varies in form and degree between cultures (and don't think I haven't noticed the racist undertones of some of these discussions), but what it comes down to is that women are not valued as highly as men, and are not as desirable to have as children. Obviously this is further complicated by ethnicity and class and all manner of other factors. But the point is, the problem of sex selection will not be solved by removing the means of sex selection. Haven't I written about this before?

Many people counter the "making it illegal won't make the problem go away" argument (one that applies to many other issues such as non-sex selective abortion, or sex work) with the "that same thing could be said about murder", rebuttal, as though decriminalizing something implies total moral acceptance. Or as if the always-correct reaction to things we think are morally wrong is to legislate against it. As if our legislative process, our whole judicial system, wasn't itself irreversibly corrupt. I think that even if we could all agree 100% on a law that should be in place, there is no guarantee that the legal system will serve the interests of our society as opposed to the interests of the - dare I say it - 1%. I am wary of ever advocating further legislation to solve any problem, because I have my own ideas of who the criminal class are.

I think sex selective abortion and infanticide are symptoms of a problem that is in itself part and parcel of a kyriarchy in which our judicial system also operates. I think that in the long run, the same people are benefiting from both. I think sex selective abortion will never go away until the kyriarchy does. And I am absolutely fed up with the fact that reasonable people are still arguing about it; as if taking away a woman's right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy can help her in a world that is going to slap her daughter down in the same way it just did to her.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekly Reader

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

Lots of coverage of Stephen Woodworth's attempts to re-open the abortion debate, although no one seems to be too interested in taking the bait.

Canadian abortion law Q+A

Revisiting the "schoolchildren at abortion rallies for school credit" scandal

New Brunswick wants the Human Rights case against it tossed out.

What have you been reading about?

Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Get an Abortion in New Brunswick: Flow Chart Edition!

So, after my post last week on how to get an abortion in New Brunswick, I was contacted by a reader who went ahead and made a flow chart version! So here it is in all its glory, with much thanks and total credit to Ash Furrow:

UPDATE: Now that the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic is closed, CHECK OUT THIS NEW FLOW CHART

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekly Reader

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

Anti-choicers in PEI want to get out the "true facts" on abortion, while pro-choicers consider their legal options

Rabble wraps up the abortion debate in 2011

More "let's reopen the debate" nonsense, and a great take-down - while the rest of the country shrugs

How to help a friend through an abortion

What have you been reading?

Friday, January 6, 2012

How to Get an Abortion in New Brunswick

So, as someone who has gained some notoriety for my involvement in New Brunswick abortion politics, I get contacted a lot about, well, that. Sometimes by the media, most often by Masters students, and every now and then by a friend, acquaintance or stranger looking for information on how to get an abortion. So I thought it was about time I put this information out there to the general public in case you don't feel comfortable contacting me in person to ask. Also, I no longer live in New Brunswick - things may change (and may have already). So please feel free to comment with updates, critiques and further advice.

Having an unwanted pregnancy and living in New Brunswick is not the easiest situation to be in. I wish that every person in this situation could feel supported and loved, but that is not the case. So first of all I just want to say: You are not alone. You are not the first or the last person to be facing this situation. There is help and support for you. You have done nothing wrong and deserve compassion and care. You have the right to be safe and to make whatever choice is right for you. Please contact me if you need a compassionate ear or further advice/information at pedgehog[at]gmail[dot]com.

NOTE: This information is for people who have decided they are going to have an abortion. If you are undecided, please see the bottom of the post for some decision-making resources. Do not feel you have to have an abortion if that is not what you want. You have the right to choose whether or not to continue your pregnancy.

***EDITED September 2014 in response to recent closure of the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic***

More up to date information is here. I STRONGLY encourage you to check out this info put together by Reproductive Justice New Brunswick now that the clinic is closed. CLICK HERE

How to Get an Abortion in New Brunswick:

1. Are you pregnant? Find out! I know it sounds silly, but a lot of people freak out and don't confirm the pregnancy, which can mean a lot of trouble for nothing. If it is possible for you, confirm your pregnancy by a urine test (available over the counter without prescription at any drug store, or grocery store with a pharmacy section), or by a blood or urine test at your doctor's office.

2. How far along are you? If you do not have access to an ultrasound appointment (and most people don't), try counting from the FIRST DAY of your LAST NORMAL PERIOD. If you know this day, use it - it is a much more reliable measure than the day you think you conceived. Trust me, the body works in mysterious ways.

This is where it gets flow chart-y:

3. If you suspect (or have confirmed) that you are past 16 weeks gestation, you need to act fast! Call the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton (contact info at the bottom of the post) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and let them know the situation. Depending on how certain you are of your dates, they may either refer you out of province (probably to Quebec or Ontario) or bring you in for an ultrasound. It is really, really important that you don't lie or stretch the truth to try and get a clinic appointment. They will not perform an abortion if you ultrasound at 16 weeks or over, and you will just waste time in a very time-sensitive situation (not to mention taking up an appointment that could have potentially gone to someone else). The more you are upfront and clear with the clinic, the easier it will be for them to help you.

4. The above is also true if you are close to 16 weeks - I would say anything above 12 weeks is reason to call the clinic right away. You will be too far along for a hospital abortion, so it's important to try to get into the clinic as soon as you can.

5. If you think you are below 12 weeks, you may have a choice in where to go. Let's talk about the clinic vs. the hospital!

CLINIC: The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton is the only private abortion clinic in the Maritimes. It is licensed, safe, discrete and confidential, and clean, and the staff there is compassionate and professional. Obviously I worked there and am totally biased, but I don't mind saying that it is the gold standard in abortion care, and I stand by that.
PROS: Specialized - it will only be abortion patients; amazing staff and supportive atmosphere; totally confidential; up to 16 weeks gestation.
CONS: Protesters; located in Fredericton (a con if you live elsewhere in the province); the procedure costs $600-$800 and is not covered by Medicare.

HOSPITAL: As far as I know there is only one hospital in NB still performing abortions - possibly two. In order to have a hospital abortion you need to have a referral from two doctors; a GP and an OB/GYN.
PROS: Totally covered by Medicare; easier to be discrete if that is your thing (there are lots of reasons to go to a hospital).
CONS: Only goes up to 12 weeks; much harder to get in (waiting list); NEED TWO REFERRALS; not specialized (ie you might be hanging out in the waiting room with expectant mothers of wanted pregnancies).

6. Let's go to the hospital! First, go to your family doctor and explain the situation. Tell them you are pregnant, you are firm in your decision to terminate the pregnancy, and you require a referral for a hospital abortion (if they are supportive they will usually be able to help you get the second referral as well).
i. Don't have a family doctor/have a horrible anti-choice family doctor? If you are a student, go to the Student Health Centre on campus for a referral.
ii. Not a student? Try calling the Sexual Health Clinic and/or the Morgentaler Clinic for a doctor in your area.
PLEASE NOTE: While if you have a family doctor this IS worth a try, your chances are slim for getting in to the hospital. There are a lot of people trying to do so, and the doctors are turning people away. My advice is to set up a clinic appointment first; then you can call and cancel it if you get into the hospital.

7. Let's go to the clinic! Call the clinic. Have your information ready - demographic info, first day of your last normal period or ultrasound date if possible, height, Medicare number. They only do clinic days one day a week so be prepared to lose a work/school day for this appointment.
i. Don't have any money? Call anyway! It's always possible that you will be able to work something out or get a great resource for financial support; sometimes the clinic can even help you find those resources. It's important to lock an appointment down, though - you can always call and cancel if you change your mind.

ETA: Here it is in flow chart form

Here are some resources for further help:

SEXUAL HEALTH online resource for birth control questions and information on STIs, sexual and reproductive health, health education, etc.

UNBF Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 453-4837

UNBSJ Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 648-5656

U de Moncton Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 858-4007

Mount Allison Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 364-2163

Fredericton Sexual Health Clinic
Phone: (506) 453-5200

Saint John Sexual Health Centre
Phone: (506) 658-3998

Moncton Sexual Health Centre
Phone: (506) 856-3310


National Abortion Federation hotline: 1-800-772-9100


Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic
Phone: (506) 451-9060

Canadian Federation for Sexual Health
Pregnancy options guide

National Abortion Federation hotline: 1-877-257-0012
Decision making guide

Canadians for Choice
Phone: 1-888-642-2725


Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Canadians for Choice


Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic

Phone: (506) 451-9060