Thursday, 23 June 2016

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Bill: The E-Petition


In December last year, Canada's government acknowledged the power of the Intertoobz and started allowing e-petitions. They need to be sponsored by an MP and if they get 500 signatures, can be tabled in Parliament.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada yesterday initiated an e-petition against Bill C225 (full text of bill), "An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of a preborn child while committing an offence)," with its glurgy nickname, "Cassie and Molly's Law."

Or as we call it: the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (WISC) bill.

English version

French version

PDF backgrounder on ARCC's reasons for opposing C225.

The main reason to oppose it is the usual: it is yet another backdoor attempt to restrict abortion, with the ultimate goal of putting pregnant people under the microscope of the law. Such laws elsewhere have had the effect of criminalizing pregnancy -- in the US, sending dozens of women, largely poor and people of colour, to prison for the crimes of miscarriage, attempted suicide, or substance abuse while pregnant.

It is also a "personhood" law, conferring on a fetus rights that WILL compete with those of the incubator, er, pregnant person.

And if you need further evidence of its intended narsty effects, ALL the fetus freak groups support it.

At ARCC, there is also a resources page listing other actions to take, like signing a paper petition, a sample letter to your MP, and a list of groups opposed to C225.

On March 22, fetus freaks started an e-petition in support of WISC. It currently has 4402 signatures, 31 from "other countries."

The ARCC petition now has 88 signatures, broken down by province/territory. There are none yet from any of the territories or from PEI.

Let's get on this, digital citizens. It's fast and easy. Please sign, then tweet, Facebook, and generally promote it on social media.

Here's the link again in plain text for easy copying:
https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-381



Previous DJ! posts on the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing bill:
Dead as a Door Nail

Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights

Vengeance Drives "Unborn Victims" Law

It's Baaaack: Unborn Victims Bill C484 Redux

Nope, This "Pre-born Victims Bill Won't Pass Either

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

LifeSite Is Just Embarrassing Itself: Fetal Pain Redux

They really got nuthin'.

Look at this from yesterday's LieShite.

The Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA] is facing calls to retract a 2005 study that pro-lifers have labeled a “propaganda tool” for abortion activists.
In 2016, fetus freaks are attacking a study from 2005 still deployed to refute the BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science used to pass "fetal pain" laws, lowering abortion term limits and/or imposing idiotic protocols on providers, as recently in Utah.

What do the fetus freaks offer in support of their contention that fetuses do too feel pain?

Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into fetal pain. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.

He has testified before Congress in the past that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”

That seemed eerily familiar. Look what I found from 2010, also at LieShite.
Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into the concept of fetal pain and published the first reports in the 1980s to validate research show [sic] evidence for it.

He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at "eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier" and that a baby before birth "under the right circumstances, is capable of crying."

More bells started ringing in my old brain. Yes! I had trashed Dr. Zielinksi's rep here in 2012.

But, maybe the doc has been up to more recent stuff. After all, I can find no reference to him beyond 1986, thirty years ago.

I googled "Steven Zielinski Oregon fetal pain" and got this.

Amusingly, DJ!'s 2012 trashing is eighth on the first page in an otherwise exclusive club of fetus fetishist sites. All of which refer to him as "one of the leading researchers into fetal pain."

Let's consult some real scientists, shall we? Here's Live Science, on May 17, 2016, speaking with "a leading expert on fetal pain," Dr. Anne Davis, OB/GYN and associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center, who appears a tad more impressive than the elusive Dr. Zielinski.

She says the 2005 JAMA study, now under SHRIEEK attack from the freaks, is still valid. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has also recently reaffirmed the study, saying "no research has contradicted its findings."

No new research. Same old bullshit references. Almost identical wording. Their "leading researcher into fetal pain" still MIA after thirty years.

They got nuthin'. But as long as they keep trotting this crap out, I'll be watching.


Previous DJ! posts on "fetal pain" and BAD science.

Monday, 6 June 2016

New! Fraudster Certification

Hey, fetus freaks! Want to make money from your fetish? Of course you do!

Get certified in Fake Clinic Management!


OKWU [Oklahoma Wesleyan University] is launching an “applied bioethics” certificate program this July that will train students in pro-life activism and pregnancy center management. It’s a partnership with the Life Training Institute and Care Net.


The "credits" will be transferrable.


[Scott] Klusendorf teaches an ethics and abortion course that examines “the toughest critics of the pro-life view, the academic critics,” and equips students to answer their objections, he said.

Credits from his course will be transferable as philosophy while those from another instructor, Speaker for Life founder Marc Newman, will count as speech credits, Klusendorf said: “Virtually any institution could look at the syllabus and say that it qualifies for another area of study.”

Because this is what the US needs: more people trained in lying, manipulation, and shaming.

Even though their own data shows fake clinics actually fail miserably at scaring the shit out of dissuading women from abortion.

Nicole Knight Shine crunched the numbers.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Of the 2.6 million clients who visited crisis pregnancy centers since 2004, 3.52 percent, or 92,679 people, decided against having an abortion. The statistics come from eKYROS.com, Inc., an anti-choice, Texas-based software company, which says more than 1,200 CPCs use its software to track clients and measure results.

Less than four per cent.

But they don't care because that's not the point.

As Amanda Marcotte says:
It’s because preventing abortion has never been and will never be the actual goal of CPCs, no matter what their fundraising materials might say. The real purpose is to shame women for having sex and to spread stigma over abortion, contraception, and any non-procreative sexual activity. The vicious lies and guilt trips they lay on women are not the means to an end, but are the end itself. The point is not really “saving lives”, but making women feel scared, guilty, and anxious, as punishment for having sex.


And remember, we have them here in Canada too. And they're just the same: lying liars.

Fake Clinics Respond! With More Lies!

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's (ARCC) review of websites for 166 fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres. (PDF link to entire study.)

LifeShite has since published a hilarious "rebuttal" that says, in essence, "sure, we lie, but we could lie a LOT more."

Some examples:
[Jared] White [executive director of Advokate Life and Education Services in Abbottsford, BC] said that the report’s numbers were misleadingly low. For example, the report notes that 24 percent of the centers “promoted sexual abstinence as the ideal solution for unwed women” on their websites. But White says, “I would think 100 percent would promote that” with women who get inside the door.

The report claims that 5 percent of centers claim there is “a possible risk” of breast cancer after abortion, which the report says has been “scientifically rejected.” But White commented,  “Again, I would have thought more centres than that would have claimed that there might be a link,” so the 5%-figure is far too low.
I don't need to tell DJ! readers that the abortion-breast cancer link is complete bullshit, do I? But White thinks more centres should be spreading more of this brand of manure.

Then there's a peculiar quibble with how the study posed questions.

Arthur’s report also claims that “48% [of the pregnancy centers] mentioned negative psychological consequences, primarily in the context of ‘Postabortion Syndrome’, which is not medically recognized.”

But this is not true. The question ARCC’s volunteers were asked was whether “sites claimed that abortion results in negative psychological consequences such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or ‘Post-Abortion Syndrome.’” So the 48-percent result could have been reached without a single reference to PAS.

A subsequent question specifically about Post Abortion Syndrome indicated only 20 percent of the websites – not 48 percent – even “mentioned” PAS.
This passage seems to say that they could have done quite adequate lying without mentioning PAS but that some websites throw it in anyway.

LifeShite of course does not mention the report's finding that a majority of fake clinics are registered charities, i.e. subsidized by the rest of us.

Global News, the only media outlet to report on the study, does care to inform its readers of that fact.
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the centres studied are registered charities, the report says. There are 66 charities dedicated to crisis pregnancies and pregnancy counselling registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. Many also get direct government funding.
The Global story includes a handy link to CRA's search results page, with more links, for the 66 fake clinics. Have a look. I find the paid employees sections interesting. Many people across Canada make a living from lying to pregnant people.

Speaking of lying, let's return to LifeShite for a couple more whoppers:
“We are just trying to help women in very trying circumstances,” Dr. [Laura] Lewis [of Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services] told LifeSiteNews. “We know whatever way they go, adoption, abortion, keeping the baby, they are making a life-changing decision. And if they choose abortion, we don’t put any obstacles in their way, but we could never facilitate it.”
As if manipulation, guilt-tripping, disease-mongering, and straight-up lying are not "obstacles" atall atall.

These centres don’t give women any help obtaining an abortion or contraceptive care because they can get that elsewhere, Lewis said.
Right. It's easy-peasy to get reproductive healthcare in PEI, say, or New Brunswick or Saskatchewan. Or any damned place away from cities.

According to this 2016 ARCC list of abortion clinics, including hospitals (PDF), there are 43 of them in all of Canada.

There are four times MORE fake clinics. There are MORE fake clinics registered as charities than abortion clinics.

The lying liars are doing pretty well. For themselves. As for pregnant people seeking factual, unbiased information and assistance, well, fuck them.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

SHOCKER! Fake Clinics Lie


The Abortion Rights Coalition has released a major study into the online presence of Canadian fake clincs, or crisis pregnancy centres (full PDF report).

From the press release:

Anti-abortion counselling agencies in Canada often present misinformation on their websites or fail to disclose their anti-choice or religious agenda to prospective clients, according to a new study published today by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Crisis Pregnancy Centres (CPCs) are anti-choice agencies that present themselves as unbiased medical clinics or counselling centres, and which often claim to provide women with non-judgemental information on all their options when faced with an unintended pregnancy. However, CPCs are not medical facilities, most are Christian ministries, they generally will not refer clients for abortion or contraception, and many promote misinformation about abortion. CPCs in Canada have no regulatory oversight; however, 68% of them are registered charities.

Researchers identified 180 CPCs in Canada, and looked at the 166 of them that have websites.

Results were not surprising. Well, not to those of us who have made it our mission to get these fake clinics regulated, defunded, and stripped of charitable status.

They lie about abortion risks; they promote sexual abstinence and adoption as ideal solutions to unwanted pregnancy; they fail to disclose their religious agendas; they do not reveal that they refuse to refer for abortion or contraception.

In fact, the Canadian study mirrors much of what was reported last year in a USian report, titled "Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie." (PDF).

The situation in the US is much more dire. There are many, many more of these fraudulent operations and an astounding number of them get significant government funding.

The Canadian study reports on CPC funding (pp 29–30 of PDF). It seems that not much public funding goes to these places, but what does must be stopped.

A majority of them have charitable status.
Many CPCs also enjoy charitable tax status, which significantly increases their ability to fundraise (Arthur 2005). Out of the 180 CPCs we identified, 68% (122) had charitable tax status. However, Canadian groups should not be eligible for charity status if they disseminate biased or inaccurate information that is disguised as “education” or “counselling.” (Arthur 2005; Canada Revenue Agency 2013).

Coincidentally, Amanda Marcotte wrote recently about an analysis of USian CPCs' own data.

Nicole Knight Shine looked at the numbers and concluded they fail miserably at their mission -- if their mission is to dissuade women from choosing abortion.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Back to Marcotte:

The thing is that CPC centers know this. Shine’s numbers come directly from their own database, showing that they they are well aware that the vast majority of women who come in their doors will not be intimidated, much less persuaded, out of their abortions. So why do they keep plugging away at it, when they know full well they are terrible at what they claim they want to do?

It’s because preventing abortion has never been and will never be the actual goal of CPCs, no matter what their fundraising materials might say. The real purpose is to shame women for having sex and to spread stigma over abortion, contraception, and any non-procreative sexual activity. The vicious lies and guilt trips they lay on women are not the means to an end, but are the end itself. The point is not really “saving lives”, but making women feel scared, guilty, and anxious, as punishment for having sex.

It is this atmosphere in the US that makes the endless screwing around with abortion laws and restrictions possible and, seemingly, acceptable.

In Canada, we are -- so far -- successfully resisting any similar attempts to recriminalize abortion.

This new study demonstrates though that we must remain vigilant and aware of what anti-choice forces are up to. We must impede them any way we can. Regulate them, defund them, and strip them of charitable status.

And for anyone interested in reading or writing about abortion, the ARCC report is full of helpful links and resources.

Kudos to all involved.

*****************
On a personal note -- and in what might be a first for a "serious" study -- DAMMIT JANET!, a mere blog, is cited for our efforts in getting public funding yanked from a fake clinic in Ontario.

We are chuffed.




ADDED: This is the only media story on the report I've found: Global.

Friday, 13 May 2016

March for Lies 2016, Part 2: UMPTY-GAZILLION ATTENDEES!

There were great expectations for this year's March for Lies. First, its traditional organizer, Catholic Campaign Life, graciously invited all anti-choice groups to participate.

And second, Parliament is debating and will pass the tragically flawed medical assistance in dying act, which one would have thought would rev up the "womb to tomb" gang.

So the turn-out was going to be MASSIVE, yes?

In Part 1 of our annual Delusion Watch, we compared the size of yesterday's rally to April's 4/20 marijuana rally.



So how many people were there?

The Ottawa Citizen had veteran fetus freak watchers, Kady O'Malley and David Akin, live blogging/tweeting the event.



Kady reported that an on-stage speaker claimed 20K in attendance and added "I'd put it closer to 6K, but we'll see what the RCMP says."

What did the RCMP say? CFRA Radio:
Rough RCMP estimates indicate more than 10,000 people participated in the march.

But that's not what David Akin reported.


He added in another tweet that "police" said 3,000.

We were still breathlessly awaiting LieShite's outrageous inflation estimate and today we found out.

22,000!!!

So, there you have it. Somewhere around 3,000 (RCMP officer to Akin), 4,500 (Akin), 6,000 (O'Malley), 10,000 (RCMP), 20,000 (from the stage), or 22,000 (LieShite) people attended this year's Futility Bunfest.

Akin made a 40-second Facebook video with this introduction:

Here's my March For Life crowd in 40 seconds. Smallest turnout I've seen at this event. I actually count myself - takes about 20 minutes -- and I got 4,500 at 1230 ET (and I might be a little generous) RCMP officer told me: 3,000. Organizers from the stage said there were 20,000.

We called it in April. The anti-choice movement in Canada is *snerk* dying.

Even with the widening of the tent and the extra impetus of imminent government action on assisted dying, the ranks of forced birthers are thinning remarkably.

But the bald-faced lying is as strong as ever.


ADDED: David Akin's report. He picked up on the comparison to 4/20. :-)



Last year's report.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

March for Lies 2016, Part 1

Clever me. I saved screen shots of the 4/20 marijuana rally from the Hill Cam to compare with March for Lies, Futility on the Hill Bunfest.

Top image today at 1:26, just before the marching, at max attendance.

Bottom image 4/20 at 4:20.

Compare.







Speakers at today's bunfest claimed there were 20,000 people there.

David Akin, veteran reporter of these events, estimated 4,500, adding that that might be generous.

Or as I said:




Part 2 will be a report on the fetus freaks' inflation of this sparse event to SEVEN GAZILLION!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Kill C14: Trust Patients and Doctors on Assisted Dying

DAMMIT JANET! has a not-so-radical proposal. Treat medical assistance in dying (MAID) like abortion.

In other words, adopt no new law on it and let patients and medical professionals figure it out.

In both Carter and Morgentaler, the Supreme Court called on Parliament to craft new laws.

In declining to create a Charter exemption, SCC said in the "remedy" section of Carter:
Complex regulatory regimes are better created by Parliament than by the courts.

And that is exactly where we disagree.

Parliament is NOT the place to create complex regulatory regimes. Parliament is a contentious, partisan arena, subject to lobbying by all the usual suspects, with all the usual agendas.

Look at its track record on abortion.

The government tried twice.
The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Mulroney made two attempts to pass a new abortion law. The first proposal, in the spring of 1988, did not pass the House of Commons. The second attempt, introduced by the Minister of Justice as Bill C-43 in late 1989, would be defeated on a tie vote by the time it came to third reading in Senate on January 31, 1991, leaving Canada without criminal legislation governing abortion.
And then there were the private member's bills. Plus the current one, C225, Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights.

Good scientific information and research along with conscientious practice have been emphatically demonstrated by Canada's post-Morgentaler abortion experience to be the avenue towards compassionate, reasonable, and respectful medical care.

Nobody is happy with C14 as presently proposed.

Not the doctors.

Not the gawd-botherers.

And not Canada's number uno medical writer, André Picard, who captures the essence of C14 perfectly.
The draft law is not respectful of the wishes of the majority of Canadians, nor is it patient-friendly; it’s patronizing and risk-averse. In trying to offend no one, the Liberal government has failed everyone.

What we have here is not a right to die, but a guarantee that too many Canadians will continue to suffer unnecessarily at the end of their lives.
And unlike in 1988 when there wasn't a clear consensus on what Canadians wanted to do about abortion, now there definitely is consensus. Eight out of ten of us want assistance in dying when we bloody well decide to go.

Canadians learned with abortion. We know how to do this. Trust doctors and patients to work out how to go about the details of this non-issue.

We want to be able to die on our own terms. Let us work out those terms with our own doctors.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Blamelessness

Acts of Gord -- floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, ice storms -- devastate everything and everyone in their path. Acts of humans like war, train derailments, oil rig blowouts, and pipeline failures likewise do not discriminate in their victims.

We consider these victims to be blameless and deserving of all our help and compassion. (Well, except maybe when victims do not share our skin colour, religion, etc. Then we might come around to [minimal] help and [grudging] compassion if the scale of the disaster is massive enough.)

Right now the fire in Fort McMurray is gripping Canada. As it should. More than 80,000 people are homeless, their homes, possessions, jobs, schools, communities wiped out.

The response has been huge.

The media can't get enough of stories about formerly or currently afflicted groups like Syrian war refugees, blown-up towns, and First Nations stepping up to help.

The national self-congratulation has been huge also.

I was thinking of all those homeless people. And then of homelessness (2013 report) in general.

It is estimated that on any given night, there are 30,000 homeless people in Canada, 200,000 at some point over the year. No, most of them probably weren't suddenly and dramatically driven from their nice suburban homes. For the majority, their situations are the result of dozens of small individual earthquakes of the personal, emotional, medical, financial sort. Some of their situations are the result of larger, systemic ice storms like the residential school system, the utter failure of the mental health system, war, racism, patriarchy . . .

So. I tweeted.





More people responded with variants of this observation.



A vivid example is presented daily by Mark Cherrington, a youth worker in, coincidentally, Edmonton. He tweets about his efforts to help homeless, poor, abused youth and his battles with an incredibly stingy, uncaring bureaucracy.





These are kids doing the best they can with shitty situations, running afoul of petty laws, trying to stay in school, looking after children of their own.

But we won't care for them properly because they are not blameless. Somehow they are the authors of their fate and so not "deserving" of our attention.

In short, fuck 'em.

You'd think homelessness on the scale of the current disaster in Fort Mac would get us thinking about homelessness and inadequate housing in general.

Yeah, right.