Showing posts with label abortion recriminalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label abortion recriminalization. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

M408: Totally Bogus

In previous blogposts here on private member's bill M408, the condemnation of sex selection, aka The Latest Backdoor Attempt to Legislate on Abortion, we've noted that it is sheer, cynical posturing coming from a member of the CONtempt Party.

The CONs have nothing but contempt for women. For starters, just look at the list of women's organizations whose funding has been cut or ended by them.

Today, I decided to have a look at Mark Warawa's history on matters relating to his new hobby, 'protecting girls'.

I mean, there are tons of fetus fetishizing Cons, why pick him as the front man for this little ploy?

At Campaign Lie, he gets a Double Plus Good rating.

At Rate Parliament, he's got two comments presumably from constituents, neither complimentary.

At Open Parliament, we learn that his favourite word is 'environment', which makes sense. He's chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Searching Open Parliament for his recorded actions and statements, we find 306 pages going back to the beginning of his MP life in 2004. The record consists of petitions (back in the day, lots of them on 'traditional marriage', now on sex selection) and acres of time-keeping at environment committee.

A search of those 306 pages with the keyword 'women' turns up a measly two pages.

Most of those references are in the stock phrase, 'men and women', or its more enlightened variant, 'women and men'.

Only two pertained to women specifically.

Here he is on REAL Women on September 28, 2006.
Mr. Speaker, hearing the comments like meanspirited, if the Liberals were in government they would raise the GST back up because they voted against that. They voted against providing parents the choice in child care. They want to take back that $100 a month for children. That would be meanspirited.

I have a question that relates to the comments that have been made about REAL Women. REAL Women is going to be coming to the committee. I am looking for some wisdom from the member who just spoke. I have been on committees for many years. My understanding is that when a delegation is coming to a committee that the committee is open-minded and the committee is prepared to listen to delegates that come and dialogue in order to learn.

However, when we have the chairperson of a committee publicly ridiculing a delegation that is about to come, like REAL Women, I have real concerns that democracy may be under attack. We hear rhetoric now and heckling. Is that a good approach for a delegation coming? I would like to hear an answer.
And here's a snippet from his glurgey support for Woodworth's Wank on September 21, 2012.
We need to protect women's rights but we also must protect everyone's rights, the rights of women, children, adults and all human rights.
Awww, isn't that sweet? 'We need to protect women's rights. BUT'.

BUT. Maybe he was one of the renegade seven Cons who supported the truly 'pro-life' private member's bill that sought to provide cheaper life-saving drugs for poor countries. After all, our pal Maurice Vellacott voted in favour of it.


This is precisely how bankrupt the CONtempt Party is on gender-related issues.

This guy is the best they could come up with to front M408.

This is how totally bogus M408 is.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Wankworth's Last Stand

Contained in the modern version of a 'brown envelope', this was slipped over DJ!'s transom.

A stupendously dishonest letter, with attachments, from Woody himself begging his colleagues to support Woodworth's Wank, aka Motion 312, aka A Duplicitous Motion to Prepare the Ground for Recriminalizing Abortion.

Here it is with his own bold faithfully reproduced.
September 14, 2012
Dear Colleague:
Re: Motion 312

1. I am enclosing a copy of Subsection 223(1), the law which is the sole focus of Motion 312. You will see that Subsection 223(1) is a 400 year old law which decrees the dehumanization and exclusion of an entire class of people we know to be human beings, namely, children before the moment of complete birth.

This is a direct assault upon the principle of universal human rights, which insists that every human being has an inherent worth and dignity which the state must recognize rather than merely a value assigned by others based on the utility or inconvenience of that human being.

2. I am also enclosing an extract from the judgment of Supreme Court of Canada Justice Bertha Wilson in her 1988 Morgentaler decision throwing out Canada’s abortion law. Justice Wilson was a woman of impeccable feminist credentials.

You will see from this extract that Justice Wilson left open the question of protecting the rights of children before birth for resolution by Parliament. Subsequent Supreme Court of Canada decisions have also left open this question for Parliament to resolve. Far from "re-opening" this issue, Motion 312 proposes the consensus-building dialogue which is the only path to finally closing it. This is in fact what Justice Wilson suggested.

You will also see that Justice Wilson concluded, like me, that the existing recognition only at complete birth is wrong, suggesting that it ought to be at some point in the second trimester of the child’s development. She did not regard this to be inconsistent with her decision on abortion.

3. Finally, I am enclosing a copy of Motion 312 itself. Please note that Motion 312 proposes no legislation (on abortion or anything else) and insists that the Committee also refrain from doing so. The Committee will merely study the evidence and report all available options.

Please also note that Motion 312 directs the Committee to respect all Supreme Court of Canada decisions. All existing women‟s rights are protected by this provision!

Laws like Subsection 223(1), which decree the dehumanization and exclusion of an entire class of people, deny the principle of universal human rights. That principle, which asserts that every human being possesses equal and inherent worth and dignity is the bedrock upon which all of other our laws rest.

No 400 year old law should be frozen in time, forever immune from democratic review and forever immune from advances in understanding.

Please support the mere study proposed by Motion 312.


Stephen Woodworth
Member of Parliament
Kitchener Centre
Breath-taking, isn't it?

I could go through each word and phrase and thought and rip it all to ribbons of duplicitous, mealy-mouthed horseshit, but I'm so thoroughly disgusted and enraged that I will -- at least for now -- point out two things only.

1. The clear intent of this charade from its inception has been to close the abortion debate -- without, miraculously, opening it -- by setting the scene for a law limiting abortion to the period ending at mid-second trimester.

2. Woodworth does indeed have the words 'woman' and 'women' in his vocabulary, but uses them only a) to invoke a Canadian feminist icon or b) to outright lie about their rights.

There is more to say, of course, and I'm sure wise, sensible people will weigh in with their howls of derision/outrage observations.

The good news is that there is just a little more to endure. Monday, Woody will hold a press conference; Friday will see the final hour of debate; and then there's the vote on September 26 to once and for at least a generation kill any notion of turning back the clock on reproductive rights.

And we can finally say buh-bye to this shit.

BONUS: JJ writes From the Horse's Ass Mouth.

UPDATE: In the comments choice joyce reminds us that Chantal Hébert thinks the vote might be close. Gender Focus has the goods on what we need to do next.

UPDATE 2: ARCC now also has a page with what needs doing now.

Friday, 17 August 2012


Woodworth's Wank has been insultingly dishonest from the get-go.

As JJ said:

But no. Woody thought he was sooooo clever. Faffing about with talk of a '400-year old law' that needed 'modernizing' with input from experts.

If they were serious about imprecise, antiquated language, there is a simple fix as JJ has pointed out repeatedly on Twitter. In sec. 223 of the Criminal Code change 'human being' to 'person'. There. Problem solved.

But no. Because while SHRIEEEKING (as usual for Fetus Fascists) that their cute little ploy had nothing zip zero nada rien to do with abortion, it is about if not personhood then about gestational limits to abortion.

The ploy itself is a lie. And the ensuing 'campaign' has been a laff riot.
Why Lifesite would choose to publish this less-than-encouraging data at the height of the battle of words & wits over Motion 312 is a mystery.  But then again, why not: it’s in line with the haphazard and utterly clueless way the rest of the M312 campaign has been run, a confused and riotous crusade of Twitterspam, fetusmobiles, inconsistencies, transparent lies and general dumbness.  For an initiative thought by some to be the last kick at the anti-abortion can for a long, long time, the ineptitude of its handling has been breathtaking to behold.

And fun to watch.  Did I mention fun to watch?
They could have salvaged some cred by -- as I relentlessly asked -- offering up some examples of experts MPs should hear from should M312 pass.

Fumbled that ball too.

While JJ finds it fun to watch -- and it has been -- I'm getting really bored. (Betcha regular DJ! readers hit that wall months ago.)

It's soon over. The second and final hour of 'debate' is on September 21, with the vote on September 26.

How big will the FAIL WHALE be? According to ARCC, there are 108 anti-choice MPs. Those among that number with any political sense or ambition in Stevie Spiteful's caucus are booking dental appointments for September 26 as we speak.

How many will be left? I'm thinking Woody will be lucky to get 70 yeas.

What do you think?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Harper Government Has Angered the CMA

Remember this?

That scene, a physician disrupting a CPC government event or interrupting a Harper Cabinet Minister, occured several times as Bill C-31 with provisions that reduce the quality of healthcare that refugees could receive when in medical crisis, is challenged.

The Canadian Medical Association's annual general council meeting is currently being held in Yellowknife. Yesterday it passed this motion.
[...] delegates called on the federal government to reject attempts by a Conservative backbench MP to amend the Criminal Code [...]

“This constitutes the criminalization of abortion or any form of contraception,” said Dr. Geneviève Desbiens, a urologist from Valleyfield, Que.

“This change could even prevent a pregnant woman from travelling or taking certain drug treatments,” she said.

Dr. Desbiens also warned that doctors who counsel or provide abortion services could become criminals.

Currently, subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code states that a fetus “becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother…”

Stephen Woodworth, a Conservative MP from Kitchener-Centre has tabled a private member’s bill to have the part of the Code changed. Motion M-312 is slated to go to a vote in Parliament this fall.

The CMA, which represents the country’s 76,000 physicians, interns, residents and medical students, has a policy saying that abortion is an ethically acceptable medical practice as long as the fetus is not viable.

Dr. Robin Saunders, a family physician from Sooke, B.C., and chair of the group’s ethics committee said M-312 is a “backdoor path to enacting restrictions on abortion.” The CMA has a long history of supporting free choice.
The CMA has called as well for
a full diagnosis of the health and environmental effects of natural resource development — particularly in Alberta’s oilsands — as a national debate continues to rage over energy issues.

Delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s annual general council meeting overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution asking for public and timely access to all government and industry data on the potential human health effects of “natural resource extraction projects.”

Physicians also backed a call for better monitoring of the environmental and health impacts of such initiatives.

Whether there is any effect from the oilsands is unclear, but the issue has become “a hugely emotional and highly politicized” one, Yellowknife physician Dr. Ewan Affleck said Wednesday.

“When our patients come to us and say, ‘Everyone in our community is getting cancer and we’re scared,’ we’re not sure what to answer,” Affleck said. “Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong. There hasn’t been clarity.

“All we’re asking for — it’s not a blameworthy thing — is our hope to just have data in order to provide effective care to our patients, because it’s unclear whether there is a health effect.”
Members of the Harper government have also been singled for scrutiny on public health issues: Kenney - as mentioned and MP Kellie Leitch for her support of asbestos export.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Today in M312 News

I started the conversation here. I reported on the first reply from the author of Woodworth's Wank, aka M312, here and what I thought would be the end of it here.

But no. There's more. From today's email:
I`m sorry that you find an honest attempt to initiate an evidence based dialogue about the important implications of a law which deems to be non-human children who are in all likelihood as humans as you and I to be insulting. Rest assured that I do not consider scientifically descriptive evidence of the development of a child to be a "circus", regardless of what might occur elsewhere.   I simply believe we all have a grave and clear duty of conscientious objection when faced by a law like subsection 223(1) which constitutes an assault on the principle of universal human rights.

My staff apologizes for the typographical error which you so importantly noted.
Typical Con, eh? Superiority, condescension, snark, and blame shifting. Some crappy sentence structure to boot.

I am leaving the conversation here.

In other M312-related news, there's a new arrow in the fetus fetishists' quiver. Yet another website pressing the 'personhood' gambit.

But like the zygote zealots yipping on Twitter and blogs, this gang didn't get the memo about M312 NOT being about abortion atall atall.

Look what adorns its Contact your MP page.

The usual headless, featureless incubator with the All Important Fetus.

And look who holds the copyright. A gang called Life Issues Institute. Surprise! It's USian!

We don't want this BS in Canada. Contact your MP and tell her or him that.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Wanted: Prebornchildologists

I got a reply to my email (bold mine; underlining his).
Good Morning Ms. Hill

The Motion sets out instructions to the Committee, which will then direct the study.  You will see that the Motion poses medical and legal questions.  My expectation is that, the Committee would hear from experts in medical fields who might describe the development of a child before birth, including cellular biology, fetology, anatomy, genetics, neurology, neo-natal medicine, surgical medicine, etc.  I’m not in a position to propose witnesses at this time, but hope the Committee will seek my input when it is appropriate. There have been significant advances in these fields in the last thirty years, not to mention the last 400 years. Rather than suppressing or avoiding modern information about a key human rights issue.  I hope Members of Parliament will embrace it.  If Motion 312 passes, the only result will be to better inform Canadians. 

Thank you for your keen interest.  I hope you will agree with me that every human being should be recognized as such in Canadian law.

Stephen Woodworth
Member of Parliament
Kitchener Centre
Here is my reply.
Mr Woodworth,
Thank you for your prompt reply.

Unfortunately, it does not answer my question.

I am baffled by the assertion that you are 'not in a position to propose witnesses' yet imply that you have important 'input' to offer.

In preparation for your motion, did you not research potential witnesses? You list some fields, but no individuals or even institutions. Are the needed experts available? Willing? Canadian?

You say there have been 'significant advances'. How do you know that? What source persuaded you that this is an issue of vital importance?

It seems to me that there are two possible reasons for your position. Either you are refusing to reveal the experts you have identified. Or, you have not done the research and are proposing to waste everyone's time and Parliament's resources on a whim.

Is there another reason Canadians and their MPs are not to be told which experts might be invited before we and they decide whether to host this party?

Thank you.
Here's the relevant section of M312 in all its semantically twisted glory.
that the special committee present its final report to the House of Commons within 10 months after the adoption of this motion with answers to the following questions,

(i)            what medical evidence exists to demonstrate that a child is or is not a human being before the moment of complete birth?,

(ii)            is the preponderance of medical evidence consistent with the declaration in Subsection 223(1) that a child is only a human being at the moment of complete birth?,

(iii)            what are the legal impact and consequences of Subsection 223(1) on the fundamental human rights of a child before the moment of complete birth?,

(iv)            what are the options available to Parliament in the exercise of its legislative authority in accordance with the Constitution and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada to affirm, amend, or replace Subsection 223(1)?
The only people who could answer these bogus questions are prebornchildologists.

Monday, 25 June 2012

In Their Own Words

The thing about dog whistles is that dogs yap when they hear them.

Back in 2008, while Ken Epp was insisting that his private member's bill, C484, the 'Unborn Victims of Crime' bill, had absotively nothing, nada, zip, zero to do with abortion, our old pal Johnny 'Tubesock Holocaust' Pacheco kinda blew that gaffe by calling it Kicking Abortion's Ass Bill.

Now, a Catlick organ has done it for Woodworth's Wank. Look at the headline.

Personhood motion to get more time

This is how they see it, people. This is the first step towards creating personhood for zygotes and restricting the rights of incubators.

Thanks to JJ for the webcache link.

ADDED: Of course, Tubesock himself calls it a 'personhoood' motion.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Woodworth Is a Scaredy-Cat

So, somebody in the PMO leaked to the Globe yesterday.
The Prime Minister’s Office is putting heavy pressure on members of the Conservative caucus to vote down a Tory MP’s effort to trigger a legislative review of when human life legally. It’s unusual for a PMO to work against its own MPs’ motions and private members’ bills but Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are anxious to avoid association with any legislative activity that could be characterized by opponents as re-opening the debate over abortion.

MPs are privately being reminded that support for fellow Conservative Stephen Woodworth’s motion would be considered a vote against Mr. Harper’s wishes. Word being spread in the Commons lobby recently by senior Tories – not the PMO – went even further, saying a vote for Mr. Woodworth’s motion is a vote against Mr. Harper.

This informal coaxing is focused on those who are not considered to have taken firm positions in what has become a polarized debate, including rookie Tory MPs elected for the first time last year as well as fence-sitters and those with strong ambitions to rise in the caucus.
Which was echoed by the Sun (emphasis mine).
Conservative MPs are under intense pressure from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to vote against a Tory MP's non-binding motion that calls on Parliament to study when human life begins.

Tory sources say Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants southern Ontario MP Stephen Woodworth's motion eliminated before Parliament rises for the summer in late June.

"The PM himself wants this vote beaten down," one source tells QMI Agency.
There were rumours on Twitter yesterday that Woodworth's Wank would NOT be debated tomorrow nor be voted on on June 13.

So I was wondering if Woodwank were being strong-armed into withdrawing it, which, as I understand things, is the only way to stop it.

But no. This morning:


What's so urgent about Scott Brison's -- a Lib, mind, though former Con, -- private member's motion?
M-315 — April 25, 2012 — Resuming consideration of the motion of Mr. Brison (Kings—Hants), seconded by Ms. Murray (Vancouver Quadra), — That the Standing Committee on Finance be instructed to undertake a study on income inequality in Canada and that this study include, but not be limited to, (i) a review of Canada’s federal and provincial systems of personal income taxation and income supports, (ii) an examination of best practices that reduce income inequality and improve GDP per capita, (iii) the identification of any significant gaps in the federal system of taxation and income support that contribute to income inequality, as well as any significant disincentives to paid work in the formal economy that may exist as part of a “welfare trap”, (iv) recommendations on how best to improve the equality of opportunity and prosperity for all Canadians; and that the Committee report its findings to the House within one year of the adoption of this motion.
Well, that's all laudable, I guess.

But now in 14th place and with little time before the House goes on vacay, The Wank® is unlikely to see the light of day until fall.

Is Woody cruising for a bruising from the PMO? Or just trying to stay alive to fight another day?

Or. Using that well-known Fetus Lobby tactic of Stringing the Fetus Fetishists Along.

And while I was writing that, Kady O'Malley did a quick explainer. (That's why she gets the big bucks. She's fast.)
Under the rules governing private members' business, Woodworth can keep his motion alive virtually indefinitely by trading down the precedent list whenever his name threatens to reach the top. At some point, however, one suspects that his supporters might start to wonder why he seems so reluctant to put the question to the House.
Stringing them along.

Yup. They seem to like it.

Friday, 1 June 2012

They See Dead Fetuses

So, maybe this Debate about the Debate hasn't been a total waste of time. There have been some illuminating moments.

Like this one into the pretzelly mind of SUZYALLCAPSLOCK.

A-yup. We in Culture of Death® want to kill fetuses. We want fetuses DEAD DEAD DEAD.

It's aaalll about the fetuses.

No thought of the woman. Let alone 'for' the woman. The woman whose sole thought is 'Make this go away.'

This is why we won't debate them.

They are insane.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Finally. Fetushist Speaks the Truth

After ignoring my straightforward question on Twitter on why we need Woodworth's Wank, then side-stepping with non sequiturs about the 'law reflecting truth', SUZYALLCAPSLOCK comes clean.

The sole purpose of M312 is to recriminalize abortion.

OK? We're clear on that?

(SUZY has me blocked which, I've just found out, disallows me from linking to her statuses and embedding her tweets. Yay! Full and fair exchange of ideas! Thus, screenshot. [I have more.])

BONUS: The galloping idiocy this whole schmozzle is generating is too much for smartypantses to resist. Yay! JJ, the unrepentant is back on the beat.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Wayback Machine: March 7, 2008

 Dear Members of the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights Committee,

 First, I would like to thank all the Members of Parliament who voted against the proposed Unborn Victims of Crime Bill (C-484). I would be remiss not to highlight my appreciation for Marlene Jennings (MP Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine), Irene Mathyssen (MP London—Fanshawe) and Raymond Gravel (MP Repentigny) who spoke eloquently about the dangers the passing of this Bill into legislation would present.

 I am writing as a Canadian woman who has recognized the need for and championed women’s human rights throughout my life. I am alarmed with how the public debate on this and other human rights issues has been framed these past few years. I never thought that such a Bill, built on the grief of families who have witnessed violence against their mothers, daughters, sisters or partners, to exploit human compassion in an attempt to usher in a precedent for re-opening a debate on what constitutes human life, could ever have been ordered up and passed a second reading. Whether Ken Epp (MP Edmonton–Sherwood Park) honestly believes he is championing women’s human rights is debatable knowing his public statements on abortion and his close affiliation to numerous pro-life organizations, including LifeCanada who commissioned the Environics Poll that Mr. Epp’s has relied upon for support for his Bill.

 The murder of every woman in this country is a tragedy, whether she is pregnant or not. The criminal assault of a woman who has chosen to carry her pregnancy that results in a miscarriage is also tragic. The sheer number of domestic assaults in this country is frightening – I would applaud any MP or government that actually tackled that issue. This proposed Bill does little for Canadian women, pregnant or not, who are murdered or assaulted.

 Of course, I would prefer to see policy and programs put in place that would prevent the occurrence of these violent and tragic attacks on Canadian women. Proponents of Bill C-484 cite the case of six pregnant women having been killed in over the past three years. The Robert Pickton case alone dwarfs these numbers and the Crown has decided not to bother pursuing a trial on the twenty outstanding cases. According to the data collected by Statistics Canada, an average of 180 women have been victims of homicide annually between 2002 and 2006. The age range with the highest incidence of homicide is that of women aged 30 to 39 with an average rate of 35 homicides per year. This Bill does not address in any significant way the violence faced by countless Canadian women on a daily basis. 

Here is an excerpt of a report issued by Statistic Canada in 2006, entitled Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006 by Holly Johnson:
Violence against women is a persistent and ongoing problem in Canada and around the world. It affects women’s social and economic equality, physical and mental health, well-being and economic security…
…Gender-based violence is perhaps the most wide-spread and socially tolerated of human rights violations. It both reflects and reinforces inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims.
The 1995 Federal Action Plan for Gender Equality emphasized the interconnections between equality and not only gender, but other personal characteristics: Barriers to equality are rooted in long-standing attitudes and traditions not only about women, but also about race, age, sexual orientation, disability, colour, etc. In particular, the life situations of women outside the dominant culture—women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, women from visible minorities, elderly women, lesbians, lone mothers, women in poverty—are quite different from the mainstream. For them, the path to equality has been, and continues to be, even more difficult. Equality for all women will come about only as these attitudes, imbedded in the workplace, educational institutions and the family, are challenged and begin to change…

This Bill only proposes to deal with the aftermath of violence against women, and only pregnant women at that. Bill C-484 wraps itself in concern for women but obviously misses the mark in addressing the serious issues that underlie violence against women. This Unborn Victims of Crime Bill not only fails to address the sweeping problems that exist for female victims of violence by selecting only a specific group of women who are assaulted or murdered, but it only seeks to find remedy through the courts and the application of criminal law.

 Bill C-484 fails to explain how having two separate charges differs from the current law, which already takes pregnancy into account as an aggravating factor. In addition, in an attempt to disingenuously distance itself from the underlying intention of the Bill to bestow legal personhood to the fetus, this Bill (unlike previous similar Private Members’ Bills with the same underlying intent that failed constitutionally) actually has the audacity to include the exclusion of consensual abortion as some sort of safeguard measure.

 I have yet to see any legal opinions on this Bill but even though I am not a lawyer, I can see huge gaping legal holes in this piece of legislation. How can you have one piece of legislation bestowing human rights to a fetus and have other laws that recognize human life beginning at birth simultaneously? Bill C-484 is almost set up to dare one group of concerned citizens or another to challenge the discrepancy. The bottom line, this amounts to challenging our current status quo on reproductive rights for women.

 It seem unfathomable to select a very distinct group of women for special protection under the law, especially given that that protection is focused uniquely on the fetus. How does this help our society deal with violence against women at large? How is this Bill, despite the qualifying statement, not about abortion rights in this country?

  Recent events in Parliament have clearly demonstrated that there is a dogged attempt to change the social and legal landscape of Canada one incremental step at a time. Whether it is censoring film and television productions for “offensive” content or repudiating our long standing commitment to protect Canadian citizens from the death penalty, the current government is certainly trying to undermine the great strides Canada has made as a progressive nation and a leader in human rights.

 In closing, I would ask you to think of one last question. If this was a noteworthy and necessary piece of legislation to protect women from violent crimes, why wasn’t it included in the Conservative Government’s omnibus crime legislation (Bill C-2) that was recently passed? Surely a party that voted overwhelming for this Bill would have seen its value and included it in their legislation. Or is the fact that Stephen Harper promised not to revisit the abortion issue the reason that he wants his government to distance itself from Bill C-484?

 Respectfully yours,

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Why We Won't Debate (Part Umpty-Three)

Because they lie. They distort. They dissemble. They move goalposts.

And they cheat.

That CBC 'unscientific' poll is running now at about 64% in favour of reopening the abortion debate.

Yeah. Right.

As opposed to a scientific poll from May 2010.
In the lead up to the G-8 and G-20 summits to be held in Muskoka and Toronto, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s maternal-health plan for under-privileged countries and his refusal to include access and funding of abortions in the plan has once again raised the issue of abortion in Canada. By passing a unanimous motion calling on the Prime Minister to end its ambiguity on the subject, the members of the National Assembly of Quebec have brought attention to the fact that since 1988 Canada has been without a law that regulates abortion.

A new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television has revealed that only one in three (34%) Canadians believe that the federal government should ‘reopen the issue of abortion’. In fact, nearly one half (46%) think that the federal government should just ‘leave things as they are’, and two in ten (17%) ‘don’t care one way or the other’, while 3% don’t know.
And they believe their own bullshit.

Here's SUZY, with a small correction by me. Plain text because SHE plays silly buggers with linkies.
There's one thing people forget about pro-lifers: what they lack in numbers they make up for in determination dishonesty.

Remember the Great Canadian Wish List contest in 2007? How is it that in a country where legal abortion garners the support of the large majority of Canadians, pro-lifers were able to win that contest, even though they are outnumbered?
Oh yeah, we remember the dumbass Great Canadian Wish List. Fetus fetishists freeped the hell out of it and BRAGGED about doing so.

We at DJ! say: Keep it up.

In the Excited States, the constant yammering necessary to the War on Women is backfiring. USians who view abortion as morally wrong number below 50% for the first time.

And as commenter Mercedes says here, there may be another unintended consequence.
The latter [reopening the abortion debate], however, is something that can become a boon for women.  A generation of youth who hadn't been exposed to the nuances and implications of the anti-abortion agenda before has been swayed somewhat by emotional arguments during the years of non-debate, while the public (not saying the ARCC [Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada] of course, but the public at large) had been largely afraid to speak about reproductive rights.  It's no longer a question of whether we people are comfortable talking about reproductive rights, and this new generation can be shown why "personhood" can impact IVF or contraception as well as how the agenda could negatively affect women in ways that Canadians have largely not experienced for some time. This is what started to turn the debate around in the US, and it's an opportunity to turn the debate around here while there has not yet been major legislative onslaughts (although there have been pushes against funding, which is probably where the focus will turn after M-312).

It's important to not simply counter this motion, but to keep countering the rhetoric that is certain to persist afterward.
And not just the rhetoric. The persistent and pervasive dishonesty of anti-choicers.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Yo! Margaret! (Somerville)

Margaret Somerville is a pearl-clutching dissembler and distorter. (But you knew that.)

In yet another screed railing against Canada's lawlessness on abortion, first she offers the Baby Seals Gambit, with a bit of a new pretzelly brain twist.
Legal protection does not require giving rights to an unborn child, or recognizing him or her as a person, or even that the child is human. We use the Criminal Code to protect from cruelty kittens and puppies and baby seals, which have none of these attributes. Surely, we have at least similar obligations to unborn children.
Legal protection does ^NOT entail rights? Huh? What does it entail then?

Next, the Fetal Pain BS.
There is an increasing recognition and, at the least, resulting deep concern that past a certain point in gestation abortion is a cause of severe pain for the fetus. There is quality evidence (U.K. research) suggesting the beginnings of pain perception in the fetus at 16 weeks gestation and most researchers agree that is a reality at 20 weeks.

Real scientists agree that the fetal brain is simply not developed enough until about 28 weeks' gestation.

A more recent and very interesting study suggests that fetuses cannot differentiate between pain and touch until perhaps as late as 35 to 37 weeks. Very shortly before birth, in other words.

Next, the Conflation of 'Human Being' and 'Legal Person' Shuffle.

Then the No Restrictions/Regulations SHRIEEEEK.

(I can't believe I'm going to quote a CON to refute that one.)

Gordon O'Connor giving the government's response to Woodworth's Wank last week.
This does not mean, however, that abortion is unregulated in Canada. Abortion is regulated through provincial governments' responsibility for the delivery of health care services in conjunction with the medical profession. All provincial and territorial colleges of physicians and surgeons have declared that abortion is a medically necessary procedure, and delivery of this medical service is regulated accordingly.
Hey, Margaret, I can keep this up as long as you can. But why can't I get paid to do it?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Woodworth's Wank: The ARPA Connection

As we reported yesterday, the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) is behind the new player in the Undebate, We Need a Law (that link is to its Myths page; go read).

Also yesterday -- the day of WNAL's launch -- the legal counsel for ARPA, André Schutten opined at LifeShite on the usual blacks, women, and Jews weren't considered human either BS.

Now, since ARPA has been of great assistance to DJ! in ferreting shit out in the past, we decided to look some more.

And we found stuff!

There is a cool page at the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada where one can find out who is lobbying whom.

A search for ARPA revealed this.

On February 3, March 3, and March 27, 2012, ARPA's Executive Director, Mark Penninga, lobbied CON MPs Rod Bruinooge, Mark Warawa (three times), Rob Clarke, and Brad Trost, plus Senator Gerry St. Germain and Liberal MP John McKay.

Bruinooge, Trost, and McKay are well-known fetus fetishists. Campaign Lie rates Clarke as unknown. It doesn't rate Senators, so St. Germain's views are unknown.

So who is this Mark Warawa who merited three visits -- once seemingly just for him? Campaign Lie is still evaluating his status on fetus fetishism.

I think they can upgrade him now.

So, over three occasions, ARPA lobbied three known FFs, three unknown and seems to have influenced at least one on this project -- if, indeed, that was the purpose of Penninga's trip.

An odd use of time, wouldn't you think?

Lobbying back-benchers, a senator, and a Liberal.

The search result returned only those 7 reports from this year.
I wondered how to search further back and found nothing useful. For comparison purposes, I searched for 'Canadian Medical Association'. Woo. Found 337 reports going back to July 2008.

Makes ARPA look like pikers in the lobbying department with only 7 reports.

What are they up to? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Duelling Petitions

Despite the fact that Canada's Parliament has archaic rules for petitions (i.e. paper only), both sides in the fight over Woodworth's Wank are running online petitions.

Pro-debate has just over 3300 signatures.

No fucking way are women's rights up for debate side has over 16,200.

Of the total so far, percentages for and against running about 17 to 83%.

Sounds about right to me.

Go sign the sane one if you haven't already. The fetus fetishists are notorious for freeping polls.

Friday, 27 April 2012

What the heck did that mean?

There was some surprise yesterday in Parliament when Government Whip Gordon O'Connor rose to give the CON response to Woodworth's Wank. After all, the purpose of the Party Whip is to ensure party discipline.

Look at the spanking discipline he meted out (bold mine).
Madam Speaker, I offer my response to Motion No. 312. The issue before us, in essence, is on what it is to be human. This has been debated as long as man has existed. Scientists, theologians, philosophers and doctors have all offered opinions.

The House of Commons, however, is not a laboratory. It is not a house of faith, an academic setting or a hospital. It is a legislature, and a legislature deals with law, specifically, in this case, subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code.

The purpose of Motion No. 312, which we are considering today, is to open to question the validity of subsection 223(1), which asserts that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth. If the legal definition of when one becomes a human being were to be adjusted so that a fetus is declared to be a legal person at some earlier stage of gestation, then the homicide laws would apply. As a necessary consequence, aborting fetal development anywhere in the potentially new adjusted period would be considered homicide. Thus the ultimate intention of this motion is to restrict abortions in Canada at some fetal development stage.
. . .
Abortion is a very serious and long-lasting decision for women, and I want all women to continue to live in a society in which decisions on abortion can be made, one way or the other, with advice from family and a medical doctor and without the threat of legal consequences. I do not want women to go back to the previous era where some were forced to obtain abortions from illegal and medically dangerous sources. This should never happen in a civilized society.

Whether one accepts it or not, abortion is and always will be part of society. There will always be dire situations in which some women may have to choose the option of abortion. No matter how many laws some people may want government to institute against abortion, abortion cannot be eliminated. It is part of the human condition.

I cannot understand why those who are adamantly opposed to abortion want to impose their beliefs on others by way of the Criminal Code. There is no law that says that a woman must have an abortion. No one is forcing those who oppose abortion to have one.

Within the free and democratic society of Canada, if one has a world view based on a personal moral code that is somewhat different from others, then live according to those views as long as they are within the current laws. On the other hand, citizens who are also living within the reasonable limits of our culture and who may not agree with another's particular moral principles should not be compelled to follow them by the force of a new law.

As we know, Motion No. 312 is sponsored by a private member, not the government. I can confirm that as a member of the Conservative caucus for nearly eight years, the Prime Minister has been consistent with his position on abortion. As early as 2005 at the Montreal convention and in every federal election platform since, he has stated that the Conservative government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion. While the issue may continue to be debated by some, as in the private member's motion here tonight, I state again that the government's position is clear: it will not reopen this debate.

I am sure we all recognize that the issue of abortion raises strongly held and divergent views within and outside Parliament. However, I firmly believe that each of us should be able to pursue our lifestyle as long as it is within the boundaries of law and does not interfere with the actions of others. Trying to amend the legal rules governing abortion, as is intended by this motion, will not improve the situation. It will only lead to increased conflict as the attempt is made to turn back the clock.

Society has moved on and I do not believe this proposal should proceed. As well, it is in opposition to our government's position. Accordingly I will not support Motion No. 312. I will vote against it and I recommend that others oppose it.
My goodness. That's Woodwank taken out to the woodshed for a thrashin', ain't it? I wonder if he had any warning this was coming.

Like most people, I was expecting a bromide of 'respect for private members motions' frappéed with stern repetitions of 'we will not reopen the debate'.

O'Connor's statement was breathtakingly, decidedly pro-choice. Well, he is on ARCC's list of pro-choice MPs.

So how did fetus fetishists take it?

On the Canadian LifeShite, two straightforward stories: here and here. Crickets at the USian LifeShite.

At the brand new astroturfed site The Bertha Wilson Motion, there is an attempt at sarcasm and a link to an interview of Joyce Arthur (ARCC) by Brian Lilley of FauxNewsNorth. And this:
Even Gordon O’Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip, got into the fray and lectured those who value all human life to shut their mouths on the issue.

Mrozek spluttered:
Terrible arguments! Abortion will always be with us, says he; it cannot be eliminated. “It’s part of the human condition.”

This must be the PMO’s spokesperson as he is now detailing how this is a private member’s motion, not a government bill.
(That's the entirety of her post, by the way.)

SUZYALLCAPS, in her Twitter incarnation of @roseblue, was all over the tweets yesterday with her usual baseless assertions of 'it's a fact'. On her blog (, she now has posted the text of Woodworth's Wank, without comment, and a link to the FauxNewsNorth interview, with a snark at Arthur.

More crickets at Blogging Tories.

So what's going on here? Montreal Simon is celebrating a WIN! Dr. Dawg is having dark thoughts. Cliff at Rusty Idols thinks the Wild Rose debacle in Alberta affected Harper's strategy. Dave at The Galloping Beaver thinks we witnessed the public knock-out of an intense but private fight. (All those links are conveniently gathered together at the handy new Canadian Progressive Voices site.)

Me, I'm not celebrating anything yet. I will continue to watch and report.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Today's the day for the first hour of debate on 'The When Does the State Take Over Our Uteruses Motion'.

Yesterday, the Radical Handmaids took the 'Fuck the Debate' message to Parliament Hill.

And there's been a call for an online ruckus.

Námo Mandos kicks off DJ!'s contribution with 'Comic relief apéritif'.

Here at DJ! we've been on Woodworth's Wank for months, since the very beginning, in fact.

We've been outraged, derisive, logical. We've exhorted, cajoled, and cheer-led (izzat a word?).

We've taken various varieties of crap for our stand, including some that -- happily -- led to the creation of a brand-spanking new aggregator and home for real Canadian Progressive Voices.

Throughout though, I suspect this is what we were all feeling.

Niles certainly is/was.

Coz here's the really really really depressing thing. Women's rights are ALWAYS up for negotiation.

ALWAYS considered a frill, an afterthought, a wait-til-everyone-else-is-served deal.

EVERYWHERE. Just ask Mona Eltahawy.


And here's another really depressing thing. The fucking Liberals still don't get it.

They consider reproductive rights a matter of conscience, not human rights, and therefore will NOT whip the vote.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said he’s personally opposed to reopening the abortion debate but Rae said he won’t compel Liberal MPs to toe that line because the issue is a matter of individual conscience.

“If there are individuals in my caucus who feel strongly for moral reasons one way or the other, we’re not going to whip the vote,” Rae said.
Pro-tip, Bob: This kinda thing is why your asses are NOT sitting in Official Opposition seats.

Image source

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Unintended Consequences

You know that War on Women in the Excited States that Rethugs insist is bogus?

Well, it may be having a bit of a boomerang effect.

It's turning people pro-choice. (Emphasis mine.)
Roughly half of the nation’s voters remain pro-choice when it comes to abortion, and the number of voters who view the procedure as morally wrong in most situations is below 50% for the first time.

Overall, 51% of Likely U.S. Voters consider themselves pro-choice when it comes to abortion, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Forty percent (40%) say they are pro-life, while another 10% are undecided.
Since Canada is already decisively pro-choice, maybe Woodworth's Wank will have similar unintended consequences.


When Legislators Practise Medicine

I'm going to a dermatologist this afternoon to get my various bumps and spots looked at. And there's a thingy on my collar bone I want removed. I know what it is -- a spot of unpleasantly named bother called senile keratosis. The doc will blast it with liquid nitrogen and it will burn, then itch for a few days, then fall off.

Let's say there's a pill instead that will accomplish the same thing.

I go to the doctor (walk, streetcar, subway, more walk) to get the pill. Doc inspects, measures, tells me what to expect, answers questions. He also ensures I wasn't 'coerced' into wanting the thingy gone. I sign forms. Then I'm told to come back in 24 hours to get the pill.

Next day, I walk, streetcar, subway, more walk back. The same doctor has to see me to give me the pill. He gives me the pill and watches me take it.

Then 12 to 18 days later, I have to come back to get it checked out by the same doctor again.

If the doc does not follow this rigamarole, he or she can be charged with a felony, pay a fine of $10,000 and/or spend three-and-half years in jail.

Ridiculous, yes?

But this is what happens when legislators meddle in health care. It is what will happen now in Wisconsin when a woman wants a medical abortion.

RH Reality Check talked to a doc in Wisconsin about this new law. He said: 'If we follow the FDA rules and follow protocol, we would violate this law. And we have no ability to defend ourselves.'
By making failure to follow the new law a felony, Act 217 has made it nearly impossible for doctors to defend themselves legally without considerable expense. Although a doctor would be covered for potential malpractice under malpractice insurance, he or she would need to pay all court fees out of pocket if charged with a felony, as the insurance would not cover it.  "What we do would be 'defensible,' but we'd have to pay to defend it."

Dr. Broekhuizen is nearly certain that the law is unenforceable, and too vague to not be enjoined.  But who as a doctor wants to put his or her career in jeopardy, as well as shoulder the entirety of the legal costs, just to test it out? It's that unwillingness that anti-choice legislators are capitalizing on with their regulations, and it's one that doctors and pro-choice advocates didn't really expect to see. "We were a little naive," he admitted.
And how about the patients? Three visits, three round-trip expenses, loss of pay, childcare costs, etc., etc., etc.

So Planned Parenthood abruptly suspended performing medical abortions in the state.
By suspending medical abortions, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has taken a bill that was signed quietly, quickly, and right before a major holiday as an attempt to pass it mostly unnoticed, and turned it into a huge public policy debate over who should be creating medical protocol -- the FDA or the state legislature. 

Calling Act 217 a set of "minimum safety standards" for patient care and ending the potential for "tele-med" abortions, anti-choice legislators likely assumed the bill would go into effect without fanfare, Dr. Broekhuizen surmised. Then later, an "overzealous prosecutor" could charge a doctor based off of one of the vague, legally-ambiguous points in the law, putting medical abortion availability for the entire state at risk.

But instead, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has acted first. Perhaps anti-choice politicians were a little naive, as well.

Thursday, Canada's legislators are going to debate whether the Criminal Code definition of 'human being' should be extended to include fetuses.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

The Radical Handmaids have some ideas.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Hats, Old and New

Canadians are waking up to the danger posed by Woodworth's Wank. More than 11,000 people have signed the online petition opposing M312, including Nancy Ruth.

That's good but not good enough. Canada's rules about petitions are archaic. Here is ARCC's explainer on the difference between paper and electronic petitions and its plans to use both sorts.
The main reason ARCC is also offering a paper petition is because the anti-choice movement has been submitting paper petitions, and it's important to show Parliament that we have official support for our side too. Another advantage of submitting a paper petition is that MPs are required to present it to the House and it gets read into the official Hansard record. We will ask a number of MPs to present batches of petition sheets to maximize the impact. Finally, the paper petition allows people who are not online to express their opposition to the motion - so please target them if you can. (People who are online may sign both petitions.) Note: You do not need to obtain 25 signatures on every sheet - ARCC just needs a minimum of 25 signatures total before submitting petition sheets to an MP.
And indeed the Fetus Lobby has been busy. Here's one bragging yesterday that they have 3816 signatures on paper. (It's got a breakdown by the MPs who will present them.)

Yeah. I know. This is all so old hat. Been there, done that.

But it's gotta be done AGAIN. Old, er, experienced campaigners and new, younger campaigners are joining forces to beat this down once and for all. (Yeah. Right.)

And speaking of hats. . . .