Friday, 9 March 2018

Anti-Choice Is a Fringe Position

One of the best things about the new attestation for the Canada Summer Jobs program -- besides cutting off funding to anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ organizations -- is that it represents a strong message that respect for women's and LGBTQ rights is NOT a matter of opinion.

It is the norm.

And the corollary is that anti-choice is a fringe position.

Anti-choice seeks to deny and rescind rights that the vast majority accepts.

On Twitter, @Prochoiceldnont made a similar point.

This is the incident of unprovoked violence against a pro-choice activist referred to.

As long as the anti-choice position is accepted as a legitimate "opinion," some people will feel justified in resorting to violence.

Another factor fuelling anti-choice violence is the outrageous lies they repeat over and over.

The Colorado shooter who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic talked about "no more baby parts." He was referring to the faked up videos of Planned Parenthood "harvesting" fetuses. This story has been debunked repeatedly.

But it still appears regularly in the anti-choice media. And people actually believe that such "harvesting" did and does take place.

Another zombie lie is the breast cancer = abortion BS. That one too is still going around, despite being refuted by every reputable cancer research organization in the world. (I'm not even going to put a link here.) Anti-choice is anti-science. And out of step with the 21st century.

A further indication that anti-choice is a fringe position is polling numbers. In Canada, a persistent 5-7% want abortion banned altogether. The vast majority of us accept that is it a necessary medical procedure, of course covered by medicaid.

Last year's March for Lies was the smallest ever. About 4,000 people arsed themselves to get to Parliament Hill to stomp their tiny irrelevant feet.

Even in Saskatchewan, home of Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott, anti-choice is becoming increasingly fringey. When candidates for the Sask Party mused about limiting abortion, the outcry was so swift and loud, they immediately walked it back.

Not only can anti-choice not mount a respectable protest in Ottawa, their demos at clinics and on street corners are increasingly pathetic.

Of course, they can always rely on the guys in the capes, ostrich plumed hats and swords showing up. So 2018.

They are anti-science -- well, legitimate science -- so they fabricate and pay for BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science of their own. Here's a gallery of US "false witnesses" ready to lie on cue. They are often cited by Canadian fetus freaks.

But we also have our own BAD science organization, the DeVeber Institute, recipient of almost $194K from the Canada Summer Jobs program from 21 different ridings, courtesy of all three major parties.

The trend is clear. Anti-choice has fewer facts, fewer adherents, more violence, and less mainstream acceptance. It is already a fringe movement.

We look forward to its demise.

On Twitter, we've been using #AntiChoiceIsFringe. We welcome other examples here and/or on Twitter.

ADDED, March 11/18: Super Fetus Freak Brad Trost loses his nomination contest. Even Conservatives can read the writing on the wall.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Valentine's Day

Some Valentines. (A little late, I know.)

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

How to ID a Fake Clinic

What they do
Fake clinics, or "crisis pregnancy centres," exist to dissuade pregnant people from having abortions. They pretend to be medial clinics or helpful advice agencies.

They are not. They are the front line of anti-choice. Too often they are literal Christian missions out to deny pregnant people's rights, and ultimately to ban abortion.

They lie. About the stage of pregnancy ("too late to have an abortion"). About the risks of abortion. The consequences of abortion. They promise help that doesn't materialize. There have been many undercover exposés of what they do.

Because of their deception, they can be hard to spot -- which is part of their plan.

The term "crisis pregnancy centre" has acquired quite a stink. So now they call themselves "pregnancy care centres," "pregnancy support services," or "pregnancy resource centres." They often use the words "choice" and "options."

Umbrella Group
In Canada, many belong to an umbrella group, Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS). (The "C" used to be "Christian.") CAPSS lists its members here.

One of their tactics is to "co-locate" near real reproductive health clinics, sometimes using similar names. The hope here is that distraught "clients" might mistake the fake clinic for the real one. And people do.

Real clinics rarely advertise. Transit ads saying "Pregnant? Confused?" are from fake clinics. Ads also target men as "victims of abortion."

Check "services." The tell here is "post-abortion trauma counselling." Another tell is "self-administered pregnancy tests." Yes, the pee-on-a-stick kind because these are not medical clinics; they have no medical staff.

There may be a disclaimer. (You'll have to look hard for it.) It may say: "We do not refer for abortion or contraception." Or not.

There may be a statement about its mission: "We are a Christian organization..." Or not.

What to do
People have been known to carry sticky notes with "FAKE CLINIC" on them to slap on deceitful advertising. Similarly, "FAKE CLINIC" warning signs have been posted near their locations.

Inform your friends and colleagues. If you are at school, use handouts or bulletin boards. These outfits often target college and university students.

Check out local businesses' "partnerships." If you find a business or communal charity supporting a fake clinic, find out if the sponsor knows the real purpose of the seemingly innocuous "charity."

A US group called Expose Fake Clinics has other actions you can take. It is quite an activist group. You may not want to get so involved, but you can "like" honest reviews and report false advertising.

In Canada, Advertising Standards has an
on-line complaint submission process.

Fake clinics are deliberately deceptive rights-denying, discriminatory outfits. They need to be identified and called out for what they are.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Toronto Right to Life: An "Educational" Charity

I had never heard of Toronto Right to Life before this "abortion clause" (I hate the phrase, but that's what it's being called) kerfuffle.

It is a registered charity.

It's been in the news as one of the three anti-choice groups (with Guelph Right to Life and Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, aka Fetal Gore Gang) that successfully pressured the government to release Canada Summer Jobs funding they were granted before the eligibility rules were changed.

Then it was in the news again for taking the government to court to argue that its Charter rights to freedom of conscience are violated by the new rules.

And this week, its' president, Blaise Alleyne, was on CBC's The Current to talk about those "rights."

I thought it odd that I hadn't heard of this gang, so I went looking.

Toronto Right to Life styles itself as an educational organization. (The website is under construction.)

Under What we do, there's this.
Our Mission
Equipping Toronto and the GTA to defend human rights for all human beings through education and applied experience.

"Applied experience"? Wot's that then? Hanging around street corners with big gory signs?

On the return filed with Canada Revenue Agency, it reports its' programs and activities thus:
Ongoing programs: 

Research and study for educational materials concerning life issues including abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, fetal and/or embryonic experimentation, stem cell research; speaking presentations and presentation content development; seminars and conferences; teaching and outreach; free support resources for people facing a crisis situation pertaining to pregnancy or end of life care.

New programs: 

Student grant program: assistance provided specifically for eligible high school students and post-secondary students in need of aid in accessing educational materials and resources covering the topic of abortion and euthanasia for student-led educational projects and initiatives.
It offers speakers to provide "pro-life education." And it has endorsements from teachers and students at "Toronto Catholic and Public School Board [sic]."

See that "Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute"? It's in the public Toronto District School Board (TDSB). On Twitter, I pointed this out to TDSB, who disavowed all knowledge, said they did NOT deal with this group, and acted swiftly to get that bogus endorsement off their page.

And, indeed, they did remove it.

While I hadn't heard of the group, the president's name rang a bell. I looked further. Oh, there he is, as Toronto Outreach Director at CCBR (Fetal Gore Gang).

Hmm. Interesting. The Fetal Gore Gang is NOT a charity. Here's a 4-page PDF on its site explaining why.

Another thing struck me. In the brouhahas over CCBR's attempts to impose gory transit advertising, this is the ad.

On TRL's website, there's this.

More hmm. On its resources page, TRL lists "Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform: Pro-Life Classrom" and a presentation by Stephanie Gray, co-founder of CCBR.

Back to the CRA's financials.

TRL was registered in 1973. It claims no government funding before 2017, when it claimed $10,800 from the summer jobs program. (CRA website lists only 5 most recent years.)

Its' revenues in general took a leap that year. From $117K in 2016 to $260K in 2017. Similarly, it went from 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees in 2016, to 3 full-time and 6 part-time employees in 2017.

Might Toronto Right to Life have morphed into the "charitable/educational" arm of the Fetal Gore Gang?

Stay tuned. More research is coming.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Strip All Anti-Choice Orgs of Charitable Status

Last week, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) released more results of an ongoing investigation by volunteers into the public filings by anti-choice groups.

These filings are required by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in order for organizations to maintain their very valuable charitable status.

ARCC reported details on the (deliberate?) errors and omissions by many such charities especially in reporting revenues from the now controversial Canada Summer Jobs program. These errors have been reported to CRA.

I'll have more to say about that in another post.


Here is ARCC's Joyce Arthur on the matter:
“No anti-abortion agency should be registered as a charity,”said Joyce Arthur, ExecutiveDirector of ARCC." The mission and activities of anti-choice groups are inherently political and biased, which should disqualify them from charitable status. They work to stigmatize abortion, constrain individuals’ access to it, and ultimately to recriminalize it. They seek to subvert the Charter rights of Canadians through deception and misinformation.”

Here is ARCC's position paper on charitable status.

I completely agree, but I've been nosing around the CRA's website section on "Charities and giving", specifically its "public benefit test" part.

First, there are four allowable "charitable purposes." (Click to embiggen.)

Note that "advancement of religion" is okey-dokey all on its own. (Except the barbaric Moooslim religion, of course.)

There are disqualifying factors under the public benefit test.

"Purposes that are contrary to public policy" is a disqualifying factor. Like advocating and working to ban what is now considered -- by law and public policy -- the right to abortion?

Or, as the Prime Minister said, such activity is “is not in line with where we are as a government and, quite frankly, where we are at as a society.”

More on the benefit test.

What is "socially useful" about lying to, shaming and manipulating people out of exercising a human right?

Several more interesting things about public benefit.

Harmful? Boy howdy. These gangs attempt to scare people out of abortion by lying about long-discredited links between abortion and breast cancer, substance abuse, depression, suicide, infertility, etc.

And the relationship between agency and client? When public documents speak about prospective targets as "abortion-minded" or not, when other (no longer public) documents speak about tactics to humiliate and frighten, when sneaky moves like burning baby powder-scented candles in fake clinics' waiting rooms. . . . it's not exactly a respectful and helping relationship.

Next bit on "concerns raised" gives the example of a health clinic using controversial alternative therapies.

Well, how about pretending to be a health clinic? And giving out misinformation and lies under that aegis?

There's more about "tangible" benefits (like some used baby clothes?), conflict between public benefit and "some negative effect" (state-sanctioned lying might be considered a negative), but I'll cut to the chase.

Many of these regulations are based in precedent. If something has been deemed charitable in the past, it's likely to pass now.

Except CRA does recognize that such public benefits might change over time.

In the past, counselling, even shaming "unwed mothers" might have been considered a public benefit, but now? Where is the public benefit in dissuading people from accessing a perfectly legal, safe medical procedure?

It's time to strip all anti-choice agencies of charitable status. As the PM says, they're free to believe anything they want, but when it comes to actively working against settled Canadian law and policy, they should be on their own.

Friday, 29 December 2017

2017: A Very Good Year

After the dismal Harper decade in which pro-choice forces had to fight rear-guard actions and stay alert for more sneak attacks on our rights, we racked up some significant WINS in 2017.

Locally and nationally, activists pushed the "Pro-Abortion Agenda." And won.

Here, in rough chronological order are the highlights. (If I've missed anything, please add it in the comments.)

In January, we learned that the Fetal Gore Gang lost its bully bid to put graphic ads on buses in Grande Prairie, AB.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) released its findings on government funding of anti-choice outfits, including Fake Clinics. This will pay off most satisfyingly later.

Also in January, a fun pro-choice group named Love Team Peterborough began weekly Saturday counter-protests at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

As expected, Donald Trump reinstated the "global gag rule," cutting off US funding from international aid agencies that support family planning and reproductive rights. The Netherlands stepped up to fill the gap with an international abortion fund. Canada joined in with a pledge of up to $20 million.

In March, Canada went further, pledging
$650 million over three years
for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

A poll released in March showed Canada to be as strongly pro-choice as ever with 77% of us thinking abortion should be permitted, a little over the global average approval of abortion of 71%.

The good people of Calgary, who have had waaay more than enough of the Fetal Gore Gang, worked to get a by-law change axing a loophole the gore gang had been exploiting to hang disgusting -- not to mention dangerous -- banners over highways.

The first of the effects of ARCC's research on government funding of fetus fetishists were signalled when the Liberals banned its MPs from approving Canada Summer Jobs grants to these groups.

May witnessed the smallest ever March for Lies, with about 4,000 attending.

More from Peterborough. The pusillanimous city council had folded to threats from the Fetal Gore Gang and their ads were allowed on buses. University students raised enough dough to counter with pro-choice ads.

Back in Alberta, activists dressed as Handmaids silently protested the inclusion of Edmonton Prolife's booth at K-Days.

In August, another victory for pro-choice over the Fetal Gore Gang. A judge in BC upheld the rejection of its ads on Vancouver area buses.

The Gore Gang was busy pissing off many towns and cities last year. In response, Toronto politicians pushed for ban on its signs.

When Parliament resumed, so did the hijinks. Conservative put anti-choice MP Rachael Harder up for chair of the Status of Women Committee. ARCC deemed her "unqualified and unfit". She lost.

We noted and reported on a new sense in the media. The label "anti-choice" now had another indicator besides voting record -- support of fake clinics.

The Ontario government fulfilled its promise to enact buffer zone legislation to protect clinics, patients, and staff from harassment by side-walk bullies. Amusingly, anti-choice Conservatives, including teen fetus freak phenom Sam Oosterhoff, had better things to do on the day of the vote.

(Here's a handy list of buffer zones and court injunctions across Canada.)

In Edmonton, activists identified the disturbing links between school board trustee candidate Tyler Duce and anti-choice extremists. Candidates were also surveyed on their attitudes towards evidence-based sex ed and Gay Straight Alliances. Several progressive candidates won. Tyler Duce was trounced.

At various points in the year, Health Canada loosened its idiotic initial restrictions on the abortion pill. In November, it was announced that Canadian women would be allowed to take it up to 9 weeks' gestation. Also, various provinces decided to fully or partially fund it.

Even Saskatchewan, not usually known as a hotbed of pro-choice politics/policies, showed its mettle in 2017. When a couple of Sask Party leadership hopefuls made stupid remarks about abortion, the ensuing brouhaha immediately forced them to walk it back.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, progressive public sentiment was also evident. A school district decided that they would no longer participate in a xmas drive because the organizing charity is anti-choice/anti-LGBTQ.

I've saved the best for last. When the federal government announced the new eligibility rules for the Canada Summer Jobs program, fetus freaks went nuts. It seems that being asked to not undermine the laws of the land is a bit too much for them and their precious religious right to harass, stigmatize, and disempower whomever they don't like.

Stay tuned on this one. There will be LEGAL SUITS!!! CHARTER CHALLENGES!! Et fucking cetera.

So. It was a very good year. There's more to be done of course and we'll stay on it. But for now, we at DAMMIT JANET! are just going to bask in it and raise a glass to all the wonderful activists, researchers, and organizations who worked so hard to make these gains.

Happy New Year to all. (Except anti-choice/anti-LGBTQ dinosaurs. May your year be filled with failure and tribulation.)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Lies, Damn Lies, and BAD Science

The War on Truth and Science continues.

Today, another story about women regretting abortion.

A majority of American women who aborted their unborn babies say that their lives didn’t improve at all or refused to answer a question about any positive effects of aborting, a new study reports.

Roughly 54 percent of women said that their lives post-aborting weren’t any better than before they had their abortion, according to a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Approximately 32 percent of women reported no significant positives from the decision to abort, while 22 percent did not respond to the question.
PDF here.

First thing: The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons sounds all legit, doesn't it? It is not. This is a group of whackadoodle conservative doctors who promote discredited BS like vaccines cause autism and abortion causes breast cancer.

Second thing: Lead author is our old pal, Priscilla Coleman. We'll get to her in a minute.

Third thing: Motive. This "study" is no doubt in response to several legit studies indicating that far from regretting abortion, a huge majority of women feel exquisite relief.

Ninety-five percent of women who have had abortions do not regret the decision to terminate their pregnancies, according to a study published last week in the multidisciplinary academic journal PLOS ONE.

Next thing: Look at the abstract, highlighted by me.

I think that's enough said.

Perfesser Coleman, also on Rewire's list of False Witnesses, aka liars for hire, came to our attention in 2012 when a paper of hers was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, a venue not known for BAD (biased, agenda=driven) Science.

Here's the result.
Results: Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion.

Here's a real scientist, PZ Myers:

Those numbers are so extravagantly extreme that there ought to be alarm bells going off in your head right now, and the research had better be darned thorough and unimpeachably clean.

As it turns out, it isn’t. The author of the paper, Priscilla Coleman, is an anti-abortion advocate, and 11 of the 22 studies sampled for the meta-analysis are by…Priscilla Coleman. Methinks there might be a hint of publication bias there, something that has been confirmed statistically by Ben Goldacre.
And here's a bunch of scientists eviscerating her methodology, biases, and whatnot.

Maybe the good professor is learning something, though. Madly inflated numbers make even lay-people's alarm bells go off. The recent study's claims are much more modest. Let's see if it gets any traction in the mainstream press.

MASSIVE Temper Tantrum over Canada Summer Jobs

OK, it was to be expected that Fetus Freaks would freak out over having their funding threatened, but not even long-time observers (ahem) of their hilarious hyperbole saw this banshee-like SHRIEEK-fest coming.

Here are just a few of the terms used to characterize the very modest change to Canada Summer Jobs program eligibility (insert mandatory exclamation marks after each entry!!!!!):

"thought/belief control"
"ideological coercion"
"loyalty oath"
"ideological purity test"
"witch hunt" (I always love this one applied to xians)
"freedom under threat"

And that's not even getting into the comments on their reality-impaired sites, where "Satan" figures prominently.

LifeShite broke the story on December 14, after a leak by über-anti-choice MP Brad Trost.

Global News also reported on it here with an update on December 19 when the program officially launched for 2018.

Back in September last year, we reported on some early findings by volunteer researchers at Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC).

Many anti-choice organizations, like Fake Clinics, have been granted charitable status and as such are required to file annual, public financial reports to Canada Revenue Agency.

ARCC volunteers took a peek at these filings and found that Fake Clinics were listing revenue from "Government." Well, this revelation begged for further research, didn't it?

After some more nosing around, a major source was pinned down -- the federal Canada Summer Jobs program.

A ton more work later, ARCC issued a media release.

When iPolitics found a Liberal (!) MP who had approved a sizeable grant to the loathsome Fetal Gore Gang, well, the shit hit the fan.

Then, the CPC nominee for Status of Women Committee, anti-choice Rachael Harder, was discovered to have also approved grants to Fake Clinics. More shit, more fans.

Then the "feminist" government announced that it would no longer allow federal funding to go to anti-choice groups.

There was some screeching at the time, but when the program was set to launch, Trost released the details. There is now a requirement that the recipients of tax-payers' dough respect the laws and Charter of Canada

To be eligible, the job must respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
Onerous, eh?

Or, as Michael Coren writing at iPolitics says:
What the government is suggesting is that it’s absurd for the public to directly fund and support groups that oppose the laws followed and the values held by the vast majority of Canadians. A very modest, very Canadian idea indeed.

Modest, Mr Coren? This is the END, the END, I tell you of civilization in Canada.

There have been 13 stories (so far) at LieShite about this, including one from the spokesthingy for the obnoxious Fetal Gore Gang.

LieShite is running a petition and a postcard campaign. Campaign Lie is also running a petition.

It seems all of these groups have a direct interest in this. Look at these numbers.

In addition to the 13 stories, there is this quick backgrounder on Justin Trudeau's tyrannical acts towards xians.
This news is only Trudeau’s latest attack on people of faith. The prime minister who so admires China for its “basic dictatorship” began his mandate with a mission to transform Canadian society into his libertine, anti-life image, and he has pursued this agenda with utter resolve.

I've got more to say about this, but I'm going to end for now with this eminently sensible comment on the Coren piece by Celia Posyniak.
It’s high time that government funding of anti-choice “pregnancy care” centres and extremist groups such as the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) [Fetal Gore Gang] ended. The so-called “pregnancy care” centres disseminate misleading information on abortion, use scare tactics to talk women into continuing pregnancies and then encourage adoption. They promote themselves through misleading advertising that hides who they are (evangelicals) and their true purpose – to convert clients to Christianity and “save” their babies. They are not interested in women who wish to continue their pregnancies and need support. They are only targeting what they call “abortion-minded” women. For this they are granted charitable status, which is bad enough. Granting them taxpayer money for an operation that at best can be described as disingenuous and is often harmful to women by delaying health care is ridiculous. So kudos to the Liberals for ending this sham.

As for the CCBR – their anti-social extremist behaviour should not be rewarded with taxpayer funds. They do not have charitable status and are in fact a political group seeking to undermine fundamental human rights. If you are going to fund them, you might as well fund alt right groups. Or if you think that’s too extreme a comparison, funding the CCBR is like funding anti-vaxxer groups that also work against public health and safety. Would Canadians be happy to see their money frittered away on that cause?

Let these anti-choice groups function on their own. If they can garner enough public support and convince Canadians of their position, then so be it. The government never gave groups like the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League money to promote the repeal of abortion laws. CARAL was successful through grass roots support and without charitable status.

Friday, 27 October 2017

"Fake Opposition" Flees Abortion Vote

Back here, we were crowing about how the media has shifted choice-ward in how it identifies anti-choicers, specifically by noting which politicians support fake clinics.

And now with the nearly unanimous passage of the Ontario "Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, 2017", or the "Fuck Off Clinic Bulliers Act," we see another fault-line in today's politics.

Even hard-line, self-avowed anti-choicers flee from actually voting on abortion issues.

The bill passed 86 to 1, the one being Jack MacLaren, former PC and now member of the Trillium Party.

Note that no Progressive Conservatives voted against it.

But note also which MPPs were not present (Campaign Lie screenshot):

Some were also of interest to Lifeshite.

Monte McNaughton ran for PC leadership under the anti-choice banner and is rated by Campaign Lie as "supportable". So we can see why fetus freaks were annoyed with him.

But Sam Oosterhoff, teen "pro-life" phenom, is another matter altogether. We wrote about Oosterhoff's winning of the nomination, helped in no small part by Alissa Golob and her organization "It Starts Right Now."

Here is Golob bragging about the win.

Oosterhoff is rated by Campaign Lie as "pro-life, pro-family".

Young Sam, carrying the expectations of dozens of anti-choicers in the province, is the Great Anti-Abortion Hope.

But, alas, he was a no-show too.

Patrick Brown, ONPC leader, commented on the vote tally.
While a few of his MPPs were not present for Wednesday’s vote, PC Leader Patrick Brown said at least two were dealing with personal health issues. Brown noted at least two Liberal MPPs, also known to hold anti-abortion views, were also missing.
Hmm, the old "personal health issues" dodge.

And ooh, look at this:
“This law proves that the Wynne government and the fake opposition is kowtowing to Planned Parenthood,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President, Campaign Life Coalition.
"Fake opposition." Hee. Do you detect a whiff of desperation there?

What are we to draw from the absence of the anti-choice former leadership contender and the young flag-bearer of New Fetus Fetishist Politics in the first vote on an abortion-related matter in Ontario in years?

It's hard not to conclude that an anti-choice stance is now so toxic to mainstream Canadians that a beleaguered leader like Brown CANNOT even throw his social conservative supporters a bone in a vote that had a foregone outcome.

And the so-cons are pissed.