Friday 25 July 2008

Here. Let me help you with those analogies.

Who knew that Roman Catholic Church Cardinals were also physicians? Oh wait. Probably not this one.
A senior Roman Catholic cardinal has suggested that the Anglican Church may be “suffering from spiritual Alzheimer’s”.

Speaking at a plenary session of the Lambeth Conference, Cardinal Ivan Dias, of the Vatican’s Congregation for Evangelisation, also indicated that perhaps the Anglican Communion had “ecclesial Parkinson’s”.
Now, as someone who vicariously reads the Index section of the Merck Manual of Medical Diagnosis that my daughter left behind when she graduated from Med school and moved on to become a real physician, I know what’s involved. I cruise through the various symptoms list and I start getting a tad worried. Or inspired, as the case may be.
If one were a RCC cardinal - say, and one heard the hoofbeats of a profound doctrinal challenge, one might think: Heresy. And then one could grab the Merck for ’substantive’ analogies.
In a joint statement, the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease societies criticised the Cardinal. They said: “Seeing the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease or dementia trivialised by comments from such a prominent public figure is demoralising.
Thus a cardinal takes the liberty of diagnosing the speck in his neighbour’s eye, but does not notice the log in his own eye. (Matthew 7: 3-5) I recognize that game. Here are some suggestions for Cardinal Ivan Dias.
The RCC episcopacy holds the ordination of women as priests in contempt? Liturgical hypergonadism!
The Pope dictates the terms of women’s sexual and reproductive activities? Bound by fecal impaction of dogma!
RCC clergymen sexually abuse female and male children? Paedophilia. NOT an analogy but a malignant condition that has plagued the RCC for centuries.
A certain cardinal exploits medical conditions to attract media attention? Spin Munchausen syndrome by proxy!
Whenever the Catholic clergy stray into the fields of medical research in order to pontificate and pronounce the party line, they look like idjits. See
Virgin Eggs Over Easy, Hold The Sperm and Poached Nuts on Research Menu, Hold the Eggs.
As for me and my out-of-date, dog-eared, tattered Merck, I sure do hope that my daughter is not reading this particular blog post because she may remove the manual permanently, as she keeps threatening to do so … for my own good.
Originally posted at Birth Pangs.

Thursday 24 July 2008

What the F****** F*** …

are the furious fundamentalists, fetus fetishists and/or far-right fanatics doing nowadays in the Excited States of America?

The latest tactic in Operation Rescue’s never-ending and ever-escalating campaign of legalistic and illegal harassment is to target individual people staffing Dr Tiller’s clinic for violence prayer by publishing their photos and personal information. From ChristianNewsWire:

Operation Rescue has released the most up-to-date list of abortion clinic workers employed by George R. Tiller at his late-term abortion mill, Women’s Health Care Services, in Wichita, Kansas. The list includes twenty-two people, including three out-of-state abortionists who travel to Kansas to do abortions, including late-term procedures that are illegal in their home states. “We are releasing this list of abortion workers in order to expose them to the community, and to elicit prayers for their repentance,” said Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger.

“As Christians, we are concerned about them as people, and understand that sometimes it takes ‘tough love’ to help someone see the destructive path they are taking, so that they can make the
changes necessary to have a better life,” Sullenger said. “Most people who quit the abortion industry tell us that they are relieved to be out of that business, and say that leaving improved their lives.” …

Today’s abortion worker list is in the form of a photo gallery with captions telling the public a little
about each worker.

It appears Operation Rescue is expanding its murderous stranglehold urging its followers to reach out and touch pray for the staff of Dr Tiller’s clinic. Birth Pangs has blogged about Dr Tiller
here, here, here and here.

Here’s one well-informed perspective on his medical practice. Read more.

First posted at Birth Pangs.

F*ck the Debate!

Out of all the brouhaha over the long-overdue recognition of Dr Henry Morgentaler's service and commitment to the women of Canada, there has been much hand-wringing (not to say pearl-clutching) over the abortion so-called debate. Headlines shrieeeeking that the debate isn't over, we need to reopen the debate, we're afraid to have the debate, etfuckingcetera.

(Here is Andrew Coyne's confused blethering, more than ably taken apart by Dr Dawg and here is a more recent, but drearily similar, call for debate.)

The main reason we don't need a debate on this is that it concerns women's rights and in a democratic society, human rights are not up for debate.

But this week we've been treated to another display of why we will not debate with the fetus fetishists on abortion rights.

Because they lie and cheat.

They gleefully freep polls as we reported here.

They are 'economical' with the truthiness when fundraising as we crowed reported here.

Then, when caught in said economy in truthiness, they sue the truth-tellers.

And this week's 'Massive Poll Scam' is yet another example of blatant attempted deck-stacking.

Monday 21 July 2008

The Haters’ Agenda, Part II

Last year, Birth Pangs drew up what we thought was an amusing little poke at right-wing religious fundamentalist fanatics, The Haters’ Agenda. As it turns out, our spoof gets closer to reality every day Bush continues to rule in the US.
At Bring It On, Daniel DiRito writes about the new Bush government’s initiative to impose religious fundamentalist ideology upon those organizations that are funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
As if it isn’t bad enough that we’ve had to endure nearly eight years of George W. Bush, he has chosen his final months to enact one of his most intrusive policy initiatives. It seems that the president has decided to redefine abortion to include contraception.
The plan would be enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and cloaked as an attempt to prevent discrimination in government funded endeavors. The explanation being offered by the president’s operatives suggests that the goal is to insure that those individuals who have religious objections to abortion or the distribution of contraceptive products cannot be terminated from employment.
Nor can the organizations refuse to hire individuals because they hold those beliefs.
This is the same administration that has long argued that hate crimes legislation, intended to specifically deter violence against the LGBT community, is unnecessary. So when it comes to measures to bolster the safety of gays, existing laws are sufficient because they already provide penalties and punishment for these crimes. However, when a handful of Christians want to refuse to provide contraception to a rape victim, the Bush administration thinks special rules are warranted.
So, the Bush administration refuses to pass anti-hate laws to protect those who are the target of the haters, but … lookee here, a law to protect the haters’ rights to be fully employed in areas where they can do harm to those they hate.
The Haters’ Agenda: one more task, soon to be accomplished.
First posted at Birth Pangs.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Support from the post-dead

It all makes sense, in some religious fundamentalist parallel universe where no-choicers can lay claim to represent the interests of the pre-born and the post-dead. First, some folks claimed to channel the will of deceased holders of the Order of Canada by returning the snowflake medal in their name.

Now, JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie blogs about the petition that Lifeshite has set up to gather comments and signatures from the world at large. And just look at the famous supporter they have attracted:
“As the man who created Decree 770 in Romania, I would like to add my name to your wonderful petition. We can learn from my country’s history how beneficial it is to completely control women’s fertility and reproduction. I hope your country is preparing uterine forensic examiners for all miscarriages, as well as fertility police to force women to have a urinalysis each month to monitor for blessed pregnancy.” - Nicolae Ceaucescu
Now there’s the spirit! Who knew that Hell facilitated and upheld all Internet traditions?

First posted at Birth Pangs.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Moving the goal posts on contraception

Yet more evidence the US federal government policy is being shaped by officials sympathetic with religious fundamentalist beliefs, appointed by Republicans.

The Bush administration wants to require all recipients of aid under federal health programs to certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control. Under the draft of a proposed rule, hospitals, clinics, researchers and medical schools would have to sign “written certifications” as a prerequisite to getting money under any program run by the Department of Health and Human Services. …

The proposal defines abortion as follows: “any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”

From the NYTimes.

Remember “The Pill Kills” campaign? It would seem that there are policy makers working within the US Department of Health and Human Services who support the unscientific basis of that premise and they are attempting to coerce physicians, hospital administrators and other health care professionals to enforce it.

Many US-based organizations have responded to the USDHHS proposal; Reproductive Health Reality Check, Planned Parenthood, and more from the Reuters Health and Science reporter. And of course Dr Prole in her rant ON mode regarding this news item, here.

First posted at Birth Pangs.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

No-choice Vulture Culture: let women die or go to prison

The vituperative backlash of no-choicers, following the announcement that Dr Henry Morgentaler would be awarded the Order of Canada, was informative. Like maggots suddenly exposed to the light, the no-choicers scurried about, firing off letters to the editor, freeping online opinion polls, shoving the usual suspects - Margaret Somerville et al - into public view to spout the fetus fetishizing party line. CanWest obliged them, in great numbers.

It was thus no surprise that middle-of-the road Canadians, that ’silent majority’ that abortion criminalizers claim as supporters, recoiled from the hateful propaganda and deliberate lies and declared themselves to favour the decision to honour Morgentaler.

There is history behind all of this brouhaha, and a Montreal Gazette reporter writes about it:

When Sharon Hager finally got a abortion in 1964, she feared it would kill her. “It was hell, terrible. I thought I was going to die,” recalled Hager, then 20 and living in Vancouver.“It was illegal to have an abortion and it almost impossible to find someone to do it. A man who called himself a doctor - and you didn’t know for sure he was - came to my home and on the kitchen table put gauze in my womb and broke my water. … That’s what it was like before Dr. Morgentaler,” said Hager, later a member of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “People forget how terrible it was for women.”
Many of us remember. The Royal Victoria Hospital, mentioned in the Gazette article, is where my friend O trained.
There is also a compelling background to the booklet that was produced by a group of students at McGill University in the 1960’s. In
her 2006 essay, Christabelle Sethna traces the evolution and the context of the Birth Control Handbook. This list (quoted in The Gazette article) from the 1971 BCH - as it was known - details the fatal dangers of illegal abortion techniques, self-induced or assisted.

… These methods involve extreme pain and can lead to permanent disability, infection or death.

Oral means: Nothing that is swallowed can cause abortion without also causing death or severe disability to the mother.
• Ergot compounds- overdose is poison.
• Quinine sulphate - can cause deformities in fetus or death to mother.

Solids inserted into uterus: Common danger of perforation of womb and
bladder - death from infection or hemorrhage.
• Knitting needles
• Coat hangers
• Slippery Elm bark
• Ballpoint pen
• Pastes
• Catheters
• Gauze (packing)
• Curtain rods
• Telephone wire

Fluids inserted into the uterus: Severe burning of tissues, hemorrhage,
shock and possible death.
• Soap suds
• Alcohol
• Potassium permanganate
• Lye
• Lysol
• Pine oil

Air pumped into uterus: gas emboli in the blood stream. Immediately

Injections into uterine wall: Overdose is toxic.
• Ergot
• Pytocin
• Sodium pentothal

Vacuum cleaner: Connected to uterus - not to be confused with vacuum
aspiration - is fatal almost immediately. Rips uterus from pelvic area.

Even though they claim to be ‘the culture of life’, no-choicers have declared their intent to criminalize abortion and, in effect, to return to the days of illegal abortions. As Antonia Zerbasias notes and quotes in this article, no-choicers propose that women who attempt to terminate an abortion be charged and prosecuted.

Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer, Campaign Life Coalition: Our society has denied justice for unborn children who are killed daily in their mothers’ wombs at the request of the mother. We need
to correct this and return that protection to the unborn. It then follows that jail time for those who commit the crime of abortion is not only just, but absolutely necessary.

This is the future that women dealing with unintended pregnancies will face, if the no-choice Vulture Culture re-criminalizes abortion.

First posted at Birth Pangs.

Wednesday 9 July 2008

No-choice/No-brainer divide at Con Convention

It may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with the history of Québec, but within the ranks of the Conservative Party of Canada, there is steadfast support for choice from that province’s party members. And it may lead to a confrontation in November at the CPC convention, if the delegates representing the old Reform party constituency, aka Western fundamentalist interests, present a motion in favour of changing the legal status of a fetus.
Sovereignty en Anglais wrote about this:
Some party members from the West have inserted a proposition to integrate Bill C-484 into the Conservative platform. C-484 is a law that would recognise the fetus in a case where a pregnant mother is murdered. In such a case, the murderer would be charged with two murders instead of one. This is, in fact and despite what the bill itself says, a backdoor way to outlaw abortion because it
recognises the fetus as a legal person. It isn’t a far step to go from that to claiming the termination of the fetus in an abortion to be murder as well. And this isn’t just an over-reaction, similar laws in the United States have led to the outlawing of abortion in certain jurisdictions.
This is the first national CPC convention since March 2005. Over 3000 party members are expected to attend. A meeting of Québec Conservative party members - MPs, senators and riding presidents - was held in Sherbrooke in June. According to
Le Devoir’s source, the 300 participants voted against any resolution that would change the legal status of a fetus, as it currently stands in Canada. Some even bluntly stated that Bill C-484 was “insensé”, which in other words, means it goes against common sense.

Remember, 3 Québec Conservative MPs voted against C-484: Josée Verner, Lawrence Cannon (both ministers) and Sylvie Boucher. Also, there are a great number of professional, political, educational, labour and women’s organizations in Québec that are opposed to C-484.

Antonia Zerbisias at Broadsides also comments on Le Devoir’s news item, and takes the opportunity to mention that two polls (one in The Toronto Star and the other in The National Post) demonstrate that most Canadians approve of Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada.

First posted at Birth Pangs.

Stéphane Replies

Well. It seems like Stéphane Dion finally got around to his inbox. Back in February, we at Birth Pangs wrote to him demanding that he whip the Liberal vote on the second reading of the Kicking Abortion's Ass Bill. As we all know, he did not. In fact, he did not even show up to vote against it himself.

Later, though, he made a statement at a press conference that the Liberals would not let C-484 pass.

And today, we got a reply to our email of February restating that position.

Dear Sir/Madame,

We would like to thank you for your recent letter regarding the Private Member’s Bill C-484 presented by Conservative member Ken Epp.

Members of Parliament have the right to put forward a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons. However, our concern with Mr. Epp’s bill, a concern shared by many lawyers, health professionals and women’s rights organizations, is that it would undermine a woman’s right to choose and could ultimately be a threat to a woman’s ability to access safe abortion services. We are committed to the Liberal Party of Canada, under Stéphane Dion's leadership, standing firm against the idea of reopening the debate surrounding a woman’s right to choose. Passage of this bill will reopen the debate and threaten the rights of women – we will not allow that to happen.

Mr. Epp’s bill has been sent to the Justice committee and would only become law after receiving a majority vote in favour on its third reading in the House of Commons. Mr. Dion intends to work to ensure the bill is defeated at that time.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views on this important issue.


The Office of Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

Good. The women of Canada are going to hold you to that, M. Dion.

(First published at Birth Pangs.)

Tuesday 8 July 2008

WANTED: Fetus Fetishists

One of us here at Birth Pangs has been living in a construction zone for well over a year and is getting bloody sick of it.

Well, this morning she had a brilliant idea on how to move things along a little quicker — she’s going to let it be known to local fetus fetishists that this is not an apartment building. It just looks like an apartment building. What it really is is the future home of an abortion clinic.

Today there’s news from Colorado, where there’s a ballot initiative to redefine a fertilized human egg as a person with full constitutional rights.

Planned Parenthood’s new headquarters is complete.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has finished its $6.3 million headquarters in Stapleton almost three months ahead of schedule, the organization said.

The three-story building at East 38th Avenue and Pontiac Street will serve as a medical facility and will house the organization’s administration. It opened last week.

Anti-abortion groups protested outside the construction site almost every day since work began in November, but they were unable to stall the project, said Leslie Durgin, senior vice president for community development.

Unable to stall? Speeded things right up, we’d venture.

Especially when they started harassing construction workers at their homes. According to this report, things got so out of hand that a new law was passed restricting picketing in residential areas.

Right after we get done posting this, we’re getting to work on a great big banner — ‘FUTURE HOME OF BIRTH PANGS ABORTUARY’.

Friday 4 July 2008

"Live Free Or Die!"

“Live free or die!” - with the emphasis on “DIE!” if you become a target for fundamentalist right-wing extremists. Yes, this post is about the US, or as some call it, the Excited States of America.

In the past year, we have written about anti-choice terrorism aka murderous fetus fetishists. The bombing of women’s clinics and the assassination of their doctors is not a topic that lends itself to humour. However, an unassuming little US blog has done the heavy lifting for us, here.

While most Conservatives are thrilled with the Supreme Courts 2nd amendment decision, some groups are very concerned. According to the Pro-Life Action League’s Eric Scheidler “The last thing we want is abortion doctors with a means of self defense.”

The Pro-Life Action League does not participate in violence against abortion providers or women’s health clinics, it’s spokesman Steve Klaske confirmed, “We feel that our more extreme Pro-Life brothers in arms could be in danger if abortion doctors are allowed to carry guns.” … Klaske went on to say the Pro-Life Action League would support legislation allowing the unborn to “pack heat”. According to the Pro-Life Action League, “The womb is a home and the fetus has a 2nd amendment right to defend its self.”

Read more.

First posted at Birth Pangs.