Tuesday 26 August 2008

Keep Talking

We at Birth Pangs are laffing our asses off at Ken Epp, the Reforma-Tories, the so-conned, etc etc on the demise of Bill C-484, aka The Kicking Abortion's Ass Bill.

But this, as they say, is gonna leave a mark.

The freakin' Editorial Board of the National Pest, main MSM stirrer of the C-484 pot, has also made a screeching 180. Under the title 'Conservatives choose clarity over compromise on Epps' Bill', it opines:

(Quick, swallow anything you have in your mouth.)

As Mr. Epp explains here, the bill is careful to define lawful abortions by willing women as non-criminal acts, and in explicitly taking away the possibility of the defence that a fetus is not a human being, it even acknowledges, in a sense, that it is not necessarily founded upon any unstated notion of fetal rights. The Conservative government could probably have defended and passed this bill on that basis, without making the public uncomfortable or in any way reviving the abortion debate. But it rightly prefers not to take chances conveying nuance to the Canadian public through the generally cockeyed instrument of the media.

Nuance . . . generally cockeyed instrument of the media . . .

Monday 25 August 2008

Be sure to kiss him, Ken

Holy moly. Rob Nicholson just screwed Ken Epp.

OTTAWA — Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says his Conservative government will not reopen the abortion debate, but it will penalize offenders who endanger the lives of unborn babies.

Nicholson says he will introduce new legislation that will include a victim's pregnancy as an aggravating factor when judges consider sentencing violent offenders.

But the justice minister says the new law will be written in such a way that it cannot influence the abortion debate and legal interpretations of the rights of the unborn.


Say buh-byeeee to The Kicking Abortion's Ass Bill.

We can't wait to hear what the fetus fetishists have to say about this.


Tories abandon 'unborn victims' bill

The Harper government cut loose a contentious private member's bill that would have made it a crime to take the life of a fetus just as election speculation hits fever pitch.
. . .

"We've heard criticism from across the country, including representatives of the medical community, that Mr. Epp's bill as presently drafted could be interpreted as instilling fetal rights. Let me be clear. Our government will not reopen the debate on abortion," Mr. Nicholson said.

"For this reason ... I'm announcing that the government will introduce legislation that will punish criminals who commit violence against pregnant women but do so in a way that leaves no room for the introduction of fetal rights."

MORE: CBC's take:

The new law will be written in such a way that it cannot influence the abortion debate and legal interpretations of the rights of fetuses, Nicholson told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa on Monday.

First published at Birth Pangs.

Thursday 21 August 2008

Stick a Fork in It

We're flying here at Birth Pangs, but we had to do this:

The Canadian Medical Association tells Ken Epp and his band of lying liar fetus fetishists to f*ck right off.

Canada's largest doctors' group has strongly condemned a private member's bill it fears could limit women's access to abortion and criminalize doctors who assist them.

By a wide margin, the Canadian Medical Association voted yesterday to oppose Bill C-484, "and any legislation that would result in compromising access for women to the medical services required to terminate a pregnancy."

Seems the FFs can't get a single professional health care association to back their ploy.

We know. It's not over yet. But it's getting harder and harder to argue that the people opposed to the Kicking Abortion's Ass Bill 'misunderstand' it.

UPPITY-DATE: Radio Canada has the numbers on the 'wide margin':

"Réunis en séance plénière, mercredi, 88 % des quelque 300 médecins participant aux assises annuelles de l'AMC ont voté pour la résolution."

(First published at Birth Pangs.)

Monday 18 August 2008

Gang-Raped Sleeping Beauty

Remember how someone associated with the National House of Prayer (NHoP) refered to Canada as Cinderella with amnesia?

In many ways, we, as a nation, are like Cinderella with amnesia. We’ve been chosen as a princess, and given many wonderful gifts, but we can’t remember who we are.

The more Stevie’s bullies engage in frat-boyz antics, the more it seems a different metaphor emerges for Canada - like Sleeping Beauty, drugged by roofies slipped into her glass and then sexually assaulted by a power-intoxicated gang of ReformaTories (who probably eschewed the use of condoms). And, unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty slumbers on, still comatose while the PredaTories continue their reign of obstructing, slashing, burning and pillaging.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

The right to choose to give life.

JJ writes about the Blob Blogging Wingnut’s most recent post. While BBW might not personally be a white supremacist, she projects the zygote zealots’ own double standard onto those who support the right to choose.
Birth Pangs addressed that slimy sleight-of-hand argument last year,
in The Putrid Smell of Opportunism. Here’s the irony: BBW claims higher moral ground with a specious attempt to equate no-choice supporters with abolitionists. Yet, when one reads anti-abortion, pronatalist comments at right-wing discussion boards, one notes their rabid, braying fear and hatred of black, brown and beige-skinned hordes who, it is claimed, breed more than people of pallour.
On the May 11 edition of Fox News’ The Big Story, host John Gibson advised viewers during the “My Word” segment of his program to “do your duty. Make more babies.” He then cited a May 10 article, which reported that nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: “By far, the greatest number of children under five are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic.”
And then, there are BBW’s no-choice allies at Freaked Minions who rant obsessively about the fact that many First Nations and Muslim people have big families while most of European descent do not.
In the comments that follow BBW’s blogpost, Christina shows her bias: “That “clump of cells” is a highly organized and sophisticated organism. Without any input from the outside, it will develop into a fully-formed newborn. Everything necessary for the adult is present in that clump of cells — all it needs is time, nutrition, and a hospitable environment.”
Scientists have attempted to grow embryonic cells outside a woman’s womb, eventually they fail to thrive and develop. A pregnant woman is more than a vessel or “a hospitable environment” for fertilized ova. Pregnancy is complex: a psychological and physiological, synergetic life-giving process. The choice to give life - or the inability to do so - is equally complex.
No-choice says that it is immoral for a woman to refuse to give life.
Pro-choice says that it is immoral to force a woman to bear a pregnancy that was unintended and unwanted or that may in some circumstances, kill her.
Finally, BBW: you keep whining that feminists won’t debate you on your circumscribed playing field, where the term you use to describe the choice to terminate a pregnancy is “murder”. While that’s a belief you have the right to hold, it is not mine. I do not choose to use your subjective, pronatalist and thus racist terms to discuss a woman’s right to choose to give life.
First posted at Birth Pangs.

Monday 4 August 2008

Boys and Babies, Babies and Boys

My mother was notorious for her habit of forgetting the punch line to jokes. But she somehow remembered this bit of doggerel from WWII:

My name is Dan, when I grow up to be a man
I want to fight Germany and Japan, that’s if I can - I know I can.

My name is Judy, when I grow up to be a lady
I want to marry and have a baby, that’s if I can - I know I can.

My name is Stan, when I grow up to be a man

I’m gonna help Judy with her plan, that’s if I can, I know I can
To hell with Germany and Japan.

It’s odd that I remembered this when attempting to make sense of the irrational onslaught of criticism leveled at the male passengers who safely herded everyone off the bus while a homicidal psychotic killed another passenger. Then of course, there were the self-righteous who refused to recognize the connection between the shootings in a Knoxville progressive church and their hateful and murderous rightwing extremist propaganda.
At this blog, we regularly counter and hold up to ridicule the inconsistencies in the religious fundamentalist canon, a mish-mash of zygot zealotry, pro-natalist glurge and sanctimonious sexism.

Girls should be virgins; boys - not so much. The doctrine of abstinence is force-fed to children and adolescents who are told that sex is evil unless it is redeemed by breeding for God. There is mounting evidence that demonstrates the failure of abstinence-only sex education.

So, what does work? It turns out that a modest and low-key program launched in the 1980s has been quite successful in reducing the rates of teen pregnancies, the spread of STDs and …. schoolyard bullying. Why has this program not been applauded and supported on a massive scale, then?

For starters, it’s secular, thus not based on biblical threats of God’s enduring wrath. And it discourages aggressive behaviour in boys.

Myriam Miedzian devoted a whole chapter of her book ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ to analyzing how and why this program works.

"… children starting in elementary school are taught child development classes geared to their level. In the elementary school and junior high, the classes center on a parent’s bringing a baby or toddler to class once a month. The rest of the time the teacher gives the children information about the needs and behavior of babies and children. When I visited these classes, I was amazed at how involved and enthusiastic the boys were."
Miedzian discovered years ago, when she first encountered personal, irrational, and hateful attacks on her ideas, that there are many who feel threatened when the stereotype of “boys will be boys” is deconstructed and challenged.
In the introduction to the 2002 revised edition of her book, Medzian says:
"The underlying argument of this book is that in this age of advanced technology that enables machine-gunning large numbers of people in seconds, hijacking planes and using them as lethal weapons, and annihilating all life on earth through nuclear weapons, we must move away from an obsolete concept of masculinity focused on toughness, dominance, emotional detachment, callousness toward women, and eagerness to fight. ….
Even though a majority of men never commit any significant acts of violence in the course of their lives, cross-culturally a vast majority of those who do commit violence, whether criminal or in warfare, are male. And a certain percentage of the male population … is at particulary high risk for violence. But because the masculine mystique still dominates our culture, many boys with no particularly strong proclivity to violence find that part of themselves so strongly reinforced that they are led to acts of violence for which they and their victims often pay a high price."
The expression of gentleness and tenderness is allowed and validated in boys who participate in the program. In addition to the many opportunities boys have to hold babies, they ask the mothers questions about their development and their needs.

Which brings me back to those lines my Mom remembered. My Dad, the man she married and who helped her with her ‘plan’ was the oldest child of a large family. His mother endured long periods in the hospital and he was responsible for the care of his siblings then. In fact, he taught my mother all the basic parenting skills that are required for dealing with newborn infants. He was also one of the kindest, gentlest and most compassionate human beings that I’ve had the privilege of knowing.

In Canada,
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has been evaluated and praised for its effect in reducing levels of aggression among schoolchildren.

At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained ROE Instructor coaches students to observe the baby’s development and to label the baby’s feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the “Teacher” and a lever, which the instructor uses to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. This “emotional literacy” taught in the program lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms, where children are the “Changers”. They are more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others (empathy) and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties.
When sexual and homicidal violence rages against women and children , even small sparks of light in the storm are comforting.

Originally posted at Birth Pangs

Saturday 2 August 2008

More about religious fundamentalist bullying

There are moments when the most eloquent blogpost possible, on a particular issue, is to simply provide a link to someone else’s piece.

Last month, Birth Pangs wrote, in Moving the goal-posts on contraception and The Haters’ Agenda Part II, about the Bush administration’s meddling in the parameters of federally-funded health programs.

Read Proposed HHS Regulation Pits “Workers’ Religious Freedom vs. Patients’ Rights”.
… if … it’s Workers’ Religious Freedom vs. Patients’ Rights, the patient wins. For those who feel they can’t morally treat everyone, go into another line of work. Whether you are a stem cell advocate, or in favor of reproductive rights, back door regulations are no way to set health policy that will affect millions of Americans in ways they are not expecting, including the superseding
of state laws designed to protect reproductive rights.

Political religious fundamentalist bullies never sleep, it seems.

First posted at Birth Pangs.