Friday 30 April 2010

Culture War? Dog Whistle? Ginormous Boo-Boo? Hissy Fit?

So, what the hell is Motherhood Steve up to? We plow through the plethora of punditry so you don't have to. (All emphasis is mine.)

That’s why it’s takes a selective sense of morality for this government to justify covering the 100,000 Canadian women per year it insures for abortions in sterile medical settings while African women are denied our foreign aid to access the same procedure.
. . .
There’s no obvious easy escape from the mess now. What started as a dream initiative is becoming a policy nightmare for Harper, who should’ve seen this coming months ago when he announced the plan.

Even when pushing a proposal to save lives among those living in wretched faraway conditions as his signature accomplishment, Harper has found a way to set his government apart from the opposition parties.

Given that he’s never seen parliamentary harmony he couldn’t inflame into political divisions, perhaps poisoning this motherhood initiative will end up a fitting Stephen Harper legacy after all.

Edmonton Journal:
Either we as a nation are officially casting ourselves as hypocrites in our dealings with others, since abortion is a right for all women in this country. Surely what is a fundamental liberty for Canadians must be extended to those in the most need who want it, if it is legal in their jurisdiction as it is in ours.

Or, by signalling such a position, Stephen Harper is sending a not very subtle message to his political base that a majority Conservative government in Canada would reopen the debate on a woman's right to choose in this country.

By the way, there's a nifty interactive map of the world at the CBC showing the legal status of abortion in various countries.

Back to the pundits. Barbara Yaffe:
It is unclear why they'd allow themselves to get sidetracked on an international policy that is likely to reinforce fears about Harper's brand of conservatism and potentially deliver a ballot box boot to the backside.

Now Rosie DiManno in what may be the once-in-a-lifetime piece of hers that I actually agree with. She's talking specfically about Africa and the epidemic of rape in some places there. It's a tough read with horrifying stats and stories.
Why should any of these distant horrors matter to Canadians? Because rape as a sexual weapon is driving hundreds of thousands of women in desperate search of abortion on the African continent — where 700 women die for every 100,000 abortions due to backroom butchery — and Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week insisted Canada will not fund abortions in the developing world.

Why Harper would draw this line in the blood-drenched sand, as leader of a country that has no abortion laws and where the medical procedure is covered for Canadian women under the public health insurance plan, is unfathomable. It is particularly contrarian within the context of Canada’s ballyhooed initiative to champion maternal health funding for Africa at the upcoming G8 summit.
. . .
As a result of war and sexual violence, abortion in Africa is indeed a matter of post-violation contraception. For countless women, girls, abortion could provide the slim hope of returning to a life grossly interrupted.

Harper can blather about healthy babies and improved maternal care all he wants. The truth is unwanted babies will die; they’re being murdered right now, because their mothers cannot stand the sight of them — the progeny of their assailants — and cannot cope with exclusion from their communities.

If Harper doesn’t care about these women and girls, would deny them funding for abortions so safely provided to Canadian women, he should at least give a damn about the babies forsaken and killed because they had the misfortune to be born.

Judith Timson in a piece titled 'Ottawa to refuse abortion funding? Not in my name':
Here is a political question that for me, just won’t go away: In exactly whose name has the Harper government decided to withhold funds for access to safe abortion in their international maternal and child health initiative?

Not in my name. And not in the names of countless Canadians who have relied for years on safe access to the procedure at government expense.

The government’s decision has made what should have been international apple pie – a widely applauded global health initiative for women and children – into a political hot potato, not only reviving the endlessly divisive abortion debate, but threatening to have it play out, as one concerned director of an international aid foundation told me, “on the backs of African women and children.”

There’s something fundamentally high-handed about a minority government deciding it won’t offer women overseas the same rights they have here. It’s like a new version of NIMBY (not in my backyard) only it’s the colonial version: NITBY (not in their backyard)
. . .
No, it’s solely up to Canadians to deal with the glaring hypocrisy and paternalism of their government’s stance. While we’re at it, we should also notice how the issue of abortion is being stealthily revived in this country, despite the Prime Minister’s declaration that Canadians have “no appetite” for the debate.
. . .
At the end of that G-8 meeting, Ms. Oda seemed to go out of her way to re-emphasize the government’s position: “So I just want to clarify: Family planning does not include abortion.” Why would she do that, if the Prime Minister wants this debate to go away?

Well, if Bev Oda can “clarify” her position then I will clarify mine: For me and many others, family planning does include abortion. However torturous an ensuing debate, this is clearly a moment that matters in the history of abortion rights in this country. The Conservative government, in a moment of political pandering, has made it matter.

Susan Riley:
Of course there is a culture war raging in federal politics. It's been going on since Preston Manning blew into Ottawa many years ago.

The battle lines are clear. Elitist, cosmopolitan (code for gay, or gay-friendly), urban CBC-lovers -- including "left-wing fringe groups", anti-Israel aid agencies and pro-gay judges -- on one side. Frugal small town and suburban Canadians who work hard, pay their taxes, and play by the rules on the other.

And now, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's ill-considered G8 maternal health initiative, the deepest wedge of all: abortion rights.
. . .
Leaving aside the paternalism of allowing abortion access in Canada but discouraging it in Africa, and those annoying experts who argue that access to safe abortion is key component of maternal health, this is a true wedge issue -- one that could blow up in Harper's face.

On Monday, women involved in international advocacy will be asking "Where is Canada's leadership in promoting gender equality?" at an event on Parliament Hill. The maternal health initiative -- which was intended to display the Harper's caring side, but has backfired badly -- will be under unfriendly scrutiny. So will what some see as a Tory stealth agenda, aimed at removing funding from agencies that don't promote social conservative values.

If we're having a culture war, this could be a new front line. No wonder those peace-loving Conservatives are having a sudden attack of the vapours.

Chris Selley whose piece is titled 'A contrived little abortion war'. And he does blame the Liberals.
I’m intrigued by the idea, as championed by Stephen Harper this week, that abortion “divides” Canadians. It does, certainly, on an emotional level. But considering how vicious and clamorous the pro-life vs. pro-choice battle is, there’s actually a remarkable consensus among Canadians that abortion should not be illegal. The last major poll I’m aware of, conducted by Angus Reid in June 2008, found that just 4% of us felt abortion should be outlawed in all circumstances.

There are divisions within the other 96%, of course. Angus Reid found 48% of Canadians felt abortion should always be legal. But nearly as many, 43%, felt there should be some restrictions. And when that 43% was presented with an array of possibilities, such as a cutoff date in a woman’s pregnancy or defunding the procedure under certain circumstances, they couldn’t agree on anything.

But the abortion war isn’t supposed to be about conflicting policy choices; that’s not what ostensibly “divides” us. I’ve never seen a T-shirt braying “We’re OK with the vast majority of abortions!” or a placard reading “Save fetuses older than 13 weeks!” It’s supposed to be black and white: All abortions are OK, or all abortions are evil. (These are the only two coherent positions on the matter, in my view, and for the record, I uneasily subscribe to the former.) If only 4% of Canadians actually think all fetuses are human beings — to say nothing of perdurable pro-choicers who blanch at sex-selective termination — then I’m forced to conclude that this whole war is a bit of a sham.

Mr. Harper was explaining his government’s pledge — which came after weeks of hemming and hawing, and is no doubt subject to further review, tweaking or outright abandonment — not to fund abortions in the dusty, faraway lands where it wants to improve maternal health. The government is free to focus its efforts where and how it wishes. But an absolute ban on abortion-related spending on the grounds Mr. Harper cited is dizzyingly nonsensical. No one seems to disagree that, in certain circumstances, and morality aside, abortion can improve women’s health outcomes. Canada has no abortion law. Canadians do not support outlawing it. Canadian governments fund it. And Mr. Harper has sworn blind since being elected that he has no intention whatsoever of changing any of that. Ever. Hidden agenda? Pshaw. Long live our unique legal vacuum, envy of nations!

By the standards Mr. Harper espoused this week, that sounds awfully divisive. And nonsensical. Does he think we value foreign fetuses ahead of Canadian ones? Are women not raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Is there no incest in Haiti? It doesn’t survive a moment’s scrutiny.

Another by the way -- here is a much more recent poll from April 1 this year.
A majority of Canadians describe themselves as leaning pro-choice with regard to abortion. A little more than a quarter prefer “pro-life”, with the remainder undecided.

This finding of a 2-1 margin in favour of the pro-choice position is almost unchanged from the answers Canadians gave to the identical question a decade ago.

More punditry: Susan Delacourt:
For the first time since taking power more than four years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week openly embraced a solid, social-conservative policy of the right — refusing to have Canada support abortion in foreign-aid projects.

Political observers were stunned.

After all this time practising the politics of pragmatism, steering his party away from any of the polarizing, social conservatism that scares off many women, urban and centrist voters, Harper branded his government as anti-abortion.

It’s a decision that could well haunt the Conservatives into the next election campaign, depending on how Harper’s opponents handle it.

Mindelle Jacobs:
If the Harper Conservatives are trying to woo mainstream Canada and gain enough trust to win another election, they have a funny way of doing it.

First, they insist they don’t want to get into an abortion debate in the lead-up to June’s G8 summit in Ontario. Then they deliberately wade into the issue. It’s as if they get a kick out of committing political suicide.

After weeks of obfuscation, the Conservatives have finally declared that Canada won’t fund abortion under our G8 maternal and child health initiative. To top it off, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda made the bizarre statement that “Canada has never funded a procedure that included abortion.”

Jacobs then points out that Canada through CIDA has been funding International Planned Parenthood Federation's work around the world for decades.

Changes may be in the works to that longstanding policy though.
Nearly a year after asking the Canadian government to renew its funding, the International Planned Parenthood Federation is still waiting for an answer and if the money doesn't come through, the agency says the impact on its work in developing countries will be devastating.

The sexual and reproductive health organization depends on funding from governments around the world for a majority of its budget. It has a long-standing partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency but its most recent funding agreement ended on December 31. Months before that, in June 2009, IPPF submitted its proposal to renew the previous funding, worth $18 million over three years.

Is the stalling on IPPF's funding an indication that this has been in the works for a while? Is it a dog whistle to the base base? Or is Stevie ('I'm never wrong and I never back down') Peevie just digging his widdle heels in because the meanies in the Liberal Party tried to force his hand on the issue? No matter that the fucking Liberals failed spectacularly, Stevie was peeved.

Delacourt is right, I think. This issue will kill the ReformaTories at the polls -- but only if the Useless Opposition plays it right. We at DJ! have been shrieeeeking saying this for ages. Canada is a pro-choice country. And nothing will mobilize the women of Canada to get out and vote like trying to turn back the clock on our cherished and hard-won rights.

In a final by the way, the base base as represented by The Freaks aren't buying it. Even they think Stevie is getting his ass kicked over this.

Gynophobic notions about 'maternal instinct'.

Starting Monday May 3rd, a blue and white door located near the ER entrance at a Vancouver’s downtown hospital will open to a shelf with a bassinette where a woman can leave a newborn.

They were once called baby hatches or foundling wheels, places where troubled mothers could abandon their babies anonymously but with some assurance that the infant would be cared for. They’ve existed for as long as there have been mothers who don’t think they can care for an infant. In medieval Europe, they were usually run by convents and churches. [...]

Angel’s Cradle will be the only one of its kind in the country, the hospital said. [...] If used, the drop-off will be equipped with a 30-second timer. After that, an alarm will sound, alerting hospital staff to the baby’s presence. The hospital will post signs alerting the mother to other options besides abandonment, as well as telephone numbers to a crisis line.

The facts above were taken from this Globe & Mail article. I excised the virtual hand-wringing, righteous observations attributed to one Dr Cundiff, head of obstetrics and gynecology for Providence Health Care.

Dr. Cundiff stressed that abandoning an infant is not the preferred option for either mother or baby. It presents a raft of problems for social services agencies who must find care for an infant without knowing its medical history or where it came from.

Women who are determined to abandon their infants are often desperate, he said. “If they’ve already made the decision to abandon their baby, we should at least give them a way to do it safely for the baby. You have to think about the other person involved, and that is the little baby who is in an unsafe situation, and we have to think about their overall health and well-being.”

If that holier-than-thou and deeply gynophobic attitude doesn't make you wonder how the hell Dr Cundiff got named to the top position of a department that specializes in women's reproductive health, then ....

Oh. Wait. It must be the Peter Principle. Someone in the administration of the hospital recognized Dr Cundiff's contempt for the women in his care and got him kicked upstairs, where presumably he can't do direct harm to anyone.

Let me repeat the key piece of information in that news article: Women who are determined to abandon their infants are often desperate. “If they’ve already made the decision to abandon their baby, we should at least give them a way to do it safely for the baby.”

How do women get to that point of desperation? Shall I list the ways?
  1. Toxic family environment. Girls parented by incompetent - if not downright negligent and abusive - adults may become pregnant, deliberately or involuntarily. Faced with their own imminent motherhood and recognizing their own child might be subjected to the same forms of violence they experienced, they panic. They would rather anonymously abandon their baby than have individuals from their own or the biological father's family claim the infant.

  2. Mental health or addiction issues. Girls and women suffering from a number of complex, connected ailments such as schizophrenia may let an unwanted pregnancy progress to the point where a medical intervention would be unavailable or life-threatening. They may be only dimly aware of their condition and though the decision to abandon their newborns may not have been rigorously thought through, the option provides their infants with a future - one that they're ill-equiped to shape or share.

  3. Conflicts with legal or government officials. There are girls and women whose life history is marked by events that have marginalized them. Their survival skills are feral and sharp; if confronted with an unplanned pregnancy which they choose not to terminate, they can securely dispose of their newborns in a manner that limits their contacts with official figures that have betrayed or previously violated them.
If this all sounds terribly Dickensian and quaint, you must be living in a privileged bubble. There are wounded and traumatized girls and women living in the streets in most Canadian cities, transitioning in and out of institutionalized care, and barely capable of supporting themselves.

Several states in the U.S. have safe-haven laws, which decriminalized child abandonment as long as the children were left at safe places. St. Paul’s said Vancouver Police have agreed not to charge a mother who leaves an infant at Angel’s cradle.

If a baby is left there, the infant will be treated and handed to provincial social services. If the mother changes her mind, she can contact a social worker to discuss options, according to a hospital briefing memo.

Dr. Cundiff said he’s not happy that there is a need in Canada for a baby dropoff. “The sad truth,” he said, “is there are people in the world who don’t avail themselves of the resources out there.”

Isn't that special? Dr Cundiff must inhabit his own bubble, unable to recognize the social safety net - "the resources out there" - is an illusion that rightwing politicians and their governments claim exists though in actuality they have shredded it to bits, such as Mike Harris did in Ontario.

And of course, there are men who share the Dr's odious opinions about women; they've left comments.

AP1 said:

Baby dumps also and again deny fathers rights, and also deny the right of the baby - which is who this is supposed to be about, the right to their other relatives too. It is a convenient way for baby brokers to farm infants and it is despicable, but then again adopter/brokers are generally despicable as decent people do not sell children for a living and they do not buy them either. Also allowing baby dumps where these babies have no health history is also dangerous - but the parasites that are doing this don't care, and they allege to be medical professionals. The greed in the adoption industry gets worse every year.

Mike, abandoning a baby should never be an option. And barren couples that buy children overseas are also barren of morals. It is child trafficking, both should be illegal. There are other ways to help people without encouraging baby dumps.

Mike_Z said:

I think this is a great idea for a world where some people have to make awful decisions, and some people are simply awful people.I say the government and the public should endorse options that make the best of a bad situation. If the mother / parent does not want to care for the child, this is a far better option than simple abandonment or neglect.I should say both pro-choicers and pro-lifers should support this idea. Pro-choicer's actually (I suspect) are FORCED to like this option, since it gives women (and parents) more CHOICE. Pro-lifers should like this because it is one more option to consider instead of abortion.

Isn't it fascinating how those men who would vociferously fight and resist any institution which would FORCE them to take financial, material and emotional responsibility for babies they have spawned, are so quick and categorical in their judgements towards women who behave no worse than they do?

Thursday 29 April 2010

Hells Angels and Harper Conservatives.

Isn't that a great - no, a terrific - headline?

In today's Question Period in the House of Commons, NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair demanded to know more about Justice Léger and the role the Justice Minister played in his appointment.

There is a controversy brewing over the federal government’s appointment of Justice Jacques Leger to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2006. He is a former president of the Progressive Conservative Party.

According to reports, Judge Leger had advised the Hells Angels on a case involving the gang’s trademarks before his appointment. His relationship with the biker gang came to light after Quebec’s Chief Justice pulled him off a bail hearing of four bikers charged with murder.

“La Presse revealed yesterday that a former lawyer for the Hells Angels, Jacques Léger, was named judge by the law-and-order Conservatives right after they were elected in 2006. … Could the Justice Minister explain what qualifications led the Conservatives to name Jacques Léger a judge?”

More about judge Jacques Léger of the Quebec Court of Appeal being pulled off the case involving the Hells Angels, here. Léger should have anticipated this might be a problem. Why did he not recuse himself?

Oh. Wait. He's a Con.

I Can't Keep Up, continued

My apologies for the silence from this corner of DAMMIT JANET!, but again I can't keep up with the orgy of fetus fetishizing in USian state legislatures.

I mean, don't they have a recession down there? A couple of wars? Widespread unemployment? Massive budget shortfalls?

Ah, but that stuff's not as interesting or gratifying as fucking with women's rights.
By the end of March, 825 measures had been introduced in the 44 legislatures that have convened so far in 2010.

From the Guttmacher Institute here's an index of fascinating topics under the general heading of 'Laws for Ladies':

Abortion Bans to Replace Roe

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: 'Choose Life' License Plates and State Funding

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Fetal Pain

Health Reform

Later Term and Second Trimester Abortion

Mandatory Counseling and Waiting Periods

Medical Emergency Exception in Abortion Law

Medication Abortion

Minors Reporting

Parental Involvement

'Partial-Birth' Abortion

Physician Liability

Physician-Only Requirements

Postviability Abortion

Private Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Prohibiting Forcing a Woman to Have an Abortion

Protecting Access to Abortion

Protecting Access to Clinics

Public Funding of Abortion

Requiring Abortion Providers to Have Hospital Privileges

Reporting Statistical Information to State Agencies

Self-Induced Abortion

Sex and Race Selection

State Participation in Abortion

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers

Ultrasound Requirements

With so many intrusive, paternalistic, authoritarian, slut-shaming laws to choose from, it's hard to say which is the winner of the coveted Maurice Vellacott Award, but Oklahoma is certainly a top contender.
Oklahoma's new anti-choice laws, one requiring all women to have a mandatory ultrasound before an abortion, and one allowing doctors to lie to their patients if the fetus has an abnormality, are stirring up a lot of anger (not to mention a looming court battle). But the anger isn't just in Oklahoma, but across the country, too.

From California:
Anti-abortion lawmakers in Oklahoma stooped to a new low this week by passing two bills that constitute a reprehensible intrusion of government into women's lives.

It's hard to tell which of the bills is the most repugnant.

The first requires doctors to force women to watch an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus within an hour before an abortion is performed. The requirement holds even for women who are victims of incest or rape. It will add gratuitous pain to a procedure that for the vast majority of women is already an anguished choice.

The second bill prevents a wrongful life or wrongful death lawsuit against doctors who withhold information about a pregnancy, even when a fetus has severe disabilities.

In other words, Oklahoma doctors are free to impose their beliefs on women and even to flat-out lie to them. Would a law making the same provision for an exclusively male condition ever get through Oklahoma's or any other legislature? Not a chance.

Lying to a patient would be clearly unethical. Fortunately, it's almost certainly unconstitutional as well. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit two hours after the Oklahoma House and Senate overrode Gov. Brad Henry's veto of the bill. The suit will argue that the laws invade a patient's right to privacy and fail to respect patient autonomy.

No kidding.

WARNING: Do not read the next paragraph if you are prone to head-explosions.

The justification for the mandatory ultrasound is 'informed consent' -- you know, we wimmin don't really know what we're doing when we make abortion appointments. Yet the wrongful life/death one enables (encourages?) fetus fetishizing doctors or technicians to withhold information on potential fetal deformities or other problems. Because we wimmin can't be trusted with knowing what's growing in our uteruses.

So, how's it working out? Well, the emotional torture part works good, but the preventing abortion part? Not so well.
Women became emotional and some cried after being shown fetal ultrasound images at a Tulsa abortion clinic Wednesday, a day after Oklahoma enacted what has been called the nation’s most restrictive abortion law.

None of the women, however, decided against terminating their pregnancies, said Linda Meek, the executive director of Reproductive Services in Tulsa.

Now go read Rape Me All Over Again at Those Emergency Blues, which is where I got this photo. And yup, it works just like it looks like it would. (I've had one of these dealies and 'horribly invasive' doesn't begin to describe it.)

How can you tell if a Con MP is lying?

His lips are moving.

MP Steven "Blarney" Blaney just spoke on Radio-Canada about the release of National Defense documents relating to the handing over of war captives to the Afghan authorities.

He regurgitated well-rehearsed ReformaTory Attack Parrot™© points:
  1. Opposition MPs cannot be trusted with top secret, sensitive materials.
  2. Disclosure of this information endangers our troops in Afghanistan.
  3. There were witnesses to the Parliamentary Committee who told "stories".
  4. Opposition MPs hate our soldiers.

This is why we say:

They LIE.

They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

    They LIE! They lie, they lie, they lie, they lie!

    It's the ReformaTory Anvil Chorus.

    They LIE.

    They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

    While the Conservative government treats Rahim Jaffer publicly as a pariah, messages and calls between senior officials and the former MP over the past year show he was handled inside as a friend and even a "priority."

    More than 60 pages of government documents obtained by The Canadian Press Wednesday paint a picture of a busy, cheerful businessman reaching out to people he knew within government. [...]

    At least six ministerial offices were contacted by Jaffer over the past year, and that includes previously unknown communications with Public Works and the office of Diane Ablonczy, minister of state for seniors. The documents were tabled with the Commons government operations committee, and with the lobbying commissioner and some with the ethics commissioner.

    In his emails, Jaffer was often describing renewable projects he was working on with his partner Patrick Glemaud, and the responses were swift and often personal.

    From here.

    They LIE.

    They lie they lie they lie THEY LIE!

    Oh, and make sure you take in the deliciously apt Monty Python skit over at Canadian Cynic: Adscam! Adscam, fer Chrissake! too.

    Wednesday 28 April 2010

    The Rootin' Tootin' Truthiness of $arah Palin

    There's currently a federal court jury trial of a man charged with hacking into Palin's private e-mail account in 2008.

    Andrew Sullivan is a serious $arah Palin observer. This is what he said about her court appearance last week.

    Well, she can't help herself, which is why her decision to testify to anything under oath was possibly, shall we say, imprudent. I haven't seen the precise testimony so I cannot verify the precise wording she used (which may be critical). But, on the face of it, this seems demonstrably wrong. Anyone aware of the emails can see that her hacked private account [...] was routinely used for state business [...].

    Finally, from the "We couldn't make this s**t up" category, it appears that there's a fund-raiser for the TeePeePee / Teabaggers / Tea Party Patriots (aka The Hatriots) being held in Chicago: a Sarah Palin sexy lookalike contest - titled “Less Taxation, More Stimulation” - with a cash prize for the winner. It's scheduled for May 12, the same day $arah is speaking at an event to boost the Illinois Republican party's coffers.

    I wonder if they'll let drag queens compete?

    Tuesday 27 April 2010

    And when he got behind closed doors ...

    Stevie Spiteful was able to unleash his temper tantrum.

    The sound of glass breaking and windows shattering, followed by howls, screeching, barking mad yips of rage and the drumming of heels against the floor was heard by those cowering outside his office.

    I can just imagine the items needing repair: rugs with bite marks, computer cables chewed to bits, walls gouged with deep grooves, furniture smashed.

    No wonder Harper was absent from the House of Commons when
    Speaker Milliken gave his ruling.

    Where are The Fetus Fetishists? - Update

    Where are R.E.A.L. Women of Canada? Why aren't they shrieeeking at Jason Kenney, for allowing this to happen?

    A pregnant diabetic woman from Guinea was released from detention Monday and is now fighting to remain in the country on humanitarian grounds. [...]

    Camara went into hiding to avoid the deportation, because she said if she's deported, she could lose her baby or face death. She's now facing a 2 p.m. flight Tuesday afternoon. [...] Camara left her homeland in 2006 after the death of her first husband. She said the man, who was much older and had two other wives, physically abused and raped her. "My former husband's family believes I was the cause of his death because I left the country after he died. I could be jailed in Guinea if I return."

    She came to Canada, but was denied refugee status. A year later, she married Abdoul Sow, a marriage immigration officials contend was a sham.

    She is 24 weeks pregnant, has Type 2 diabetes and had a miscarriage last year. Obstetricians in the high-risk pregnancy clinic where she is a patient say that she will not have access in Guinea to the kind of medical care she is receiving here. Her lawyer said her life and pregnancy are endangered if she is returned to Guinea. If she survives to give birth, her infant's life could also be at risk.

    Oh. Wait. Sayon Camara is a Black women who can't vote. Why would a ReformaTory Minister, whose New™ MASSIVELY "accountable!" & "transparent!" government cut funding to shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence, do anything to help her?

    So much for
    Stevie Spiteful's maternal health care initiative. Did anyone actually believe that his pious bleating was anything but a ploy to insert propaganda into the news cycle that the PMO tries to control?

    Today's update. From Cyberpresse, the above photo from the couple's wedding as well as additional information regarding Immigration officials bias for contending their marriage is a 'sham'. Abdoul Sow went west for a few months, to find work in a better paid employment. Many men in Canada do the same - go to Alberta to earn money while living in substandard conditions in order to support their families. Given the housing situation in places like Fort McMurray, it doesn't make sense for the families to uproot themselves from their communities and following the main wage-earner.

    Monday 26 April 2010

    Race Card Trumped by NAACP

    What happens when a fetus fetishist outfit plays the race card to make the preposterous claim that abortion amounts to the genocide of black people?
    It comes back to bite your duplicitous honky ass.
    The Georgia chapter of the NAACP has formally rescinded its endorsement of SB 529, a bill that would bar physicians from performing abortions in cases where the fetus has been targeted because of race or gender.

    Here's the statement from Edward DuBose, chapter president (emphasis mine):
    Earlier this month, the Georgia NAACP submitted a letter to support Senate Bill 529. We now fully understand the intention of this legislation and wish to retract our support for it.

    At the time, we were of the understanding that this bill would work to benefit the women in our community. However, after many conversations with membership and constituents, we now realize that this is nothing more than using women’s health as a political tool.

    Women of color in Georgia need more than divisive messages and deserve better access to health care.

    We look to the Georgia General Assembly to support initiatives that benefit the community including education and prevention services and working to reduce health care disparities. SB 529 does nothing to address these goals.

    Rich, innit, when an anti-racist organization refuses to participate in your supposedly anti-racist ruse?

    Here is LieShite's spin, complete with obligatory reference to the Black Queen of Merkin fetus fetishists:
    The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which also helps stop abortions in cases when women are forced or coerced into having one, has already received backing from Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    So, like, if the niece of St Martin is all for it, what the hell is the problem with the NAACP?

    I got curious about that equally obligatory 'Dr' in front of Ms King's name and found that doctorate is honorary. I also found that while her entry styles her as Senior Fellow for the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, it seems it needs updating or -- no, it wouldn't be misleading, would it?
    [The Institution] had 14 staff researchers at its peak. It largely ceased operations in 2006. It issued its last press release in 2007 announcing that its former Chairman was running for President of the United States. Its website was last updated in 2008.

    Further googling reveals that southern fetus freaks are planning to desecrate another iconic episode of the civil rights movement by appropriating it to their mission cause -- Freedom will Ride again this summer, this time for fetuses.

    Again, these people manage to sink even further into the crassest manipulation, distortion, and total disrespect for real human suffering and achievement.

    Like a mouse attempting to give birth to an elephant ...

    Someone in Harper's New™ MASSIVELY "accountable!" & "transparent!" government finally answered the question.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced late last year that Canada, as the host of the upcoming G8 meeting in June, would champion maternal and child health in developing countries. But until Monday no one in the government had disclosed whether abortion would be included.

    Conservative MP Jim Abbott clarified the government's position in the House of Commons in response to a question from Bloc Québécois MP Johanne Deschamps.

    "Canada's contribution to maternal and child health may include family planning," Abbott told the House. "However, Canada's contribution will not include funding abortion." Following Abbott's statement, Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, confirmed Canada would not include any abortion funding for its G8 plan.

    From here.

    This of course followed months of obfuscation and hair-splitting from the ReformaTories about the real nature of their maternal health initiative. More from fern hill, blogging on the topic, here.

    Another rant about self-righteous and self-serving religious idjits.

    First, the 'Irony where is thy sting?' category:

    An internal Foreign Office memo about September's papal visit to Britain, born of a Friday afternoon brainstorming session involving a group of junior civil servants, resulted yesterday in the demotion of a young official and a formal government apology to the Vatican.

    The memorandum, apparently written by staff planning events for the four-day visit by Pope Benedict XVI, suggested he might like to start a helpline for abused children, sack "dodgy" bishops, open an abortion ward, launch his own brand of condoms, preside at a civil partnership, perform forward rolls with children, apologise for the Spanish armada and sing a song with the Queen.

    If anyone ever doubted that most fundamentalist catholics are humour-impaired by their devotion to the Vatican Taliban, one has to look no further than the smarmy snitch who leaked the irreverent memo to the press. By the way, the song suggested for Betty and Benny's duet was 'God Save The World'.

    All of this might be enough to set Tony Blair spinning in his grave - if he were dead, that it.

    The 'Mormons and Muslims, oh my!' category:
    Yet another sexist, irresponsible jerk uses religion to justify his behaviour.

    Authorities are looking into whether the Algerian-born Lies Hebbadj was married to four women in French civil ceremonies, which would be highly unlikely. Were he married in religious ceremonies by imams in Algeria or in France, these unions would not count as marriages under French law, said Rabah Hached, a Paris lawyer who specializes in immigration issues. In that case, each of the officially unmarried women could potentially receive state aid for her children. [...]

    Hebbadj, defended his lifestyle Monday by turning the notion of polygamy on its head. [...] He did not specify whether he lives under the same roof with the various women in his life, although press reports have quoted neighbors as saying he moves between several houses. Hebbadj, whose robed image has been flashed around France by TV, runs a recently opened halal butcher shop.

    Social assistance regulations in Canada require that deadbeat dads like Hebbadj be sued for child support. Safety nets were set up for the benefit of women and children, not for opportunist men to scam the welfare system - whether they live in Bountiful, BC or Paris, France.

    Finally, the flatulence and flamboyance category.
    Ezra "Ezrant" Levant should fire his stylist and his acting coach - unless this performance as a rabid, zionist, rightwing ReformaTory Craig Russell was planned, to stupify his political and ideological enemies.

    Here's the incomparable Russell. Wait for the cheeky Anita Bryant impersonation.

    Saturday 24 April 2010

    But, but, but ... Planned Parenthood! Shrieeekkk!!!

    In the combox after Does the Catholic Church foster a Culture of Pedophilia? Steve left this comment -
    Planned Parenthood is no better, frequently covering up rape. See one example below : What you won’t see this on the cover of the New York Times. Don't drink the Kook-Aid.
    That would be blogger Steve who, in his own words says he will "accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church and I look to the Pope for my marching orders".

    Steve got his speaking points from SoConAndNutz. Take notice that he doesn't answer, refute or challenge a single word about the culture of pedophilia in his religious institution.

    It's quite the claim, considering it originates with Lie-Là Rose's production company, by way of the National Cash Catholic Register.

    This edited video recording is touted as "The New Sex Abuse Scandal - All Caught on Tape". It displays a time code that reads 2005.10.23 - although the content of the 'news release' at LiveAction suggests this a new undercover sting operation. (Earlier posts about Lie-Là Rose here.)

    So. It's recycled and re-purposed material - a diversion tactic intended as a distraction from the evull New York Times' coverage of the obfuscation campaign the Catholic Church patriarchs are deploying to evade responsibility for the decades of harm that their pedophile priests did.

    Sweet tap-dancing Babeee Jay-Zeus. Are there any straws left for these lying liars to clutch, in their frenzy to defend the Vatican Taliban?

    Ignorance is not bliss

    The ChristoFascists are creaming themselves. Losing almost everywhere in the culture wars, they won a (temporary, it is to be hoped) victory over Ontario's proposed new sex ed curriculum.

    And look who's taking credit.
    McVety successfully framed the issue as whether this was too much information at too young an age, as opposed to other narratives like promoting healthy sexuality, counteracting schoolyard misinformation, preventing teen pregnancy and STDs, etc.

    Let's find out about this 'too much information at too young an age', shall we?

    * Grade 1 students will be taught the correct names of genitalia, such as penis and vagina, as they learn the names of other body parts. Kids will also learn personal hygiene, such as washing their hands with soap and water long enough to say the alphabet.
    * Grade 2 students will be taught the basic stages of human development, and how the body changes over time.
    * Grade 3 students learn about healthy relationships ("e.g., accepting differences, being inclusive ... showing mutual respect and caring"), as well as the difference between visible and invisible differences (e.g. gender identity and sexual orientation)
    * Grade 4 students learn about how the human body changes at puberty
    * Grade 5 students will be taught to identify parts of the reproductive system and learn more how the human body changes during puberty (e.g. menstruation) and the emotional stresses of that time
    * Grade 6 student learn about the development of self-concept and the changes that come during adolescence, along with what constitutes healthy relationships
    * Grades 7 and 8 students will be taught about oral sex, how to delay sexual activity, and to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

    Seems pretty reasonable and age-appropriate to me and to most of the commenters at that CTV link, but here are a couple of dissenters:
    Kelty in Ottawa
    While I believe there needs to be a certain level of education in school, I don't want my 11 and 12 year learning about oral and anal sex at school.

    I have read the new curriculum and I do not think it is appropriate to expose children of 11 to the concept of oral and anal sex. Scrap this curriculum, it is garbage.

    So what is the right age?

    Age ten is okey-dokey with the Catlick Church for giving birth, but not for learning about how that happened?

    And who should teach the birds and bees if not the evul sochialist school system?

    Your church?

    Or maybe your rapist stepfather?

    Somebody better figure this out and quickly. Precocious puberty is on the rise.
    A common definition for medical purposes is onset before 8 years in girls or 9 years in boys. As most children with precocious puberty have no disease, all of these definitions are somewhat arbitrary and based on social values.

    And it has serious consequences, in terms of both physical and emotional health.
    Earlier puberty is believed to put girls at higher risk of sexual abuse, teasing or bullying, mental health disorders and short stature as adults. Helping children control their weight is suggested to help delay puberty. Early puberty additionally puts girls at a "far greater" risk for breast cancer later in life. Girls as young as 8 are increasingly starting to menstruate, develop breasts and grow pubic and underarm hair; these "biological milestones" only typically occurred at 13 or older decades ago. African American girls are especially prone to early puberty. There are theories debating the trend of early puberty, but the exact causes are not known. "This is a review of what we know; it's absolutely superb," said Dr. Marion Kavanaugh-Lynch, an oncologist and director of the California Breast Cancer Research Program in Oakland, which directs tobacco tax proceeds to research projects. "The data indicates that if you get your first period before age 12, your risk of breast cancer is 50 percent higher than if you get it at age 16," said the report's author, biologist Sandra Steingraber, herself a cancer survivor. "For every year we could delay a girl's first menstrual period, we could prevent thousands of breast cancers."

    The causes for precocious puberty in general and its current increase are far from clear but here's a strong contender:
    Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in hard plastics, and is frequently used to make baby bottles, water bottles, sports equipment, and medical devices. It is also in an epoxy used as a coating in almost all food and beverage cans in most countries. Scientists are concerned about BPA's behavioral effects on fetuses, infants, and children at current exposure levels because it can affect the prostate gland or mammary gland, and lead to early puberty in girls, and possibly cancer later in life. BPA mimics and interferes with the action of estrogen, which is an important reproduction and development regulator. It leaches out of plastic into liquids and foods.

    Early puberty can be difficult for boys as well, but male children do not get pregnant. Of the documented earliest births in that list, nearly all of them -- unsurprisingly -- are due to rape, often by a family member. Many of them were complete surprises to the parents who had no idea their daughters were ovulating.

    Wouldn't it be a good idea to inform all children about what will happen to their bodies before it start to happen? So that maybe the kid herself can let her clueless parents know?

    Just askin'.

    UPDATED: via Blob Blogging Wingnut (to whom we do not link because of her puerile habit of redirecting links to fetal pr0n sites), this from LieShite: twenty years later, a 12-year-old (at the time) rape victim -- from Mexico, are ya getting this? -- says it's all groovy to bear the fruit of the crime.

    Children forced to give birth -- groovy. Children being fucked by Catlick priest -- equally groovy.

    Friday 23 April 2010

    Does the Catholic Church foster a Culture of Pedophilia?

    When 'incident' after 'incident' such as this one* occur, a pattern emerges. And where there exists an ideology that sanctions or tolerates the physical, mental and sexual abuse of children and adolescents, there will be an institution that will furiously use all and every mean to defend itself, to cast blame elsewhere and to evade accountability.

    These events are not haphazard. The Catholic Church has a long history of actively or passively encouraging violence against specific and strategic targets, often women and children.

    Imagine an exchange whispered in a confessional setting, multiplied thousands and thousand of times across centuries and countries, between a priest and an adult male. The man confesses his sin of lusting after a girl to whom he has access: a family member, a neighbour's child, a student. He is chastized by his priest and told to renounce such thoughts; to act upon them would be a greater sin.

    Then the man learns the priest who confessed him has been sexually abusing altar boys. The putative representative of Christ on earth, anointed by the bishop, is thus allowed to behave in this manner with impunity? That certainly sends a message to Catholic men.

    Here's more about the malevolent Catholic Church tradition of implicitely or explicitely encouraging harm towards women and children, still enforced by Pope Maledict and his gynophobic ruling clergy.

    This may be the next outrage that will confront the sanctimonious blather publicly bloviated by powerful old men in their luxurious trappings.

    The crisis of religious abuse in Africa and India was brought to Rome's attention in 1998 when a four-page paper titled "The Problem of the Sexual Abuse of African Religious in Africa and Rome" was presented by Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa. A March 2001 National Catholic Reporter article detailed McDonald's claims, which included accounts of sexual abuse by priests and bishops. [...]

    All of these public allegations fell on deaf ears. Neither Rome nor the world cared to demand justice for the nuns also sexually victimized by Catholic clergy. Like news stories of wives in burqas being stoned to death in Islamic strongholds, tales of nuns raped by priests and bishops did not even merit a sound bite on the evening news and were soon forgotten.

    Once more, there appears to be MASSIVE dissonance between the official Catholic Church propaganda and the actual actions of its clergy members.

    *The current news coverage around the story was originally blogged by JJ at unrepentant old hippie here.

    It's Okay if You're a ReformaTory.

    There's a reason we call them Con jobs. In this morning's blogpost, Canadian Cynic: You have to give him credit for initiative demonstrates the fine art of prevarication, also known in older times as selling snake oil.

    Andrew Coyne has more about that splendid duo in his aptly named:
    Rahim & Patrick’s Don’t Pay a Cent Event; he deconstructs their initiative.
    Let’s assume everyone’s telling the truth. Rahim Jaffer and his partner, Patrick Glémaud, never got paid for their activities. They were simply making inquiries about the terms and conditions on which certain types of government grants might be available to certain companies. The companies in question never hired them to act as lobbyists. And nobody got a dime of government money. How do we make sense of this?
    The scrutiny to which these 'businessmen' have been subjected may very well be the flip side of a recent incident regarding an international cooperation project based in Halifax.

    For years, the Nova Scotia Gambia Association has sent Canadian nurses, students and other volunteers overseas to teach HIV-awareness and other health education programs to people in the small West African countries of Gambia and Sierra Leone.

    This year, the non-profit group decided to bring eight of its Gambian staff to Canada, to attend the group's 25th anniversary celebrations in Halifax, and to talk to students in local schools about life in Africa.

    A Halifax church and a handful of schools across Nova Scotia raised $23,000 to pay the costs of bringing the Gambians to Canada. But plans for the trip were cancelled this week when Mr. Kenney rejected visitor visa applications for the group.

    More about the organization, including its board membership.

    Of course, speculating that Jason Kenney may be recoiling at the moment from initiatives that involve dusky-skinned people, especially those that do not have the right party and correct church affiliation would be premature until more information is available.

    Or until Harper's bullies cut Jaffer and Glémaud off and let them twist in the wind.

    Is God being cruel to Scott Roeder?

    After all, the murderous fetus fetishist claimed to have acted in His Name.

    Alas, His servant is now serving time in jail and Roeder does not like it one bit; he has filed a complaint about his treatment there.  The news report is followed by comments such as:

    On a certain level, I have compassion for any human being in prison. I would never wish prison rape or any of the other horrors of our American prisons visited on anyone, not even Roeder.

    But I sure do not feel sorry for him now that the reality of life in prison has so thoroughly cleared his mind of the religious delusions.

    I just want to say: Scott Roeder, you should have left "God's work" to him. God can manage his own universe without your help, thank you very much. If you had minded your own business, Dr. Tiller would still be alive - women would still be able to recieve the medical help they need - and you would still be free to roam happily about the country as a crazy person.

    Too late now for regrets. Enjoy your new accomodations provided by the good citizens of the State of Kansas. And by the way, there are innocent people in prison who are doing their time like men, so sit down and shut up. You deserve to be there.


    I wonder if he has ever stomped his way back to his cell, whining "I wish I'd never been born!"

    How long will it take before Roeder starts trading information about the nature of the support his accomplices provided in the killing of Dr Tiller, in exchange for "better" treatment?

    We do hope that the caged bird will sing - loudly.

    Un grand merci to our regular reader Croghan for the tip.

    Thursday 22 April 2010

    When Lawyers Get All Lawyeristic ... with update

    you know they must be working hard for Harper's New™ Government.

    When you read this, a certain quote from Henry VI (Part 2) does come to mind - 'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers'.

    A government lawyer yesterday disputed the Military Police Complaints Commission’s right to see certain government records on the matter and refused to even set a date for handing over others.

    “The documents will be given to your counsel when they are good and ready,” Justice Department lawyer Alain Préfontaine told the inquiry. The tone of Mr. Préfontaine’s response prompted astonishment from Glenn Stannard, the acting chair of the commission.

    “I find that to be close to offensive, not only to this panel but also to the public,” Mr. Stannard said. “The government of Canada can’t tell us how long it’s going to take to get the documents?” [...]

    The Justice Department official refused several times to say when documents might be released, first saying this was a secret between him and the government of Canada. “That is not something I am at liberty to discuss with you. That is covered by the solicitor-client privilege.”

    When Mr. Stannard asked for the name of someone in government who could come before the panel and give a date for the documents’ release, Mr. Préfontaine replied: “I do not perceive that it’s my obligation to answer that question.”

    Mr. Préfontaine said numerous requests from the commission are making life difficult for government record keepers because they have to keep screening more of them as new demands are made.

    What MASSIVE nerve! A Commission established by Parliament requests documents in order to meet its mandate! How dare it defy a flunky lawyer from the Justice Department?

    Is Alain Préfontaine is auditioning for interested in a future in public service as an arrogant politician in the ReformaTory Con Party - and thus performing for his real boss?

    Grand merci to our dawgy friend for the tip.
    Update: Dr Dawg continues to sniff out more of Prefontaine's stinky business. Apparently, when you deal with Justice Dept. lawyers, you can get screwed coming and going.

    Wednesday 21 April 2010

    Always Look On The (B)right Side of Life ....

    No, this is not a YouTube in support of The Fetus©™ fetishists.

    Writing about the Vatican Taliban, as I did in my previous post, always revs me up.

    So, to put things in perspective and to cheer up the women who choose to stay in an abusive relationship with the patriarchs of the Church, here's the memorable closing song from Monty Python's 'The Life of Brian'.

    Enjoy! And if you get an earworm, tough. There are worse things in life.

    Martyrgasm Times Two

    First, Frank Chauvin finally got around to returning his Order of Canada that was so sullied -- in this angry old guy's view -- by the award made to Dr Morgentaler. JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie lays on the snark and updates us with the actual count of honours returned -- six. Wow. Six of more than 6,000. That's a snowstorm of outrage, I tell ya.

    Next up, those krazy kidz at the University of Calgary are at it again.
    The University of Calgary is threatening to expel a group of students who refused to move a graphic anti-abortion display on campus.

    The eight students, who took part in a Campus Pro-Life display, received letters from the school earlier this month advising that they had violated the non-academic misconduct policy.

    The group made headlines in November 2008 for displaying posters of aborted fetuses. It had refused university administrators' requests to make the posters — which compared abortion to the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda — less visible, and also ignored a letter threatening legal action.

    That would the the Genocide Awareness Project or GAP, which indeed demonstrates a gaping lack of intelligence.

    But, hey, it revs up the ChristoTalibani fetus fetishists. This kid sounds quite biblical, don't you think?
    "I was kind of like, well, this could be the end of university for me," said Cameron Wilson, 19, who is scheduled to appear at a university hearing on Friday, along with the seven other students.

    Flanked by his supporters, Wilson was unapologetic about the anti-abortion display as he made a statement in front of media on Monday.

    "Punish us however you wish. But our conviction shall not change and we shall not alter our actions based on intimidation," he said.

    He cranks up the bible-talk for LieShite.
    Eight pro-life students at the University of Calgary (UofC), faced with possible expulsion for their activism, gathered this morning to deliver a simple message to their university: “Do unto us whatever you desire, punish us however you wish; but our convictions shall not change, and we shall not alter our actions based on intimidation.”

    They've lawyered up with the Canadian Constitution Foundation, defenders of free speech and would-be destroyers of medicare. Shona Holmes is also a client.

    The university should deny these ijits their martyrgasms and leave it to the sensible students like these at the University of Ohio to just mock them.
    Considerably smaller groups of around a dozen women and some men stood (and sat) in opposition with signs hand painted or made with marker on hardstock.

    "Keep GAP off campus," read one of their signs. Another read, "Stop exploiting the Holocaust."


    "Spermicide is genocide!" caterwauled two students.

    "I'm bored. I have a lot of pent up sexual frusturation," said one, giving his name as Kolonel Kolumbus and age as more than 400. The two stood on the curb next to the barricade. "I'm disturbed by the images," said his friend Yossarian, 21, declining to give his last name.

    One student activist, Alex Altman, standing with the Vox activists similarly lampooned GAP's heavy-handed method. "My argument to them is 'Why nine months before birth?' I'll protect them nine months and a few days."

    He had drawn a large sperm on posterboard, cut a hole in it for people to place their heads for a photo, and a speech bubble that said "Please don't kill me!"

    Altman created his own groups with their own mandates, Citizens United against Masturbation, and Justice for Innocent Spermatozoa.

    Well, they've had practice. This is the eleventh time GAP has been to this campus.

    Dump it or reform it?

    The Catholic Church, that is.

    In her NYT opinion piece, Maureen Dowd points out ways that Catholic fundamentalism ressembles Islamic fundamentalism.

    I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.

    I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.

    I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.

    To circumscribe women, Saudi Arabia took Islam’s moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Muhammad; the Catholic Church took its moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus is surrounded by strong women and never advocates that any woman — whether she’s his mother or a prostitute — be treated as a second-class citizen.

    Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care.

    Dowd isn't resigned to spiritual and psychological abuse. To the contrary, she skillfully skewers the dogmatic intellectual inbreeding that has led to this sorry state.

    Intellectual inbreeding appears to be at the heart of the problems that currently beset the Vatican Taliban. Unable to give life, Pope Maledict and his old boys' club continue the tradition of controlling female sexuality and reproductive capacity. In this, they are bestowing upon a decaying institution the kiss of death.

    In Newsweek, Lisa Miller writes hopefully of tranformation, of the Church leaving behind the arrogance of those besotted with disembodied patriarchal power.

    [...] in the Roman Catholic corporation, the senior executives live and work, as they have for a thousand years, eschewing not just marriage, but intimacy with women and professional relationships with women—not to mention any chance to familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children. Indeed, it seems the further a priest moves beyond the parish, the more likely he is to value conformity and order above the chaos of real life. [...]

    One parent in one room where a bishop was deciding the fate of an abusing priest would have saved countless families from a lifetime of misery. "It's a pretty good guess that we would not be in this same predicament were women involved," says Frank Butler, president of FADICA, a group of Catholic family foundations. "For sure."

    It is a reforming moment, then, a time for the men of the Vatican to take the wisdom of their own words to heart. The Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s was an effort to better integrate the antique church with the modern world, and its documents overtly address the changing place of women. "The hour is coming," read the council's closing documents, "in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment…women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling."

    I made my choice years ago, as it became obvious to me the reigning clergy operated with principles far removed from the basic goodness of the faith that Jesus inspired. I left the Catholic Church. Many women stay, though. They feel they and their children have nowhere to go, and the daily contempt and manipulation they suffer from the Church fathers - while abusive - is familiar. And, like Dowd and Miller, they're hopeful that they can help them mature into humane beings.
    I don't share their optimism.

    Monday 19 April 2010

    Update on the Stringing Fetus Fetishists Along Bill

    The Stringing Fetus Fetishists Along Bill is NOT about abortion, right? Let's hear again from Rod Bruinooge on the matter:
    Bruinooge insists he’s not trying to push the Commons into a debate the Prime Minister has specifically banned, arguing that nothing in his bill would make it illegal to obtain an abortion.

    “This bill doesn’t affect gestational limits or access to abortion in Canada,” Bruinooge told reporters Thursday morning. “It’s something that in fact doesn’t reopen the abortion debate but it does make it a crime to threaten or intimidate a woman into abortion.”

    Now let's hear from Mr Kicking Abortion's Ass: Dern tootin'! It is ALL about abortion.
    For all the fans of “Kicking Abortion’s Ass” Alert:

    You watch. It’s gonna happen. Not now, but in our lifetimes. It’s something for you to look forward to.

    See the problem of whistling to your cretinous followers, Rod? They know what the bill is about but they won't toe the party line and keep their gaping maws shut. Oh, and that 'in our lifetimes' bit? Not bloody likely, according to a poll released today indicating that young Canadians are more abortion- and gay-marriage-loving than ever.

    Meanwhile, membership is growing at the new Faytene-free Facebook group, while the wall there is strangely moribund. They seem to be allowing hardcore fetus fetishists again, including Mr KBA -- using his real name, John Pacheco -- and whackjob Bill Whatcott, who writes:
    I should also add brutal and premeditated murders like this one, strengthen my belief in the efficacy of capital punishment.

    Odd, innit? Fetus-fetishizing and outlaw-lynching so often go together.

    And there's a new feature at the website, Share Your Story.
    Since the launch of Roxanne's Law we have come to discover that women being coerced against their will to have an unwanted abortion is very common. Many women and men have been coming forward to share their stories. This is your chance as well. By sharing your story you can make something good come out of a horrible experience. Sharing your story will strengthen the argument for Roxanne's Law and help ensure that a woman's right to choose to keep her baby is protected.

    Please write your story in 800 words or less and e-mail it to us at contact @

    Thank you for your courage.

    This will no doubt elicit some creative -- if nearly illiterate -- glurge.

    And to round out today's coverage of the Stringing Fetus Fetishists Along Bill, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada today issued a media release*.
    Pro-Choice Group Calls for Law Banning Coerced Childbirth
    NATIONAL – A bill recently introduced by a Conservative MP to criminalize “coercing” a woman into abortion should be scuttled in favour of a bill prohibiting the much more common practice of coercing a woman into childbirth, says the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), a national pro-choice group.

    “It’s wrong to pressure women into an abortion, but this does not occur on the grand scale often claimed by anti-choice propagandists. It mostly stems from situations of domestic abuse,” said Joyce Arthur, Coordinator of ARCC. Arthur pointed to a recent U.S. study that examined reproductive control of women by abusive male partners. “Some were pressured to have an abortion, but women also reported that their partners prevented them from obtaining or using birth control, threatened them with pregnancy, or forced unprotected sex on them. If they became pregnant and wanted an abortion, some partners threatened or pressured them to carry to term.”

    In 1989, Chantal Daigle of Quebec had to travel to the U.S. for an abortion after her boyfriend got an injunction preventing her from having an abortion. Canada’s Supreme Court subsequently ruled that male partners cannot force a woman to have a baby.

    “It’s not just partners or family members who try to compel women and girls to have babies against their will,” said Arthur. “The entire anti-choice movement has been trying to force women into pregnancy and motherhood for decades, by working to outlaw or restrict abortion. Perhaps we need to protect women from this coercion by criminalizing anti-choice activism!”

    Hee. Wouldn't that be fun? Call the cops! SUZY ALL-CAPS is posting fetal pr0n again!

    *You can download a pdf of the whole thing, including references, here.