Friday 31 October 2014

Of Course There is Do-It-Yourself Abortion in New Brunswick

Well, who didn't see this coming?
Because abortions are nearly impossible to access in New Brunswick, people in need of the procedure have begun terminating their pregnancies themselves.

Whenever and wherever women have found it impossible to continue a pregnancy and to find competent help to end it, they have resorted to whatever is handy and has the slightest chance of working. And, it is to be hoped, not kill or maim them.

Right now, for example:

A woman in Morocco looking for help is considering drinking bleach to end her pregnancy. In Poland, a rape victim says she’s thinking about hitting her stomach with a stick to induce a miscarriage. Another woman desperately emails, “I am not a monster, I just cannot have the baby.”

These are the distressed messages that Women on Waves receive every day from women who live in countries where abortion is illegal. The organisation, an activist group famous for providing abortions on a ship in international waters, has recently been chronicled in the award-winning film, Vessel. The movie follows the work of Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts and her crew as they work around various countries’ abortion laws – and sometimes just flout them – to help women end their pregnancies.

While watching the film, which has its New York premiere next month, it’s hard not think about the current hostile climate for reproductive rights here in the US and wonder: How long until illegal abortion is the norm here, too?
If the Women on Waves ship visits North America, a period anchored in Northumberland Strait would be useful to the women of PEI and New Brunswick who are denied -- for purely political reasons -- access to a common medical procedure available to the rest of Canadian women.

In the meantime, here's some advice from the organization's website, Women on Web.
The best and safest way a woman can do an abortion herself until the 12th week of pregnancy is with the use of two medicines called Mifepristone (also known as the abortion pill, RU 486, Mifegyn, Mifeprex), and Misoprostol (also known as Cytotec, Arthrotec, Oxaprost, Cyprostol, Mibetec, Prostokos or Misotrol). If you live in a country where there is no access to safe abortion services and you would like to obtain a medical abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol, please go to Women on Web (
While women may be just as desperate as ever, the (semi-) good news is that DIY abortion is safer.
Although abortion is still illegal in many countries around the world, "do-it-yourself" (DIY) medical abortion means that it has become much safer compared to traditional methods such as inserting foreign objects in the uterus or ingesting poisons. However, there are still dangers when women buy dubious medication on the black market and take it without any instructions or medical supervision -- hence, the urgent need for groups like [new international foundation called Women Help Women] WHW, as well as Women on Web. The latter group courageously piloted the online provision of medical abortion in 2006, proving the viability and safety of this model.

And speaking of politics, the newly elected Liberal Premier of New Brunswick is already walking back one of his major promises. He seems to be changing his tune on fracking.

Gee, I wonder how the fetus fetishists of the province will respond to that news, given recent research showing that fracking increases the risk of fetuses developing congenital heart problems?

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick is keeping track of Gallant's shilly-shallying on his abortion review promise with its Days of Inaction Timer.

New Brunswick women who can afford it and have a passport will continue to contribute to the spike in abortions provided in Maine. But women who can't afford it will resort to other means, necessarily less safe than medical abortion.

Any less-than-ideal consequences of that will be on you, Premier Gallant.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Again, Public Funding Given to Religious Anti-Abortion Group

Back in January 2009, DJ! reported on public funding -- in the form of a Trillium Foundation grant -- being given to a crisis pregnancy centre, aka a Christian slut-shaming organization. I wrote to the foundation to ask its justification for this largesse but never heard back. (In truth, I didn't follow up.)

That was a rather minor grant of $8,600.

In April this year, a far larger grant was made to another fake clinic in Sarnia.

From the Foundation's website:
Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre

$83,800 over two years to operate a satellite office in rural Lambton County that educates women facing unplanned pregnancy on the options that are available to them.

Let's back up a bit. For those who haven't heard of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, it is the sop to our collective conscience for our government-run numbers racket, aka the "gaming industry".

Basically, the Ontario government preys on the hopes and delusions of its citizens, rakes in a ton of dough, then parcels some of it out to community and health centres, boys and girls clubs, you get the idea.

Now regular readers of DJ! know what crisis pregnancy centres are but here's a quick refresher on how they work at the moment in ass-backwards Texas.

In many of the Excited States, these evil organizations get actual taxpayers' money handed out to them specifically to lie to, manipulate and shame women. (Check the Texas link for some breath-taking dollar figures.)

So, sure, we have them here in Canada -- just yesterday, the Grand Opening of a new one was reported in Strathmore, Ontario -- but they are privately funded by churches and other meddlesome panty-sniffers.

Or so we thought.

But now we learn that $83,800 of Ontario "gaming" enthusiasts' hard-earned dough has been doled out to a religious organization.

What do we think of this, fellow fans of fairness, democracy, and accountability?

Here is the website for the Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre. It's fairly standard for these operations, offering, for example, "post-abortion counselling".
No matter how long ago your abortion took place, it is never too late to seek healing and resolution. Heart’s Hope is facilitated in a group or can also be in a one-on-one setting. It is a ten week program that allows you the opportunity to face your decision, grieve your loss and promote healing. Our trained facilitators will treat you with compassion and empathy; we recognize that grief is a deeply personal thing and we aim to gently guide you through that process.
Because abortion is always and inevitably a "loss" that requires "healing" and "grieving," right?

It is a registered charity and on its donation page it includes a link to Canadian Council of Christian Charities, lest there be any confusion about where they're coming from.

I plan to write to the Trillium Foundation (contact info here) to ask again about this practice. You can too.

It also has a Twitter account, @ONTrillium.

This is public money. It should NOT be going to religious brainwashing concerns. If "we" as the people of Ontario must bilk our neighbours of money, at least let's salve our consciences by sharing the ill-gotten gains with organizations that actually do some good in our communities.

UPDATE: A response:

Monday 20 October 2014

PEI: Still Lubing up for the Catlick Church

It seems the CBC got its hands on a leaked business plan to bring abortion to the "Gentle Island."

A leaked business plan for a twice-monthly clinic prepared by Health PEI shows the province could have saved $37,000 a year providing abortions on the Island, rather than paying for them to be performed at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre in Halifax.

In addition, women using the service would also save tens of thousands of dollars.
Currently, PEI is the only province that has zip zero nada abortion services and forces women to travel at their own expense.

So, while sensible people worked out a way to make this common but time-sensitive medical procedure available, saving both the government and Island women money, not to mention the stress and hassle, the government nixed it.

With zip zero nada explanation.

In a follow-up story, CBC tried to get government spokespeople to account for the idiocy. They would not.
CBC PEI has requested to speak to [Health Minister Doug] Currie and Valerie Docherty, the minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Currie refused to be interviewed and his office issued a statement, as did Docherty.

"My role is to ensure that the voices of all Island women are considered during policy discussions," Docherty wrote in an email.

"As Minister Currie has noted, Government is meeting its obligations to offer abortion services on a regional basis, similar to the same way we offer other health services, such as cardiac rehab, vascular and pediatric services."
Shorter PEI government: "STFU. We know what's best."

On Twitter, though, a clue was provided by @esseleblanc.

From Wiki:
In 1982, after 102 years of service, the Charlottetown Hospital closed its doors when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital opened.

The opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1982 also saw the end of abortion services in the province, which had been provided at the Prince Edward Island Hospital since the late 1960s. One of the conditions that the Roman Catholic Church placed on the provincial government of Premier James Lee for merging the Catholic-affiliated Charlottetown Hospital with the secular and publicly operated Prince Edward Island Hospital into the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital was that all abortion services in the province be discontinued.[1]

And that footnote takes us to a story from The National Post, November 16, 2011.

Isn't that sweet? The Catlick Church stomped its widdle feet over thirty years ago and the pusillanimous politicians are still bending over for them.

According to StatsCan, there are about 58,000 Catholics and 57,000 other Christians out of a total population of just over 137,000.

Looked at another way, this means that a minority is holding 79,000 non-Catholics -- and no doubt some sane Catholics as well -- hostage.

Prince Edward Island is *just* like Ireland -- blithely exporting its abortion "problem" and pretending it doesn't have one.

Time to join the 21st century, little island.

Saturday 18 October 2014

In Beleaguered Calgary, a Tireless Multi-Tasker Toils

Poor Calgary. While home to many good and decent people, it is also headquarters for PetroState Canada as well as the country's most disgusting and self-righteous gang of fetus freaks, the Canadian Centre for Bioethical *ptui* Reform (CCBR), whose gory website you can look up yourself if you've a mind to.

They've plagued various parts of our fair land with their crap, but Calgary is their home base and special target.

When they're not dropping traffic-accident-causing gore banners over highway overpasses, they're stuffing residential mailboxes with their faked-up abortion porn.

The citizens of Calgary have fought back in various ways over the years. But after the last assault, when yet another appeal to the city to do SOMETHING resulted in arms flung up in helplessness, a group of parents (kinda ironic, eh?) decided to start a petition.

Oct 8, 2014 — We are now past 200 signatures which is a great feat in only 84 hours. Calgary City Council has put it forward for discussion but a city lawyer has stated there is little they can do. We disagree. Denver, Colorado has banned these images already. Hamilton, Ontario is in the midst of restricting them too. We have the bylaw already written for them. All they have to do is pass it. Please keep sharing, post on your social media and telling your friends and family. We need to keep the pressure on to make sure this can be passed as a bylaw here too. Please start using #protectyyckids and #yyccc when posting on twitter and facebook.

Please sign it and help stop the shameless misinformation and egregious shock.

Out of this kerfuffle though came an interesting tidbit, from the investigations of one pissed-off recipient of the anti-choice propaganda.
The Calgary teacher said he was just as shocked, however, when he started looking into the CCBR and found a staffer for Health Minister Rona Ambrose supporting the group’s more controversial actions online.

Daniel Gilman, who is listed in the federal government’s employee directory as an assistant to Ambrose, said in a tweet last year he’s “thankful” for the CCBR “project” that involves hanging graphic banners from overpasses above major roadways, including Deerfoot Trail in Calgary, where earlier this year a minor car crash occurred below one of the banners.

[The image has been digitally blurred by Metro.]

And here's young Daniel waxing all poetical-like about the recent moronic display of underground gasline markers on Parliament Hill. Link.

The gasline markers were the work of We Need a Law, an astroturf front for the Dominionist Association for Reformed Political Action, so it appears that Mr Gilman, like all good political assistants, is a multi-tasker, able to serve many masters and mistresses.


h/t for the YouTube to Alison in the comments here.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Was Daesh (aka ISIL) a psychop™ ...?

My tweeted response to that sincere yet naive statement was that it could also be vile thuggery and violence tactically branded with religious symbols to appeal to a demographic.

Or later, when @jamynott suggested that it might also be a psyop, I agreed and refined the term, noting that given its brutal propaganda strategy, it should be dubbed a psychop™: a shortened version of psychotic operations, thereby highlighting the word 'chop' found therein ...

Some useful reading with regard to Daesh - how I prefer to call this horde of murderous, rapacious, greedy, patriarchal thugs.  The links are posted within the tweets.

This was published in mid-August, from Hassan Hassan: _A portrait of the menace that is sweeping my homeland_.  Andrew Mitrovica wrote about the group's agit-prop value, here.

Many speculate that some bits of Daesh were originally created, and generously funded by wealthy Saudi Arabian meddlers which explains their ability to purchase expensive military equipment from weapons industries based in the US and China.

Its connection with rebel forces that challenged the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad is also complex, though some have identified various factions.

The horde has been set loose in the Middle East and, like all man-made monsters, may have developed an agenda of its own.

ALSO: For a Canadian perspective goodness, Alison's blogposts at Creekside are a must-read. Start with Khorasan Group, then follow with this and this.  Solid research + intended ironic hilarity.

Friday 10 October 2014

Respectability vs RESPECT: Part Two

This and this are connected.

Different women, separated by class, professional status, age, resources and geography.

The connection between these women: they shared an intimate and sexual space with men who did not respect them. These men, feeling unjustly deprived of 'their' entitlements,  deliberately and malevolently harmed and tried to injure them by exploiting the double standard about women's sexual expression that still persists in this 21st century.

In the case of *Nicole* and *Kim* in Halifax, the vindictive actions of a man who felt justified to impugn the respectability of his ex-lover, and to physically endanger her (and her house-mate) were documented by the victims.  Yet the crown attorney declined to pursue criminal charges for what *Adam* did.

As for Lori Douglas in Winnipeg, the first inquiry that thrust her into public view was dropped but a newly formed Canadian Judicial Council panel will be looking at her case - again.

There was one basic question that was never adequately addressed. Given that Douglas testified she had no knowledge of the proposition Jack King presented to his client — an 'invitation' for Chapman to have sex with her — nor had she consented to his initiative, was her spouse effectively trafficking her, and setting her up to be sexually assaulted as well?

It's a moot point now: King died last April, and that aspect of the complicated inquiry was dropped.

It appears to me that it is these women's respectability that is being judged, rather than the criminal actions of vengeful men.

Remember the Rehtaeh Parsons case?  Media attention put a spotlight on the reluctance of the RCMP to adequately investigate the multifaceted and unrelenting sexualized violence that led to her suicide. It forced the police to bring to justice those responsible for her harassment.

Once again, media attention has stirred the police into some semblance of action.  Kim and Nicole's criminal harasser may yet be brought to trial.

Douglas and her lawyers took legal recourse in order to expose the bullying tactics of the original CJC panel for what they were: unvarnished misogyny.

Last word: this exchange of tweets captures how women's respectability is viewed through a sexist lens and why women are challenging the double standard.

From @fortyfs' timeline, here.

Reminder: Respectability vs RESPECT: Part One.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Clarke does for the Canadian National Firearms Association... (UPDATE)

what Levant does for Tar Sands extraction corporations.

We suspect both of them do it for money, as mercenaries and paid lobbyists. Perhaps also out of love for the *cause* they promote.

Each one brings to advocacy endeavours a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience.

Ericka, however, is able to harness some persuasive arguments that Ezra cannot.

My co-blogger fern hill wrote a blogpost which features a photograph of Clarke with the Minister of Justice for the Harper government and Kurtis Gaucher, that Press Progress published

When that photograph went viral, Petey MacKay was asked why he donned the shirt, claimed it was a wounded Canadian veteran (Gaucher) who requested it, yadayadayada...

As fern hill pointed out in her screen caps as well as a very revealing one from PatRiotChick, it was all a RUSE engineered by Clarke.  And MacKay was duped. DUPED!!!

*Mind you, Ericka appears to be as dim as Ezra, and she has yet to master the obstreperous bullying techniques that he has perfected as a StunTV host.


But as you can see from the photographs above and this one, and that one; she has different tactics at her command.  No matter that her gallery of photos on her Facebook account (now locked) looked eerily like those posted by Michele McPherson - Bruce Carson's fiancée - when she was a sex worker advertising "the Girl Friend Experience".

Lobbying is a complicated job which requires that supplicants hired by corporate interests or other organizations, meet politicians to secure their collaboration.  Much has been written about the talents female lobbyists must deploy to win the support of powerful men.  While official meetings held in public officials' and government buildings must be recorded as well as any campaign or party contributions, quid pro quo may cover a wide range of mutually beneficial favours.

So, let's assume that Ericka Clarke is employed respectably and honourably in the performance of her duties, and that she is NOT a woman who needs rescuing from a dodgy organization that trafficks her talents to members of the Harper Conservative government.  Let take as a given, just as Kate Heartfield outlined here, that Clarke is NOT “selling her body” or “selling herself” for the purpose of promoting CNFA and its goals. 

No need to involve MP Joy Smith and Cons' prurient concerns and beliefs about the rampant sexual exploitation of women and girls that were spewed during the Justice Committee hearings about C36.  Clarke's interactions with CNFA, its membership and the politicians she meets are seemingly professional, consensual and not coercive.

In fact, her status and working conditions are much better than those imposed upon young women hired by PETA to stage a "protest" aka publicity stunt during the Ottawa Ribfest.  Those employees are the equivalent of female servers in the employment of Hooters.  It is a job requirement that they display their bodies in the uniforms provided by their employer, albeit a less revealing one for restaurant staff.

Sadly though, CNFA does not appear to value Clarke's role as a 'field officer' highly enough to put her name on this very special invitation sent to MacKay and his "fellow" MPs (CPC only?).  Perhaps she'll be present as bullet buffer and spirit-fluffer, unless the association didn't appreciate the frenzied media brouhaha she created.

Ericka Clarke and Ezra Levant.  We may disagree with the goals and ideology of the organizations that pay their salaries.  Both are workers toiling, as many of us choose or are obliged to do, in the bowels of capitalist enterprises.  We may mock their words, expose their lies, deconstruct their odious tactics.  If they attack those who criticize their Over Lords, we will push back - as hard as we can.

This is a blogpost we published shortly after the Moncton shootings, questioning the premise of the NFA and its lobbying efforts in Canada.

*After reviewing the docs that I screencapt'ed in preparation for this blogpost, I realize that I forgot to insert that one as an example of Ericka's skills. So, there it is.

October update:

Go see what Stephen Lautens found here.

So Ericka Clarke is effectively a lobbyist?! Now someone should check the Harper government Lobby Registry to ensure that her work is recorded there, if Clarke is indeed a professional lobbyist rather than a skilled amateur.

Saturday 4 October 2014

EPIC DISPLAY of Underground Gas-Line Markers: Huh? -- UPDATED

I dithered over whether to give this lame-ass demonstration any attention, then my early-Saturday-morning craving for snark kicked in.

First, the only MSM coverage of this EPIC DISPLAY I could find is here (this is the entire story; emphasis mine).
Volunteers set up 100,000 blue and pink flags on Parliament Hill Thursday morning.

Pro-life group "WeNeedALaw" says they represent the number of abortions in Canada each year.

They say they want to pressure the Canadian government to introduce a national abortion law, as the country hasn't had one since 1988.

Mike Schouten, director of the group, says the group isn't advocating for an outright ban on abortion in Canada, but for tougher restrictions.

"We see the law as a tool to not only protect the pre-born humans but to show Canadians that abortion does need to be restrained," Schouten said, adding that many Canadians disagree with things like late-term abortion and sex-selective abortions.

Just over two dozen supporters turned up for the demonstration.
Natch, that's not quite how the Fetus Freak Media (FFM) reported it.
Pro-life activists planted 100,000 tiny wire-stocked flags, half of them pink for girls, and half blue for boys, in the grass for 400 metres along Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday.

Expect to see them soon in provincial capitals across Canada.

The flags were planted by 80-plus volunteers and staff associated with the pro-life group in the early morning, and retrieved in the late afternoon.
Typically, the FFM tripled the number of attendees. And note, the wee flags were carefully packed up again to magically reappear elsewhere.

And here's a piece by creepy goatee-no-moustache Dominionist front-man, Mike Schouten himself, in which he coins a new phrase.
The groundswell for laws protecting our preborn neighbhours has taken another leap forward today. Right now the front boulevard along Parliament Hill is covered with 100,000 pink and blue flags, as a testimony to the approximately 100,000 girls and boys that are denied their right to life every year in Canada. This nation has never seen anything like this before!
Yes, I dare say, he's correct. This nation has never seen a field of pink and blue underground gas-line markers before.

Well, the poor dears are getting desperate. They're losing and they know it.

Here's an encouraging round-up of the inevitable international march towards reproductive justice.
Human rights campaigners are getting stronger and more numerous and more optimistic about the future. The tide is inexorably turning in their favour -- and in women's favour. The clock will not be turned back. Welcome to our brave new pro-choice world.

Even Canada's Number One Fetus Fetishist, the delusional SUZY ALLCAPS, recognizes the MASSIVE looming ass-kicking.

For more sad pix, have a look at the photo gallery at the Facebook page of Dominionist mob Association for Reformed Political Action.

UPDATED (Dec. 10/14): The fetus freaks are a little slow. (I know, you're gobsmacked.) It seems this blogpost has just come to their attention via a FB posting. (They need clear directions, the poor dears.) So, I've published a couple of comments. There were (and probably will be) more. I'm not publishing any more of them. They are unedifying. (I know, you're gobsmacked.)

Of course, on the wild off-chance that a comment is fun, I might publish.

AFTERTHOUGHT: If fetus freaks want to engage me, I can be found on twitter, @fernhilldammit. More fun that way. All the sane people can point and laugh.

FURTHER UPDATE (Dec. 12/14): It seems the display was against the rules but Dominionists get special permission.

Thursday 2 October 2014

SHE Has Seen the Future

SUZY ALLCAPS has seen the future and it's a ginormous anti-choice LOSS. (plain-text url for the usual reason)

SHE links to a couple of posts by Big Nurse Stanek, Head Chef of the Sweet-and-Sour Fried Fetus Emporium, crowing about the demise of Planned Parenthood -- and therefore, ipso fatso, of abortion, in the US.

SHE doesn't think the situation in Canada is comparable -- and thank gord, she's right about that too.

SHE understands that the future of abortion is -- as we've said here many, many times -- medical abortion.

SHE says (her italics):
A general practitioner, or a nurse practitioner, the same professional who treats your kid's ear infection, can anonymously fill out a prescription for abortion pills, without raising any hackles.

And nobody has to know.

I can see this happening in private offices. Ultrasound are no longer huge machines costing tens of thousands of dollars. You can get a smartphone version, and for the purposes of a medical abortion, it can do the job.

If Planned Parenthood collapses, there will still be abortions. Only the model will change. It will be much less visible. It will probably be handled by lone providers hiding behind their "general practice".

And maybe these abortions are somewhat more troublesome than surgical abortions, but they get the job done.

The problem with this model, from the pro-life perspective, is that it's a little harder to protest the GP who does abortions, when he treats the community's ear infections, sore throats, STD's and so on.

If you make life hard on this person, it won't just be abortion clients who'll be unhappy. It will be all the patients this doctor sees.
DINGDINGDING! Give that woman a kewpie fetus!

Medical abortion is safe, effective, and much cheaper than surgical abortion. It offers women who want to get the deed over with a quick and private solution.

Which is why the fetus fetishists hate hate hate medical abortion.

And, as SHE rightly points out, fetus freaks can't protest ordinary GPs providing this service without pissing off even more people than they piss off now.

The future is on its way.

As soon as fucking Health Canada gets off its ass and approves the "gold standard" of medical abortion, RU486.
Women in 57 countries have access to the drug, according to [Dr. Sheila] Dunn. It has been available in France since 1988, in Britain since 1991 and in the United States since 2000.
But not yet in benighted Canada.

Last we heard, this momentous decision -- over 25 years in the making -- is expected sometime next year.

And Health Canada? If you're reading, be prepared for the Mother of All Ruckuses should you fail to approve it under duress from fetus freaks like SUZY.