Wednesday 18 May 2016

SHOCKER! Fake Clinics Lie

The Abortion Rights Coalition has released a major study into the online presence of Canadian fake clincs, or crisis pregnancy centres (full PDF report).

From the press release:

Anti-abortion counselling agencies in Canada often present misinformation on their websites or fail to disclose their anti-choice or religious agenda to prospective clients, according to a new study published today by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Crisis Pregnancy Centres (CPCs) are anti-choice agencies that present themselves as unbiased medical clinics or counselling centres, and which often claim to provide women with non-judgemental information on all their options when faced with an unintended pregnancy. However, CPCs are not medical facilities, most are Christian ministries, they generally will not refer clients for abortion or contraception, and many promote misinformation about abortion. CPCs in Canada have no regulatory oversight; however, 68% of them are registered charities.

Researchers identified 180 CPCs in Canada, and looked at the 166 of them that have websites.

Results were not surprising. Well, not to those of us who have made it our mission to get these fake clinics regulated, defunded, and stripped of charitable status.

They lie about abortion risks; they promote sexual abstinence and adoption as ideal solutions to unwanted pregnancy; they fail to disclose their religious agendas; they do not reveal that they refuse to refer for abortion or contraception.

In fact, the Canadian study mirrors much of what was reported last year in a USian report, titled "Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie." (PDF).

The situation in the US is much more dire. There are many, many more of these fraudulent operations and an astounding number of them get significant government funding.

The Canadian study reports on CPC funding (pp 29–30 of PDF). It seems that not much public funding goes to these places, but what does must be stopped.

A majority of them have charitable status.
Many CPCs also enjoy charitable tax status, which significantly increases their ability to fundraise (Arthur 2005). Out of the 180 CPCs we identified, 68% (122) had charitable tax status. However, Canadian groups should not be eligible for charity status if they disseminate biased or inaccurate information that is disguised as “education” or “counselling.” (Arthur 2005; Canada Revenue Agency 2013).

Coincidentally, Amanda Marcotte wrote recently about an analysis of USian CPCs' own data.

Nicole Knight Shine looked at the numbers and concluded they fail miserably at their mission -- if their mission is to dissuade women from choosing abortion.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Back to Marcotte:

The thing is that CPC centers know this. Shine’s numbers come directly from their own database, showing that they they are well aware that the vast majority of women who come in their doors will not be intimidated, much less persuaded, out of their abortions. So why do they keep plugging away at it, when they know full well they are terrible at what they claim they want to do?

It’s because preventing abortion has never been and will never be the actual goal of CPCs, no matter what their fundraising materials might say. The real purpose is to shame women for having sex and to spread stigma over abortion, contraception, and any non-procreative sexual activity. The vicious lies and guilt trips they lay on women are not the means to an end, but are the end itself. The point is not really “saving lives”, but making women feel scared, guilty, and anxious, as punishment for having sex.

It is this atmosphere in the US that makes the endless screwing around with abortion laws and restrictions possible and, seemingly, acceptable.

In Canada, we are -- so far -- successfully resisting any similar attempts to recriminalize abortion.

This new study demonstrates though that we must remain vigilant and aware of what anti-choice forces are up to. We must impede them any way we can. Regulate them, defund them, and strip them of charitable status.

And for anyone interested in reading or writing about abortion, the ARCC report is full of helpful links and resources.

Kudos to all involved.

On a personal note -- and in what might be a first for a "serious" study -- DAMMIT JANET!, a mere blog, is cited for our efforts in getting public funding yanked from a fake clinic in Ontario.

We are chuffed.

ADDED: This is the only media story on the report I've found: Global.

Friday 13 May 2016

March for Lies 2016, Part 2: UMPTY-GAZILLION ATTENDEES!

There were great expectations for this year's March for Lies. First, its traditional organizer, Catholic Campaign Life, graciously invited all anti-choice groups to participate.

And second, Parliament is debating and will pass the tragically flawed medical assistance in dying act, which one would have thought would rev up the "womb to tomb" gang.

So the turn-out was going to be MASSIVE, yes?

In Part 1 of our annual Delusion Watch, we compared the size of yesterday's rally to April's 4/20 marijuana rally.

So how many people were there?

The Ottawa Citizen had veteran fetus freak watchers, Kady O'Malley and David Akin, live blogging/tweeting the event.

Kady reported that an on-stage speaker claimed 20K in attendance and added "I'd put it closer to 6K, but we'll see what the RCMP says."

What did the RCMP say? CFRA Radio:
Rough RCMP estimates indicate more than 10,000 people participated in the march.

But that's not what David Akin reported.

He added in another tweet that "police" said 3,000.

We were still breathlessly awaiting LieShite's outrageous inflation estimate and today we found out.


So, there you have it. Somewhere around 3,000 (RCMP officer to Akin), 4,500 (Akin), 6,000 (O'Malley), 10,000 (RCMP), 20,000 (from the stage), or 22,000 (LieShite) people attended this year's Futility Bunfest.

Akin made a 40-second Facebook video with this introduction:

Here's my March For Life crowd in 40 seconds. Smallest turnout I've seen at this event. I actually count myself - takes about 20 minutes -- and I got 4,500 at 1230 ET (and I might be a little generous) RCMP officer told me: 3,000. Organizers from the stage said there were 20,000.

We called it in April. The anti-choice movement in Canada is *snerk* dying.

Even with the widening of the tent and the extra impetus of imminent government action on assisted dying, the ranks of forced birthers are thinning remarkably.

But the bald-faced lying is as strong as ever.

ADDED: David Akin's report. He picked up on the comparison to 4/20. :-)

Last year's report.

Thursday 12 May 2016

March for Lies 2016, Part 1

Clever me. I saved screen shots of the 4/20 marijuana rally from the Hill Cam to compare with March for Lies, Futility on the Hill Bunfest.

Top image today at 1:26, just before the marching, at max attendance.

Bottom image 4/20 at 4:20.


Speakers at today's bunfest claimed there were 20,000 people there.

David Akin, veteran reporter of these events, estimated 4,500, adding that that might be generous.

Or as I said:

Part 2 will be a report on the fetus freaks' inflation of this sparse event to SEVEN GAZILLION!

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Kill C14: Trust Patients and Doctors on Assisted Dying

DAMMIT JANET! has a not-so-radical proposal. Treat medical assistance in dying (MAID) like abortion.

In other words, adopt no new law on it and let patients and medical professionals figure it out.

In both Carter and Morgentaler, the Supreme Court called on Parliament to craft new laws.

In declining to create a Charter exemption, SCC said in the "remedy" section of Carter:
Complex regulatory regimes are better created by Parliament than by the courts.

And that is exactly where we disagree.

Parliament is NOT the place to create complex regulatory regimes. Parliament is a contentious, partisan arena, subject to lobbying by all the usual suspects, with all the usual agendas.

Look at its track record on abortion.

The government tried twice.
The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Mulroney made two attempts to pass a new abortion law. The first proposal, in the spring of 1988, did not pass the House of Commons. The second attempt, introduced by the Minister of Justice as Bill C-43 in late 1989, would be defeated on a tie vote by the time it came to third reading in Senate on January 31, 1991, leaving Canada without criminal legislation governing abortion.
And then there were the private member's bills. Plus the current one, C225, Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights.

Good scientific information and research along with conscientious practice have been emphatically demonstrated by Canada's post-Morgentaler abortion experience to be the avenue towards compassionate, reasonable, and respectful medical care.

Nobody is happy with C14 as presently proposed.

Not the doctors.

Not the gawd-botherers.

And not Canada's number uno medical writer, André Picard, who captures the essence of C14 perfectly.
The draft law is not respectful of the wishes of the majority of Canadians, nor is it patient-friendly; it’s patronizing and risk-averse. In trying to offend no one, the Liberal government has failed everyone.

What we have here is not a right to die, but a guarantee that too many Canadians will continue to suffer unnecessarily at the end of their lives.
And unlike in 1988 when there wasn't a clear consensus on what Canadians wanted to do about abortion, now there definitely is consensus. Eight out of ten of us want assistance in dying when we bloody well decide to go.

Canadians learned with abortion. We know how to do this. Trust doctors and patients to work out how to go about the details of this non-issue.

We want to be able to die on our own terms. Let us work out those terms with our own doctors.

Saturday 7 May 2016


Acts of Gord -- floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, ice storms -- devastate everything and everyone in their path. Acts of humans like war, train derailments, oil rig blowouts, and pipeline failures likewise do not discriminate in their victims.

We consider these victims to be blameless and deserving of all our help and compassion. (Well, except maybe when victims do not share our skin colour, religion, etc. Then we might come around to [minimal] help and [grudging] compassion if the scale of the disaster is massive enough.)

Right now the fire in Fort McMurray is gripping Canada. As it should. More than 80,000 people are homeless, their homes, possessions, jobs, schools, communities wiped out.

The response has been huge.

The media can't get enough of stories about formerly or currently afflicted groups like Syrian war refugees, blown-up towns, and First Nations stepping up to help.

The national self-congratulation has been huge also.

I was thinking of all those homeless people. And then of homelessness (2013 report) in general.

It is estimated that on any given night, there are 30,000 homeless people in Canada, 200,000 at some point over the year. No, most of them probably weren't suddenly and dramatically driven from their nice suburban homes. For the majority, their situations are the result of dozens of small individual earthquakes of the personal, emotional, medical, financial sort. Some of their situations are the result of larger, systemic ice storms like the residential school system, the utter failure of the mental health system, war, racism, patriarchy . . .

So. I tweeted.

More people responded with variants of this observation.

A vivid example is presented daily by Mark Cherrington, a youth worker in, coincidentally, Edmonton. He tweets about his efforts to help homeless, poor, abused youth and his battles with an incredibly stingy, uncaring bureaucracy.

These are kids doing the best they can with shitty situations, running afoul of petty laws, trying to stay in school, looking after children of their own.

But we won't care for them properly because they are not blameless. Somehow they are the authors of their fate and so not "deserving" of our attention.

In short, fuck 'em.

You'd think homelessness on the scale of the current disaster in Fort Mac would get us thinking about homelessness and inadequate housing in general.

Yeah, right.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

C225: Dead as a Doornail

Yesterday, private member's bill C225, or the Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights bill, got its first hour of debate in Parliament.

I live-tweeted it, sort of.

After sponsor Cathay Wagantall blathered on about how carefully her bill was written to ensure it had zero zip nada effect on abortion -- choking up theatrically in the process -- Bill (The Liar) Blair, former top cop in Toronto and now MP and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, spoke.

Blair pointed out that judges have, and have used, discretion in applying Canada's sensible notion of "aggravating factors" in sentencing people who assault or kill pregnant people. In other words, this bill is not necessary.

After Blair, Murray Rankin (NDP), David Graham (LPC), and Sheila Malcolmson (NDP) stated their opposition to the bill. All pointed to the need for more focus on domestic violence.

Fetus freaks and CPC MPs, Michael Cooper and Garnett Genuis (corrected name; thanks to Joyce in the comments) spoke in favour, mainly whingeing about "justice," which we know means "vengeance" in these people's mouths.

So, with the Liberals and NDP opposed, there is no chance C225 will pass.


On Twitter, I tried to engage supporters (who were using the hashtag #MollyMatters) to answer my question: How exactly does adding a charge for harming or killing a fetus "protect" anyone?

More blathering about justice, but the nearest I got to a coherent answer was "deterrence."

Problem with that is deterrence doesn't work to prevent crime.

There will be more debate and a vote, but C225 is dead as a doornail.

Previous posts on C225:

Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights

Vengeance--and More--Drives "Unborn Victims" Law

It's Baaaack

Nope, This "Preborn Victims" Law Won't Pass Either.