Friday 29 December 2017

2017: A Very Good Year

After the dismal Harper decade in which pro-choice forces had to fight rear-guard actions and stay alert for more sneak attacks on our rights, we racked up some significant WINS in 2017.

Locally and nationally, activists pushed the "Pro-Abortion Agenda." And won.

Here, in rough chronological order are the highlights. (If I've missed anything, please add it in the comments.)

In January, we learned that the Fetal Gore Gang lost its bully bid to put graphic ads on buses in Grande Prairie, AB.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) released its findings on government funding of anti-choice outfits, including Fake Clinics. This will pay off most satisfyingly later.

Also in January, a fun pro-choice group named Love Team Peterborough began weekly Saturday counter-protests at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

As expected, Donald Trump reinstated the "global gag rule," cutting off US funding from international aid agencies that support family planning and reproductive rights. The Netherlands stepped up to fill the gap with an international abortion fund. Canada joined in with a pledge of up to $20 million.

In March, Canada went further, pledging
$650 million over three years
for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

A poll released in March showed Canada to be as strongly pro-choice as ever with 77% of us thinking abortion should be permitted, a little over the global average approval of abortion of 71%.

The good people of Calgary, who have had waaay more than enough of the Fetal Gore Gang, worked to get a by-law change axing a loophole the gore gang had been exploiting to hang disgusting -- not to mention dangerous -- banners over highways.

The first of the effects of ARCC's research on government funding of fetus fetishists were signalled when the Liberals banned its MPs from approving Canada Summer Jobs grants to these groups.

May witnessed the smallest ever March for Lies, with about 4,000 attending.

More from Peterborough. The pusillanimous city council had folded to threats from the Fetal Gore Gang and their ads were allowed on buses. University students raised enough dough to counter with pro-choice ads.

Back in Alberta, activists dressed as Handmaids silently protested the inclusion of Edmonton Prolife's booth at K-Days.

In August, another victory for pro-choice over the Fetal Gore Gang. A judge in BC upheld the rejection of its ads on Vancouver area buses.

The Gore Gang was busy pissing off many towns and cities last year. In response, Toronto politicians pushed for ban on its signs.

When Parliament resumed, so did the hijinks. Conservative put anti-choice MP Rachael Harder up for chair of the Status of Women Committee. ARCC deemed her "unqualified and unfit". She lost.

We noted and reported on a new sense in the media. The label "anti-choice" now had another indicator besides voting record -- support of fake clinics.

The Ontario government fulfilled its promise to enact buffer zone legislation to protect clinics, patients, and staff from harassment by side-walk bullies. Amusingly, anti-choice Conservatives, including teen fetus freak phenom Sam Oosterhoff, had better things to do on the day of the vote.

(Here's a handy list of buffer zones and court injunctions across Canada.)

In Edmonton, activists identified the disturbing links between school board trustee candidate Tyler Duce and anti-choice extremists. Candidates were also surveyed on their attitudes towards evidence-based sex ed and Gay Straight Alliances. Several progressive candidates won. Tyler Duce was trounced.

At various points in the year, Health Canada loosened its idiotic initial restrictions on the abortion pill. In November, it was announced that Canadian women would be allowed to take it up to 9 weeks' gestation. Also, various provinces decided to fully or partially fund it.

Even Saskatchewan, not usually known as a hotbed of pro-choice politics/policies, showed its mettle in 2017. When a couple of Sask Party leadership hopefuls made stupid remarks about abortion, the ensuing brouhaha immediately forced them to walk it back.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, progressive public sentiment was also evident. A school district decided that they would no longer participate in a xmas drive because the organizing charity is anti-choice/anti-LGBTQ.

I've saved the best for last. When the federal government announced the new eligibility rules for the Canada Summer Jobs program, fetus freaks went nuts. It seems that being asked to not undermine the laws of the land is a bit too much for them and their precious religious right to harass, stigmatize, and disempower whomever they don't like.

Stay tuned on this one. There will be LEGAL SUITS!!! CHARTER CHALLENGES!! Et fucking cetera.

So. It was a very good year. There's more to be done of course and we'll stay on it. But for now, we at DAMMIT JANET! are just going to bask in it and raise a glass to all the wonderful activists, researchers, and organizations who worked so hard to make these gains.

Happy New Year to all. (Except anti-choice/anti-LGBTQ dinosaurs. May your year be filled with failure and tribulation.)

Thursday 21 December 2017

Lies, Damn Lies, and BAD Science

The War on Truth and Science continues.

Today, another story about women regretting abortion.

A majority of American women who aborted their unborn babies say that their lives didn’t improve at all or refused to answer a question about any positive effects of aborting, a new study reports.

Roughly 54 percent of women said that their lives post-aborting weren’t any better than before they had their abortion, according to a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Approximately 32 percent of women reported no significant positives from the decision to abort, while 22 percent did not respond to the question.
PDF here.

First thing: The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons sounds all legit, doesn't it? It is not. This is a group of whackadoodle conservative doctors who promote discredited BS like vaccines cause autism and abortion causes breast cancer.

Second thing: Lead author is our old pal, Priscilla Coleman. We'll get to her in a minute.

Third thing: Motive. This "study" is no doubt in response to several legit studies indicating that far from regretting abortion, a huge majority of women feel exquisite relief.

Ninety-five percent of women who have had abortions do not regret the decision to terminate their pregnancies, according to a study published last week in the multidisciplinary academic journal PLOS ONE.

Next thing: Look at the abstract, highlighted by me.

I think that's enough said.

Perfesser Coleman, also on Rewire's list of False Witnesses, aka liars for hire, came to our attention in 2012 when a paper of hers was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, a venue not known for BAD (biased, agenda=driven) Science.

Here's the result.
Results: Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion.

Here's a real scientist, PZ Myers:

Those numbers are so extravagantly extreme that there ought to be alarm bells going off in your head right now, and the research had better be darned thorough and unimpeachably clean.

As it turns out, it isn’t. The author of the paper, Priscilla Coleman, is an anti-abortion advocate, and 11 of the 22 studies sampled for the meta-analysis are by…Priscilla Coleman. Methinks there might be a hint of publication bias there, something that has been confirmed statistically by Ben Goldacre.
And here's a bunch of scientists eviscerating her methodology, biases, and whatnot.

Maybe the good professor is learning something, though. Madly inflated numbers make even lay-people's alarm bells go off. The recent study's claims are much more modest. Let's see if it gets any traction in the mainstream press.

MASSIVE Temper Tantrum over Canada Summer Jobs

OK, it was to be expected that Fetus Freaks would freak out over having their funding threatened, but not even long-time observers (ahem) of their hilarious hyperbole saw this banshee-like SHRIEEK-fest coming.

Here are just a few of the terms used to characterize the very modest change to Canada Summer Jobs program eligibility (insert mandatory exclamation marks after each entry!!!!!):

"thought/belief control"
"ideological coercion"
"loyalty oath"
"ideological purity test"
"witch hunt" (I always love this one applied to xians)
"freedom under threat"

And that's not even getting into the comments on their reality-impaired sites, where "Satan" figures prominently.

LifeShite broke the story on December 14, after a leak by über-anti-choice MP Brad Trost.

Global News also reported on it here with an update on December 19 when the program officially launched for 2018.

Back in September last year, we reported on some early findings by volunteer researchers at Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC).

Many anti-choice organizations, like Fake Clinics, have been granted charitable status and as such are required to file annual, public financial reports to Canada Revenue Agency.

ARCC volunteers took a peek at these filings and found that Fake Clinics were listing revenue from "Government." Well, this revelation begged for further research, didn't it?

After some more nosing around, a major source was pinned down -- the federal Canada Summer Jobs program.

A ton more work later, ARCC issued a media release.

When iPolitics found a Liberal (!) MP who had approved a sizeable grant to the loathsome Fetal Gore Gang, well, the shit hit the fan.

Then, the CPC nominee for Status of Women Committee, anti-choice Rachael Harder, was discovered to have also approved grants to Fake Clinics. More shit, more fans.

Then the "feminist" government announced that it would no longer allow federal funding to go to anti-choice groups.

There was some screeching at the time, but when the program was set to launch, Trost released the details. There is now a requirement that the recipients of tax-payers' dough respect the laws and Charter of Canada

To be eligible, the job must respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
Onerous, eh?

Or, as Michael Coren writing at iPolitics says:
What the government is suggesting is that it’s absurd for the public to directly fund and support groups that oppose the laws followed and the values held by the vast majority of Canadians. A very modest, very Canadian idea indeed.

Modest, Mr Coren? This is the END, the END, I tell you of civilization in Canada.

There have been 13 stories (so far) at LieShite about this, including one from the spokesthingy for the obnoxious Fetal Gore Gang.

LieShite is running a petition and a postcard campaign. Campaign Lie is also running a petition.

It seems all of these groups have a direct interest in this. Look at these numbers.

In addition to the 13 stories, there is this quick backgrounder on Justin Trudeau's tyrannical acts towards xians.
This news is only Trudeau’s latest attack on people of faith. The prime minister who so admires China for its “basic dictatorship” began his mandate with a mission to transform Canadian society into his libertine, anti-life image, and he has pursued this agenda with utter resolve.

I've got more to say about this, but I'm going to end for now with this eminently sensible comment on the Coren piece by Celia Posyniak.
It’s high time that government funding of anti-choice “pregnancy care” centres and extremist groups such as the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) [Fetal Gore Gang] ended. The so-called “pregnancy care” centres disseminate misleading information on abortion, use scare tactics to talk women into continuing pregnancies and then encourage adoption. They promote themselves through misleading advertising that hides who they are (evangelicals) and their true purpose – to convert clients to Christianity and “save” their babies. They are not interested in women who wish to continue their pregnancies and need support. They are only targeting what they call “abortion-minded” women. For this they are granted charitable status, which is bad enough. Granting them taxpayer money for an operation that at best can be described as disingenuous and is often harmful to women by delaying health care is ridiculous. So kudos to the Liberals for ending this sham.

As for the CCBR – their anti-social extremist behaviour should not be rewarded with taxpayer funds. They do not have charitable status and are in fact a political group seeking to undermine fundamental human rights. If you are going to fund them, you might as well fund alt right groups. Or if you think that’s too extreme a comparison, funding the CCBR is like funding anti-vaxxer groups that also work against public health and safety. Would Canadians be happy to see their money frittered away on that cause?

Let these anti-choice groups function on their own. If they can garner enough public support and convince Canadians of their position, then so be it. The government never gave groups like the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League money to promote the repeal of abortion laws. CARAL was successful through grass roots support and without charitable status.