Friday 17 January 2020

We Are Legion

Do you remember MP Ken Epp's private member's bill C-484, Unborn Victims of Crime Act from 2007? Joyce Arthur and I do. (We met for the first time in real life yesterday, appropriately, at Apiecalypse Now, the restaurant owned by pro-choice hero, Jen Bundock.)

We talked about how lonely we felt at the time, as two of a very few voices shrieeeeking about the danger it posed to abortion rights. Hardly anyone took notice. Certainly not the MPs. The bill passed second reading, only to die on the order paper when the 2008 election was called. Thank the goddess.

Now, things are very different. There is the ongoing and intensifying madness about abortion in the US that wafts northward. And social media is proving to be a powerful force used by individuals and groups to gain attention and amplify messages.

But it's more than that.

Joyce and I do not feel lonely anymore as dozens (hundreds?) of people have taken on the task of watching the Big Fetus Lobby and alerting others when they get out of line.

The media and other mainstream organizations are far more open to hearing these messages and acting.

For example, a screening of an anti-choice film at King's University College at Western University has drawn an amazing amount of attention. This morning I counted six media stories at Google News, including this pretty surprising demand from faculty for an apology for misrepresenting the school's values.
In a letter sent to Principal David Malloy Wednesday, professors from across disciplines, signed their names to a three page letter describing the "furor and fear" expressed by the school community when the movie was screened last Thursday.

Also recently, anti-choice MP Garnett Genuis's "survey" for constituents that included a question on abortion also drew online hell-fire.
Twitter user Ann Bibby (@anniegirl1138) expressed her anger in the tweet; “This is the bulls**t (Christmas) crap we get from our MP. Separatism and reopening the access to abortion issue. Ffs.”

Nearly 200 people retweeted the message and also tweeted their concern about the abortion questions. Others called the separation question divisive.
This is in Alberta, mind.

Other individuals are calling for buffer zones: around hospitals and clinics and around schools.

People are sick of seeing the enormous gory images of miscarried fetuses and demanding that towns and cites take steps to shut these displays down.

People are also sick of misleading or outright lying messages about abortion on their transit shelters and vehicles. Some cities are acting and having them removed.

Elsewhere, residents are fed up with their public spaces used to promote fringe values. Many cities and towns have (mostly) harmless flag- and banner-raisings. But they're realizing these minor events are more trouble than they're worth: in Nelson, BC and Saskatoon.

Also really encouraging is the Handmaids movement. There are more than a dozen chapters using the title Handmaids Local and the area code. Here is Handmaids Local 905 in their red finery.

And then, the entire country weighed in with the convincing defeat of anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ+ Conservative Andrew ("Yankee Doodle Andy") Scheer in the recent federal election.

Here is Peter MacKay's immortal quote.
"And yet that was thrust onto the agenda and hung around Andrew Scheer's neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly, and he wasn't able to deftly deal with those issues when opportunities arose."

So, that's where we seem to be at. In Canada, social conservatives are stinking anathema. The majority doesn't even want to hear their voices, let alone look at their manipulative images or listen to their lies.

As a country, we seem to be saying collectively -- and politely of course -- "Shut the fuck up."

No more shrieeeeking in the wilderness for pro-choice activists. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.