Motion 312 is defeated

September 26, 2012

That’s the good news. Also good news? The vote wasn’t even close: 203 Nays to 91 Yeas, or 69% to 31%.

The bad news? 4 Liberal MPs–John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood), Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan), Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North), and Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough—Agincourt)–voted in support of the motion.

More bad news? Rona Ambrose, the Minister for the Status of Women Chattel also voted to keep women barefoot and pregnant by force if necessary. I think she should resign out of shame. I also suggest that Canadians who care about women’s freedom might consider contributing to the campaigns of her opponents in the next election.

Not anti-abortion either

September 24, 2012

Libby Anne of Love, Joy, Feminism has a post highlighting a couple of comments about the reproductive rights debate (they’re good, go read them). In the comments thread, a sub-discussion is going on about the labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life”. Libby Anne makes the following observation:

Those who say they are pro-choice really are pro-choice, but those who say they are pro-life are not consistently so (they generally favor the death penalty and military intervention abroad). I think the term “anti-abortion” would be more accurate, since that is, quite simply, what they are.

Though she’s right that the term “pro-life” would be a sick joke if it weren’t so revoltingly inaccurate, I disagree with Libby Anne’s last statement here.  I wouldn’t say that the other side is anti-abortion. Because if they were, they’d do whatever was necessary to reduce the number of abortions: early and thorough sex education, free access to contraception and Plan B, encouragement of and funding for vasectomies for men who don’t want children or anymore children than they already have, free or at least subsidised child care up to the age of 6, and universal health insurance for (at least) pregnant women and new mothers as well as children up to the age of 18.

They are not pro-life. They are not anti-abortion. They are anti-choice. They are anti-women. They are, in effect, pro-slavery. They want to strip women of their rights to bodily autonomy, free will, security of person, privacy, religious freedom, and even life.

So, okay, I’ll play along for now. But don’t think I’m going to forget about your Let’s Lock Up More Poor Men in Prison bill.

My MP, Bev Oda, has done the only thing I think I’ve ever approved her doing. She’s restored funding to International Planned Parenthood (it’s not all good: for those who don’t recall, abortion is not one of the services that IPP is allowed to provide with the money–kinda like that old Bush ban). But even the whisper of a hint that women in Afghanistan or Sudan might be able to control their own reproduction with the help of Canadian aid money has Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost’s boxers all in a twist (there’s a video of an interview with him there, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it).

But it makes me wonder, does Brad Trost have a quiver full of kids? I mean, if his wife isn’t being a good Christian brood mare and popping them out at the rate of one every eighteen months or so, they must be using contraception. Surely he wouldn’t object to oppressed and starving women in Africa managing the size of their families? Oh, just took a closer look at his website. He’s <b>not married</b>.* And here I thought he was just being a privileged Westerner trying to impose a rule that he’s not even following himself. But his hypocrisy goes even beyond that: he’s trying to impose his religious dogma on women everywhere when he’s not even at risk of becoming a parent himself (after all, as a good Christian, he’s not having pre-marital sex right)?

He writes on his blog about how he and the other forced-birthers in the Conservative caucus worked to get the IPPF funding dropped in the first place:

“Many, many Conservative MPs pressed the PMO to stop the funds from flowing. Federal funding did stop for a time. Funds allocated to IPPF were considerably reduced. Furthermore, federal grants for IPPF also had more strings attached.

This only happened because of the pressure applied. “

Yes, Mr Trost, you got away with pulling funding for Planned Parenthood because you did it behind closed doors. You want to bring your women-are-just-animated-incubators agenda out into the open? Bring it on. We’re ready to crush your iron age thinking into the dust where it belongs. In case you haven’t heard, women now have the vote. And men who acknowledge that women are people too will stand and vote with them.

*I assume, given that there are no pictures or mention of his family and he wears no wedding ring.

A new blog and lots to say results in saying virtually nothing!

Ah well, there’s plenty of time to get into the habit and there’s always plenty to talk about. Just today I could have written entire blog posts on:

  • Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy being stripped of administration of a tourism funding programme for (wait for it…) funding tourism while Lisa Raitt continues to hold onto the sexy Chalk River file when she has handled it with nearly unmitigated disaster, risking the health and lives of not only Canadians but people around the world. The distinction? Not helping cancer patients is no big deal, but helping homosexuals is anathema.
  • On a related note, can right wing Yahoos refrain from using “pro-life” to mean anti-abortion-rights and “pro-family” to mean anti-gay-rights?
  • My thoughts relating to an ongoing debate about science journalism. The upshot? Science journalists have a great responsibility in reporting without sensationalism and with discretion. As things stand, it seems like every day a new study is reported saying that X might be beneficial or X might be detrimental. Without discrimination applied, much of science journalism fosters the impression that science is unreliable. It’s no wonder that many people find it difficult to distinguish scientific facts from religious faith.
  • On the post-Canada Day requiem for knowledge of Canada, Canadian history and Canadian institutions: perhaps Heritage Canada should revive those Heritage Minute ads—but with a difference: how about reviewing some basic facts about how our political system works (no, the PM is not the head of state and if we weren’t so ignorant or complacent about it, we would realise that his taking a military salute should be considered an extreme overstepping of his office, only one practical step away from usurpation; no we don’t elect a PM, we collectively elect a government & that government selects someone to recommend as PM; no, a coalition of elected MPs is not a perversion of democracy but a fulfillment of it), our geography (yes, there are 3 territories), and our history.
  • A couple of points raised by commenters on this post by Phil Plait on the Texas Board of Education: First, one that I commented on myself:

    @Rob Lee Says:@Petrolonfire #19 — “BTW. Is that a Godwin’s law record – nazis /Holocaust coming in at the fourth posts already!? :-O

    Haha — Ok, you got me there. In all seriousness, though, the point does stand. I feel that on an academic level, it is a very valid comparison. I try to stray away from the Nazi references, but in this case there really is not a better or more effective comparison.
    [The comparison being discussed is between scientists who deny evolution and historians who deny the Holocaust. Allegedly, more historians fall into the second group than scientists who fall into the first. – Ibis]

    I’ve seen this “statistic” used as a comparison several times, but as an historian I have to question whether its factual. Where did it come from? I don’t know of any legitimate, trained historian that seriously questions the reality of the Holocaust. Professional historians, like professional scientists, rely on evidence to draw their conclusions and the evidence in both cases are so overwhelming no rational person would doubt either. I suspect that this statistical comparison was pulled out of someone’s…um… hat.

    Second, is this annoying assertion by atheists that agnosticism is (a) a cop-out position (b) doesn’t actually exist (c) a position on a spectrum with gnosticism, while atheism is on an entirely separate spectrum with theism (this last one has some merit, but not in the manner it is usually deployed). Maybe some day when I have a bit of time, I’ll set the record straight.

And all of that is just off the top of my head (and ignores the number of other posts I have sitting here as drafts). Well, I guess this blog writing is a habit just waiting to be formed.