Proudly Prochoice

Celebrate 20 years of choiceThe 1988 Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision on R. v. Morgentaler, the decision which struck down Canada’s old abortion law, is a document well worth the time it takes to read. It provides the historical context for there being no new abortion law in Canada and it clarifies why men need to keep their laws off women’s bodies.

Chief Justice Brian Dickson, in the Majority Report, said:

Section 251 clearly interferes with a woman’s physical and bodily integrity. Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus an infringement of security of the person.Canada Celebrates 20 Years of Choice

I’m celebrating that part today. And I’m celebrating the part by the late Justice Bertha Wilson who wrote a Minority Report which took the decision of the Majority even further. She said:

This decision is one that will have profound psychological, economic and social consequences for the pregnant woman. The circumstances giving rise to it can be complex and varied and there may be, and usually are, powerful considerations militating in opposite directions. It is a decision that deeply reflects the way the woman thinks about herself and her relationship to others and to society at large. It is not just a medical decision; it is a profound social and ethical one as well. Her response to it will be the response of the whole person.

It is probably impossible for a man to respond, even imaginatively, to such a dilemma not just because it is outside the realm of his personal experience … but because he can relate to it only by objectifying it, thereby eliminating the subjective elements of the female psyche which are at the heart of the dilemma.

So there ya have it! A w00t! for Wilson! A w00t! for Morgentaler! And a w00t! for prochoicers everywhere!

Now let’s get this problem of access to the procedure sorted, please.

I’m pro-choice and I vote

Blog for Choice DayI type this in support of the US choice movement, now celebrating 35 years since the Roe v. Wade decision.  I would hope that in the upcoming presidential election in the USA that voters vote for the candidate who is decidedly pro-choice on the matter of reproductive freedom.  Reproductive freedoms are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.

International Day of the Midwife

International Day of the Midwife

Message of Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund

05 May 2007

Today on the International Day of the Midwife, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, pays tribute to midwives around the world. We join others in voicing our appreciation for the loving care these skilled health workers provide. And we call for urgent action to address the shortage of midwives in many countries.

In every country, women and families count on midwives to ensure a safe delivery and healthy newborn. Midwives make a tremendous contribution to the health of mothers and babies worldwide.

Yet, one half of the world’s pregnant women still lack access to skilled care at childbirth and the consequences are devastating. Every year, an estimated 529,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, 4 million newborn die, and another 4 million babies are stillborn. This is more than the combined total of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria deaths. In addition, 10 million more women suffer debilitating injuries such as infertility, uterine prolapse or obstetric fistula. Skilled assistance is critical to lowering the number of women killed or injured while giving birth. It is estimated that ensuring skilled attendance in delivery, backed up by emergency obstetric care, could reduce maternal deaths by about 75 per cent.

The theme of this year’s observance, “Midwives reach out to women – wherever they live”, reminds us of the importance of ensuring the presence of midwives in communities where their services are urgently needed. Today, UNFPA calls for greater investment in the training, recruitment, pay and working conditions of midwives. Some 700,000 more midwives are needed to provide universal access to skilled care at birth.

The world can make greater progress in improving maternal health by ensuring access to skilled attendance at delivery, emergency obstetric care if complications arise and family planning. These reproductive health services save lives.

UNFPA reiterates its call to governments and their partners to increase investment in reproductive health as an urgent priority. With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, there is no better time than now to strengthen health systems and health workforces to protect the health of mothers, children and families.

To make pregnancy safer and ensure that no woman dies giving life, UNFPA will continue to work within the United Nations system in support of governments and civil society to guarantee universal access to reproductive health.

Unused Utes Unite

If BP says so, it must be true!

So, on Sunday be sure to celebrate

International Day of the Unused Uterus

To commemorate the International Day of the Unused Uterus, there will be candlelight vigils at maternity wards around the world. Demonstrators will symbolically shut their vaginas by applying an X made of duct tape to the crotch of their pants. (Heavy denim recommended.)

Please take part in the International Day of the Unused Uterus: she is counting on you to speak up for her!

Blog for Choice

Women bloggers from the USA have issued a call inviting bloggers worldwide to mark today, January 22, 2007, as a day to blog for choice. Tell us and your readers, they say, why you’re pro-choice.

coathangerFor me, that’s an easy job. I am pro-choice because I believe reproductive freedom is a human right. If women are to ever be equal participants at all levels of society, then the freedom to reproduce at a time of her choosing, or not at all, is entirely up to the individual woman, and not her husband, her family, her government, her doctor, her church, her god(dess).

Inquisition in Nicaragua?

Why do the religious extremists think they have a right to legislate women’s bodies?  Please take a moment to act (see below).  From the Inbox:

BEGINNING OF A NEW INQUISITION IN NICARAGUA

As part of the electoral campaign, the Frente Sandinista under the leadership of ex-revolutionary Daniel Ortega and his Somocist vice presidential candidate, along with other right wing parties (PLC, ALN) have formed an alliance with the Vatican and its catholic hierarchy and some evangelical churches to rush through a law by Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 to outlaw any form of abortion.

This violates established legal process and the secular constitution of the republic as well as basic human rights. It will roll back rights established in a law allowing for therapueutic abortion that has existed since 1891.

The only major party openly in favour of guaranteeing women’s rights and the therapeutic abortion law is the MRS (Movement for Sandinista Renewal) which has signed an alliance with the Autonomous Women’s Movement.

The existing law restricts the right to abortion only to pregnant women whose lives are in danger. If the new law passes (probable, due to the correlation of forces in the present National Assembly) it means a death sentence for poor women with pregnancies that threaten their lives and torture for raped women, or any woman who can’t or doesn’t want to go ahead with an pregnancy that endangers her health or because of major problems with the fetus.

It will also be an excuse for political persecution against the women’s movement and the medical profession if one of these parties wins the election. Women and doctors involved in abortion could face up to 30 years in prison and it will be illegal to promote the right to an abortion, as it will be encouraging a “crime”.

This is a flagrant violation of women’s right to life, to health, to make decision over own lives. It is also form of institutionalized torture and paves the way for dictatorial measures that violate of our rights as Nicaraguan citizens to free speech and free association, men and women alike. We are facing a new inquisition.

Behind this is also the repression of sexual rights which is also on the agenda of religious fundamentalists and their machista and corrupt allies in the political arena.

If you are interested in supporting us to fight this situation, you can help in the following ways:

1. Organise protests in front of the Nicaraguan Embassies.

2. Talk to the people in the media and encourage them to cover this situation.

3. Send letters to the National Assembly.

4. Pass this message along to other women and men who believe in human rights, people involved in social organizations or movements, artists, progressive churches, students, union affiliates and especially women’s organizations and medical associations.

5. Lobby human rights organizations, development agencies, local and national politicians in your country, your governments, the European Parliament and the United Nations to pressure the Nicaraguan National Assembly (parliament) not to roll back our human rights with such a draconian and medieval law and to stop political persecution.

Please inform us of your actions in order to make visible support for our rights in the national media here.

We also need your help to prevent an electoral fraud which may turn this fundamentalist alliance into a new dictatorship in Nicaragua.

Helen Dixon \x{2013} helend@ibw.com.ni

Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Member of the Autonomous Women’s Movements (MAM) / Women’s Network of

Matagalpa

Nadine Jubb – nadinej@ibw.com.ni

Managua

Member of the Women’s Network against Violence

To support Nicaraguan women to defend their rights in this emergency situation. See below for other kinds of actions.

Please send faxed letters to the Executive of the National Assembly and the Justice Commission with a copy to the Autonomous Women’s Movement and the Women’s Network against Violence:

ma_mujeresnic@yahoo.es

redmcvincidencia@turbonett.com

Presidencia Junta Directiva (President of Executive) (505) 228-3030 Eduardo Gomez

Primera vicepresidencia (First Vice-president) (505) 228-3114 René Nuñez Téllez

Segunda vicepresidencia (Second VP) (505) 228-5076 Guillermo Osorno

3ra vicepresidencia (3rd VP) (505) 228-4086 Orlando Tardencilla

1ra Secretaría (505) 228-5789 María Auxiliadora Alemán Zeas

2da Secretaría (505) 222-5791 Eduardo Mena

3ra Secretaría (505) 222-5661 José Figueroa

Comisión Justicia (Justice Comission) ( 505) 228-2107 Noel Pereira Majano (President)

Address for written letters to above:

Asamblea Nacional de Nicaragua

Avenida Bolivar, Managua

Nicaragua

with copies to:

Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres:

Apartado Postal 2109 – Correo Central

Managua, Nicaragua

and faxes to:

Women’s Network against Violence (Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia)

(505) 268-3095