Birth Pangs has the goods on this, as well as an Activist Page where you can email Stephane Dion a letter demanding that he whip his Liberal caucus to vote against the Bill. And Choice Joyce has the reasons why the Bill must be defeated.
The 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.
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.
Best Canadian Feminist Blog
Best International Feminist Blog
Reproductive Liberty Blog
Best comment thread
The “why the fuck didn’t I say that?” award for most poignant comment
Best Snark Comment
Most Regressive “Progressive”
The Support Bro – Best Post by a male in support of feminists/feminism
From Malalai Joya, on Afghanistan, in Q&A: “When I Leave My House, Im Not Sure Ill Make It Back”:
IPS: What has changed since Canada’s increased role in Afghanistan?
MJ: It is shocking news, a catastrophic situation for women in our country. I moved back to Afghanistan to be a social activist on women’s issues. Many women have been kidnapped, many are raped, according to official statements, there have been 250 cases of rape in the west of Afghanistan in the first six months of 2007. Every 28 minutes, an Afghani woman dies from childbirth. The conditions are worse than ever for women.
And let us remember to remind Premier-elect, Brad Wall, that Saskatchewan’s uranium made its way there, too.
Let’s all take a moment to thank Prime Minister Steve for his assistance in moving Canadian women backwards on the road to gender equality. Tell him how much you appreciate him making your life, the lives of our mothers, sisters and daughters, worse. Tell him we knew he could do it. And tell him we can hardly wait to see what he’ll do to us if he ever gets that sacred majority!
May it never come to fruition!
GENEVA – Canada has slipped a little compared with the rest of the world in providing
gender equality, according to a study by the World Economic Forum released Thursday.
Frank Jordans, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The annual study ranking 128 countries found Canada had slipped four spots to 18th place
compared with last year.
Nordic countries received the best marks for gender parity in education, employment,
health and politics.
Sweden, which has more women then men holding high public office, topping the list. It
was following in order by Norway, Finland and Iceland.
New Zealand, the Philippines, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Spain rounded out the top
The United States finished in 31st spot, down eight places from last year.
Based on a scale in which perfect equality was assigned a score of 1.0, Canada achieved
an overall mark of 0.72.
That included almost perfect marks in the categories of educational attainment (0.999)
and health and survival (0.979).
But it scored lower on economic participation and opportunity (0.74) and much lower
(0.159) on political empowerment, with women making up only 21 per cent of MPs and 23
per cent of cabinet posts in Parliament.
My Heart is Moved
This project, My Heart is Moved, is deeply local,
circles of women caring for the global and local
possibilities in their lands and communities.
~ Carolyn McDade
In early June 2007, seven Saskatchewan women traveled to Boston to record the vocal tracks for My Heart Is Moved, a new CD of music by Carolyn McDade & Friends. In all, 85 women from 10 different bio-regions of North America — many of whom had never before met — gathered to sing! All who were there brought with them the breath and life of their local communities, the voices of all in their circles, the amazing preparation and intention of the local group, into the focused work of rehearsals and recording. Songs shaped collaboratively in word and sound by beloved artists, given instrumental voice by exquisite musicians were further shaped as they were sung in community.
Please join Carolyn McDade & Friends and the Saskatchewan Singers of the Sacred Web to listen to, sing and celebrate this new release of songs that gives us an emotional entry into the profound and urgent wisdom of the Earth Charter.
7:30 pm Thursday, October 25, 2007
St. Andrews College
1121 College Drive
University of Saskatchewan
7:30 pm, Friday, October 26, 2007
Sunset United Church
177 Sunset Drive
This music, drawn from the heart and words of The Earth Charter, pulls us to where waters run. . . seep. . . pool. . . We need these songs if we are ever to rudder ourselves through the narrows to a deeper understanding of who we are as planetary and cosmic beings, intent on the wellbeing of the community of life of which we are inextricably a part. ~ Carolyn McDade
The Earth Charter is a global People’s document that addresses how we, Earth’s people, need to exist in relationship with one’s self, with others, with Earth, and the larger whole if we are to sustain human life on this planet. Current work on the Charter began in 1994 with Maurice Strong, Chair of the 1992 Rio Summit, and former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, Founder of Green Cross International. The aim of the movement is to have the Charter officially recognized by the United Nations.
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those,
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
We invite you to let your heart be moved by this beautiful music, to cast your lot with ours as we move from the aquifer of our hearts and souls to reconstitute the world. If you are not in Saskatchewan, you may be able to take in other launch celebrations in Canada and the USA. CDs will be available for sale at the launches and can be purchased in Regina at Bach & Beyond or online.
And let’s not forget that these women live on despite the depleted uranium radiating their lands.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
OWFI has spoken in a recent report over the CNN about the masses of Iraqi
women who are part of human trafficking currently inside and outside Iraq.
The report shows OWFI executives challenging the officials who choose to
look the other way.
OWFI has also challenged the rapists of 7 Iraqi female prisoners who are
still free and work in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
OWFI has initiated a secular youth movement based on Poetry, Music and Art
under the name of “Freedom Space”. Hundreds of youth from the so called
“Sadre City” are enthusiastic members and some are leaders of this rapidly
OWFI is still sheltering women who are threatened by honor killing or
retaliation from militia members / after these militias kill the males of
As a result, the Iraqi government decided on September 4th to freeze the
funds of OWFI in the Iraqi banks so as to paralyze our movement and make our work impossible.
Dear Friends and supporters do not let the intimidation of the Iraqi
officials stop you from supporting one of the few freedom initiatives inside
We are writing you this letter so that you do not send us any funds or
donations into our official bank account in Iraq as the government has put
its hand on it.
As for our activities, do not worry. We will still voice the pains of Iraqi
women and keep on creating bigger “freedom spaces”, especially that we run
mostly on volunteer will-power.
The farce of “Democracy” in Iraq will not sway our determination to a free,
secular and egalitarian life for all in Iraq.
Freedom and equality for all
September 6, 2007
some of the recent CNN reports:
and a previous one on NPR:
I guess oil is soooo important that women and girls lives don’t really matter to GWB & Co…
The Independent on Sunday ~~ June 24, 2007
‘50,000 Iraqi refugees’ forced into prostitution
Women and girls, many alarmingly young, who fled the chaos at home are
being further betrayed after reaching ‘safety’ in Syria
By Nihal Hassan in Damascus
It’s Monday night in a dingy club on the outskirts of the Syrian
capital. Two dozen girls are moving half-heartedly on the dance floor,
lit up by flashing disco lights.
They are dessed in tight jeans, low-cut tops and knee-high boots, but
the girls’ make-up can’t disguise the fact that most are in their
mid-teens. It’s a strange sight in a conservative Muslim country, but
this is the sex business, and it’s booming as a result of the war in Iraq.
Backstage, the manager sits in his leather chair, doing business. A
Saudi client is quoted $500 for one of the girls. Eventually he beats
it down to $300. Next door, in a dimly lit room, the next shift of
girls arrives, taking off the black all-covering abayasthey wear
outside and putting on lipstick and mascara.
To judge from the cars parked outside, the clients come from all over
the Gulf region – many are young Saudi men escaping from an even more
conservative moral climate. But the Syrian friend who has brought me
here tells me that 95 per cent of the girls are Iraqi.
Most are unwilling to talk, but Zahra, an attractive girl with a bare
midriff and tattoos, tells me she’s 16. She has been working in this
club since fleeing to Syria from Baghdad after the war. She doesn’t
like it, she says, “but what can we do? I hope things get better in
Iraq, because I miss it. I want to go back, but I have to look after
my sister”. Zahra points to a thin, pubescent girl with long black
hair, who seems to be dancing quite happily. Aged 13, Nadia started in
the club two months ago.
As the girls dance suggestively, allowing their breasts to brush
against each other, one winks at a customer. But these girls are not
just providing the floor show – they have paid to be here, and they
need to pick up a client, or they’ll lose money. If successful,
they’ll earn about $60, equivalent to a month’s wages in a factory.
There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women
whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working
legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how
many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founder of the Iraqi
women’s group Women’s Will, puts the figure at 50,000.
I met Fatima in a block of flats operating informally as a brothel in
Saida Zainab, a run-down area with a large Iraqi population. Millions
of Shias go there every year, because of the shrine of the prophet
Mohamed’s granddaughter. “I came to Syria after my husband was killed,
leaving me with two children,” Fatima tells me. “My aunt asked me to
join her here, and my brothers pressured me to go.” She didn’t realise
the work her aunt did, and she would be forced to take up, until she arrived.
Fatima is in her mid-20s, but campaigners say the number of Iraqi
children working as prostitutes is high. Bassam al-Kadi of Syrian
Women Observatory says: “Some have been sexually abused in Iraq, but
others are being prostituted by fathers and uncles who bring them here
under the pretext of protecting them. They are virgins, and they are
brought here like an investment and exploited in a very ugly way.”
Further viewing: Nihal Hassan and Nima Elbagir’s report will appear on
‘More 4 News’ at 8pm tomorrow
This is US data, but it makes one wonder how Canadian veterans fare in this regard. Surely we are better placed to prevent such horrific statistics, by simply being a less militaristic culture than our southern neighbours. Mind you, with Harper and Hillier at the helm, we may be doomed to echo the patterns of the USians. From AlterNet: War on Iraq:
Why Male Military Veterans Are Committing Sexual Assault at Alarming Rates
A recent study by the Department of Justice found that military veterans are twice as likely to be incarcerated for sexual assault than nonveterans. When asked about the finding, Margaret E. Noonan, one of the authors of the study, told the Associated Press, “We couldn’t come to any definite conclusion as to why.” The intrinsic and systemic connection between militarism and violence against women, however, makes this finding far from surprising.
Sexual violence has been a de facto weapon of war since the beginning of the patriarchal age. Raping and assaulting women is seen as a way to attack the honor of the enemy, and women have always been the spoils of war. The result is that many types of violence against women are exacerbated by militarism, including the indirect effects on civilian populations both during hostilities and after the conflict ends and soldiers go home. These include:
- Rape/sexual assault and harassment both within the military and perpetrated on civilian populations
- Domestic violence
- Prostitution, pornography and trafficking
- Honor killing