Maritime Misogyny Ad Infinitum (On and On to tha Breaka Breaka Dawn!)

by matttbastard

"Join the 21st-century, New Brunswick"

Despite repeatedly getting spanked by provincial courts, apparently New Brunswick’s provincial government  STILL fears women’s reproductive freedom enough to consider taking Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s 7-year-old lawsuit over public funding of private clinic abortions in the province all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada:

The New Brunswick government is reviewing the latest Court of Appeal ruling that cleared the way for Dr. Henry Morgentaler to sue the province over its refusal to fund abortions performed at his clinic in Fredericton.

The government has argued it only has to pay for abortions approved by two physicians and performed in hospitals.

Attorney General T.J. Burke told reporters on Friday that his staff will use the next 30 days to decide whether they will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“Our office will review the procedural decision made by the Court of Appeal to determine whether there’s any palpable or overriding errors in law and determine whether or not we should appeal,” Burke said.

[…]

Morgentaler wants medicare to cover the $750 fee for abortions performed at his clinic, which currently are paid for by the patients themselves.

The province argued Morgentaler couldn’t sue on the issue because it affects women, not him. In January, after a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled in Morgentaler’s favour, the province appealed the decision.

On Thursday, three appeal judges also ruled in Morgentaler’s favour. The province had argued it would be better if the lawsuit was launched by a woman who had been forced to pay for a clinic abortion.

Chief Justice Ernest Drapeau said that argument doesn’t pass muster. None of the many women who have had abortions at Morgentaler’s Fredericton clinic in the past 15 years has come forward to file a lawsuit, he noted.

Gee, wonder if the consideration of yet another appeal reflects the personal anti-choice zealotry of New Brunswick’s Health Minister?

New Brunswick’s health minister says his personal view on when life begins makes him “not entirely” comfortable administering the province’s laws and policies on abortion.

Michael Murphy was among several Liberal and Progressive Conservative MLAs who attended an anti-abortion rally [!] in front of the legislative assembly on Thursday.

Murphy told the crowd of more than 300 that he believes life begins at conception.

“It is my own personal belief that the unborn, at any stage, is human life, and I believe in human life, and I support it,” Murphy said.

That personal view is at odds with provincial regulations that allow abortions in hospitals, he said.

Medicare funds abortions in hospitals if two doctors agree the procedure is medically necessary.

When asked, Murphy admitted his personal beliefs do not make him comfortable in administering some of his duties as health minister.

“Not entirely, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

Plus, y’know, Morgentaler might keel over soon — and that means EPIC WIN FOR TEH INNOCENT BABIES!

Peggy Cooke, who works at the [Morgentaler] clinic, hopes the province will stop stalling the legal process.

“So I think they’re kind of waiting for him to give up and waiting for him to be incapable of doing it anymore,” she said.

Morgentaler is 86 years old and there have been reports his health has been declining.

Morgentaler’s name is on the lawsuit. His death would force another plaintiff to restart the legal process.

Also, with regards to the province’s oft-refuted contention that a woman should have initially tendered the suit, Cooke once again layeth the smacketh down:

As Cooke points out, the reason Morgentaler is suing is because no woman has been willing to take on the provincial government.

“There’s so much stigma with abortion, and secondly the money is a huge problem. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars to do this,” Cooke said.

Yeah, because, um, if one doesn’t have a spare $750 to terminate their pregnancy it’s highly unlikely they’ll have several grand kicking around to take the freakin’ government to court over said $750.

Ahem.

Oh, and speaking of that oh-so-contentious procedural cost and the public purse, deBeauxO nails it in comments @ DAMMIT JANET (h/t):

Before the shrieeeking starts about the cost of this medical intervention, it’s important to to note that root canals can cost over $1000.

Also, the New Brunswick government is running up quite a legal tab by refusing to accept the judgement of its own courts. Taxpayers will be footing that bill.

Women’s health and bodily autonomy? The law of the land (as confirmed by TWO provincial courts)? The proper allocation and utilization of taxpayer dollars?

Pshh. Wevs. Clearly New Brunswick stubbornly and steadfastly serves a HIGHER power.

Or something.

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Oh, Canada! Here Comes the Manufactured ‘Pro-Life’ Outrage

by matttbastard

Hot on the heels of the recent bestowing of the Canadian Labour Congress’ Award for Outstanding Service to Humanity, CBC News reports that pioneering abortion rights activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler is now slated to be appointed to the Order of Canada:

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who led the fight to legalize abortion in Canada, was supposed to be honoured Monday, but the ceremony has been delayed for unknown reasons, a government source told the Globe and Mail.

The honour, considered the highest in the country, is announced by the Governor General on the advice of an advisory panel.

Conservative MPs on Monday did not directly confirm the news, but stressed that appointments to the order are not made by cabinet. Nine people, including two government appointees, sit on the Order of Canada panel.

MP Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative from Saskatchewan who opposes abortion, told the Globe and Mail that he heard Morgentaler’s appointment was not unanimous.

“This is a pretty divisive issue,” he said. “I think we can all agree on that, so why would we have the highest honour in the country being issued when there is obviously a strong difference of opinion about it?”

[…]

Morgentaler, a trained family physician, argued that access to abortion was a basic human right and women should not have to risk death at the hands of an untrained professional in order to end their pregnancies.

Morgentaler’s clinics were constantly raided by his opponents, and one in Toronto was firebombed. Morgentaler was arrested several times and spent months in jail as he fought his case at all court levels in Canada.

His victory came on Jan. 28, 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law. That law, which required a woman who wanted an abortion to appeal to a three-doctor hospital abortion committee, was declared unconstitutional.

Cue the expected weeping and gnashing of teeth from outrage-addicted Canucklehead wing-nuts, courtesy Dr Dawg:

I was going to let this go and just party today, but reading the drivelling hatred oozing from the nut-o-sphere this morning has delayed my plans.

I’m referring to the speech-warrior crowd, the people who stand up for freedom in our Stalinist wasteland, who freep the hell out of newspaper polls, who can’t even spell the name of the person they hate, the folks who make sleazy references to Morgentaler’s Jewish ethnicity.

Yup, it’s all the old familiar faces. There’s Binky, aggregating blogposts about the Mark Steyn auto-da-fé, now dutifully directing us to various vicious anti-Morgentaler posts. Funny how the taste for freedom dissipates when women’s rights are at stake. Funny how the bigotry kicks in.

Yes, that is interesting, innit? I’d once again say something about irony’s untimely demise, but I think I’ve already buried that particular line of snark six feet under (and then some). Hey, flogging a dead horse is just too cruel, even for a baby-hating feticide-apologist like yours truly (yes, I really do think).

Maclean’s columnist Andrew Potter [almost] right [except for the part about there being “no other serious champions” for reproductive freedom]:

Dr. Henry Morgentaler risked his reputation, his freedom, and his life for decades in service of a cause that had no other serious champion in this country.

He is a remarkable man who has lived a remarkable life. He deserves to be a member of the order of Canada, because, more than the vast majority of members of the Order, he has lived his life according to the motto inscribed on the medal: He desired a better country.

Or, as JJ puts it (as only she can):

I don’t give a happy monkeyfuck if “others fundamentally disagree” — they can get stuffed. Dr. Morgentaler has contributed more to Canadian women’s right to self-determination than any other individual, and has risked his life and his freedom doing it. Before he stood up for our rights, our reproductive business was dictated by the state and whatever sex-obsessed authoritarian busybodies had its ear. Not acceptable: never was, never will be, and Dr. Morgentaler sealed the deal. His Order of Canada is long overdue… .

A-fuckin’-men, sister.

Look, I’m not one for overt displays of patriotism, nor for possessing much in the way of ‘pride’ in my country (as opposed to hope for humanity in general, regardless of national borders). Still, giving this particular honour to someone who essentially put his career–and his life–at risk to ensure that a Canadian woman’s right to bodily autonomy is not constrained by the State makes even a staunch internationalist such as yours truly feel a twinge in ye olde chest cavity of–yes–proud nationalist sentiment–either that, or the kielbasa I ate earlier is repeating on me. In any case, don’t expect ol’ matttbastard to take a page out of Uncle Steve’s good book and start asking ‘God’ to bless Canada (although I do reserve the right to hypocritically say ‘gesundheit’ when someone sneezes in my presence).

h/t skdadl and dBO, who offers the following wry observation in response to Liberal MP Dan McTeague’s claim that “[t]he Governor-General and the committee advising on appointments to the Order of Canada have always been careful in the past not to choose people who were controversial or who would not be unanimously celebrated by all Canadians”:

One of the commenters at JJ’s reminds us that last year, there was a choice for the Order of Canada that was controversial and affronted the fundamental rightwingnutters and fetus fetishists: the Rev. Brent Hawkes.

But-but-but what about divisiveness? Or the dead babies? FOR GOD’S SAKE WON’T SOMEBODY PUHLEEASE CONSIDER THE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DEAD BABIES?1?!!!11interrochittychittybangbangone

Background: more from CBC News:

Update: via Bruce and JJ: it’s official:

Henry Morgentaler, C.M.

Toronto, Ontario

Member of the Order of Canada

For his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined efforts to influence Canadian public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations.

Congratulations, Dr. Morgentaler.

Update 2: More from Dave at the Beav on McTeague’s bogus contention re: anodyne OoC selections.

Update 3: More cork-popping from April, JJ, Bruce, and Dawg.

Update 4: Get some bubbly at The Stormy Days of March, thought,interrupted by typos, and Canadian Cynic.

Also, Scott Tribe in comments at Kuri’s place provides the following (scroll down, second comment):

Actually, you and everyone else should also thank Beverly Mclaughlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court, for waiving the normal requirement of a vote having to be unanimous for the panel to pass along the recommendation to the G.G.

Great. I can already envision the endless parade of unhinged harangues against our tyrannical judiciary this bit of news is sure to provoke.

Update 5: Hysperia reminds us that, while this is indeed a laudable occasion, we should try not to get too caught up in the celebrations. We still have quite a ways to go before universal access to reproductive services in Canada is achieved.

Update 6 07.03: Renee @ womanist musings on Morgentaler and the importance of reproductive liberty for lower income women.

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