If Tennessee is the Buckle of the Bible Belt Then Utah is the Backside

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this lovely:

The Utah House of Representatives will hear a controversial proposal that could hold physicians responsible for homicide if they perform abortions deemed illegal by the state.

Under current state law, abortion is allowed only in cases of rape or incest, if the fetus cannot survive outside the womb or is unlikely to survive, or to save the mother’s life or preserve her health.

Abortions that don’t meet any of those standards can result in third-degree felony charges.

Under House Bill 90, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, physicians who perform illegal abortions could be charged with second-degree felony criminal homicide.

“In my opinion, illegal abortion is the same as murder,” Ray said. “This is the right step for Utah to take to protect the lives of unborn children, because they don’t have a voice.”

Note how it’s  the doctors who performed the “illegal” abortions potentially facing charges under this proposed new law, not the women who ‘contracted’ the “killing”. In a (perverse) sense, it’s almost gratifying to see the fetus fetishists explicitly affirm their belief that women are merely empty vessels that bear teh innocent baybees over to this mortal coil–boxes on a biological assembly line, if you will.

Which perhaps answers the question posed via IM by Sylvia/M (h/t):

“Will women be accomplices, then? Or scenes of the crime?”

Take action:

If you live in Utah or you want to send some strongly-worded letters to the Democrats in their House of Representatives about this bill, here’s the UT House websiteTell these representatives that doctors protecting women’s health is not an air quotation myth.

Update: Jill Miller Zimon  has compiled a plethora of info on this proposed anti-woman legislation. Go.

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Bill C-484: Dion’s Official Reply

by matttbastard

Well well well, look what finally turned up in my inbox (as well as Sean’s and Fern’s):

Dear Sir/Madame,

We would like to thank you for your recent [sic] letter regarding the Private Member’s Bill C-484 presented by Conservative member Ken Epp.

Members of Parliament have the right to put forward a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons. However, our concern with Mr. Epp’s bill, a concern shared by many lawyers, health professionals and women’s rights organizations, is that it would undermine a woman’s right to choose and could ultimately be a threat to a woman’s ability to access safe abortion services. We are committed to the Liberal Party of Canada, under Stéphane Dion’s leadership, standing firm against the idea of reopening the debate surrounding a woman’s right to choose. Passage of this bill will reopen the debate and threaten the rights of women – we will not allow that to happen.

Mr. Epp’s bill has been sent to the Justice committee and would only become law after receiving a majority vote in favour on its third reading in the House of Commons. Mr. Dion intends to work to ensure the bill is defeated at that time.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views on this important issue.


The Office of Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

A little bit late, but, hey, it’s been a busy six (yes, six) months for Stéph, what with all the backing down (and loving it) he’s done since then.

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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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Letting Random YouTube Commenters Do the Hard Goddamn Work For Me (OMGWTFBBQ ABORTIFACIENTS!!!1 Edition)

by matttbastard

Sez myspace.com/stopabortifacients

34 years old
CHICAGO, Illinois
United States “):

Sez YouTube commenter lilsasami (in response to Mr. “I <3 pre bornz almost as much as I <3 JPII”):

Oh my god! I’ve been abortin’ my four celled babies!

Christ, just when I think the [lifers] can’t get any dumber they come out with this shit. Congratulations loons, you just took crazy to a whole new level.

lilsasami = EPIC WIN.

Related: Kathryn Joyce on the overwhelmingly insipid upcoming national anti-contraception action event, Protest the Pill Day ’08: The Pill Kills Babies (h/t Fern Hill).

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Quote Of The Day: Not Fists.

by matttbastard


[W]hat I really want to say is that women’s reproductive freedom is a women’s right and women’s rights are human rights. It pisses me off to no end to hear men telling me how I am expected to behave in order to get my right honoured. This is my right we’re talking about!!!

And it pisses me off because it has happened repeatedly throughout history: each of the waves of feminism, including this, the fourth wave have been scolded by progressives and regressives alike for their behavior! Isn’t it time it stopped?

And why, oh bloody why, do any of you think you have a right to offer unsolicited advice, criticism, protection, what have you to women who have been working this issue all their freaking lives?

Why do you think you know better than us how to do our work? And what gives you the right to so much as think you have the right to speak it? Is it that freaking difficult to stand with us or to *gasp* ask us how you might assist us instead of shooting us down?

Do you know how very much you actually hurt us — not to mention detract us from our work — by being so very inconsiderate? OMG! I am soooooooooo tired of seeing this behavior [repeated] by men who call themselves progressive. So. Very. Very. Tired. And I am exhausted from forcing myself to be patient with you, to educate you, as I wait for you to actually get it!

And at times like this I don’t know why the hell I bother, because there are some who will never allow a word I type into their minds because they have already written me off as too radical and too militant. Which is what the patriarchy said of the Famous Five as well.

What Berlynn said bears repeating ad infinitum: “…women’s reproductive freedom is a women’s right and women’s rights are human rights.”

Women’s rights are human rights.

Women’s rights are human rights.

Women’s rights are human rights.

This is not an extremist position requiring moderation; the f-bomb (fill in the “f” yourself) != the clinic bomb. People will naturally show great passion when real lives–their lives–are at stake, not some prefabricated fetish of the misogynist far right ( noun: any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion). It should come as no surprise, Scott, that some see far more important things at stake than the fragile egos of those who, frankly, have chosen–who, like even yours truly, have the privilege of possessing such a choice–to not care, at least not in a meaningful fashion, displayed through sacrifice, getting your fucking hands dirty, and, yes, pissing people off.

Women’s rights are human rights.

Women’s rights are human rights.

Women’s rights are human rights.

This isn’t a game, some abstract debate club exercise with specific rules and boundaries, to be followed by cookies and Coca Cola in the atrium. Women’s rights–human rights–are in peril if we give any quarter to those who would place a fetish above a living, breathing person. Because when it boils down to it, Scott, it’s not your rights (nor my rights) being “moderated” for general consumption.

And that apparently makes all the difference to some.

So, in the spirit of solidarity, Berlynn, April, dBO, pale, Prole, JJ, fern, holly, Gigi, anne, Beijing, Kuri, everyone: what can I do to help in the human rights struggle?

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Twisting The Knife

by matttbastard


Oh boo fucking hoo:

I don’t see how a cause can be helped when some poor guy (it’s always a man) who is normally a supporter gets his metaphorical dick chopped off for expressing concern for the image of the movement. It leaves the impression that maybe they really do eat their young.

And there you have the essence of what is really getting to them. Teh Poor Menz(TM) are feeling emasculated by uppity wimmenz who actually resent being treated like children, and have dared to respond accordingly!

Teh horrorz!

Once again:

[C]omparing criticism to fists [or *ahem* castration-mb] is silencing. …it functions to inhibit what…women are saying, because they have to positively act to reject the associations that the male has conjured with his violent metaphor. By comparing the woman’s words to violence, he calls into being the image of her as a violent person, which she has to rebut by tempering her words


[H]yperbolic, violent exagerration also functions as a power play. Consciously or unconsciously, it’s intended to reassert privilege through a hyperbolic dismissal of the critiquer’s words.

And it’s also — perhaps primarily — a defensive reaction. Since women and people of color don’t have as much perceived right to criticize, their criticism stings more. It becomes not just criticism but fists, wars, and bombs.

There’s a big difference between “expressing concern” and a Sister Souljah moment hastily constructed after receiving a little bit of pressure from the FAR RIGHT. Woodley’s craven follow up post establishes a false dichotomy. As JJ notes, there is no comparing the rhetoric/tactics of the anti-abortion movement with that of a satirical website that isn’t afraid to take the lace gloves off when necessary.

And there’s certainly even less equivalence between expressing anger and castration.

Reproductive liberty is not a middle ground issue. It is an essential human rights struggle that isn’t being fought under Marquis of Queensbury rules. The right to choose has been under constant (and increasing) assault from the right (and, it should be noted, the centre) for decades now, to the detriment of women’s health and agency.

As April puts it,

Those of us who see the damage done when women have their choices removed are far more interested in protection of reproductive liberty, than the wishy washy support of those who can’t bring themselves to fully support women’s rights.

Pale is even more blunt:

THESE ARE NOT YOUR FATHERS FUCKING CONSERVATIVES! These are extremists. This ain’t good old Joe Clark and the conservatives of the past. These are Neo-liberals. They don’t give a shit about you, me, or anyone who doesn’t have a few mill in the bank, or the lunatic fringe who will blindly follow and vote for whatever party says what deluded claptrap they want to hear.
So, to all you Garden-party-mint- julep drinking-hand- wringing-unFAILINGLY-polite people. (If you haven’t FAINTED! from all the harsh language I have used here) You just keep on. You can keep begging for your place at the table. Let’s see how that keeps working out for you.

We have decided to try a different way.

Now, could all the Poor Menz(TM) please kindly take the (always unsolicited) “friendly advice” fraught with highly-revealing Freudian overtones and shove it?

Oh, and have a nice day!


Update: Dave @ the Beav weighs in.

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