Bill C-484 Challenge

by matttbastard

crime scene!

Fern Hill (seconded by JJ) throws down the gauntlet:

You supporters of Bill C-484, ‘An Act to Amend to Amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offense)’, insist that the bill has nothing to do with women’s rights (i.e. zip zero nada nuttin’ to do with abortion). You keep carping repeating that it is all about PROTECTING pregnant women.

OK. So. Here’s the challenge. Find one reputatable, established organization working against violence against women that publicly endorses this bill and we’ll shut up.

Thus far, the silence from the ‘pro’ side has been thunderously deafening. I for one am shocked, absolutely SHOCKED, I tell you!! Yep, am utterly flabbergasted that anti-VAW organizations haven’t fallen over each other trying to jump aboard Kenny-boy’s pro-lifewoman bandwagon.

Guess the poor ladies really do need a man (or an honourary man) to tell them what’s best for ’em.

Related: pogge detects the sickening stench of rotten Danish seafood:

There are lots of people who will swear on a stack of Bibles, as it were, that this bill has nothing to do with abortion. Funny thing though: all of those people are well-known for opposing abortion. All of the highly vocal supporters of this legislation who have previously stated public positions on abortion and choice — at least that I’m aware of — are all in the same group. And it ain’t the group that supports a woman’s reproductive freedom.

I don’t believe in coincidences like that.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Wanker(s) of the Day (One Body. One person. One count.)

by matttbastard


The Braintrust @ the Ottawa Citizen (h/t Fern Hill @ BnR).

Miss Vicky nails it in a diplomatic, sympathetic-yet-uncompromising fashion:

My heart breaks for families of murdered pregnant women – people like Mary Talbot, who wrote a piece in the Citizen today. They are dealing with a profound loss, and to them the loss is of two people, to be sure – their daughter or wife or sister, and the potential addition to the family that she was carrying. Believe me, I know the grief of the loss of potential, of a life-not-yet-lived, and all the dreams and hopes and aspirations and possibilities that accompany a pregnancy. But the thing about law-making, especially when it comes to justice issues, is that we have to strip away the emotion from issues in order to write legislation that makes sense for society as a whole. There is little to be gained from charging a criminal with a separate count of murder or assault for the loss of a fetus, except perhaps the satisfaction of a need for vengeance for those who are left behind. And while I can imagine the desire for vengeance is overwhelming in these situations, that isn’t what our justice system is about. And it certainly doesn’t bring back the loved one and the potential loved one in question.

Grief, while powerful and painful and often all-consuming, should not be driving legislation.

Mary Talbot may (may) honestly believe that Bill C-484 has nothing to do with abortion, but that claim is specious. As CC observed, the Unborn Victims of Crime bill doesn’t make any legal sense–unless one is trying to further enshrine the words “unborn” and “child” in Canadian law, putting a woman’s right to choose–and, if the effect that similar laws in the US have had are any indication, her bodily integrity and physical liberty–in jeopardy.

900 ft Jesus:

The problems in this Bill are two-fold: they seek to give status to the foetus as a separate entity with rights equal to human beings, and it seeks to re-define the foetus as a child. The wording of the Bill is geared to both. Let’s look at the problems with this Bill.

BILL C-484 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence) 1. This Act may be cited as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act.

The word “child” would re-define a foetus and a zygote as a human being. Similarly, “unborn victims” would give them a status independent from the woman. If the Bill was truly concerned only with protecting the woman from an involuntary miscarriage while being the victim of a crime, wording of this Bill could easily be changed to reflect an additional crime against the woman, that of causing an unwanted miscarriage. Wording here is clearly to establish the rights of a foestus and zygote as independent from a pregnant woman. That Bill continues to use such wording throughout, leaving no doubt that such a Bill will indeed view the foetus as a separate human being, and a child, at that.

3. The Act is amended by adding the following after section 238: Causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence 238.1

(1) Every person who, directly or indirectly, causes the death of a child during birth or at any stage of development before birth while committing or attempting to commit an offence against the mother of the child, who the person knows or ought to know is pregnant,

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 10 years if the person

(i) means to cause the child’s death, or (ii) means to cause injury to the child or mother that the person knows is likely to cause the child’s death, and is reckless as to whether death ensues or not;

Just in case you still have doubts that the intent of this Bill is to declare a foetus/zygote a human being and give it rights as such:

Exclusion of defence

(5) It is not a defence to a charge under this section that the child is not a human being.

And in case you still don’t get it:

Separate offence

(6) An offence referred to in this section committed against a child is not included in any offence committed against the mother of the child.


It will be difficult to argue later that a “child” is a child in the case of crimes committed against a woman, but is not a child any other time. If the foetus is given independent rights in this case, it will be hard to argue it has none any other time.


[Bill C-484] is an unnecessary Bill since the extra charge of causing an unwanted abortion already exists in our laws. It is a dangerous Bill because it re-defines a foetus/zygote as a child and gives it independent rights. This will absolutely lay the groundwork for arguing to re-open the abortion issue.

Look, “what about my unborn granddaughter” is not an argument; it’s a deliberately manipulative fallacy that is being used (whether deliberately or otherwise) as part of a coordinated effort to incrementally chip away at reproductive liberty in Canada.

Once again: “Grief, while powerful and painful and often all-consuming, should not be driving legislation.”

The Ottawa Citizen has essentially given Mary Talbot an unchallenged forum to wack Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada over the head with grief just because Talbot has suffered a terrible loss. So, a challenge to the Citizen (and/or the folks in Winnipeg): allow Joyce the opportunity to respond to Talbot’s all-too-personal attack; let facts collide head on with emotion.

The women of Canada–and Joyce Arthur–deserve nothing less.

One person. One body. One count.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: OPPOSE Bill C-484 – REJETEZ Bill C-484

by matttbastard


From the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada:

The “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” (Bill C-484) is coming up for a vote in Parliament on March 5.

The bill poses a real danger to abortion rights, to the rights of all pregnant women, and to women’s equality rights in general.

Please sign the following petition to call upon Parliament to oppose this bill. To review our Talking Points against the bill, visit


La « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » (Bill C-484) sera soumise à un vote de la Chambre des communes le 5 mars. Ce projet de loi constitue un danger réel pour les droits de toutes les femmes enceintes et pour les droits des femmes en général.

Veuillez signer la pétition ci-dessous pour réclamer du Parlement qu’il rejette ce projet de loi. Pour en savoir plus, visitez:


WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RESIDENTS OF CANADA, draw the attention of the House to the following:

THAT the proposed “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” conflicts with the Criminal Code, because it grants a type of legal personhood to fetuses, fetuses being non-persons under the law.

THAT giving any legal recognition to fetuses would necessarily compromise women’s established rights.

THAT pregnant women being assaulted or killed is largely a domestic violence issue and “fetal homicide” laws elsewhere have done nothing to reduce domestic violence against pregnant women or their fetuses.

THAT the proposed “Unborn Victims of Crime Act” is a dangerous step towards re-criminalizing abortion and it could also criminalize pregnant women for behaviours perceived to harm their fetuses.

THAT the proposed bill’s exemptions for pregnant women may not work since, in the U.S., arrests of pregnant women have occurred even under state fetal homicide laws that make exemptions for the pregnant woman.

THAT the best way to protect fetuses is to provide pregnant women the supports and resources they need for a good pregnancy outcome, including protection from domestic violence.

THEREFORE your petitioners call upon Members of Parliament to oppose “The Unborn Victims of Crime Act” (Bill C-484).


NOUS, SOUSSIGNÉS, DES RÉSIDENTS ET RÉSIDENTES DU CANADA, désirons porter à l’attention de la Chambre des communes

QUE la proposition de « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » entre en conflit avec le Code criminel, du fait d’accorder aux fotus un genre de statut légal de personne, alors que les fœtus ne sont pas des personnes en loi.

QUE le fait d’accorder quelque reconnaissance légale aux fœtus compromettrait nécessairement les droits établis des femmes.

QUE les agressions ou les meurtres de femmes enceintes sont surtout un enjeu de violence conjugale et que les lois sur « l’homicide fœtal » adoptées ailleurs n’ont rien fait pour réduire la violence conjugale exercée contre les femmes enceintes ou leurs fœtus.

QUE la « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » proposée est un pas dangereux dans la voie d’une recriminalisation de l’avortement et qu’elle pourrait également criminaliser des femmes enceintes pour des comportements perçus comme portant préjudice à leurs fœtus.

QUE les exclusions relatives aux femmes enceintes prévues au projet de loi pourraient ne pas fonctionner puisque l’on a vu, aux États-Unis, des femmes enceintes être arrêtées, même en vertu de lois étatiques sur l’homicide fœtal qui prévoyaient des exclusions relatives à la femme enceinte.

QUE la meilleure façon de protéger des fœtus est de fournir aux femmes enceintes les soutiens et les ressources dont elles ont besoin pour mener à bien leur grossesse, y compris une protection contre la violence conjugale.

À CES CAUSES, les pétitionnaires demandent au Parlement de rejeter la « Loi sur les enfants non encore nés victimes d’actes criminels » (Bill C-484).

Sign the petition!

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Still Vigorously Committed to our Commitments

by matttbastard


Uncompensated Jos Louis pitchwoman Bev Oda appears to be auditioning for a feature role in the next installment of Fern’s “Women and Girls” series:

Carole MacNeil: Okay, some people see this move [sentencing Afghan journalism student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh to death, purportedly for downloading an essay on women’s rights] as part of a pattern of clawing back democracy and clawing back human rights in Afghanistan, how do you see it?

Bev Oda: Well, no, I totally disagree. I think we’ve made great strides in providing greater rights to the ah, afghan people. We’ve enabled certainly in the area for women Afghanistan the women previously had no rights. They had no rights under the law. They had no right to human rights. They had no right to education. They had no right to employment. They had no right to mobility outside of their home unescorted. They had no rights to take part in a democratic process or to take part in their government.

Bev Oda: Today we see women and girls going to school. We see them out, being employed. We see them taking part in the economic world of Afghanistan. We see them actually voting in the election and 23 per cent of them are now members of their parliament.

Carole MacNeil: I was talking to Adina Neyazi who is the founder of the Afghan Women’s Organization. She used to be a lecturer in Kabul and she’s worked in some of the underground schools and what not during the time of the Taliban. And she says, you know, that in many cases what the government’s are doing is a showcase really. That, you know, every 30 minutes an Afghan women dies, 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate. She said there are still forced marriages. She said sometimes these kids are going to school and they get acid thrown in their faces, that the schools are under attack constantly. So she says that the status of women in Afghanistan – and I talked to the brother of the gentlemen who’s been scheduled or sentenced to execution, and he said the status of women in Afghanistan is terrible—

Bev Oda: Well, we agree that there’s so much more to do. We’ve made great strides so far. We have a lot more to do, we’ve ah, that’s why we are enhancing our program. We’re gonna be looking at new programs to address violence against women. We’re continue support civil society group there that are working on behalf of the afghan women. But the fact is is that they have made great strides, they know that ah…I was there myself, I saw girls walking to school, I met women who have their own stalls in the bazaars who are now engaging and making a living for themselves. They’re taking literacy courses and the better educated they become….so we are making great strides but there is a lot more to do and that’s why this government believes we have to stay in Afghanistan to complete the work-job we started.

Carole MacNeil: How concerned are you that the rights of women in Afghanistan are not a priority of the Karzai government? That, as it makes deals with the warlords to share power, that the rights of women will be the first thing to go.

Bev Oda: Well, you know, I think the thing is, I disagree. The rights of the women are a part of the Karzai government’s strategy and plans that’s why they have a minister for women within their government. That’s why the local (inaudible) the, include women. The local councils. Many of the local council’s have women participating there. The Karzai government, as I indicated has many women who are not only ministers but are representative of the government. So, I disagree with you. I believe and I know that there are actually looking forward to celebrating the international women’s day along with the other countries around the world.

Carole MacNeil: Um, Ms. Oda, just one final question the, ah, this case with the journalist just downloading a document that suggests women be equal to men and then you know the most prominent female MP Malalai Joya being suspended for criticising her male collegues. I mean, what does that say to you?

Bev Oda: It suggests that there’s still more work to be done and that’s why we continue to work with the people in Afghanistan as well as the government in Afghanistan. We express our concerns when it’s justified. We do it vigorously. And at the same time we’re working with the women at the grassroots, in their communities and their villages, and I’m also working with the minister for women in Afghanistan so we’re working on all fronts.

Carole MacNeil: Um, what does vigorously mean, compared to non-vigorously?

Bev Oda: Well, it means that as you know Afghanistan is one of this government’s primary missions that we’re addressing and we understand that we have made a commitment and you have to be ah, focused on that commitment, you have to be committed to the commitment and that’s why we want to ensure that we have a full public debate about our Afghan mission because there is success being achieved and we know that we can move the betterment of the lives for Afghan people even further.

“Committed to the commitment”–buh?! Apparently the Minister of International Cooperation still “can’t say whether they’re right or they’re wrong”, nor much of anything that might deviate from the Stephen Harper Party’s vain ‘stay the course’ script. Would someone explain to me how she’s managed to score multiple cabinet appointments (rhetorical question, natch)?

Sweet Jesus, I hate Bev Oda (and her little cakes, too).

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Malalai Joya on Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

by matttbastard

After six years in control, this government has proved itself to be as bad as the Taliban – in fact, it is little more than a photocopy of the Taliban. The situation in Afghanistan is getting progressively worse – and not just for women, but for all Afghans.

Our country is being run by a mafia, and while it is in power there is no hope for freedom for the people of Afghanistan. How can anyone, man or woman, enjoy basic freedoms when living under the shadow of warlords? The government was not democratically elected, and it is now trying to use the country’s Islamic law as a tool with which to limit women’s rights.

In 2007 more women killed themselves in Afghanistan than ever before – that shows that the situation hasn’t got any better. The murder of women in Afghanistan is like the killing of birds, because this government is anti-women. Women are vulnerable – recently a 22-year-old woman was raped in front of her children by 15 local commanders of a fundamentalist party, closely connected to the government. The commanders then urinated in the face of the children. These things happen frequently.

Malalai Joya, My country is using Islamic law to erode the rights of women

Related: The Hidden Half: A Photo Essay on Women in Afghanistan:

The plight of women under the Taliban regime provided the United States with a tidy moral justification for its invasion of Afghanistan—a talking point that Laura Bush took the lead in driving home. “The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women,” Bush said after the 2001 invasion, adding that thanks to America, women were “no longer imprisoned in their homes.” Six years later, the burka is more common than before, an “overwhelming majority” of Afghan women suffer domestic violence, according to aid group Womankind, and honor killings are on the rise. Health care is so threadbare that every 28 minutes a mother dies in childbirth—the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Girls attend school at half the rate boys do, and in 2006 at least 40 teachers were killed by the Taliban. For two years, Canadian photojournalist Lana Šlezić crisscrossed Afghanistan—from Mazar-e-Sharif in the north to Kandahar in the south—to document these largely hidden realities.

Click here to view Šlezić’s photo essay.

Also see RAWA’s harrowing gallery of “liberated” Afghan women who have committed self-immolation (warning: extremely graphic, more from CTV News);  Ann Jones on “the nightmare of Afghan women“; WOMANKIND’s most recent report on the state of women’s rights in post-invasion Afghanistan, Taking Stock: Afghan Women and Girls Five Years On; Soutik Biswas of BBC News on “the paradox of women in Afghanistan“; and Fern Hill of Birth Pangs notes the sick irony of how Western leaders continue to exploit women (and children) as proof that NATO’s futile occupation of Afghanistan is a “noble and necessary” endeavour.

As Fern bluntly puts it, “just how the FUCK are ‘we’ helping Afghan girls and women?”

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Stop Ken Epp’s Stealth Assault On Women’s Rights

by matttbastard


Unborn Victims of Crime bill?” My black baby-eating ass; try “back-door abortion ban“. There–FTFY, Kenny-boy.

(video by pale @ ACR)

Fern Hill puts out the pro-choice call to arms @ Birth Pangs; Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada provides the 411 re: Bill C-484 (additional talking points here).

Click here to send an automatic message to Stephane Dion demanding that he follow the lead of the Bloc and the NDP by whipping the Liberal caucus.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Two Sisters Convicted to Death by Stoning by the Iranian Regime

by matttbastard

Press release from the Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran (WFAFI):




BOSTON, MA- – Two sisters, 27 year-old Zohreh Kabiri and 28 year-old Azar Kabiri have been convicted to stoning by the Islamic Fundamentalist regime in Iran. They are charged with adultery and their verdict was approved by the 23rd branch of the Iran’s Supreme Court. A 49 year-old music teacher, Abdullah Farivar has also been handed his stoning verdict in northern city of Sari. The sisters had already been tried before and received 99 lashes. Shockingly, this was their second trial.

According to the Iranian Penal code, the punishment for adultery for both men and women is stoning to death. Women are buried up to their neck and men up to their waist in the ground. The stones should be large enough to cause pain but not to kill the victim instantly. The public is then asked to throw the stones. If the victims escape, they are free to go. But the misogynist regime even applies their discriminatory laws when stoning people to death. What are the chances of women who are buried up to their neck, escaping this savage treatment? Absolutely none!

Tehran’s regime is relentlessly continuing the policy of suppression, detention, torture and execution. These days, the scenes of public hangings of teenagers, women, homosexuals and above all anyone who dares to stand up to them are the common sights in the streets of Iranian cities. No other country in the world executes child offenders or stones people to death. The brutalities of the clerical regime are inhumane, horrific and appalling. The world must stand up to this cruelty.

The Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran (WFAFI) calls upon the western governments, human rights organizations and the United Nations to hold Tehran responsible for gross violations of human rights and to denounce the brutal practices of stoning and hanging by the Islamic Fundamentalist regime in Iran. All the leaders of the regime in Iran must be held responsible for severe violations of human rights, especially the rights of women and children.

WFAFI calls for an end to all the public hangings and stoning in Iran. The world must pressure the Iranian regime to observe the rights of their citizens. The history of the past 30 years has proven that the policy of appeasement and the so-called engagement of the theocrats in Iran would only embolden them. The mullahs take the approach of western governments as a green light to continue with the suppression of their people. The policy towards the mullahs must be based on the human rights practices of the Islamic Fundamentalist regime. The Iranian regime must be forced to put an end to the persistent suppression of its own people and not be rewarded by futile engagement.


Media Inquiry: (617) 590-1665


Previously: PSA: Stoning Of Women Continues In Iran

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

A Landmark Victory For Reproductive Liberty

by matttbastard

celebrate 20 years of choice

On January 28th, 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada tendered a watershed decision in the case of R. v. Morgentaler, rendering Canada’s restrictive abortion law null and void.

Judy Rebick recalls the moment she received word that the had court struck down the law:

It was freezing cold. A group of pro-choice activists were standing in front of the clinic along with a mob of media waiting to hear the news from our comrades in Ottawa. They were supposed to call the clinic as soon as the decision came down and the clinic staff would let us know. We didn’t have cell phones in those days.

A reporter called me aside and said she had just heard on her radio that the Supreme Court had struck down the law on the grounds that it interfered with women’s right to security of the person. I didn’t believe her. We thought the Court might very well strike down the law but we figured it would be on the technical grounds of lack of equal access. A decision based on the Charter guarantee of security of the person was too much to hope for. After all, the major argument of the pro-choice movement was that a woman had the right to control her own body and this was close.

Indeed the majority decision written by Chief Justice Brian Dickson stated:

“State interference with bodily integrity and serious state-imposed psychological stress, at least in the criminal law context, constitutes a breach of security of the person. Section 251 (the old abortion law) 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.”

It was a profound and incredibly long lasting victory that for us was of equal significance to the winning of the right to vote a couple of generations before. In essence, the highest court of the land said that the abortion law violated women’s right to control her own body free from state interference.

Berlynn points to the minority report, written by the late Justice Bertha Wilson, which goes even further in highlighting her recognition that abortion is a necessity:

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.

Today we rightly celebrate the vindication of a woman’s right to exercise the “profound social and ethical” decision of controlling her reproductive destiny without fear of condemnation by the state. But we should also remember that, for too many women in Canada, the struggle for reproductive autonomy is far from over. 20 years after R. v. Morgentaler, access is still far from universal:

In Canada, access to health services is guaranteed by the Canada Health Act. Abortion is considered a safe, legal, insured and funded service, meaning that a woman should not have to pay for abortion services in Canada.

However, access is variable across the country and women are charged fees at some facilities. For example:

  • There are no abortion services in Prince Edward Island.
  • In New Brunswick, to have a publicly funded abortion a woman has to have approval from two doctors to have an abortion in the hospital. If she has an abortion at the clinic, then she will have to pay as the province will not pay for abortions outside publicly funded facilities, such as hospitals.
  • New Brunswick funds only abortion care provided by obstetrician/gynecologists, not family physicians as is common throughout the rest of Canada.

Some of these barriers may violate the Canada Health Act and the intent of the decriminalization of abortion in Canada.

Abortion is funded under provincial and territorial health plans, and coverage varies regionally.

According to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, even though “two-thirds of all abortions are done in a hospital and covered by Medicare”, today “less than one in five hospitals provide abortions, making it difficult for women to access safe and timely abortion services.” This especially affects those women who are financially insolvent and/or reside in remote/rural areas of Canada by placing “undue physical and financial stress on women when forced to travel long distances, find accommodation, take time away from work and, in some cases, have to pay for the abortion themselves.” Furthermore, as Joyce Arthur noted this past November, there are a number of anti-choice activists in Canada who would eagerly re-criminalize abortion altogether, penalizing women (and abortion providers) for engaging in Charter-protected reproductive liberty:

In a disturbing section of November’s The Interim (“Canada’s Life and Family newspaper”), five prominent anti-choice spokespersons plus an anti-choice columnist consider the question of criminal punishment for abortion, if abortion were to be made illegal again. Shockingly, four out of six believe women should be prosecuted and sent to jail, while the other two want women subjected to mental health treatment. All six want abortion providers to be prosecuted for murder

The majority of Canadians would likely be horrified by the idea of sending women to jail for having abortions. Most reasonable people would see it as abhorrent and heartlessly punitive – not to mention totally unrealistic, given the large numbers of women who resort to abortion even when it’s illegal. But the unimaginable prospect and horrific consequences of trying to arrest and jail 100,000 women a year in Canada alone do not seem to faze anti-choicers.

April Reign captures the cruel folly of such proposed measures:

There is a mistaken belief that if abortion were completely outlawed no more abortions would ever be preformed. This of course is ridiculous nonsense. Women have always practised birth control and abortion. And would continue to do so.

Of course, anti-choicers don’t desire the outlawing an essential (gender-exclusive) medical procedure because they actually care about the purported “rights” of the unborn:

For all their talk about valuing babies and life, anti-choicers have demonstrated time and again that they could actually care less. They’re more interested in punishing women for sex and in maintaining a male-dominated family model. And they’re only “pro-life” up until the moment of birth — then you’re on your own.


There are no two ways about this one — when abortion is illegal, women are killed and maimed. Some 80,000 women die as a result of illegal abortion every year; hundreds of thousands more are injured. Women around the world suffer when pro-life laws rule the land. Andpro-liferscould care less. Illegal abortion is the cause of 25% of all maternal deaths in Latin America, 12% in Asia, and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa. Women’s lives, apparently, aren’t covered by that whole “pro-life” thing.

Make no mistake: now more than ever, a woman’s body is a moral battle ground. We can’t cede any ground to anti-choice zealots who would fallaciously and callously equate potential people with human beings, acorns with oak trees–no matter how “reasonable” compromise may seem in theory (especially to those who don’t possess a uterus–“objectifying [the decision], thereby eliminating the subjective elements of the female psyche which are at the heart of the dilemma,” as Justice Wilson further noted in her Minority Report). Those who believe in the rights of women as being 100% insoluble–the whole loaf or nothing, no allowance for seemingly tiny nibbles, until there’s nothing left but crumbs–must remain ever vigilant and assertive in the wake of the baby lobby’s concerted assault on a woman’s bodily sovereignty.

Update: More Choice Day posts from: Alison @ Creekside, Dave and The Rev @ The Beav, skdadl-with-one-‘sk’, Daev @ Designated Protest Zone, Lulu, pale @ ACR, JJ Hippie, Canadian Cynic (also here), Dr Dawg, The Regina Mom, Kuri, Fern, dBO, Mike @ Rational Reasons, Antonia, Miss Vicky, 900ft Jesus, Chet Scoville, F-email Fightback and BJ Bjornsen.

Update 2: Even more from Red Jenny and That Buzz Between Your Legs.

Updated 3: More! More! More! (h/t Antonia Z) Justice is a Woman With A Sword, Megan’s Place, Aurelia (absolute must-read) and The Pedgehog.

Update 4: Welcome Feministe readers! Make yourselves at home, drinks are in the fridge, etc.

Update 5: Great quote over @ Yappa Ding Ding.

Update 6: Always worth teh wait for teh Kitteh.

Update 7: Two more late entries: CathiefromCanada and Purtek.

Update 8: Nikita @ Ranting and Raving is succinct and on point:

This is an immeasurably important choice and we must be on guard to ensure it does not get taken away from us.


Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Blog For Choice: 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

by matttbastard

Blog for Choice Day

Roe v. Wade built on the social and legal trends in the country at that time to make abortion legal, more accessible and safe. This reflected the growing concern about women seeking abortions despite the risks to their health and safety.

Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the 1950s and ’60s ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. One analysis, extrapolating from data from North Carolina, concluded that an estimated 829,000 illegal or self-induced abortions occurred in 1967

When abortion was illegal, it was primarily higher income, white women who were able to travel or arrange to obtain safe abortions. Death rates clearly reflect racial and income disparities: In New York City in the early 1960s, one in four childbirth-related deaths among white women was due to abortion. In comparison, abortion accounted for one in two childbirth-related deaths among nonwhite and Puerto Rican women. The mortality rate due to illegal abortion was 12 times higher from 1972 to 1974 for nonwhite women than for white women nationwide.

Today, as we celebrate the anniversary, we celebrate the many powerful improvements in the health and general well-being of women and families as a result of the right to legal, safe abortion. The right to make childbearing decisions has enabled women to pursue educational and employment opportunities that were often unthinkable before.

Health risks are vastly reduced: In 1965, 17 percent of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth were the result of illegal abortion.

Today, fewer than 0.3 percent of women undergoing legal abortion procedures sustain a serious complication.

Jane Parker, Now’s time for vigilance over women’s rights

For most Americans, it’s difficult to imagine that abortion in the U.S. could actually be criminalized once again.

While legal scholars and journalists debate the likelihood of a Roe reversal, healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood must seriously consider the outcome of such a devastating legal action.

According to a recent report from The Center for Reproductive Rights, the consequences of overturning Roe sound frighteningly similar to pre-Roe days when women risked their lives in order to control their reproductive destiny.


If Roe fell, abortion law would revert to the states, where emboldened anti-choice hard-liners have already unleashed a pre-emptive battle.

According to the CRR study, 21 states are poised to immediately ban abortion should Roe be overturned, and six states already have laws on the books to criminalize women who self-induce, with consequences that include fines and imprisonment.


The incremental approach of the abortion-rights opponents is working. They considered it a major victory when last April the newly composed U.S. Supreme Court broke with over 30 years of precedent and upheld the first federal abortion ban since Roe that does not include an exception for the woman’s health.

Let’s be clear. Banning abortion won’t reduce the need for it. It will, however, result in untold misery, and possibly even death, for women desperate to obtain the service.

Cheryl Rollings, Roe Reversal Would Bring Untold Misery

Download the CRR report, What if Roe Fell? (PDF)

Statement from Nancy Northup, President Center for Reproductive Rights, on 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

In the thirty-five years since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, two trends have emerged in the legal landscape around reproductive rights—in the United States, a troubling retreat from longstanding commitments to the principles of Roe; and around the world, a growing recognition of women’s fundamental human right to reproductive health and self-determination. Once in the vanguard, the United States Supreme Court has reneged on the robust constitutional protections embedded in Roe. While in sharp contrast, legal protections for reproductive rights internationally have increasingly been moving ahead.

To cite just a few recent examples, on April 24, 2007, Mexico City lawmakers voted to legalize abortion, recognizing the right as central to women’s health. A few months earlier, Portugal adopted a similar measure. And in 2006, the Constitutional Court of Colombia declared unconstitutional the country’s blanket criminalization of abortion. Citing fundamental rights to life, health, equality, liberty and bodily integrity, the Court held that “reproductive rights have finally been recognized as human rights.”

Yet in the face of such global progress, the United States, whose Constitution is one of the world’s first and most majestic human rights documents, is sliding backwards, away from its promises of equality and freedom, back towards a society in which women are presumed not to know their best interests. This attitude was reflected in the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, which all but invited anti-choice extremist to step up their assault on Roe.

In 1973, Roe v. Wade gave strength to the global struggle for women’s equality and dignity. And though the debate over abortion in the United States is as heated and political today as ever, we at the Center for Reproductive Rights pledge to remain vigilant in our work, advancing laws and policies that protect not only the right to abortion, but also the right to comprehensive sex education, safe and healthy pregnancy, and the full range of safe and effective contraception both here in the U.S. and around the world.

More Blog For Choice posts throughout the day!

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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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