A key part of being feminist is respecting all people's choices about their own bodies. While a gender-balanced cabinet is a step in the right direction, there is no such thing as gender equality without bodily autonomy. If women aren't able to make decisions about their own bodies, equality is null and void.
Planned Parenthood supports abortion, yes, but this is not newly divisive. So, what could it be? Why specifically now would Planned Parenthood donations diminish? This a question they would rather let fade into obscurity -- A group calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress began releasing an investigative sting operation into the practices of Planned Parenthood south of the border. Two actors posing as buyers of organs for research purposes got undercover video allegedly showing that Planned Parenthood in the USA engages in the sale of fetal hearts, livers, kidneys and heads ("calvarium") for profit.
Rihanna recently had her Instagram account deleted after posting one of the topless photos from her very racy, very stylish spread in Lui magazine earlier this month. Even though Instagram maintained it was an accident (who in their right mind would piss RiRi off on purpose?) and reinstated the account, it had still been wiped squeaky clean.
Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has announced that anyone who wants to be a candidate for the LPC must commit to voting in favour of pro-choice, if and when it comes to proposed measures on abortion. This is a step too far. Ultimately, it must be a truly exceptional situation for one to be willing to allow Party discipline to trump the right of MPs to vote according to their own opinions, particularly on issues of conscience.
It is essential for my purposes that you be able to imagine the desperation of being pregnant when you don't want to be, of what it is to be staring into that gaping black hole with everything you've ever worked and longed for lost inside it. I am aware that some people will find themselves more inclined to empathize with the six-week-old fetus in this matter, he or she (still indeterminate) about the size of a lentil, and whether such an inclination represents a terrific failure of imagination or an incredible imaginative leap, I'm still not entirely sure. But I'd like such a person to shake their convictions for just a moment or two.
As a pro-life woman, it is certainly heartening to see the lack of receptivity to Justin Trudeau's position that pro-life candidates need not apply to be nominees for the Liberal Party. There has not been much (any?) support for this bold declaration that freedom of speech and conscience ought to be denied Liberal nominees. His position sounds extreme. But is it? In my opinion, Mr. Trudeau's remarks are a logical extension of pro-choice philosophy. In spite of the rhetoric, being pro-choice is not actually always in favour of choice. I'm not talking about the woman here; I'm talking about the developing human in the womb.
A young woman's recent decision to film her abortion and share it with the world has been making headlines lately and, over the course of the past few days, I've observed the puzzled, horrified, and downright hateful reactions of many on my social networks. But the more I saw the hate, the more I realized that what Emily Letts did was pretty ground-breaking and unbelievably brave. Letts isn't celebrating abortion. She's simply demystifying a procedure that most people have been conditioned to avoid talking about, and by doing so, removing all the shame and fear associated with it.
Every year, thousands of individuals and groups walk through the streets of Ottawa in order to condemn the right to abortion and to highlight its alleged immorality. Taking with them busloads of catholic school students from all across Ontario, on May 8, their large crowds will ensure a national visibility. However, the means they use to get their message heard are highly problematic. It seems important to expose the intellectual dishonesty of pro-life supporters and the danger of their arguments for women's rights in Canada and all over the world.
"Page unpublished ... flagged for self harm ... What?" Don't get me wrong, as a director of adult film, I've been temporarily suspended from Facebook a few times. But my community manager pointed out that the pro-choice banner I had published a month ago was nowhere to be found. In English it reads "My pussy, my rules: free and accessible abortion." This image alone generated 1,200 comments -- 17,500 likes -- and was shared 29,000 times. That is, until enough members found the image offensive to their beliefs and flagged it, and Facebook subsequently dubbed it "self harm."
While there was undoubtedly something less than consistent about his "Stop being so preoccupied with abortion!/Let's talk about abortion!" chain of commentary this week, the Pope still deserves credit. His actions and words have been constant in their focus on delivering people help, love and protection, rather than on condemning people for their choices or natures. Even Pope Francis's anti-abortion comments to Catholic gynecologists on Friday seemed to centre on the dignity of life, rather than on the sin of those who would take it.
What do you say about someone whose contribution to your life, and the lives of all women, is invaluable? Anti-choice groups nearly always talk about what kind of cancer-curing genius any given fetus might grow up to be, but almost no one talks about what a woman might become if she chose to terminate her pregnancy. Thank you, Doctor Morgentaler.
Whenever I write or talk about abortion and mention the possibility of a slippery slope, I am told that the slippery slope discussion is a straw dog. There are rules after all! But rules are only as good as the people who follow them and the institutions that are set up to oversee them. There is an assumption of honesty and human goodness. In the case of the Philadelphia House of Horrors there was a breakdown on both fronts. Abortionist Dr. Gosnell has no ethical/moral core and the overseers in Philadelphia dropped the ball for 17 years. Anyone who assumes Gosnell's clinic is a one-off is blinded by ideology. Those who refuse to look at limits in abortion are stuck in the rut of Manichean thinking.
At the University of Waterloo last week, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth was scheduled to speak to a group of students at an event organized by the Students for Life campus club. Unfortunately, a group of students shut down Mr. Woodworth's speech by shouting him down, until he was left with no choice but to cancel the event.
It's time to shift away from the messy public spectacles regarding euthanasia. Instead let's follow Quebec's lead -- Canadians everywhere should be able to choose from a full range of end-of-life options, including -- if the prerequisites are met, the option of a medically assisted suicide. There aren't really any scary precedents or slippery slopes here. What there is, is an alternative to an existence of suffering and pain that should, and can be afforded to a terminally ill, palliative treated, mentally competent adult.
Wednesday evening was a perilous moment for every person with a uterus in Canada and elsewhere. In a country where we are applauded for not having legal restrictions on abortion, Parliament voted on M312, which was defeated 203-91. Though the motion claimed to be in the interest of equality for everyone, nowhere did the word woman, womb, fetus, uterus, or (heaven forbid) vagina appear in the motion. The person who should have been fighting the hardest Wednesday night was the Minister for the Status of Women, Rona Ambrose. Instead she sucker-punched everyone in this country who hopes and expects to be treated in accordance with their charter rights and as a person, by voting yes.