The impact of a fistula can be nothing short of devastating. Women are unable to control their flow of urine or feces, sometimes, both. A woman is aware of the resulting odour, and she feels ashamed -- often to the point of denying herself food and water to stem the flow. Malnutrition and dehydration can result.
That this presidency could have serious impacts on reproductive rights in the U.S. is clear. But another serious concern is the global impact the election will have; the U.S. is the biggest donor for reproductive health in developing countries. This could mean the closure of organizations and clinics that provide life-saving services.
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.
While still unproven, the Zika virus, mild for many who get it, appears to cause a severe fetal abnormality -- microcephaly -- in which an infant's head doesn't develop properly in the womb and causes brain damage. The rate of microcephaly in Brazil is suddenly 20 times above average and that rise appears to coincide with Zika outbreaks.
The Morgentaler clinic is the only abortion clinic in New Brunswick. It serves not only the population of New Brunswick, but also that of Prince Edward Island. Women in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island cannot access safe, legal abortions unless two doctors declare in writing that the abortion is medically necessary. I want you to think about what will happen in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island once the Morgentaler clinic is gone. Do you honestly believe that women just won't have abortions? If that's the case, let me tell you what's actually going to happen -- women are going to die.
"Page unpublished ...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."
Progress for the world's women has proceeded in fits and starts in the past century, but 2012 saw some clear advancement on numerous fronts and in diverse locations. But while global advancements on gender issues were escalating, at home, in Canada, the record remains decidedly mixed. Canadian women are presently losing ground on everything from pay equity to childcare, from poverty to homelessness. Canadians must come to terms with the irony of witnessing the advancements of women's rights on a global scale while at the same time dealing with the reality that this country has been steadily declining in international rankings of gender disparity.