Sunday, 23 October 2016

Taking Over Riding Associations For Life

[Alternate title from the Star link in the update below: The revenge of the so-cons.]

Remember Liberals for Life?

Liberals for Life was a pro-life advocacy group that worked within the Liberal Party of Canada during the 1980s and early 1990s. Some of its members were also affiliated with the Campaign Life Coalition, and, as such, the group was often accused of entryism.

According to its members, Liberals for Life was created after the national victory of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative Party in the 1984 federal election. The organization attracted little attention until the early 1990s, when it endorsed Tom Wappel in his bid for the party leadership, and gained control of several riding associations.

The Liberal Party's constitution was amended to allow the leader to appoint candidates in certain ridings in 1992. Jean Chrétien defended the change as necessary to prevent "single-issue groups" from taking over the Liberal Party. It was generally understood that Liberals for Life was the primary target of this remark.

The movement effectively dissolved in 1993 after the Liberal Party formed government.
We do.

It's a favourite tactic of fetus fetishists. And it's happening again.

Here's the mission of a gang called
Right Now.
RightNow exists to nominate and elect pro-life politicians by mobilizing Canadians on the ground level to vote at local nomination meetings, and provide training to volunteers across the country to create effective campaign teams in every riding across Canada. It is only when we have a majority of pro-life politicians in our legislatures, that we’ll see pro-life legislation passed in our country.
They admit that they're sick of losing. *snerk*

In addition to stacking nomination votes, they have a list of anti-choice laws they want passed.

All the usual anti-choice restrictions: outright criminalization, term limits, "unborn" victims of crime, defunding, parental consent, and a new one on me, a law requiring pre-abortion ultrasound. (Which might not work out the way they think. See More Ultrasounds = More Abortions.)

So, last night a 19-year-old in Niagara West-Glanbrook, named Sam Oosterhoff, stunned the Ontario Conservative Party by beating out party president and former MP Rick Dykstra to take the the nomination. (It's Tim Hudak's old stomping ground.)

The only supporter listed on his campaign page is
Dominionist MP and anti-choicer Arnold Viersen.

Sam spouts the usual blahblah about family, but we strongly suspect he is a fetus freak.

Here's Right Now's co-founder Alissa Golob crowing last night:

And Right Now's account:

And Campaign Life:

Would someone in the media please ask him about his Dominionist ties and his position on abortion and sex education?

UPDATE: The Star is on it.

“I will never waver in my support of parents as primary educators, and I will strive to ensure that parental rights are respected in education,” said Oosterhoff, echoing the concerns expressed by opponents of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s updated health syllabus that includes lessons about gender expression, same-sex relationships, and the risks of sexting.

Some of the teenager’s supporters marched with pro-life placards at voting locations on Saturday and distributed pamphlets with dead fetuses on them to suggest his rivals for the nomination backed abortion rights.

The religious right helped propel Oosterhoff, briefly a junior staffer on Parliament Hill, to victory with 662 votes to 501 for Dykstra, 245 for businessman Mike Williscraft, and 235 for Niagara regional councillor Tony Quirk, who is also a PC Party vice-president.

“It’s the revenge of the so-cons,” fumed another high-ranking Tory.

Indeed, Oosterhoff’s decisive win comes weeks after Brown denounced social conservatives in the wake of the party’s bungling during PC MPP Raymond Cho’s victory in Scarborough-Rouge River last month.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Wham! Bam!

Oh boy, we've really got to work harder to raise awareness of what fake clinics are and do.

In August this year, a group of generous community-minded guys in Yarmouth, NS, got together to bestow money on a local charity.

Sadly, the winner of the windfall $11,600 was a fake clinic, called Tri-County Pregnancy Care Centre.

Here's how it works:
The 100 Guys Who Share – Yarmouth County, is one of more than 350 similar groups located worldwide that focus on coordinating funding for local, community charitable organizations. The group gathers for one-hour quarterly meetings to hear three short presentations on local charitable organizations. Members vote then each person writes their check for $100 directly to the winning non-profit chosen for a collective, impactful donation.

The three charities that presented at the first meeting were Parents Place, South End Community Youth Garden, and the Tri-County Pregnancy Centre.

The men’s group has grown to 116 members at last count. They have scheduled their quarterly event so that combined with the women’s initiative there will be good news in the community every six weeks throughout the entire year.
Members of the group can nominate any local charity. Three are chosen at random to make presentations.

From the website of the Halifax group, 100 Men Who Give a Damn.

"Bam!" indeed.

There might be drinking involved. More from the Halifax chapter.

under 60 minutes
Start the quarterly meeting with some heroic conversation, maybe visit the cash bar and be out the door in under 60 minutes. 

We’re all about giving smarter, not harder.

we don’t exist
We are a non-organization – no bank account, no fixed address, no opinion. Everything goes to the charity. 100%. Always. 

Otherwise, what are we doing this for?
So, it's fast -- and manly.

Too bad there's no vetting to ensure that their hard-earned dough is going to a real community asset and not an operation whose sole mission is to shame, guilt-trip, lie, and manipulate vulnerable people out of asserting their human right to autonomy and privacy.

It's hard to believe that in pro-choice Canada all 116 guys are anti-choice. More likely, the majority simply did not know what fake clinics are and do.

I'm going to write to the Yarmouth group and ask them if they understand where their money is going.

I'll report.

h/t Kathy Dawson

Thursday, 20 October 2016

As You Were, Troops

To no one's surprise, the Expoiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights Bill was defefeated yesterday by a vote of 76 for, 209 against. No Liberals voted for it.

Of the Conniving Party leader hopefuls, Scheer, Trost and O'Toole voted in favour of it, as did the usual Fetus Fetishists like Warawa, Albrecht, Genuis, and Viersen the Dominionist. Bernier, Leitch and Obhrai were not present. Chong and Kent voted against, and Rempel abstained (?).

By weird or karmic coincidence, just before that vote there was a vote on another human rights bill, C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code on transgender rights.

It passed handily, with 248 in favour, 40 against.

When one compares the MPs who voted "no" to transgender rights and "yes" to fetal rights, another unsurprising parallel emerges.

Anti-choicers voted overwhelmingly to deny human rights to transgender people.

Fetuses good, gender-benders bad.

I know, you're gobsmacked.

But the main take-away for fans of reproductive rights is that the menace on the political front has been beaten back again and is unlikely to arise again any time soon, if at all.

We can relax for a while.

And concentrate on improving abortion access and on impeding the work of fake clinics.

And all the other things we have yet to do to get abortion settled in Canada once and for all.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

We Do NOT Need a Law

Contrary to the foot-stomping fetus fetishists, Canada does NOT need an abortion law.

The foot-stompers shrieeeek: "Canada is the only country in the western world with no laws restricting abortion!!!!!!!!"

Well, why would we want to use a law to restrict it?

Does it need to be restricted because it's dangerous?

No. Abortion is a very safe medical procedure. In fact, it is "markedly" safer than childbirth.

Does it need to be restricted because it's over-used?

No. Abortion rates in Canada are lower than in France, Sweden, US, and UK, just to name a few countries.

Does it need to be restricted because women regret having the procedure? (Leaving aside the idiocy of legislating against something that is potentially regretted.)

No. The "Myth of Abortion Regret" has been definitively debunked, once in a study from last year and again in a new study released last week.

The first one showed that 95% of women are satisfied they made the right choice and the second showed that women "are significantly more sure about their decision, for example, than people facing reconstructive knee surgery."

(On the idiocy of legislating against regret, how about a law restricting childbearing as more and more women are feeling able to speak up about their own regret over having kids?)

Canada has no abortion law. At all.

And where would we put one? Most countries restrict abortion under their Criminal Codes. Do we want to recriminalize abortion, forcing women to seek practitioners willing to break that law? A tiny minority of Canadians do, yes.

Or maybe outlaw it as an amendment to our Constitution, as countries like Ireland do. (Irish human rights campaigners are in the process of trying to repeal such an amendment.)

Or maybe we should take a sneakier approach. Propose an amendment to the Criminal Code that appears to merely seek tougher penalties for harm done to fetuses. This is what C225, or the Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights Bill -- being voted on tomorrow -- is attempting.

The sponsor of that bill, super-duper anti-choicer Cathay Wagantall had a poll done to assess Canadians' feelings on the matter.

Oopsie! The poll found that "97 per cent of Canadians support a woman's right to an abortion under varying circumstances."

So. No. Canadians do not want any laws on abortion.

Because we do NOT need any laws on abortion.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

"Pro-woman" Fetus Freaks Support Trump

Out of the bizarre spectacle that is the 2016 US presidential election, the most (darkly) amusing aspect to a reproductive rights blogger is the fetus freaks' unswerving endorsement of the misogynist self-confessed serial sexual assaulter and child-ogler as their man.

Anti-choice groups have worked hard over the past few years to re-brand themselves as pro-woman, like ProWomanProForcedPregnancy, aka the Astroturf Blog of Focus on the Family.

They contend that abortion is bad for women and, as champions of all things womanly, it's their duty to point this out to us benighted broads.

But pro-woman/Pro-Trump is a rather difficult circle to square, yes?

Let's have a look at how they're attempting this feat.

On the matter of the grab-them-by-the-pussy tape:

In a press release yesterday, Newman and his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger—who has spent time in jail for attempting to bomb an abortion clinic—slammed the tape release as a “gutter-level attempt by the Clinton campaign and its cohorts to smear” Trump before declaring that it is in fact Planned Parenthood that is “perhaps the largest abuser of women in the U.S.”

“It is clear that the biggest abusers of women are Hillary Clinton’s friends in the Abortion Cartel. If she is elected, women will suffer even more,” added a quote from Sullenger.
("Abortion Cartel" is a new one on me.)

Right. Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton are the largest abusers of women in the US.

The fetal gore guy, Van Maren, explains at LieShite, under the title The Uncomfortable [boy howdy] Truth about Christian Support for Trump.

Sure, he says, Trump was "pro-abortion" until he needed to pander to fundies saw the light, is an adulterer, has a framed copy of Playboy on his office wall, and "talks about women in ways that no Christian can accept."

And sure, Trump is playing the Xian right for the gang of mooks they are, but Hillary is worse.

Van Maren sums up:
The Left is sure that Trump would end the world as they know it. Christians fear that Clinton would turn the United States of America into a hostile nation for them to live in. And thus, the two sides will never see eye-to-eye.
Because Obama and Clinton are demons.

We look forward to the election's aftermath and the inevitable "unspinning" of the freaks' support for this "uniquely unqualified" candidate.

ADDED: The unspinning has begun. From a new poll.

Trump, however, appears to be shedding support among evangelicals, who are usually a wellspring of support for Republican presidential candidates. Monday's poll showed that Trump had only a 1-point edge over Clinton among people who identified as evangelicals. That’s down from a 12-point advantage for Trump in July.

Friday, 7 October 2016

BREAKING! Fake Clinics Still Lying

Oh dear, it seems that fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres, are feeling some heat.

After countless reports, exposés, and sting operations, people are beginning to understand that fake clinics are not benign volunteer granny-run operations handing out free baby clothes.

A US umbrella group called Care Net has just released a definitive report demonstrating. . . well, I'm not sure what it demonstrates. More about that in a minute.

Their motivation for the report though is clear. From the link above (bold mine):
The report comes at a time when unfounded speculation about the work of pregnancy centers has become common from abortion supporters. In contrast to the conjecture provided by critics of pregnancy centers, the information in this report is based on widely collected data, client satisfaction surveys covering thousands of people, analysis of agreed-upon standards and practices, and stories from real clients.
"Unfounded speculation," "conjecture." Yeah, right.

A quick Google of "crisis pregnancy centres lie" produces hundreds of links.

Like this PDF by NARAL Prochoice America, titled helpfully "Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie."

How about a Vice News investigation documented in this 19-minute video titled "Misconception" from September 2014?

Or the recent ARCC study of the lies Canadian fake clinics tell?

You get the idea. It is a well-documented fact that fake clinics lie to and manipulate pregnant people in a variety of ways.

Care Net is described by Wikipedia as:
Care Net is an evangelical Christian crisis pregnancy center organization operating primarily in the United States. As an anti-abortion organization its centers seek to persuade a person not to have an abortion. Headquartered in Northern Virginia, it is the nation's largest affiliation network of pregnancy centers.
And that, in a nutshell, is what fake clinics do: seek to persuade a person not to exercise a legal, moral right.

Their report is called "The Truth about 'Crisis Pregnancy Centers'" (PDF) and it explains the quotes around "crisis pregnancy centers" thus:

The truth is that the term "crisis pregnancy center" has acquired such a stink around it that fake clinics have been desperately trying to rebrand themselves since at least 2009 when we first noticed it.

Of its 20 pages, eight of them contain "client" testimonials, i.e. glurge. The rest protest that no, they are not deceptive in their advertising or in their "co-location" scheme (setting up shop next-door to real medical clinics) and yes, they do too have "Standards of Affiliation" and a "Commitment of Care and Competence."

And they insist that they've provided more than $56 million a year worth of "free health services" such as drugstore pee-on-a-stick pregnancy tests and unnecessary ultrasounds intended to magically reverse any desire for self-determination in their targets.

The report claims to have "saved" 531,977 lives over the past 8 years.

Think about that.

Over half a million people shamed, guilt-tripped, and manipulated into continuing "crisis" pregnancies.

Or maybe not.

The report claims that "8 out of 10 women who are considering abortion when they visit a Care Net Pregnancy Center CHOOSE LIFE for their unborn children." (caps in the original)

Funny that. Using anti-choices' own data, Rewire concluded in May this year that:
Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.
That's a pretty wide gap -- 80% or 4%?

Our conclusion after reading the report: Crisis pregnancy centers/centres are lying harder than ever.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

"A Bad Precedent"? You Betcha!

Some follow-up to my post yesterday about the bungling around the approval of Mifegymiso (abortion pill) for inclusion in taxpayer-funded provincial healthcare plans.

The Globe and Mail is still on the story.

It seems that when Mifegymiso's manufacturer, Celopharma, began the long and winding (and politically stymied? remember, there were CONservatives in charge then) process, there were no costs associated with the Common Drug Review.
[Paula Tenenbaum, president of Celopharma] said that when the company began the Health Canada application process in late 2011, the Common Drug Review – which is a separate process, not run by Health Canada – was offered at no cost to pharmaceutical companies. “As a result, we did not budget for the $72,000,” she said. The company asked for a fee reduction or a two-year payment plan, but that proposal was rebuffed.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), which oversees the Common Drug Review, confirmed the fees only came into effect in September of 2014. (Ms. Tenenbaum said the full process would actually cost between $100,000 and $150,000; CADTH disagreed and reiterated the $72,000 figure.)

Brent Fraser, the vice-president of pharmaceutical reviews for CADTH, said on Tuesday that giving Celopharma a break on the fees could set a bad precedent.
Here's the short version of drug approval works in Canada.

First, a new drug has to go through Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB), where it is assessed for safety, quality, and effectiveness.

How long does this take? Well, it's hard to say from the website's blah-blah.
HPFB has set internationally competitive performance targets for its conduct of reviews. The length of time for review depends on the product being submitted and the size and quality of the submission, and is influenced by HPFB's workload and human resources.
This part of the ordeal was finally completed and the good news reported in July 2015.

Then Health Canada issues a monograph detailing who may prescribe it, with what training, and other restrictions. That link is from April this year, when abortion providers were getting worried about the folderol being proposed.

But getting provincial healthcare plans to pay for it is a whole other regulatory nightmare.

And of course, Quebec is slightly different.

Here's how it works in Quebec.

Authorization from Health Canada is the first step common to both Quebec and the rest of Canada.

In the rest of Canada, new non-cancer drugs go to Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) for what is called a Common Drug Review (CDR). Cancer drugs go to the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review.
In Quebec, both cancer and non-cancer drugs go to the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).

Expert committees evaluate the new drugs.

If the drug’s therapeutic value has been established, INESSS then evaluates the drug based on four criteria: reasonableness of price charged; cost-effectiveness ratio; impact on the health of the population; effect on the basic prescription drug insurance plan.

Then provincial health departments decide whether to include it. In Quebec, the article notes, sometimes politicians have over-ridden recommendations to include very expensive drugs.

So. Celopharma entered the labyrinth in 2011 and budgeted based on the rules at the time. Health Canada took its sweet time to approve a drug that has been in use in France for 30 years and in the US for over 15 years.

Meanwhile, the independent agency, CADTH, that must review it before provincial healthcare plans will pay for it, slaps on some whopping big fees.

And CADTH can't give the company a break because it would "set a bad precedent."

The rules were changed in the middle of the game -- a game that Celopharma had zero control over -- and there's no relief offered?

This seems unfair to say the least.

There's got to be a way around this. In Australia, a Real Feminist PM, Julia Gillard simply ordered that the drug be listed on its taxpayer funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

I realize that things are done differently here, but surely our globally touted FeministPM™, with his gender-balanced cabinet and other meaningless fripperies of respect for women and their rights, could bloody well do something.

Unless of course this whole schmozzle has been engineered as a sleight-of-hand slap in the face to Canadian women, while keeping the Blue Liberals onside.

Whaaaat? I hear you say. Liberals saying one thing and doing another?????????

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Abortion Access? Another slap in the face for Canadians

Gee. You'd almost think that the gynoticians politicians don't want women to access the abortion pill, widely touted to improve access for people living in the wide swaths of remote, rural, and medically underserved Canada.

The Globe and Mail reported yesterday.
When the gold standard in medical abortion drugs finally becomes available in Canada later this year, the $300 cost of the pills will not be covered by most provincial drug plans, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The company that makes Mifegymiso has bowed out of an essential step on the path to public reimbursements for new drugs over the $72,000 price tag for a standard review of the medication’s cost effectiveness.

Provincial governments everywhere but Quebec say the company’s decision is preventing them from adding the two-drug abortion regimen to their list of publicly funded drugs, meaning women will have to reach into their own wallets or rely on private insurance to pay for Mifegymiso.
This "essential step" is called the Common Drug Review.

Today the Globe published an editorial.
Already the victims of Health Canada’s glacial bureaucracy, and of its paternalistic view of their ability to safely administer prescription drugs to themselves, Canadian women waiting to be able to use the most commonly prescribed medical abortion treatment in the world woke up to a fresh slap in the face on Monday.
The editorial recalls the ridiculously long and tortured approval process in Canada and points out that RU486, or mifepristone, has been available since 1987 in France, since 2000 in the US.

The writers also note that abortion is a common medical procedure, with surgical abortion being delivered at no cost as part of taxpayer-funded Medicare.

This latest bad news – that women will have to pay for a medical treatment to which they have a right – is the last straw. Ottawa should find a way to waive the cost of the Common Drug Review and make Mifegymiso available for free as quickly as possible.

Want to see how a Feminist PM™ handled this situation?

Like this.

Julia Gillard's last act as prime minister included signing off on cabinet approval for slashing the cost of abortion pill RU486 to as little as $12.

Listing the abortion drug on the taxpayer-funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will see the price of a medical abortion in Australia drop from up to $800 to just $12 for concession card holders from August 1.

Women not eligible for concessions will pay around $70 under the PBS.

This is what a Feminist PM™ looks like.

This is what a Fake Feminist PM™ looks like.

UPDATE: Rules changed on fees for Common Drug Review during the process.

Friday, 23 September 2016

On "Conscientious Objection," But Mostly on Pseudonymity

I was going to blog about a new commentary about "conscientious objection" in medicine. (Link to the full, very readable paper.)
Authorities should bar doctors from refusing to provide such services as abortion and assisted death on moral grounds, and screen out potential medical students who might impose their values on patients, leading Canadian and British bioethicists argue in a provocative new commentary.
I remembered that lawsuit launched back in 2015 by the whackadoodle group calling themselves the Christian Medical and Dental Society against the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario over a new requirement that doctors refer patients for services their precious consciences and medieval paternalism wouldn't let them even contemplate.

I remembered that Joyce Arthur of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada had neatly and completely eviscerated their whiney self-justifications in a piece titled "Christian doctors angry they can no longer abandon their patients."

Then I remembered that I had said everything I have to say about the issue here.
I think any doctor refusing to participate in modern, non-judgemental medicine should have his or her license yanked or else shunted into a specialty or practice where they have nothing to do with lady parts.

Dermatology or podiatry would be good.
In that post, I reported on my attempt on Twitter to get the Christian doctors and dentists (WTF are dentists doing in there? "Sorry, madam, but my conscience demands that you must continue to carry that rotten molar until its natural demise"?) to make public a list of their members so that sane people could stay the hell away from them.

Well. As I reported the next day, a shitstorm ensued.

I was accused of trying to "out" the good doctors (and dentists, don't forget the dentists). Um, yeah, I was, in the interests of informing potential patients.

And I was accused of hypocrisy (spelled correctly for a change) in asking for their names from behind a PSEUDONYM!

The gang over at ProWoman/ProForcedPregnancy got particularly pissy about it, two commenters going so far as to imply that my intent was to "target" the doctors (and dentists, don't forget the dentists) for some kind of hostile action.

That second blogpost I wrote is called "FFS: Near Defamation (Is That a Thing?)." (I concluded that it probably wasn't.)

A condescending commenter at PWPFP said:
Hello Fern Hill,
I’m a lawyer, and I agree with you, this does not appear to be a case of defamation.
However, if you chose to pursue any type of litigation, you would of course have to do it in your personal capacity, using your legal name. Your association with your pseudonym “Fern Hill” and your association with your blog DammitJanet, would become permanent public record.
Kind regards,
Faye Sonier
(Please note, of course, that the comments above are not provided as legal advice.)
Ooooh. Who's threatening whom there? My legal name and my blog would become associated in the "permanent public record"!!!!

This wasn't and still isn't new. The fetus freaks are obsessed with my practice of pseudonymity. I've been chided in comments here at DJ! I've been repeatedly called "anonymous" by various anti-choicers, including those at LieShite and WeNeedALawLikeAHoleInTheHead. Over at the Amateur Statistician's I am "Fake Person" with my own label. SUZY ALLCAPSLOCK, whose hilarious blog is now sadly private (come back, SUZY, we miss you!), also had a kick at the pseudonymous fern hill can. Mrozek at PWPFP has invited me TWICE to meet for coffee. (I declined politely, of course.)

They are really really peeved that they don't know my real name.

I can't help but wonder: Why? What would they do with that information? Inform my employer? (Ha. As a member of the precariat, I have clients, not an employer. Would they try to track them all down?) Inform the world of my address and phone number, you know, in case someone wanted to send me a personal message or a nice gift?

Or maybe they have in mind merely a friendly, in-person and upfront "discussion."

Their obsession used to bother me. A little. It doesn't anymore.