Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lawless Abortion Round-Up

Our planned blog-burst/tweet-fest to celebrate 26 years of lawless abortion in Canada got somewhat drowned out yesterday by Bell's cause marketing gimmick to benefit mental health. It's a very clever campaign, but I loathe the practice. (Hm, it seems I blogged about it last year.)

There were some blogs: here, one by deBeauxOs and one by me.

Luna weighed in with a thoughtful post on CONtrol, pointing out what programs actually pro-life people would support.

Kev linked to an older and very succinct post of his. It's so succinct, here it is in its entirety.
#M408 Here we go again

This may be the shortest post I'll ever write. When it comes to a woman's right to choose I am entirely closed minded, there is nothing to debate, no concessions to be made. A women has the inviolable right to choose if and when to have an abortion. I may not agree with her choice but so effin what, it isn't my body it's hers.

Medical Students for Choice posted some links to useful information on the chronology of abortion in Canada and on the current situation on access to it. (Spoiler: not as good as it should be.)

The mainstream media contributed some timely stories. One on the state of play on Health Canada's long overdue decision on RU-486 and another on the political reaction.
Mulcair said the mifepristone application is taking longer than normal.

"I certainly hope that politics is not in play," Mulcair said.

"I know that Madame Ambrose has a history on this particular file, so I hope that her personal opinions are not stopping a health solution for some women who want to have [a medical abortion]."
Justin Trudeau again demonstrated his party's unswerving commitment to namby-pambiness on women's rights.
"I expect that Health Canada will go through the proper procedures, and I'm not a medical expert, so I trust that the scientists will do their work to make sure that it goes through the proper procedures," he said.
Another story reported on a study of the risks posed to women in PEI by the total absence of abortion services there.

On Twitter, people were using the hashtags #Morgentaler26, #RU4Choice, and #LawlessAbortion.

Some trolls came out to play, but not many.

We got a shout-out from Ireland.

And finally, this surprising development: a crowd-sourcing effort to fund a "dark comedy" about abortion, called "Plan B", being made in Canada.

Here's the trailer.

They want to raise $20,000. Help out if you can. (Imagine the exploding fetus fetishist heads you'd be enabling.)

Thanks to all who blogged, tweeted, and retweeted. If I've missed anything, let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: Alison at Creekside's contribution with cameo appearance from Emma the Embryo.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

RU4Choice? More and more countries are!

Around the world -- with a couple of notable exceptions -- politicians are finally getting it.

Abortion is essential health care and a basic human right for people who have uteruses.

A number of countries are expanding abortion services and access.

In France, already the medical abortion capital of the world, they've approved a sweeping gender-equity bill that includes the abandonment of the requirement for women to justify their abortion decisions.
The [abortion] amendment is part of a gender-equality bill that is the most comprehensive legislation on women’s rights in the history of France. The bill seeks to give women parity with men by improving wages, strengthening laws against domestic violence and providing for equal representation in politics.

The bill also encourages fathers to seek parental leave to care for a new baby by offering six additional months of paid leave if taken by the second parent. In addition, it bans beauty pageants for girls under 13 and expands support for single mothers. Companies that do not show progress on workplace equality face monthly fines of up to 1 percent of their wage base. The bill enjoins the media from broadcasting sexist or demeaning images of women.
Israel, the darling of Tea Bag Nation, is further liberalizing its already very liberal abortion coverage. The state will now pay for all abortions.

Even the Vatican Taliban stronghold of Ireland has been forced by the cruel and needless death of Savita Halappanavar to amend its abortion regulations.

And in Australia, ousted feminist Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, left a parting shot to the nads of the old boys by including abortion drug RU486 in the state-financed pharmacare plan, lowering its cost to as little as $12 for women on benefits.

Now the exceptions. The conservatives now running Spain have taken a page out of the USian anti-abortion play-book by tackling crippling economic problems with a roll-back of women's abortion rights. But they're facing pretty stiff opposition.

And of course the Tea Baggers in the US are engaged in a veritable orgy of abortion regulations, laws, and impediments.

But there too, it looks like the tide is about to turn. This month's annual March for Lies did not garner the MASSIVE turnout they trumpeted.

Truth is, no matter how much they pretend that their movement is growing, it's stuck.
Year after year, anti-abortion faithful assemble for the march, yet their goal is elusive. Gallup found last year that 26 percent thought abortion should be legal in any circumstance, 20 percent said it should be illegal in all cases, and 52 percent thought it should be legal in certain circumstances. In 1975, those numbers were 21, 22 and 54, respectively.

So, how is lawless Canada faring? Finally, at long fucking last, Health Canada may be about to approve "the gold standard" drug for medical abortion, RU486.

It's well past time for Canadian physicians to be able offer their patients expanded abortion options. Approval of RU486 will be especially important for women living in rural or remote areas or in provinces trapped in the previous century, namely New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

And yes, our own parliamentary dinosaurs continue to bleat about Canada's lawlessness on the abortion front. But they're going nowhere. Take note, Maurice.

Today, on the 26th anniversary of our historic Supreme Court decision in R. v. Morgentaler, we'll celebrate our lawlessness, but we will also keep up the fight for improved access and more options for reproductive justice.

UPDATE: CBC reports on the status of RU486.

FURTHER UPDATE: Opposition leaders weigh in. Mulcair firmly pro-choice. Trudeau namby-pamby.

Dead women don't, and can't give life.

What a morbid thought, correct?

In Canada, 26 years ago today the Supreme Court decision R. v. Morgentaler  removed legal obstacles preventing women from accessing abortion - a medical procedure under the purview of professionals who administer the public health care system.

But in Texas where the rights of corporations, guns and fetus are promoted by Bible-thumpers who claim they represent the will of God the Father, the laws of the state can desecrate and violate the rights of ordinary living breathing people.

If there are profits to be made, weapons to be cherished and a zygote, embryo or fetus to be deployed as a weapon in the War On Women, you can bet that rightwing religious fundamentalist Republican legislators will be there to shrieeekingly defend those rights.

This happened.
Marlise, a 33-year old paramedic, got up the night of Nov. 26 to fix a bottle for her toddler son.

Her husband Erick, also a paramedic and a firefighter, woke up and realized she had not returned to bed.

He found Marlise collapsed on the floor, not breathing and with no pulse. It’s believed she suffered a blood clot to the lung that deprived her of oxygen for more than an hour.

Erick frantically performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called an ambulance. Marlise was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and connected to a ventilator to artificially simulate breathing.

It was too late. Marlise was gone. According to court filings, doctors knew this within two days, after tests registered a complete absence of brain function. This was not a “coma” or “vegetative state.” It is the legal and medical definition of dead.
Marlise Muñoz was an emergency medical technician, a paramedic familiar with end-of-life issues who had told her husband that she would not want to be kept "alive" by machines.

Her family hired a lawyer; a rational, sane judge heard their arguments and ordered the hospital to stop preserving the decaying body of their beloved in a technologically-assisted embalmed state.  Marlise had been declared medically and legally dead; in trying to protect the rights of the fetus as it believed Texas law instructed it to do, the hospital (or fetushists on staff) turned her into a "cadaverous incubator". More medical information here, from Dr Jen Gunter.

THIS is the nightmare that CPC MPs Vellacott and Woodworth would inflict upon Canadian women and their families.

Knight of Columbus Stephen Woodworth claims how "savage and inhumane it is to have a law on the Canadian books which falsely condemns as non-human people who are human" - quite a whopper of a word-salad obfuscation. Women have tried to instruct this obdurate Vatican Taliban foot-soldier on how women experience pregnancy — wanted or not — but he won't listen.  In his mind, he is a grandiloquent medieval cavalier, "saving" fetus everywhere and forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

"Savage and inhumane" is exactly the treatment that women would suffer if *fetus rights* forced hospitals to use women like meat incubators to placate anti-choice zealots' ideologically-dictated demands.  Would gestating women who smoke, who drink alcohol, who eat the "wrong" food, who are addicted to legal or illegal drugs and who have sex while pregnant, get strapped down and supervised to prevent actions that could imperil their fetus?

Not in my Canada.  

I applaud the recent commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal as well as those who are urging Health Canada to approve mifepristone as a physician-facilitated medical abortion. Also known as RU486, it is administered very early in the pregnancy instead of surgery. It induces a miscarriage, similar to spontaneous abortions that occur frequently during the first trimester.

In support of Canadian women's ongoing push-back against the reactionary individuals and groups who would deprive them of basic reproductive rights, I will continue writing and tweeting on these issues.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Shame on THIS Magazine

THIS magazine's 4,000-word cover story, "No Choice: Why the pro-choice movement won't let women grieve after abortion", is a piece of crap.

First the title, sheesh.

Next the deck (likely not written by author):
The anti-abortion movement has newly latched onto Post-Abortion Syndrome, a controversial diagnosis that it claims mimics PTSD.
No. Not 'newly latched onto'.

The tactic is more than 30 years old as the article itself acknowledges a few paragraphs down.

Next, your de rigeur pseudonymous, but like totally believable victim of the piece, "Yana", who is 23 years old but who believed her "semi-boyfriend" when he told her she couldn't get pregnant if he pulled out.

Takeaway from that: Yana is more than a little credulous.

There's an 'angry-looking nurse", stainless steel and Yana's "legs are pushed back".

Right. Abortion is performed by angry, heartless people. (The hospital is identified, by the way, as Mt Sinai, one of the best hospitals in Toronto.)

Afterward, Yana is grieving. OK. There are as many reactions to abortion as there are women who have them. (In the US, it's estimated that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion during her life. In Canada, probably fewer but still, that's a lot of women.)

Then we are introduced to PAS and its proponents proselytizers. The author, Rebecca Melnyk, concedes that reputable researchers and professionals question its existence.

Then she states that "abortion rights advocates, wary and dismissive of PAS, are also largely indifferent to any need for counselling."

After several more meandering paragraphs, we get this:
Post-abortion counselling is an available option at other abortion clinics across Canada. [Joyce] Arthur knows of at least two in Vancouver. Very few attend. Other parts of the country? Arthur polls a pro-abortion right listserv, of which she’s a member. The messages roll in from abortion clinics. Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Yellowknife all have services.

So, there are counselling services available.

Melnyk goes to Everywoman's Health Centre in Vancouver, "an abortion clinic that provides free, non-judgmental counselling services" and talks to Erin Mullan, a counsellor with more than 20 years of experience.

And misquotes her. Melynk's quote:
For the small number of women [Mullan] refers out to other counsellors who offer long-term support, abortion is not the main cause of negative feelings, but rather, “it opens a door of pain.”

What Erin actually said [private communication, quoted here with permission]:
I said "the abortion experience can be a doorway that other pain walks through." It's something I say often in counselling so I know.

Somewhere in there, the evil feminists are rolled out (emphasis mine);
That same month, on a warm afternoon in Toronto Miriam McDonald, an editor at the Marxist newspaper Spartacist Canada, struts up and down a hallway at the Ontario Institute of Secondary Education at an International Women’s day rally. “Abortion is just a medical procedure like getting a wart off, except it’s all politicized,” she says. “A woman’s capacity to control her fertility opens the doors to full equality. That’s why it’s … stigmatized.” Another woman standing next to her in a baseball cap, handing out newspapers, says post-abortive women need counselling, not to overcome negative feelings related to abortion, but rather, to cope with society’s stigma and culture of shame. Three young people in lime green shirts with the words “reproductive freedom fighters” scurry back and forth.

More glurge, then another pseudonymous "victim", who is not sorry about her decision to abort, but "feels guilty for not feeling guiltier".


Now we get biographical. Turns out Melnyk had an abortion too and felt "shame" and "damned".

Then, back to Yana again who is painting a ceramic (cup?) for "a friend's new baby". Yana is "working on not feeling guilty".


The piece is a very strange amalgam of correct information, misinformation and irrelevant information. It rambles and wanders and badly needed a competent editor.

It is weighted heavily towards the fictional PAS side, while acknowledging that PAS exists only in the tiny minds of fetus fetishists.

Nowhere is there any evidence that the "pro-choice movement won't let women grieve after abortion".

In short, it is tabloid crap of the most scurrilous sort. Don't waste your time on it.

THIS Magazine used to be a good progressive publication. Shame on you.

For the record, pro-choice people do not accept that PAS is anything but a made-up scare tactic. Pro-choice people do accept that there is a wide range of reactions among people who have abortions. And ALL of them are valid.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Smoke On the Water and Fire in the Sky

Facts are inconvenient truths.

The above statement is a trope. It's a truism. It's many variations on the sardonic commentary that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Nobody likes it when they discover that you're just making shit up as you go along, *lying* to get your own way.

Facts push non-factual accounts further and further and further out onto a ledge where more and more witnesses can examine the merits and find them so wanting that it's a 'meh' reaction when the non-factual account finally leaps off into oblivion.

One of the defenses of non-factual accounts without actually being able to resort to evidence, is 'if I can't have my feel-good anecdotal version of 'fax', you can't have yours neither, and I'm just the power to wipe out your proof'.

This last while in Canada, (atop everything else) we've seen some damn weak attempts to paw metaphorical kitty litter over steaming excuses as to why scientific research facilities have been shut down and their *hard won* legacy of hardcopy data archives haphazardly and appallingly mishandled and destroyed. There comes a point where a person has to stop saying the people in charge of such Book Burning activities are not incompetent but working with a total dismissal and loathing of reality and its treasures. In light of how Britain values not only its artistic but scientific history and its great educational archives, what is happening in Canada is not only shameful, destroying research is a criminal act impoverishing the intellectual heritage and sabotaging the scientific potential of our nation and the greater global community.

I'd like to know just how these so-called transfers to digital media guaranteed a one-to-one quality match of hardcopy documents to electronic databases, and what ISO standards of archiving they followed? We do have ISO document management standards in this country, as led by the National Archives departments. At what point was there signoff that the data had been migrated? By whom? What consultancy with the clients using the data was done? Corporations have to follow standards of due diligence for knowledge management or they will get their corporate asses handed to them by the courts in litigation matters when they shrug and say oopsie, can't produce anything.

With all that in mind...I'm resorting to bad poetry. I can't be more coherent so I'm going to let my right brain smack words out like Animal of the Muppets enjoys beating dents into walls with his head. I apologize to all, especially archivists and librarians, for the oblique bits to follow.


Through a looking glass fractured,
Censor smoke fogs forth spices of the shroud.
Amid the cloying mists,
Black wreaths crown ash strewn halls.

True voiced Hypatia is dead.
She dared sing songs of the world.
Shadows glide at command of the Bishop.
Faith’s rift eyed night shall have its day.

Rent garment breezes wander wild,
Sweltering in their airs.
Chilled canaries at the coalface,
Choke on fire underground.

Within pitchdark vaults, Persephone mourns the silence.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Buh-bye Shelly, don't cry...


Harper government Cabinet Minister Shelly Glover is rightfully under scrutiny with regard to $1200 *donated* at a fundraising organized for the CPC, held at a private residence in her riding.
Groups from the Manitoba arts and culture community, who lobby Ottawa for money, were invited to a fundraiser last week on MP Shelly Glover’s behalf.
Federal rules say cabinet ministers can’t solicit money from anyone who may have lobbied or may lobby them in the future.
Glover and event organizers said the gathering was strictly to raise money for the party’s local riding association, but CTV News obtained information which suggests otherwise.[...]
"The majority of these people were actually people who were friends of mine or board members or people that have been involved with the Conservative Party,” Glover said.
But the invitation to the fundraiser obtained by CTV News paints a different picture.
"Invitees are primarily members of the cultural community in Winnipeg,” it said. "Shelly is interested in meeting with you and hearing your views."
CTV has confirmed representatives from the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Opera and Winnipeg Art Gallery attended.[...]
The federal ethics commissioner is reviewing a request to look at the event. Opposition parties in Ottawa have filed complaints.
Glover wrote a letter to the ethics commissioner, letting that office know about the event and what steps she has taken to deal with the matter, including ordering the $1,200 be returned to donors.
Glover’s office said the minister did not know people from the arts and culture community would be at the party until she arrived.

Then, there's Harper's Israel junket, an over-the-top display of pandering and fundraising for which Stephen Lautens suggested the twitter hashtag "200schnorrers" - a term that means sponger, freeloader.

The crass, greedy opportunism came to its logical peak with this spectacle from CPC MP Mark Adler, and then this cringe-worthy performance from PMSHithead.

As Harper and his government crank up the chutzpah, malevolently destroying scientific libraries and arrogantly engaging in corrupt activities, one wonders where, if any, might the tipping point be?

Who will be sacrificed as an venal offering to the deities of the CPC fake accountability-and-transparence scam?

My bet is that when push comes to shove, Glover will go the way of Helena Guergis and Bev Oda because that's how the Harper's boys' club rolls. 

$1200 versus the millions the CPC hope to raise for their 2015 election campaign war funds.

Beyond Adler's mendacity, there were also stomach-churning photos of CPC dauphin Jason Kenney and his gynophobic buddies reveling in the testosterone-charged enclave of Jerusalem's West Wall.

A personal anecdote about Shelly Glover.  Last summer I traveled to Montreal on Via Rail. In the business class car sat the freshly appointed Heritage minister and a small entourage of husky men, two of whom looked and behaved like bodyguards.

Not a single person in that group used an electronic device during the whole trip. No cell phone, no tablet, no Blackberry, no laptop. Nothing.

It made me wonder what they knew, and that we now know...

Saturday, 18 January 2014

BAD Science in a (Twitter) Nutshell

The brouhaha over recent "explosive" data from Asia absotively proving the Abortion = Breast Cancer (ABC) link continues.

The Chinese study, eviscerated by Joyce Arthur here, fatally flawed by many scientific sins, but most egregiously (and obviously even to a lay-person) is Joel Brind's bland dismissal of the fundamental contradiction in it. (See Joyce's article for details.)

So what do lying liars do when challenged? Brind, the grandaddy of the ABC lie, doubles down.
The Bhadoria study of 320 breast cancer patients and 320 age and socio-economic status-matched healthy control women reported a 403% increased risk of getting breast cancer among Indian women who have had any abortions. Not only is this increase much larger than what had been reported in the Huang meta-analysis (44%) and by my colleagues and I in our worldwide meta-analysis of 1996 (30%), but it closely matches the 538% among Indian women reported earlier in 2013 by Dr. Ramchandra Kamath et al.

Also in 2013, Dr. S. Jabeen and colleagues reported a risk increase of almost 2,000% among women in Bangladesh!

Taken collectively, the studies from Asia should completely abolish any lingering credibility of the US National Cancer Institute’s politically correct” dictum that there is no ABC link.
From 30% to 44% to 403% to 538% to 2000% increase in breast cancer caused by abortion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(By the way, all reputable cancer research organizations categorically refute any such causation.)

The main flaw with all ABC BS studies is something called "recall bias". Google it and you'll find that it applies to all kinds of research in which patients are asked to remember their or their children's medical details, including birth defects, vaccination, Gulf War Syndrome, etc. etc.

But Brind et al. insist that recall bias is a conspiracy cooked up by pro-choice researchers and applied only to their own abortion "research".

So, as a non-scientist, I was going to go into all kinds of tedious detail about what recall bias is and isn't, when I thought to ask famed bullshit-detector PZ Myers to comment. After all, he has taken on the BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science of the anti-choice movement before.

He replied promptly.

And thus shortened this blog-post considerably. Thanks, PZ. (I'm sure our readers will thank you too.)

UPDATE: And here's James Coyne, author of a multi-part spanking of Priscilla Coleman for the equally dishonest abuse of statistics.

Friday, 17 January 2014

No Debate. Evah.

January is a busy month for abortion activists (pro and anti) on both sides of the US/Canada border.

January 22 marks the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision in the US.

January 28 marks the 26th anniversary of Canada's Supreme Court Morgentaler ruling.

And January 27 this year will see the return of the House of Commons after the holiday break.

Retiring fetus fetishist MP and fave here at DJ! expects his last kick at the can -- two motions to "study" abortion -- will come up for debate fairly soon afterwards.

The motions are expected to fail spectacularly because even Pander Master Harper has figured out that Canadians are sick to fucking death of this so-called debate.

Here's a poll done last January for the Morgentaler anniversary.

It's pretty typical of its kind, demonstrating the usual ignorance of the (lack of) law and desire for varying degrees of regulation or not.

One thing is abundantly clear.
The one question in the poll that produced the most agreement was whether there was any point reopening the debate, with a solid majority, 59 per cent, saying No, compared to 30 per cent who want the discussion reopened and 11 per cent who are undecided.

Angus Reid also examined the issue based on voting preference and found that 55 per cent of Conservatives, 65 per cent of NDP backers and 66 per cent of Liberals do not want to reopen the debate.
Even a majority of Conservatives want our politicians to STFU and leave well enough alone.

We at DJ! propose a Tweet Fest/Blog Burst for January 28 and we're taking suggestions for themes and hashtags.



I'm kinda partial to #FuckOffAndDieVellacott, but then that's just me.

Other suggestions?

Let's give Maurice a nice, heart-felt boot to knackers send-off.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Rosemary's Baby Redux

Nutbar/embezzler/fetus fetishist Frank Pavone tweeted this today.

Initiallly, I didn't realize whose handiwork it was so I asked.

Co-blogger Niles replied.

By then I had found out that it was Father Nutbar and revealed that info.

To which Niles replied: "So, I was right."

Fetus fetishists live in an alternate reality where they think this ridiculous stuff is compelling.

And idiocies like this.

Luckily for us sane people, it has no currency outside their tiny base.

And it is wonderfully fun to mock.

BTW, I like the devil's mani.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Free Speech, Fetus Fetishist Style

A lot is at stake today in the US as its Supreme Court considers buffer zones around abortion clinics.

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear a challenge to a law that protects women seeking reproductive-health care in Massachusetts - including checkups, birth control, and abortion care - from enduring violence, and harassment by anti-choice protesters outside of reproductive-health clinics.

Massachusetts has a 35-foot buffer zone (the distance of two parking spaces) that blocks anti-choice protesters from approaching women accessing health care. But anti-choice forces are fighting the buffer zone so that they can get even closer when shaming and harassing women entering these clinics.
See, it's a free speechy thing.

Here are some glimpses into what is considered "free speech" by USian fetus fetishists.

And of course, there's this sublime expression of "sidewalk counselling".

Here's Robin Marty:

Ultimately, if the Supreme Court strikes down the buffer zone in McCullen v. Coakley, every clinic sidewalk could potentially turn into the sidewalk in Louisville [described in the piece], where anti-abortion protesters can openly chase clinic patients, “exorcise” escorts, and block doors — not with the metal or even human chains they used in the nineties, but with the emotional force of 100 bodies lining the street, shouting that you are a murderer.

That type of “freedom of speech” won’t just be condoned; it will be actively encouraged at every clinic in every state in the country. The freedom to determine if you choose to carry a pregnancy to term, however? That could become a thing of the past.
We here at DJ! keep an eye on what's happening down south. Because we have these dangerous nutters here too.

I believe that our USian cousins dropped the ball on abortion with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. They thought they'd won.

We in Canada had to keep fighting until 1988, all the while watching the violence and backlash in the States. Pro-choice USians have been on defence ever since 1973.

But now some good news. They plan to play offense in 2014.

States may have become the laboratory for advancing an anti-choice agenda, but [NARAL president Ilyse] Hogue said they also present the best opportunity for turning the tide. Although NARAL has yet to identify specific races to target Hogue expects to mount a full political program including media and field campaigns in as many as half a dozen states, and to be involved in dozens of others. Exposing anti-choice incumbents who try to repackage themselves in light of the GOP’s efforts to rebrand itself more women-friendly will likely be a key strategy. Nineteen anti-choice governors are up for re-election, including Sam Brownback.

In Canada, we've never stopped playing offense.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Should Doug Ford be told by an adult to shut up?

Last week we wrote this, about Doug Ford and his histrionics.

The more bullies like him and Rob bellow their loathsome discourse, the quicker it become evident how mendacious they truly are.

Today Doug Ford described Karen Stintz in disparaging terms, at a Toronto council meeting about how the city might handle future natural disasters like the ice storm. The Fordzilla brothers reacted to her criticism about Rob Ford's activities with their well-honed two-fer tactics: temper tantrums and name-calling.

From here: “You saw for the first time Karen Stintz going unglued. I’ve seen it numerous times,..." Doug Ford said.

Norm Wilner is a seasoned observer of the Toronto political and cultural environment.  He also tweeted this:

Before the council meeting, Mayor Ford was asked by reporters about his campaigning activities on the weekend.  A female journalist had the temerity to ask him if he had been drinking. His response was to suggest she was jealous - yes jealous - of the prurient attention that he draws when he appears in public.

Wilmer's observation about Rob Ford's attitudes towards women was not pulled out of thin air.  
In December, Ford said: "Women love money," [...] Ford added that while he planned to get his wife "some treats on the side," his big gift to her would be "a nice cheque." "I get a basket and flowers and a little bit of this and that, but at the end of the day, she wants her cash," he said. "So I give her a nice cheque and we're all happy." 
From here.  

The Sun reported recently that Ford bragged about what he did give his spouse Renata at Christmas. 

Since Ford doesn't let his wife talk to reporters, we'll have to take his word that "she's really really happy".

At this point, Diane, the Ford matriarch, may be the only one who might be able to get Doug and Rob to shut up.  Though it's unlikely she would do so; she gets gratification from her boys attacking women who are councillors and journalists and professionals; they are paid to speak their mind.  That's not why women get "a nice cheque" in the Ford family.  

My co-blogger fernhill has written quite a bit about the dysfunctional Fords

Friday, 10 January 2014

Lying Is Complicated

The fetus fetishists have a major sub-fetish for ultrasound. They believe that women seeking abortions are magically transformed into willing, nay, eager brood-mares by exposure to an ultrasound image.

Oddly, a rather big study doesn't agree.
Researchers analyzed over 15,575 visits to a large, urban abortion provider in 2011. All of the patients received an ultrasound before continuing with the abortion procedure, and all of them were given the opportunity to look at the image. Most patients chose not to look at it. Women did opt to view the ultrasound about 42 percent of the time — and among those women, about 98 percent of them went on to have an abortion anyway.
So why didn't the magic work?

Part of it is no doubt the fact that women don't book an abortion appointment without being pretty sure that's what they want.

And then there's this:
But about 61 percent of women having an abortion have already given birth to at least one child; they understand the biological realities of pregnancy, and they’ve seen an ultrasound before.

Noooooo! the fetus fetishists shrieeeek. We must refute this.

Here's the actual headline:

Do ultrasounds save lives? New study claims ‘no.’ Pro-life experts says ‘yes…but it’s complicated’

If that doesn't have you laughing your ass off, here is their explanation.
But Brian Fisher, the founder of Online for Life, a pro-life organization that specializes in connecting abortion-bound women with ultrasound-providing crisis pregnancy centers, says that, at best, the study proves only that the ultrasounds provided at abortion clinics have a limited effect, not that sonograms are an inherently weak tool.

“We've always maintained that the key to changing hearts and minds isn't the ultrasound in a vacuum,” Fisher told  “It is an ultrasound given within a caring, compassionate environment where explanation and counsel can be given.” 

Online for Life prides itself on its data-driven approach to pro-life work, and Fisher says their data shows that about 43 percent of at-risk women who visit one of their partner crisis pregnancy centers, all of which are equipped with ultrasounds, will choose life. The ultrasound plays a large role in convincing these women to keep their babies, he said.
Shorter: When we have vulnerable women in our clutches at our fake clinics and feed them lies and distortions, we can guilt them out of abortion. Because we pride ourselves on our lies data.

Even shorter: Lalalalala, we can't hear you.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

When men are "silenced"...

by women, no less!!! HOW DARE THEY?!?!?!

TORONTO - Councillor Janet Davis told Councillor Doug Ford to shut his “f---ing mouth” Wednesday.
Davis walked over and whispered the comment directly to Mayor Rob Ford’s brother during a budget committee meeting.
She dropped the f-bomb shortly after the committee rejected a motion to spend $409,000 for an eight-site expansion of the After-school Recreation and Care (ARC) Program. Ford had argued against the spending and accused councillors of wanting to “waste taxpayers’ money.”
The private R-rated remark prompted Ford to jump to his feet and announce Davis had told him to “keep my f---ing mouth shut” and called the comment “disgusting.”
“I don’t need that talk up here. Why don’t you just leave? You call yourself a lady, give me a break,” Ford shouted at Davis.

From here.

Some years ago, when I volunteered at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre and then, at the Ottawa Sexual Assault Support Centre, I fielded requests to staff an information table or represent the organization at an educational event.

This occasion sticks in my memory.  It was held at a public high school. One of the teachers had determined it was a good idea for the students to learn more about acquaintance and date rape.

The impetus for this activity was the experience of one young woman who was "allegedly" assaulted by young men that she knew. The circumstances were very similar to what was inflicted upon Rehtaeh Parsons. When she reported the incident to the local police and tried to have charges filed, she and her mother were treated with derision and contempt.

After the noon-time information fair, where CHEO, the Ottawa police, Planned Parenthood, SASC and other community groups were present, students in grades 11, 12 and 13 filed into the assembly hall.

There was a panel of speakers, assembled to speak on the topic. Two participants stand out in my mind: the young woman whose experience was germane to the event, and a cop from the division where she tried to report her assault.

Yes. Both these individuals were on the panel, separated by other folks whose "expertise" on the matter I forget.  There was nobody from ORCC or SASC sitting there.

Clearly someone, probably a vice-principal, thought it was a good idea to give the police an opportunity to respond to the young woman's damning story.

Which she recounted haltingly, with no tears but with a quiet assurance.

Unfortunately, the next person on the panel to speak was .... yes, you guessed it ... the cop.

Rather than explaining in neutral terms the legal procedure for reporting crimes of sexual assault and providing legal definitions, he started justifying why the cops at his station determined that the complainant's report was "unfounded" — by recounting his version of the story, intently and intentionally attacking her credibility.

The sight and sound of a fifty-something cop re-assaulting this young woman without any challenges from the teachers or other people on the panel infuriated me.

You know how these days, people post TW - trigger warning - in front of links to articles or testimonies about traumatic events, usually child abuse, intimate violence, sexual assault, and so on?

Well.  That cop's malicious and unimpeded verbal aggression upon this young woman triggered something in me.

I was standing at the back of the hall; I had followed the students in and there were no seats left. 

I felt it before it actually exploded out of me.  A rumble, starting at the bottom of my torso moved upwards and was propelled out of my mouth.


It was very, very loud.

The audience members, whose sympathies clearly lay with their peer, and who had been rustling uncomfortably during the cop's screed, broke into applause.  Some teachers craned their necks, trying to establish where the explosion had originated.

The cop's mouth was open. He closed it, he looked at the person who had made a mess of moderating this so-called panel. She looked away. He sat down.

Someone else hastily rose to address the assembly, a guidance teacher I think.  I was stunned, actually, by the force of what had just happened.  It had occurred reflexively, like an arm raised to ward off a blow.

Here's the thing.  Bullies like Doug Ford and the cop at this event are not used to being told to shut up.  Doug, a crafty political strategist, nimbly reacted to his colleague's quiet remonstrance by cranking up the volume and histrionically exploiting the incident to his advantage, playing to his Ford Nation following. He claimed victimhood.

That happens a lot.  In the House of Commons' Question Period and elsewhere.  Many have documented how bellowing men effectively silence their female critics with ad hominem tactics 

Research about the verbal space occupied by women and men is also revealing.

Paul Simon sang, years ago:

These are the days of miracle and wonder This is the long distance call The way the camera follows us in slo-mo The way we look to us all...

It behooves us to find a way to disarm this "live grenade" tactic, to move on to more compassionate and (dare I use this word, especially as I suggested to impolitical that Rob Ford has made it radioactive, in Ontario at least) authentic  forms of communication.

BAD Science Debunked: Abortion Does NOT Cause Breast Cancer

Back in early December, when Babs Kay hitched her anti-feminism agenda again to yet another BAD (biased, agenda-driven) study purporting to link abortion and breast cancer again, DJ! took her on.

Joyce Arthur of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada weighed in on the comments, promising a fuller analysis of the study.

Here it is. It is excellent.

The anti-choice movement has been making a lot of noise over a new study out of China, published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control, that purports to show a 44 percent increase in breast cancer risk for women who have had an abortion, with the risk increasing after each subsequent abortion. The study claims this may help explain the “alarming” rise in breast cancer in China over the past 20 years, which parallels the one-child policy introduced in 1979.
She proceeds to demolish its methodology, explaining the various kinds of known biases associated with this sort of study, including recall bias. Simply put, recall bias occurs when the two groups (the "cases," women who have or have had breast cancer, vs. the "controls", women who haven't) recall their medical histories differently. The "cases" are more likely to offer full details, while the "controls" may downplay their own abortion history. The problem is exacerbated by the level of abortion stigma associated in a culture.

She highlights this doozie.
Anti-choice activist Dr. Joel Brind has been promoting the ABC [abortion/breast cancer] association for over two decades. He claims that the Chinese study “neutralized” the recall bias argument. But Brind missed—or chose not to mention—that the journal article contained a confusing error, one that helped to hide the study’s own recall bias shortcomings. Early on, the study authors say:
The lack of a social stigma associated with induced abortion in China may limit the amount of underreporting.
But later in the study, the authors say:
[T]he self-reported number of IA [induced abortions] will probably be underestimated, as the stigma of abortion still exists in China, especially when a woman has more than two IAs. Therefore, this underestimation will inevitably create spurious associations between IA and breast cancer, especially for more IAs.
These two contradictory statements should never have gotten past the peer reviewers.
There are other fatal methodological flaws in the study and Joyce's article also links to other interesting work over the years and from several countries with widely differing abortion and breast cancer rates and attitudes towards abortion.

In short, many researchers have looked into the ABC link and it simply does not bear up under scrutiny.

As I've said many times before, this kind of bullshit needs to be called out every time it appears. It is unconscionable and irresponsible to appear to be using objective science to, as Joyce says, "to reinforce abortion stigma and frighten women."

And, of course, it's laughably hypocritical for fetus fetishists to wring their hands in pious concern for the well-being of women who have abortions when in other contexts, they delight in calling us "sluts" and "baby murderers".

So, while splendid analyses like this will change no anti minds, it should reassure women who have had or are contemplating having an abortion.


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

RU-486 Is Back, Now With Godwin's Law

Health Canada is an odd organization, isn't it?

Back in November, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a commentary advocating for the approval of RU-486, the preferred medical abortion drug, unaccountably not yet sanctioned in pro-choice Canada.

It explained:
A manufacturer must apply to bring the drug to market in Canada. Health Canada, citing confidentiality laws, would not confirm whether it is currently studying such an application.

However, [Dr. Sheila] Dunn said an application had been made within the last year. She said it may have taken time for a manufacturer to apply, owing to the expense and Canada’s relatively small population.

When the inevitable shit hit the fan from the fetus fetishists, Health Canada denied there was an application pending.

But now LifeShite reveals that the abortion activists did know what the hell they were talking about.
Health Canada has admitted that its deputy health minister misspoke when he told a parliament health committee in November that there is no pending application to have the controversial abortion drug RU-486 (mifepristone) approved in Canada. 

“An application has indeed been filed with Health Canada and is under review,” Health Canada’s Bureau of Metabolism, Oncology and Reproductive Sciences wrote on January 2 in an email obtained by
So, the antis are revving up again, citing old bullshit studies and stats from The Way Back Machine, before treatment regimes were find-tuned.

And ya gotta love this from CampaignLie's petition page.
And whereas RU-486 has ties to the Nazi death camps of WWII, given it was designed by the same company (Hoechst AG, formerly IG Farben) which supplied Hitler with the Zyklon-B gas used to kill millions of Jews, Poles and others in the gas chambers of Auschwitz;
Yep. That's how desperately short of actual facts and arguments they are. They went for the Nazi supplier! shriek.

Ja, like Kodak, Coca-Cola, IBM etc.

For background and more info, check out DJ's previous posts on RU-486.

Friday, 3 January 2014

No, Maurice, It Won't Happen Here

Canadians, especially Canadians who don't follow the Culture Wars® in the US, may be shocked by how endangered abortion rights are becoming down south.

In fact, the Guttmacher Institute reports that fetus fetishists had another banner year in 2013.

The New York Times reports:
“I think we are at a potential turning point-- either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin,” said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia University.

The anti-abortion groups, for their part, feel emboldened by new tactics that they say have wide public appeal even as they push the edges of Supreme Court guidelines, including costly clinic regulations and bans on late abortions.

“I’m very encouraged,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We’ve been gaining ground in recent years with laws that are a stronger challenge to Roe.”

“I think it is more difficult to get an abortion in the country today,” she said.
Here is Operation Scum's Troy Newman bragging over the success of using consumer complaints against abortion clinics. (bold mine)
“Cathy [Humbarger] is working a plan that we have used with great success, and is proving that abortion laws – even the most mundane – can be used to close abortion clinics. . .”
See? This is why we sane people will fight tooth and claw and whatever else it takes to prevent any abortion law's -- even the most mundane -- enactment here in Canada.

You hear that, Maurice?
Both motions are almost certainly doomed to fail. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been consistent on having no desire to reopen the abortion debates in Canada, and his party has shut down numerous efforts by pro-life caucus members to do so.

Vellacott expects the votes to take place within a couple of days of the House of Commons returning in January. This is the last chance Vellacott has to bring the matter forward. First elected in the riding of Saskatoon–Wanuskewin as a Reform MP in 1997, he announced in July he will not be seeking a seventh term in office.

Full text of motions here.