Let’s not upset Jesus or the government! I’m sure “He” would prefer a rusty coat hanger in a back alley.

May 19, 2010 at 2:31 am (Uncategorized)

Where, oh where to begin? How about with a wish that the tight, white, overly conservative senior sadists in government kick the bucket soon and that their horrible, harmful, severely old-fashioned views die with them? I think we are off to a great start. 

In case you weren’t aware, the G8 maternal health debate is hot to handle.  I will proudly demonstrate my freedom and say that I am FULLY EMBARRASSED and DISGUSTED with our sadistic conservative government, refusing to acknowledge the fact that we need to incorporate access to safe abortion into this plan for impoverished women in third-world countries.  In another opinion… who knows Ruth? This is what good old Ruth has to say about it (as quoted from a CBC news article):

“Opposition MPs say Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth’s advice to women’s groups to “shut the f–k up” about the government’s maternal health initiative shows the “culture of intimidation” created by the prime minister.”
(full article is here):  http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/05/04/abortion-maternal-health-ruth-reax-qp.html#ixzz0oMkDQBnr

Why would we celebrate the freedom that women have regarding sexual health and reproduction in our country (almost equal to that of a man’s! Holy Jesus!) but NOT share it with other women across the world?  How ridiculous. It is almost too backwards to try to discuss it, because the conservative (political and ideological) folk just don’t get it through their thick, old, bald heads.

Here’s my expression of freedom:

 I would fight ’til the end for the pro-choice movement, because I don’t think it is morally right that a few fascist Jesus freaks (usually old white men who do not have a uterus, or any empathy or understanding of those of us that DO have one) tell ME what to do with my own body/uterus.  It is a personal choice, as is religion, fashion, sexuality, opinion, etc. If you don’t like abortion and don’t agree with it? Don’t get one. Good for you, you are entitled to that opinion.  And I am entitled to mine.  Thankfully, we do not live in a country governed by a single book and an invisible law-maker that tells us that a woman’s testimony is worth half of any man’s (it actually states this in the Q’uran). 

What is your scared, narrow-minded opinion that is harmful to billions of women really worth?  Ask yourself.  It is known for a fact that many of these women are victims of rape, also victims of rape used as a weapon in war.  Would your God want them to suffer through something so terrible because a sexist jackass priest/whatever in an expensive robe who lights candles for the Almighty in a comfy church thinks not of the man who committed such an atrocious act, but of the woman or young girl who “sinned”  by enticing a man to rape her, but needs medical attention desperately?  And to refuse her at her most desperate times?  And when abortion was legalized in South Africa (it is not legal to have one in most African countries unless it is to save the mother’s life, and even then sometimes it is still not performed), the death rate of these women receiving abortions fell by about 91%. (I was shocked as I read this in a newspaper article this week).

91%. How dare you ignore this.

Of course, contraception and sexual education are important, too. Bravo for doing something right in this initiative.  But to ignore and dismiss a topic as huge as ABORTION in the MATERNAL HEALTH initiative is like neglecting to turn on the stove when you make dinner.  You can not leave something this important behind.

But! Oh boy! Let’s get some words from an expert – the old Nazi in charge of our country who seems to have dropped all of his common sense and humanity along with a few chromosomes shortly after….birth, I guess. Here are his magic words:

“…there are other “not controversial” procedures that can help women and children in developing countries….There are things that can be done, not controversial things, things that are not expensive”.  (as listed in the GlobeandMail online article “PM stresses need for ‘not controversial maternal health solutions'”).

Wow. How profound!                      …………..

Why is it that when it comes to decisions about a woman’s health and her freedom, her rights as a human being…. there is any kind of debate? There should be no debate.  There are no news articles about men’s health being in danger because the law doesn’t allow them access to birth control, or a real doctor, or medication. They can make whatever choice they please regarding their body and their health. This is so blatantly prejudiced, and the fact that everyone ignores it is both terrifying and infuriating.

A few blogs back in time, I had a HUGE feminist article and was quite passionate about many issues regarding women’s rights.  But it always stays on the back burner in politics and in the whole world’s eyes – East, West, rich, or poor.  Even Canada says that they will not open the abortion debate, because this is about maternal health, not abortion… the height of hypocrisy.  Abortion is a huge factor in the overall topic of maternal health.  If women in Canada have access to safe, free abortion, why are women in developing countries (who deal with enough hardship on a daily basis with closed mouths and passive obedience) going to a back alley shack where some loony tries to make a buck off of a rusty coat-hanger operation that most often leaves the woman scarred, disabled, or dead?

As of now, I have had ENOUGH. This article is another reason why I despise nationalism, because I do not wish to label myself as Canadian.  I am an individual.  I do not wish to be associated with a government that chooses ignorance over the lives of hundreds of millions of people.  I do not identify with Canada, and what Canada has come to stand for : ignorance, conservative blindness, oppression, and a spineless approach to anything important.  Canada is known for never rocking the boat, always following and never leading, which would be fine, if we were following righteosness and freedom etc.  How could we spend billions of dollars on a few skating rinks and some winter sports (I think it was called the “Olympics” this year. How quaint and useless), and then think that the maternal health issue should be dealt with in the most “inexpensive” way.  I am completely opposed to the idiots that are trying (and failing) to run our country.  Shame on you, Stephen Harper.  I hope one day if your testicles ever start to rot, it is too “controversial” and “expensive” for any doctor to treat you before they fall off.  You will never know the everyday suffering of any woman across the globe.  Would you want your mother, sister, or daughter’s sexual health issues to be ignored and dealt with cheaply and vaguely with a lack of any real desire for their justice?  I am so happy that at least my freedoms can not be taken from me. 

I wish every woman out there could say the same thing…

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4 Comments

  1. Thomas Mills said,

    Claire, the issue that you avoided in your well-crafted diatribe is the rights of the fetus. Now, before you get out your knives, I’m pro choice… and I decry the influence of right wing Christian dogma in our (or any) political system. I understand that when you’re editorializing, there’s no need for balance, and I think the issue deserves more attention than simply dismissing it as another example of our patriarchal society enslaving women.

    Yes, nobody tells a man what to do with his body. But then we aren’t responsible for giving birth. It is both a blessing and a curse, depending on whom you talk to on any given day of the month, that women are solely imbued with that particular gift (one that I personally don’t think is balanced by being able to pee standing up). So, women are confronted by the right to life issue, and that’s a result of the biology, not by some conspiracy by a cabal of wrinkled old men.

    Yes, rights are granted by society (I don’t subscribe to the concept of the “universal human right”), and most societies like Canada are still evolving from being overwhelmingly patriarchal (the discussion of how and why they are patriarchal is a subject for another day, but if you buy me a Guinness I’ll be happy to talk your ear off about it). But the reality that the human race faces is that for a period of up to nine months, a woman shares her body with another living entity. The question that plagues us, is when does that entity become a legal person, with protection under the law, including the right to not be murdered? When the rights of the mother and the fetus collide, we have a problem. Those that are pro choice, tend to hold the rights of the mother to be paramount, while the anti-abortionists tend to hold that the rights of a woman cannot justify murder (which is apparently to be distinguished from the need for oil). Personally, I’d like to see them introduce retroactive abortions for some members of our society, but that’s another conversation.

    I’m curious, at what point does the right of the infant to life, liberty and security of the person override your right to do what you want with your body? Because that’s the thin edge of the wedge in this argument. It wasn’t “a few fascist Jesus freaks” that wrote the Canadian criminal code, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or even the UN Declaration on Human Rights (for whatever it’s worth). These are difficult issues that go to the core of the social contract and the underpinnings of our society. To write them off to patriarchal hegemony is an unenlightened position, although it makes for excellent reading.

    The maternal health debate is an extremely complicated matter that goes to the cultural core of many of these so-called “third world nations”. There are so many moral, ethical and legal issues triggered by the initiative, that it’s impossible to even start describing them here. The statistics you quote about South Africa are appalling, but that pretty much goes for all the statistics coming out of the third world. People die there, Claire. They die from dirty water, from malnutrition, from war, from inadequate medical resources. They die, and nobody really gives a shit. The Rwandans were slaughtering each other and we did nothing. Dharfur is a castastrophe, and we do nothing. Women die getting abortions. Add that to the list of thousand other things that should be fixed… and will take lots of money to do so. And it’s within that context, that I can almost support the Canadian position. In the third world, where so much is wrong, and where they need help in so many different ways that are clear-cut and not mired in a religious/social/political quagmire, I would rather that the money was spent on something that would actually make a difference. Moreover, it is the height of arrogance for us to be telling the third world what is morally right, particularly when we only legalized abortion 30 years ago… and we are STILL debating it.

    Maybe we should be focusing on trying to bring about change that will prevent women from getting raped in the first place, rather than raging about how they should have access to a safe abortion afterwards. There’s only so much money to go towards these problems, Claire. Why spend it on something that is so controversial? The more controversial it is, the less effective it will be. Abortion is one of those issues that is at the pinnacle of social issues, and is a function of all the other social issues below it. The only way to effect real change is to start from the base and work upwards. Trickle down social policy doesn’t work.

    Look, I don’t entirely disagree with you. I’m simply pointing out that there is a much bigger picture than the one you painted in your blog, such as the fetus’ right to life and the implications of first world setting policy for the third world, is an entirely separate matter.

  2. clairela said,

    In not wanting to seem “unenlightened”, as you called me, I was making a very strong case for abortion to be present in the maternal health initiative – but it wasn’t even open for discussion or debate at all. I intentionally made my own, balls-out argument in a state of anger and do not regret anything I said. I was not being arrogant, and was … See Morecertainly not condemning the third world anywhere in my writing, and was not saying that they are all morally wrong if they are pro-choice…… just as if someone I know was against abortion, personally, I would respect their right to their opinion. It is a personal choice, not a legal decision made for everyone in every circumstance, by a few people. I think that everyone should have the freedom to choose, that’s my bottom line.

    I am aware that there are many problems in the third world and don’t need to be informed of it in a condescending manner. I think we have all known of these problems for many years now. I was being specific, or else if I had started on EVERY issue present in the thirld world….I would finish a few books, right?
    Birth is the start of a new life, yes? Isn’t a topic such as this worth spending time, debate and money on? This WOULD actually make a difference in the subject of maternal health (if these women ever become mothers, or just overal) , and that’s a fact. and while we are apparently trying to (right now) make a difference in the lives of impoverished women/mothers across the globe, why give a half-hearted attempt? Yes of course there are so many things that need to be fixed. But if we are conerned with fixing maternal health, right now, why wouldn’t discussion of abortion be on the agenda?

    of course I am concerned with the question of why women are being raped and abused (sometimes used against them in war, as we mentioned). Neither was I writing a first vs. third world hurricane chaos blog. You make some great points on these topics and they are appreciated, and believe me I think that we are of the same mind on a lot of things… but THat was not the topic of this particular article though. I was writing about what is going on within Canada’s maternal health initiative right now. and I feel that we are being pretty ridiculous for leaving out something so entertwined with maternal health.

    as for the woman’s right to choose and the fetus’ right to life debate…. Any sound doctor will not perform an abortion after a certain amount of time in any pregnancy… It has to be done at a certain stage, and I know this because I have known more than a fair share of women who have had to make this choice. If we set about to discuss this,well This also opens up questions of whether it is immoral to distribute the Morning-After Pill, etc….
    It’s frustrating and difficult at times, as a woman, to take a stand on something like this when all those “wrinkly old men” etc just roll their eyes and tell us to shut the fuck up. I don’t think anyone has ever tried to treat you as a “silly little lady with a big mouth”, but if they have, you may feel as angry and fired up as I am. It gets tiring to be brushed off and ignored. I was also not trying to dismiss our Charter, etc. , and arguing about the Charter and the UN Declaration of HR and how they are wrong! violently terribly wrong! Regardless of who wrote what, here we are, arguing about the right to life vs. the right to choose, and that is what I wished to write about for public viewing at this time. I was stating that I am disappointed in our current government and am embarrassed by some of the choices (or lack thereof) that Canada makes. Thankfully we have all these rights, and the right to discuss it. I hope it was an entertaining read for you.
    Something about women’s rights caught your attention? Good.

  3. Thomas Mills said,

    I think you’re a fabulous writer and I hope you keep it up. If I was condescending or disrespectful, please don’t take it personally, but rather accept it as me simply attempting to match the editorial tone of your piece… and as someone who is rapidly becoming one of those wrinkly old men.

    Without trying to engage in rhetoric, I think that the abortion issue should be put on the table, but ultimately whether it becomes a real choice for women depends on their society (which is probably run by wrinkly old men). Ironically, the strongest opposition to abortion in these countries comes from the Christian values… and if we hadn’t forced Christianity on some of these countries to begin with, this wouldn’t be an issue. Now we want to bring them safe abortions. It’s a travesty.

    The status of women in the third world is appalling. But it’s a complicated fix that goes right to the core of their values. I’ve talked to muslim women in Damascas, for example, who prefer to be covered from head to foot because they are not hassled by men at all. I don’t support it, but I had to respect her point of view. Who am I to say that she should be free to wear a micro-skirt and 4″ heels or get breast implants to feel attractive? She would probably think that I was insane. I’m always leary of the West’s continuing predisposition to think that it’s got it right, when everyone else has it wrong. Democracy may not be the best form of government. Christianity certainly isn’t the best religion. Naked capitalism may not be the best economy. And abortion may not be what women in the third world most need right now.

    The conservative government are sidestepping the abortion issue because no matter what position they take, they suffer political damage as a result. Either they alienate their political base, or they alienate everyone else. So, they’re pointing out that there are other issues to talk about… more important issues… and while I dislike the conservatives intensely because of their right wing roots, I must agree with their position.

    The maternal initiative that is making the news is politics, pure and simple. You didn’t hear anything about it during the Bush years because that administration was also fueled by the Christian Right. Now that the democrats are in power, Hillary is seen to be pushing the agenda forward as the champion of women’s rights. But make no mistake, Hillary is trying to score much needed points with not just the democratic (pro-abortion) base, but with soft republican women. She’s also eyeballing Obama’s unpopularity due to the healthcare initiative and contemplating that Obama may need to fall on his sword as the price of healthcare, with Hillary picking up the Democratic banner and marching into the next election. I’m sorry to sound so cynical here, but the entire process is political. The status of women in the third world is the last thing on the minds of the politicians who are running this circus…and I think that’s what Ruth was getting at with the NGO (who really DO care). She told them to shut the fuck up because they are naively assuming that this is about women, and it’s not. It’s about who’s running the show. If the women benefit as a result, even better.

    I completely respect the freedom to choose, but once it involves the legal rights of another human being it gets messy. No reasonable person would argue that women should be turned into de facto incubators, but at what point does a woman lose the right to terminate a pregnancy? Even, in the worst possible situation, where a woman is raped, does the fetus (which, while forced on the woman, is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing) lose its legal right to life? You say that it’s not a legal decision, etc., but it is inescapably a legal decision. At some point, that fetus becomes a human being, and is therefore protected under the law from being killed. At some point, a woman’s right to choose is supplanted by the rights of the baby that she is carrying. So, it’s a continuum, with legal rights being imbued at the moment of conception on the one hand (as proposed by the anti-abortion hardliners) and the baby having no rights whatsoever until it is born (the pro-choice hardliners). Where we fall in that continuum is the difficult choice.

    Claire, I really do enjoy reading your blog. I simply thought that your piece would have been stronger if it had dealt with some of the glaring issues, like the right to life. You have a strong voice though, and it’s my hope that you’ll make it heard. It’s one thing to simply state your opinion, but it’s quite another to offer a point of view. An opinion never changed anyone’s mind, but a well expressed point of view has formed nations.

    T.

  4. clairela said,

    Tom I LLOVEEEE that you are commenting and giving me your opinion…. I like hearing debate, seeing a spark in someone else…. and I think we need to both chat over a Guinness or two….. lol!
    I wish you knew a bit more about how I feel on these topics you are bringing up…. I do have an opinion on these important topics, you know. I will say again though, that this piece was a specific piece on how I feel this so-called maternal health initiative is being handled. Of course there are so many other things to discuss about the third world, women’s rights, etc. It’s quite tough to cover all of these in one blog! Just because I didn’t cover every aspect of every topic you are bringing up, that doesn’t mean that I am some young, ruthless, uneducated hairy arm-pitted angry bitch with no knowledge of how the world works.

    I think it would have come off in a less condescending way if you hadn’t assumed I was clueless about some of these major issues.

    For example, I completely disagree with imposing religion on anyone. I am not a religious person at all. I think that a country that is ruled by religion is doomed to failure, to be quite frank, and that is my personal opinion in the shortest form possible (read the past few blogs, you will see my full force on that….) but whether someone believes in democracy, capitalism, Jesus, Allah, etc…. We should all have the freedom to choose what we believe in. Just as if a woman wants to wear a full-coverage robe, or a bikini…. we should be free to choose. We should all have the freedom of an EDUCATION most importantly, so that we are able to choose what suits us best (religion, fashion, our own political system/voting, etc….)

    The abortion debate could go on….. and on……. and on. I will say one last time that a sound, trained medical professional will not perform an abortion past a certain length of time in a pregnancy. I believe this has a lot to do with how humane this is in some people’s eyes…… whatever some people may say, I am obviously (hah!) pro-choice, and willing to fight for it. Even though I respect a pro-life opinion, our CHOICES are ours to make, not the government’s…. you make an excellent point for the fetus’ right to life, yes. But that is the debate, and this is my side. I think that in the very later, identifiable stages of life, it gets hard to really consider this argument, I will admit that….. but in that state, a women can not receive an extremely late abortion anyways, correct?… No doctor would perform it at that point.
    It is legal in Canada’s medical system, technically, to perform it at any stage. BUT, under almost EVERY hospital contract, no doctor would perform it unless it was severely necessary past approximately 20ish weeks. And even then, if it is a severe case, it is on their hands, and they would rather (and are most times required to) refuse past that stage.

    It was not my intention nor desire to post some first year, poli-science, blah blah blah BLAND article describing every possible definition of what abortion, religion, government etc means. This is my point of view. It may not seem as relaxed and textbook as some people are used to. And frankly, I don’t give a damn. Sugarcoating how I felt in the moments I wrote that would be a regret. I have said now many times that I was dealing with quite a specific issue, which does not mean that I neglect all other issues. Just read another one of my blogs, or ask me, lol!

    Does it not frustrate you that these women’s pictures are being passed around, cried over, and used for a political reason, nothing more? So you want to look like a bleeding heart and help the world – well, fucking follow through. If you get re-elected, great. If you look like a hero, bonus. But it’s kind of all or nothing, isn’t it?. We should at least give our thought and time and effort in all aspects while on a certain subject – if not some of our colorful money, too. Would you give a starving family one grain of rice and then boast about how you’ve done your share? Government or individual, that’s pretty heartless. Which is unacceptable by any means in my eyes. The world has too many people who “donate” without really thinking…. they do it purely to ease their guilt of a modern, comfortable life. I honestly don’t think we should feel guilty in this case though…. I think we should feel empowered to share, contribute, build, grow instead, and be positive about what we can do…. I may sound like a dreamer, but I believe I will see a better world in my lifetime, and I believe it is possible to see an end to much of the suffering we so easily ignored until now.

    It is so hard to understand and empathize with MILLIONS of lives, because I don’t think human beings are able to fully comprehend such suffering, and we are pretty desensitized to suffering anyway these days. Ignorance in our society, however, is a CHOICE – and I think a very selfish one.
    Also….. I wanted the attention of those who might not normally read some article that drones on about women vs. fetus, the criminal code etc…. not everyone is interested in reading more than 3 sentences in one sitting. It’s sad. But you know it’s true. I am glad that the severity of my feelings/opinion in that article caught some people’s attention. If they look past some of the jokes, the funny picture of good old Stephen with the offensive facial hair…. they would think. They would consider. They might get off the fence and stand up for something, too. They might be able to use their freedom to speak, act…. who knows?

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