Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pro Choice - the secular, pro woman stance

I was reading around the intrawebs. I've started reading more more women skeptics and I'm glad I have or I wouldn't have come on this gem by Skepchick. While men get get behind fighting creationism in the classroom as a sceptical cause, only a woman could identify the root of all the anti abortions/anti choice  lawmaking going on in the US as an effect of the religiosity blooming in the Republican Party. Since it's packaged with abstinence style birth control, reducing access to contraception and the desire to return women to a cloistered role in society.

As a non-USian I can roll my eyes and vow never to go to a state that discriminates against women and same sex unions-I don't say gays because that implies to me a men's movement. As such, it will eventually be accepted and respected. Not so much with women's rights in the US.  Rebecca Watson identifies 49 states with 916 bills that have restricted reproductive rights in the works and those that have passed are horrifying. It is unlikely to work out ok for women; one just has to look at the ERA failure. In the States that have passed laws, women have to put with defunded Planned Parenthood, vaginal ultrasound  (I can't imagine how well that would go over with a casualty of rape) with description (now let's torture women terminating a wanted child with genetic defects) and now no insurance coverage from ANY provider, not just the State.

Pervasive in our society is the idea that women get pregnant, are simply inconvenienced by the getting bigger part then love the outcome in the end. Men taking the pro choice stance usually focus on rape as a reason for needing abortion services. This is a huge lack of imagination. One of the great things about the Jerry Springer effect is that women no longer have to experience pregnancy to enter that the "procreation girls club" that lets you know of all the things that can go wrong. That's important because women lack imagination as well. Women that I've know to have abortions have done so because the fetus has died after 5 or even 8 months, a miscarriage that didn't complete, defective fetal development and ectopic pregnancy. When anti-abortion laws are passed, I wonder about those women, the ones that Tiller and Kvorkian helped. I don't know how many women I know have simply chosen to terminate as a choice because it's none of my business. I do know when I worked in a hospital in the '80s, people were outraged that all procedures were listed as D&Cs rather than identifying those slutty women who used abortion as birth control.

Why do women buy into these laws? The risk of pregnancy is outweighed by the benefit of offspring for most women. I knew a woman who miscarried and at that point became anti-abortion because she was devastated and thought other women should be prevented from that grief. When I pointed out women who chose abortion would not necessarily feel that grief (not a shining hour for tact on my part) she implied that would be inhuman. Many women seem to buy into the idea that they cannot make a decent decision without the help of a man. News flash, many decisions men make are poor as well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Election 2011 winds down - yay

Canadians are going to the polls for the 4th time in 5 years. What we gained by not crashing hard during the last economic downturn is being wasted buy power plays. There is only one thing I wish we would adopt from US political structure and that is specific wait times between elections that cannot be overturned unless there is a vote of non-confidence. That would have removed just one of the elections but one is better than none.

I thought I would never understand the knee jerk opposition to Harper. To me he's pretty much like our family of 2 working adults. His Calgary home isn't in a super rich area, his wife ran a successful business. He said he would put the same sex marriage thing up for vote in parliament and he did while phrasing it in way that could not possible overturn the Supreme Court judgement. In spite of personal beliefs he has held the line on abortion being a medical procedure like any other. First time as PM he made 5 election promises and kept them. The social fears of (mainly) Metro-Torontonians seem really out to lunch especially since our civil rights are protected and Canadians rarely go on about "activist judges". I don't want the Conservatives to have a majority because I don't think that best serves a country as diverse as ours but I can accept him representing Canada.

Since I've developed a negative reaction to Ignatieff I'm a little more sympathetic to those anti-Harper folks. I was very surprised that the Liberals brought, what is in essence, an American to be their party leader. Here is someone who as spent most of his adult life in the US as it wandered further and further to the right.  Under his leadership there has been no interest in working with the CPC, just creating conflict.  He can't even be bothered to do his job by attending Parliament. And there's his amazing statement that even if Harper got the majority minority he'd persuade the Gov Gen.that *Ignatieff* should be the PM forming a minority coalition. Even as a throw away comment that is deeply disrespectful of the Canadian Electorate. A sore loser that appeals to authority to "win".

Which brings us to the NDP. I actually think a coalition of NDP and CPC could bring the balance Canada needs.  Do good things for Canadians at a reasonable cost. The CPC initiative of getting physicians to areas in need by forgiving student loans actually mesh well with the idea of the NDP desire to get rid of cell phone contract to make cell phones like any other utility; both widen the availability of services to everyone. Encourage small business, ensure a stable social net, hold big business accountable are all things the CPC and NDP could work on together.

And to my surprise those could be the big 2 after tomorrow. NDP is gaining support in Quebec and running neck-in-neck with the Liberal party. If Layton does become official opposition and does well, the next election  - hopefully in 4 to 5 years - could be really  interesting.