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MP Stephen Woodworth won’t answer a simple question about rape and abortion

The question in question is, “if a woman is raped, do you support her right to an abortion?”

Woodworth’s the guy that’s trying to reopen the abortion debate as a private member proposal despite Harper’s campaign promise that the present abortion laws would not be revisited yet again. So, with tacit approval from his party — who, while they aren’t backing him explicitly, certainly are more than willing to allow the debate to happen, and with their steamroller house numbers would almost certainly win if they voted in lockstep with their party — here we go again. Expect no engagement on the topic in parliament, since that’s well out of fashion these days. But expect at the same time some heavy trolling on the internet to make it seem like there’s popular support. Not that the populace brought this forward, or are encouraging it.

Oh sure, he’ll engage personally with people like Steve Thoms (SomeCndnSkeptic) on Twitter for weeks on end, getting science wrong, getting the law wrong, getting simple words wrong, and smearing opponents as being like Bashar al-Assad, dictator of Syria.


Some highlights from Thoms’ post:

By now, the whole country knows that Stephen Woodworth, my MP, has persuaded his party to let him push his private members’ bill, that would launch a parliamentary committee seeking the best scientific evidence as to when a human life begins. Currently in Canada, a human is a human when it has completed live birth. On the surface, this is a sensible action. But underneath this very thin veneer of truth-seeking, is a sinister consequence:

It would, by necessity and default, make any woman who gets (and any doctor who performs) an abortion a murderer. In the truest legal sense of the term, Woodworth wants to grant full human rights to unborn fetuses (without first waiting to see the results of his Parliamentary committee), and therefore, criminalize abortions.

A government so small it fits in your uterus.

Woodworth, a sitting member of Parliament, an accomplished lawyer who is calling for the latest scientific data, doesn’t understand the difference between gender and sex (and this is putting aside the antiquated binary definition of gender). Compounding this, Woodworth did not even address the comment: that laws can’t discriminate on the basis of sex. By expanding human rights to include fetuses, only women would be subject to criminal liability.

Woodworth claimed that over 500 abortions are performed each year after viability. I was not able to confirm this statistic (and Woodworth did not disclose his source), but it may very well be true. Even if the 500+ number is accurate, Woodworth is implying that women who get abortions after viability are murderers.

I am horrified that so many of the folks I know personally who voted Conservative have done so without any sort of knowledge of the sweeping social changes they would effect — almost every one of them contra their best interests. If any of the 22% of eligible voters who gave Harper his steamroller majority are women, congratulations, you’ve voted for a government that will ensure if you ever get pregnant under any circumstances you’re consigned to baby-factory status. Even if you were raped. Even if it’s medically necessary because you might die, or the baby will certainly miscarry. You will be, legally, consigned to slavery to a “person” that doesn’t even have a nervous system. Blastocysts have more rights than you.

Hope you got the government you really wanted!

Go read more.

Comments

  1. Aliasalpha says

    Well of course a fertilised cell cluster is more important, its pure potential! It could turn out to be anything you dream it could be and therefore be far better than the boring old reality embodied by the  woman  factory. After all the future is always more amazing & worthwhile than the present…

  2. ema says

    The question in question is, “if a woman is raped, do you support her right to an abortion?”

    What a shame that we’ve allowed this to become an acceptable question.

    Woodworth claimed that over 500 abortions are performed each year after viability.

    Are these elective or therapeutic abortions? Also, it seems Woodworth doesn’t understand what “viability” means. All it tells you is that, given the development of a problem with the pregnancy (and, as important, the proximity to a properly staffed hospital), delivery will result in a certain % of live births. It tells you nothing about an individual pregnancy.

  3. kraut says

    Re: Section 223

    Thank you for your recent message advising me of your reaction to my suggestion that Parliament study Canada’s 400 year old definition of human being and the modern twenty-first Century medical evidence on the subject.

    To ensure that you are aware of what I actually wrote, I am enclosing my Media Release on this subject.

    There is no question that our seventeenth Century law declaring that a child is not a human being until complete birth is related to the issue of abortion. However, whatever view one might take of abortion laws, isn’t it important and helpful to know whether the child is a human being? Shouldn’t a law with fundamental human rights implications be informed by truthful science and just principles? If a child is actually a human being before complete birth, should any Canadian law be so arbitrary as to designate anyone who is human as less than human? This has far wider implications than merely for the abortion issue. Parliament should not accept any law that says some human beings are not human.

    Parliament must, of course, concern itself with many important issues. However, among them is a duty to ensure that a 400 year old law with important human rights implications is studied in light of 21st Century medical information. This can be done in the spirit of respectful enquiry and dialogue.

    I regret that we are not in agreement on this, but I assure you that I will take into account your views with the utmost sensitivity and consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Woodworth
    Member of Parliament
    Kitchener Centre

    This is the standard reply letter I received when I sent my message:

    I am just reading that you attempt to reopen the abortion debate by
    trying to investigate the “person hood” of a fetus.

    I can only remind you that it will not be to the benefit of your party to touch the status of abortion in Canada, which gives the woman the right to choose.
    Even in your conservative government not all are Christian
    fundamentalist who think it wise to again debate an extremely divisive subject when there is simply no need to
    for whatever reasons except pure and unadulterated ideology.

    I simply do not understand the rational for this move, unless it is to cater to the american rightwing fundamentalist ideologues your Leader seems to want to emulate.

    Sincerely

    He gets so much wrong, that I have to assume he had to choose a career as politician because of simple incompetence.

  4. Sally Strange says

    In the truest legal sense of the term, Woodworth wants to grant full human rights to unborn fetuses (without first waiting to see the results of his Parliamentary committee), and therefore, criminalize abortions.

    It should be pointed out, over and over again, that criminalizing abortion in effects grants fetuses rights far above what born, adult human beings have. It allows a fetus to hijack the body, organs, and blood of another human being against her will, and press-gang that person’s energy into supporting its survival. Born human persons don’t get to force other people to donate blood or any other body part against their will, even if the lack of such donations condemns them to death. Why are fetuses special? Or, more honestly, why are pregnant women NOT that special?

  5. kraut says

    “I am horrified that so many of the folks I know personally who voted Conservative have done so without any sort of knowledge of the sweeping social changes they would effect — almost every one of them contra their best interests.”

    Be horrified that the voting system we have in Canada permitted an actual minority Government to become the majority in the House with only 39% of the popular vote but 166 seats, while the total vote of NDP and Liberals combined was over 49% – talk about a distorted system. What the fuck does this have to do with Democracy?

    Be also horrified that the Liberal party had an ineffectual leader in Mr. Ignatief, a fine intellectual for sure but without the political scrappiness against Harper that was needed and Chretien had had in spades.

  6. says

    What, exactly, are you expecting 21st Century medical information to tell you? It’s not going to define what stage of development a fetus “becomes human”.

    There’s nothing a study could tell you that’s relevant, because the point at which a fetus becomes a child with rights is a purely philosophical and ethical question. It’s decided by the society in which the question is raised based on their moral beliefs about what the rights of the mother and the fetus should be.

    If you want to try and change society’s stance based on your own morals, that’s a fine cause, but try to tell people advances in science mean that there needs to be a change. There won’t be a scientifically supported answer to a purely ethical question.

  7. ischemgeek says

    No, the question isn’t “If a woman’s raped would you allow her an abortion?”

    It’s, “What the fuck makes a woman worth less than any other person, that she should be forced to put her health, livelihood and future at risk for an embryo, when no man is forced to do that even for a fully sentient human being?”

    That’s the question. By letting them make the first one the default question, we’re tactitly admitting women are worth less than men – because her rights only come into it if she’s a victim of violent crime. That’s absolutely disgusting to me as a woman and as a person.

  8. San Ban says

    Woodworth’s bias is exposed in the language he uses to make his non-point in that letter. Only someone who sees it as a foregone conclusion that the embryo/fetus is a human being deserving of full human rights would use the language of the most radical anti-choice forces, while claiming to advocate for a scientific resolution to a question that turns out to be an ethical and political one. It’s a question that’s not even relevant in the debate over whether a woman (a person with full human rights) ought to have the right to decide whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

  9. steve oberski says

    In the US Republican primaries, Romney and Santorum are probably reconsidering their anti-woman platforms based on the results of a recent Pew poll showing that Obama leads both of them and the difference can be partially explained by female voters bailing out of the Republican party.

    Who’d have thought it, half of your electorate takes issue with being called sluts for wanting autonomy over their bodies and being relegated to a role of chattels and brood mares ?

    I would expect a similar backlash north of the border, and after a few polls showing similar results expect to see Conservative fundagelical politicians reined in big time.

    I agree with ischemgeek and San Ban that the debate has to be framed in terms of a woman’s autonomy over her own body. As soon as you bring in viability you are ceding the argument to the theocrats.

    And on a purely pragmatic level, women are voters (although it wouldn’t surprise me if a Conservative private members bill appeared seeking to “reopen” debate on that issue) and fetuses are not.

  10. jufulu says

    I think that MP Stephen Woodworth should hold hearings to determine what the science says about when someone becomes an adult. Adulthood is a very important benchmark and I don’t think that it should be set arbitrarily.

    (/snark)

  11. says

    It could turn out to be anything you dream it could be and therefore be far better than the boring old reality embodied by the woman factory.

    Also, the “factory” is no longer a virgin, which means it’s practically worthless. You can’t get a half decent dowry once a factory has been opened for business, even if it was a forced startup.

  12. Jaclyn says

    “If any of the 22% of eligible voters who gave Harper his steamroller majority are women, congratulations, you’ve voted for a government that will ensure if you ever get pregnant under any circumstances you’re consigned to baby-factory status. Even if you were raped. Even if it’s medically necessary because you might die, or the baby will certainly miscarry. You will be, legally, consigned to slavery to a “person” that doesn’t even have a nervous system. Blastocysts have more rights than you.

    Hope you got the government you really wanted!”

    You are basically saying that women asked for it and I am highly offended. Regardless of what political party women vote for, congratulating us on the stripping of our rights is not cool. You are singling out women for voting for the conservative party, whatever their reason for that was, and putting the blame on them for his majority. I know you said “if” but we all know that some women vote conservative. Their reasons for doing that are their own, and they were promised that the abortion issue would never be touched by this government. Thanks for sarcastically congratulating us for the possibility our rights will be taken away. Much appreciated.

  13. says

    I take it you voted Conservative, Jaclyn. I will apologize to you alone for this offense, if only you explain to me what policies you explicitly wanted to vote for in doing so.

  14. Jaclyn says

    Why would you apologize to me alone if there’s an issue with blaming women for something happening to them that they were promised would not? There are valid reasons to vote for the Conservative party, even if you abhor some of their social policies. To vote for them based on those reasons, being assured that one of those social policies will never be enacted, and then be singled out and blamed for that policy being brought up is…sad. Sad that women get blamed for everything, even by people who are “progressive.”

    I feel it is my duty to vote regardless of whether I want to vote for anyone or not. I do not currently appreciate the policies, actions, or major figures of any party we currently have today, as a whole. I live in Harper’s constituency and I actually voted Green, even though I disliked the Green candidate. I did this simply because I couldn’t bring myself to vote for anyone else due to the actions the party has taken, or the policies they espouse. I have voted Conservative once, but I won’t elaborate on that. The government did not perform as I expected and I won’t vote for them again.

    I was brought up Liberal, and always want to vote Liberal, but don’t have confidence in them to actually follow policy. Growing up, I campaigned and planted signs for our neighbour who was a Liberal member of the Alberta Legislature. I would do that again today if he were still in politics. He isn’t and no one else has my confidence. That’s as much as anyone needs to know about me, and probably more.

  15. steve oberski says

    @Jason

    An analogy I like to use is that political parties in power are like diapers, you have to change them regularly otherwise they start to stink.

    And as kraut pointed out earlier, due to our first past the post takes all electoral system, we have a majority government with 39% of the popular vote and that is hardly unique to the current government.

    A minority government is as close as we will get to a saner electoral system until it is overhauled to a system based on proportional representation as by it’s nature the parties are forced to negotiate and compromise otherwise the government falls.

    I have no beef with the Conservatives representing the 39% who did vote for them as long as it doesn’t disenfranchise those who didn’t.

    Not to say that I think that basic freedoms such as personal autonomy and freedom of speech and association are open to the tyranny of majority.

  16. says

    I’m afraid you mistake me twice, Jaclyn. Some women want this. Some women really hate abortion because they think the Bible tells them so. They think abortion is the same as stabbing a newborn and fully viable baby in the heart. They think that choosing the woman over the fetus is evil, and that anyone getting pregnant unwillingly is pregnant because they did something wrong. Thus the slut-shaming, thus the protesting at the abortion clinics.

    I’m saying, if you’re a woman, and you voted Conservative, I really hope you are getting what you bargained for — I hope you can live with that mistake because you don’t think it’s a mistake. Because if not, then you’re learning what duplicitous and power-hungry assholes have taken over the party.

    I am agog that anyone could vote Conservative given how many policies are blatantly disruptive to the common folk’s way of life. Look at all the policies that have been implemented. Look at how ideologically socially conservative and how fiscally irresponsible they are. If they lied and pretended they’d be fiscally conservative and socially hands-off, and you fell for it, then I feel all the more pity for you while I rage, rage at the fucking nonsense they’re putting us all through.

  17. Jaclyn says

    Thanks for talking down to me as if I don’t understand that women are not monolith and have differing opinions on things. Since I am a woman, I think I kind of understand that already. Since I am a woman who grew up with liberal parents but oppressive highly religious relatives, one of whom was my grandfather who told me repeatedly that I was going to hell for my views starting when I was 13. I think I understand the viewpoints of the highly religious, having lived with it all my life. I think I understand, given that I went to a Christian Reformed school, and my father was an elder in the Christian Reformed church until he got sick of the close-mindedness there.

    I think I understand the horrible views people have on abortion, since I have had one. I understand that these views make me cry sometimes. Like when my cousin posts on facebook about how people who have abortions are murderers, and I realize she’s talking about me. She believes that about me. I understand that people like you make people like me cry almost as much because you tell us, “you got what you asked for.” You tell us you pity us. We don’t want your fucking pity, how about your goddamn support. You want to rage? Rage away, but don’t splash it about on people who have been oppressed and lied to all their lives, only to experience it again on every level.

    The fact may be the Conservative party has been “taken over” by power hungry assholes. Or maybe they were always there. (Probably.) Just like every other party. People have to wade through the morass try their best to get the outcome they want while they know or don’t know, that the people who want power are just lying to get it. In every. Single. Party.

  18. says

    So I see that you’re really keen on being angry at me, as though I’m anti-woman. I can also see that nothing I say will dissuade you from that thought, so I’m leaving it at that.

  19. steve oberski says

    Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

    — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary (1911)

    Apparently what some women hate is other women getting abortions.

    There is anecdotal evidence collected from abortion clinic doctors and staff that anti-choice women who had actively picketed clinics obtained abortions themselves when faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

    Somehow they were able to convince themselves that their abortion was OK but those other women were wrong.

    It’s hard to imagine the level of cognitive dissonance involved but given the other irrational propositions these people readily embrace perhaps it’s all in a days work.

    The thing to consider is that the anti-choice women are as much victims as those that they rail against, not that this excuses their behaviour.

    http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

  20. Jaclyn says

    What? You haven’t even tried to dissuade me from being really angry at you. Which you wouldn’t have had to, since I’m not. Perhaps I should have been more clear, but I am suggesting to you that you rethink congratulating women on getting rights taken away, which is insulting. I am not saying you are anti-woman. I have read your blog for a while, so I know you are not. That doesn’t mean you can’t say things that aren’t cool. And when people who aren’t anti-woman say things that are, it is sometimes even more frustrating than hearing it from someone who is. Sometimes makes people feel that things are even more futile than they thought.

    You don’t have to agree with me that what you said is insulting to women, I am simply telling you that is how I, one of your readers, sees it. The rage that you feel is the rage that I feel, and that is why I respond strongly to any issue like this. The fact is that you did condescend to me, explaining to me how some people think as if I had no idea, which would be difficult for most people on a site like this. Unless they come here to oppose you on the issue, which I did not. Then you said that women who vote conservative get what they asked for, which is dangerous rhetoric used in other circumstances. So I responded to that with some heat. That doesn’t mean I’m in some irrational rage at you from which I can never be talked down.

    I’m asking you to examine the things that you said, and I am hoping you come to the conclusion that I did and amend that. But that’s your prerogative.

  21. says

    The only thing I might amend is to remove the “congratulations”. It’s sarcastic and bitter, and detracts from the real message: voting Conservative is voting expressly against your self-interest.

    I tried to explain my rationale in saying “I hope you got the government you voted for” and you suggested I was talking down to you. It was for that reason that I assumed you were simply done with me, which was why I was willing to be done with you.

  22. says

    I thought for a second that maybe I WAS talking down to you, because you hadn’t actually taken issue with the “hope you got” bit. Turns out that you had, in fact, expressly taken issue with that. So my explaining why I said it is not, in fact, talking down to you.

    I’m sorry that you think my words were an indictment of all women. I am sorry that you are offended by what I said, in that I am definitely supportive of women in general, but not in specific of those women who would do everything in their power to hobble human rights.

    And I am especially sorry if you voted for Harper because of his lie about the abortion debate, considering all the other policies he told the truth about that are slowly importing everything bad about the Republicans into Canada. I realize this last bit will make you more angry at me, and not less, but this really does seem like a self-defensive tirade at the fact that you feel personally slighted after having personally made the mistake of falling for Harper’s lies. The fact that you are now so disillusioned with all politicians from all parties that you think they’re all out to damage your standing as fully human, well, that’s an irrationality I have no reason to deal with.

  23. Jaclyn says

    If you still don’t see there’s a problem with saying to women that they got what they asked for when that’s a highly charged statement used against them often in horrible circumstances, INCLUDING slutshaming and arguing against abortion, then I’m pretty sad about that.

    Maybe you missed the part where I said I voted Green in the last election? Maybe you missed the part where I said I voted Liberal most of the time? I said I voted Conservative ONCE, and didn’t feel like elaborating on why because it’s hugely complicated with multiple reasons. I voted for them when they gained a minority govt. One of the reasons for doing so is because I believed the Liberals had become overtly corrupt and there needed to be a temporary change. As well, I support better management and more respect of the military. There were other issues as well, but I won’t get into them. I wasn’t fooled into anything. I knew who I was voting for. And I did not vote for them again.

    I suggested you were talking down to me for explaining to me that there Really Really Really are women who are Christians who don’t like abortion. Like I was an idiot. I had said that some women voted Conservative who don’t believe that, so your response was out of left field. It’s regretful that you seem to have decided that I am not a rational person, and that I’m being defensive over something that I’m not.

    As I explained to you quite clearly, I do not believe that you should be wagging your finger at the women who voted for the Conservative government and using rhetoric that has so often been used against women to do it. I am saying that you could have been much more sensitive to just how horrifying it is that people are trying to take away your control over your body, and that is not something that you should also be using against women so they get it from every side. I would like you to stop telling me I’m mistaken and defensive, and actually look at what I’m saying. Please stop assuming I’m a Conservative stooge, or bitter hoodwinked individual.

    The fact that you think I’m irrational in believing there are power-hungry fools in every party and every walk of life is also sad. The evidence is overwhelming. I never said they were all out to take away people’s status as human, and I don’t think it’s fair of you to in any way allege that I think that. If you want to continue to assume the worst of me instead of look at what I’ve been saying, you can do that. But maybe you can instead examine the possibility that you have also been reacting in a defensive manner.

    I agree with you that voting Conservative is against women’s self-interest. Against the self-interest of many people. I don’t agree with the way you went about saying it.

  24. Erin says

    Jason, she did not vote for Harper, she mentioned that she voted for the Green Party candidate (whom she did not like but took as a lesser of the evils).

    I, however, did not take offense for that section though perhaps it was a little excessively snarky. Knowing the party history – the fact that it is no longer the PC party that I grew up with but a result of a take-over by the Reform Party followed by a re-branding that essentially put a wolf in a sheepdog suit – I could never in good conscious vote for the Conservative party. Sadly, many people vote by rote without truly understanding what they’re getting into. These people should be ashamed no matter who they voted for and doubly so if the helped give our current group of liars their majority. The fact that it was evident that they were not doing right by the people they were supposed to be representing before the election makes it even more sad that they managed to win the number of seats that they did.

    So, to the people who voted Conservative by habit and don’t really know what they believe in: this could just well be you school of hard knocks, thanks for blindly setting the rest of us up to attend. To those who voted Conservative because they believe in everything the party stands for: stop ruining my Country.

  25. Jaclyn says

    Yes, Setar. Because I made a comment on the internet that I don’t believe that women should get it from all sides and was offended by Jason’s statement, that means that I don’t have a problem with the policies. That means I’m more concerned with what a blogger said on the internet than those policies…

    Since I am a resident of Alberta, I have to deal with these threats on both a federal and provincial level. I have to watch in disgust the rise of a far right party beyond that of the Conservatives, which raise the spectre of both abortion abolition and conscience rights, among other things. I have spoken out against the Wildrose party. I have spoken out against policies that are harmful to women, to minorities, to society in general. An assumption that I don’t care about these issues as much because I decided to engage in this particular scenario, on another issue is not logical. People can care about two things at once. I didn’t think I needed to argue that these policies were bad on this blog, since no one has disagreed with that so far.

    As I said that I had undergone an abortion myself and that people who hold views against abortions make me cry sometimes, I had thought that my feelings towards those policies were clear. It does not follow that because I disagreed with Jason on some of what he said, I am more concerned about what he said than these policies. I don’t know if you are male or female, but the elf-lord title makes me think male. I’m going to go forward thinking then, that you have not had an abortion, or can have one. Maybe you guys want to take a step back and stop levelling accusations at a woman who has had an abortion and is upset at what has been said here. Maybe you want to consider that I have something valid to say. Or maybe you want to keep calling me defensive on an issue so bloody heartrending and close to me that as much as I try not to be affected, I am profoundly sad.

  26. says

    Yes, Setar. Because I made a comment on the internet that I don’t believe that women should get it from all sides and was offended by Jason’s statement,

    For no reason, because you — by your own admission — did not vote Conservative, and thus did not (implicitly or explicitly) ask for these policies.

    that means that I don’t have a problem with the policies.

    I never said that.

    That means I’m more concerned with what a blogger said on the internet than those policies…

    Considering the amount of effort you’ve put into objecting to what the blogger said, it certainly seems that way.

    I don’t know if you are male or female, but the elf-lord title makes me think male. I’m going to go forward thinking then, that you have not had an abortion, or can have one.

    This is irrelevant, because we’re not talking about abortion. We’re talking about criticising women who support anti-abortion — and thus anti-woman — policies, something which you think we shouldn’t do for some reason.

    Maybe you guys want to take a step back and stop levelling accusations

    Stop, go back, and read what was said:

    If any of the 22% of eligible voters who gave Harper his steamroller majority are women

    That means, any of the 22% of eligible voters who voted Conservative.

    Did you vote Conservative?

    I live in Harper’s constituency and I actually voted Green,

    Obviously not. So, no one is accusing you of anything other than being a disingenuous, counterproductive ass…

    …at a woman who has had an abortion and is upset at what has been said here.

    …who is attempting to use their marginalized status to silence criticism.

  27. Jaclyn says

    Dear Setar,

    I did not object to the passage which you quoted, and you are the disingenuous ass to suggest that I did. I objected to women being singled out and blamed for Harper’s majority, having their anatomy used as an example, and then Jason’s use of sarcasm basically saying ENJOY IT WOMEN! Because what is happening to you is your fault! A statement so often used against women from so many people in so many situations it is mind boggling. It is one thing to say that people made a mistake in voting conservative and now there are consequences. It is quite another to say that you hope they enjoy those consequences on an issue like this.

    The way that you have spoken to me by personally insulting me when I have done no such thing to you, or to anyone in this thread, is the real silencing tactic. I am not using my marginalized status to silence anyone and you have gone too far. I have revealed personal details about myself that I regret now in an attempt to highlight the knowledge and personal attachment I have to this issue. It was a mistake to think that someone who has personally experienced real consequences and possibly will experience more, should have any more weighty input I guess.

    You have made me feel like scum, just like my family did, just like society does. I guess you deserve congratulations too. Good job reinforcing the attitude that women cannot speak on issues directly pertaining to them and object to language that has constantly been used against them.

    My marginalized status. You have no idea. No idea. The gall of you. I am shaking right now.

  28. says

    Under normal circumstances I would agree with Setar that you’re using your status as someone who had an abortion as a way of silencing me, but while I think your reasoning behind targeting me specifically is flawed, I think you’re right on principle. Therefore, I do think Setar stepped over the line on this one.

    However.

    I do need to make this clear, despite your admonition to listen to what you’re saying, because I still think there’s a fundamental disconnect between what I said and what you’re upset about here. That means I’m going to explain to you what you got wrong, again, while attempting to make clear that your getting this wrong in this case is separate and distinct from what you’re upset about in general.

    Jason’s use of sarcasm basically saying ENJOY IT WOMEN! Because what is happening to you is your fault!

    This did not happen. I did not say “enjoy it, because what’s happening is your fault.” I did not say “you got what you asked for”. I did not say “you’ve done this to yourselves”.

    The specific sentence “Hope you got the government you really wanted!” has a very specific meaning for the “you” in question — that “you” was laid out explicitly in the paragraph before. That was aimed at, and only at, women who vote Conservative because they are anti-choice.

    This means that, when you parse out “hope you got the government you really wanted”, that means, “I hope the only women who voted for the Conservatives are actually themselves anti-choice.”

    Yes, I harbor more than a small amount of bitterness and resentment that some of these women might have been suckered in by Harper’s lies, as though “we won’t reopen the abortion debate” was anything but a platitude considering their party line is to open that abortion debate at every chance they get. There is also the resentment that nothing in their platform recommends that you vote for them unless you happen to think that a record low crime rate merits the building of mega-prisons and implementation of mandatory minimum sentences, that privacy is a sham and you need to warrantless wire-tap every internet connection, that long guns are perfectly okay and they aren’t used for domestic murder of women more often than any other gun and therefore registration of these weapons is the REAL invasion of privacy, that it’s perfectly acceptable to lie and cheat and steal your way to victory via disenfranchisement of large swathes of the population, that we need to cut funding to every social program that helps the poor while pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into F-35s that are pure vapor-ware and now “too big to fail”, et cetera. I see literally no reason to vote for Conservatives. None. One lie saying “we won’t try to take away your human rights” doesn’t make all that other bad shit go away. They didn’t even lie about any of that bad shit! It was right in our faces the whole time!

    So yes. I am bitter. I am resentful. I am occasionally more sarcastic than the occasion merits. But the last thing I am is not cognizant of how my words might be interpreted by some to mean I am shaming all women.

    I’m not. I’m shaming Conservatives for thinking all this bullshit is fine, just fine.

  29. Erin says

    Since I am a resident of Alberta, I have to deal with these threats on both a federal and provincial level. I have to watch in disgust the rise of a far right party beyond that of the Conservatives…

    The thing is, Wildrose really ISN’T much worse than the CPC. They both come from the same background. The difference is that the CPC has been slightly tempered by the merger with the Progressive Conservative party back in 2003. Considering many of the main members of the federal party hail from Alberta, you’re looking at the same or at least a very similar mindset behind both Wildrose and CPC leadership.

    I’m seriously hoping that Redford can keep it together long enough to pull out at least a minority – delaying the election was a poor choice considering PC probably would have won easily had we voted in early March. This doesn’t at all mean that I want Redford in power either, but between Wildrose and PC, PC is the lesser of two evils. I just don’t understand a province that can have over 80 years straight of right-wing leadership and keep acting like it’s the only choice.

  30. Erin says

    Now for Woodworth’s topic…

    I want to start of by saying that I had two unplanned pregnancies. As a result of those pregnancies, I have two adorable mini-mes (though both are boys). At no point did I ever consider abortion as an option. Granted, I was in my late 20s with the first one and both my fiance and I were employed. We could afford to have children and I wanted children at some point anyway (what was I thinking?!) Despite me deciding that abortions are not for me, that does not give me the right to say that other women can’t have one. It was my choice, and what another woman does with her body should be her choice and no one else’s.

    With my second baby, we had an ultrasound to figure out how far along I was. It turns out that I was about 5 weeks. Do you know what a baby looks like at 5 weeks? It’s a cluster of cells. There is no heart in there. They like to see a heart to make sure that your baby is viable so I went back the next week. Do you know what a baby looks like at 6 weeks? It’s a cluster of cells with a heart beat. Six weeks – when the baby has a heart – is when doctors start considering a baby viable. And yet…

    With the first little terror, I was advised by my doctor not to spread the word of my pregnancy until I made it to the second trimester. See, there is an increased risk of miscarriage in the first trimester and it’s hard to have to tell all those excited people that you are, in fact, NOT going to have a baby. So, after 13 weeks, your baby is slightly more viable since you are far less likely to lose it.

    Around here, they give you these little paper wheels (or they photocopy them for you) that tell you when you’ll be hitting certain landmarks. It starts with the first day of your last menstrual cycle and marks every week showing how long your trimesters are and ends sometime after 40 weeks. Around that 40-week area is a bracket spanning from 37 weeks to 42 or 43 weeks (I forget the upper range on the wheel but a baby isn’t late until 43 weeks). That bracket is the “safe” area. At 37 weeks, your baby is considered fully developed – now just growing – and will survive without intervention if delivered. After 43 weeks, there are more complications but no change in viability.

    So when does a fetus become a human? Funny you should ask. I came across this the other day. I do not at all back the idea that a child should not be considered human at birth but sometime after birth. I find it a horrifying step in a wrong direction. The fact that someone was stupid enough to publish that theory just gives the anti-abortion crowd more fodder for their arguments.

    So there you go, 21st century information about the fetus. What does it tell you? Any line you draw will still be arbitrary and therefore dredging up this discussion is a low move to attempt to change something Harper promised they wouldn’t change. Allowing the discussion should alienate and enrage a lot voters, but it won’t get enough press to do anything and it’s still so early in their term that they could manage to push through a change before the next election.

  31. Erin says

    Thanks, Jason. I forgot to preview. That’s what happens when I try to type while watching the little monsters.

  32. says

    Allowing the discussion should alienate and enrage a lot voters, but it won’t get enough press to do anything and it’s still so early in their term that they could manage to push through a change before the next election.

    That’s precisely why the CPC is rushing to push these policies so early in their majority term. Harper knows that expanding prisons, mandatory minimum sentences, expensive war machines, and the whole host of the Reform social platform (the “hidden agenda” the Liberals warned us about, but Harper insisted did not exist and clamped down hard on his party to keep it from leaking out) aren’t policies that most Canadians will support.

    The plan is to perform a quick implementation of as many right-wing policies as possible in the first two years to satisfy his right-wing base, then spend the next two years performing damage control and attempting to convince Canadians that they really are a moderate, centre-right government. The cynic in me realizes what a short memory the electorate has, and is terrified it’s going to work.

    Here’s hoping the rest of you Canadians aren’t stupid enough to fall for it (I live firmly in Reform territory. People here were pissed off Harper watered down their right-wing party by daring to merge with the Progressive Conservatives. At least, until it won them power. There’s no chance of any change happening here), but I’m not holding my breath.

    Sigh. I need a beer.

  33. dianne says

    I don’t know where people’s brains are with respect to voting sometimes. At least in the US, I’ve seen a number of people who are pro-choice, pro-universal health insurance, pro-union, pro-funding for science, etc vote for Bush and his cronies because he’s more “moral” or “stronger”. I had one woman tell me that she voted for Gore but was grateful that he hadn’t won because the terrorists wouldn’t be afraid of him. Never mind that the 9/11 attacks happened partly because Bush fired the translators who could have uncovered the plot, never mind that he went after a completely unrelated (is still pretty nasty) world leader and almost ignored the actual plot, never mind that he failed to find bin Laden…he’s “strong” and will scare the terrorists. Another voted for Bush twice because he’s a Christian and more “moral”. She had just lost her job to the Bush recession.

    I’m not always sure that people understand the relationship between who they vote for and the policies they get. It’s like people really do vote for the person they’d most like to have a beer with and totally ignore whether that person’s policies have any relationship to what they (the voters) want to happen in the country. Or they concentrate on a single characteristic that they believe the leader or party they vote for has, despite all evidence to the contrary. It’s discouraging.

    I’d like to think Canadian voters are smarter and better educated and wouldn’t fall for that sort of nonsense, but…well, Harper. How many Albertans actually benefit from Harper’s government? I don’t know the answer, but my guess is darned few. Just as very few people in the US deep south benefit from the Republicans “low taxes, low services” policy.

  34. Jaclyn says

    Jason,

    I will concede that I might have taken what you said beyond the intent and the words written. I did this because often that is what people really mean when they say things in the manner you did and I was hoping to highlight for you that it might be problematic for you to go about thusly. I was hoping that you might realize that for people who actually have to live with the reality of this in regard to their own personhood, this is a charged issue and you coming along and saying congratulations, you’re a slave now, is very hurtful. Regardless of you saying that your words should be interpreted in a certain way, some people will see it in a different way. And there’s no need to dilute your message and alienate people by doing that.

    If the real message is, “voting Conservative is voting expressly against your self-interest.” Why didn’t you just say that?

    Many women who vote Conservative do so because they have been raised in an environment without any power, and taught to do as the men say. They will vote as their husband votes. They don’t really have a “choice” about it because they’ve been brainwashed all their lives. Often, they will have no education and no viable options for life separate from their husbands. In your post, you single out some of these women and congratulate them, and hope they got what they wanted. The reality is they don’t know what they want. And they deserve more from people than abuse from all sides. That is all. (and yes, I realize that there are women who do have power who do vote Conservative, that’s not who I am talking about.)

    “I’m seriously hoping that Redford can keep it together long enough to pull out at least a minority”

    As much as I dislike the current PC party, I felt that Redford might be able to make some decent changes. Unfortunately, it seems she is hobbled by the old boys of her party, and she can’t seem to manage to effect decent change. Maybe if we give her enough time, she can. I am resigned that PC was default in this province. That the only challenger is Wildrose is deeply troubling.

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