Maddow: The long history of violence in the anti-choice movement

If you imagine yourself to be defending free speech when you laud the Supreme Court for overturning a buffer zone law, mandating that protesters can’t swarm over abortion clinic patients intimidating them, then you have no sweet clue what “free speech” is. The violence and outright terrorism that happens at abortion protests, that buffer zones have actually helped to curtail to a degree, is not “free speech”.

Ontario public health policy under review, religious exception for doctors debated

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has written the current public policy, adopted by Ontario in December 2008, which binds physicians to provide Human Rights Code-mandated services without discrimination for any reason, including religious or moral beliefs of the physician.

This means that physicians cannot make decisions about whether to accept individuals as patients, whether to provide existing patients with medical care or services, or whether to end a physician-patient relationship on the basis of the individual’s or patient’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status and/or disability.

That code is currently being reviewed, and people are being asked to submit comment:

The College recognizes that religious and moral beliefs are central to the lives of physicians and their patients. The current policy addresses situations in which physicians’ personal, moral or religious beliefs may affect or limit the medical services they provide. The policy provides physicians with an overview of the relevant legal obligations and factors related to these situations. The policy also articulates the College’s own expectations for physicians who limit their practice, refuse to accept individuals as patients or end a physician-patient relationship on the basis of moral or religious belief.

Have Your Say

We would like to hear your thoughts on the current policy, along with suggestions you may have for how the policy could be improved.

In particular, we are interested to know:

  • Does the policy provide useful guidance?
  • Are there issues not addressed in the current policy that should be addressed? If so, what are they?
  • Are there other ways in which the policy should be improved?

Please provide your feedback by August 5, 2014.

[...]

The feedback obtained during this consultation will be carefully reviewed and used to evaluate the draft. While it may not be possible to ensure that every comment or suggested edit will be incorporated into the revised policy, all comments will be carefully considered.

Obviously, this is a cultural touchstone for reproductive rights activists, as religious folks have primarily held the anti-abortion banner and their current assault on those reproductive rights in Canada — fully legal since Morgentaler, mind you — are presently being eroded via a series of legislation changes that allow religious doctors to refuse to provide medically-indicated services that conflict with what they believe their religion contraindicates.

We can safely assume this is entirely a concern as pertains abortion, and not some other religious mandate, because not one single instance of a Jehovah’s Witness doctor refusing to give a blood transfusion has hit the press, whereas Jehovah’s Witness patients refusing blood transfusions abound (often despite legal challenges initiated by doctors).

The issue is reportedly largely being ignored in Ontario; the religiously-motivated anti-abortionists are spreading disinformation and getting a disproportionately loud voice on what channels do exist, likely owing to the word being spread through anti-abortion camps. Since we around these parts happen to believe that women deserve basic human rights and that bodily autonomy is one of those rights, I figured it might be good to get the word out and try to tip the scales back toward the only morally justifiable stance on abortion: any time, by any woman, for any reason.

You can leave feedback here, or better yet, take the online survey.

There is also a poll, which at time of writing was already heavily tipped by others’ efforts in the atheist community:

Do you think a physician should be allowed to refuse to provide a patient with a treatment or procedure because it conflicts with the physician’s religious or moral beliefs?

No (81%, 5,575 Votes)
Yes (18%, 1,247 Votes)
Don’t know (1%, 22 Votes)
Total Voters: 6,844

Feel free to tip that even further toward the side of more perfect morality, as well!

Huge tip of the hat to George Waye. Cheers, mate.

Canadian abortion rights doctor Morgentaler dead at 90

Doctor Henlek “Henry” Morgentaler, Polish-born Canadian immigrant, has died of a heart attack on May 29th, 2013. He was a Nazi prison camp survivor, and became a physician and family planning doctor in Montreal in 1955. He presented a brief to the House of Commons in 1967 about illegal abortions, arguing that women had the right to safe, legal ones. He eventually began performing abortions in 1968. He was physically assaulted and jailed in Canada numerous times for his advocacy, but ultimately vindicated by society.
[Read more...]

Getting a Mirena IUD

Jodi Thibeault is a skeptic, a feminist, an atheist, and most importantly, a human being. Her vocation is ass-kickery; her hobby is vineyard management.

Yesterday I live tweeted about my experience getting an IUD placed inside my uterus. In case you missed it or aren’t following me I’m putting all of the tweets here plus some extra details and info.

I have been having quite a few problems with birth control in the last year, each kind not working out for one reason or another. Jason and I aren’t interested in having children but not quite so sure we want to take the next permanent step. So we’ve opted to push that decision back until I’m 30 years old with a grace period of 5 years in case at 30 we’re still thinking ‘I really just don’t know.’ So now I have an IUD which hopefully will work well and I can keep it for the 5 years it’s meant for.

The website for the IUD describes it as thus:

What is MIRENA®?

MIRENA® is an intrauterine system which prevents pregnancy by slowly releasing small amounts of a synthetic sex hormone known as levonorgestrel into the uterus. “Intrauterine” means within the uterus.

Levonorgestrel is a hormone commonly used in combination with oral contraceptives (the “Pill”) and is similar to progesterone, a sex hormone produced naturally by the body.

[Read more...]

Karen Handel: Komen defunding Planned Parenthood was a premeditated attack

… by Planned Parenthood.

That’s right, we’re now in full-on Bizarro World. Also, something something shakedown. Blah blah.

Does this strike anyone else as projection? I mean seriously, what exactly did Planned Parenthood do to “premeditatively attack” Komen? This is like saying Greedo shot first!
[Read more...]

Catholics’ protest against HHS contraceptive rules completely misfires

So Catholic officials are up in arms about the US Department of Health and Human Services’ new regulation requiring all employers to provide contraceptives to insured employees with no co-pay. The very idea that people who use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy might actually not have to pay for those contraceptives is evidently so anathema to the very foundational dogmas of the Catholic church, that the leaders of said church must absolutely take a stand for their parishioners. To wit:

In a letter read to congregants in the Atlanta Archdiocese, Archbishop Wilton Gregory called the policy “a matter of grave moral concern.”

“In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty,” the letter continued and was read at all English and Spanish language Masses, the diocese said in a statement.
[...]
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a statement.

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty,” said Dolan who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the church in the United States.

And yet…

And yet I wonder.
[Read more...]