Me and my warlike ways

I’ve always wanted to trigger an international incident, and I guess I got my wish: I unleashed the Horde on Canada. Last week I brought to your attention a poll on abortion by a conservative Canadian MP. You all rushed in and surprised him by bringing in a strongly pro-choice position; he has since rallied the Canadian religious right (or more likely, tweaked a few numbers in the polling software) to produce a lead for the side wanting a complete ban on abortion.

You know the phrase “complete ban on abortion” is impractical, dishonest, and totalitarian, and can only be achieved over the bodies of dead women, right?

Anyway, it’s written up now by Windsor Star columnist Anne Jarvis. The Canadian government doesn’t want to debate abortion at all, and most Canadians are quite content with the current liberal legislation on reproductive rights. What this is is a game by conservatives to gin up the impression that there’s a serious argument being held among the electorate, rather than that there are a few authoritarian cranks lobbying for new laws to oppress women.

It’s what they all do. It’s exactly like the creationists saying we need to argue the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, when no, we do not: the matter has been settled, and only kooks are arguing against the right idea.


  1. says

    It’s weird: the “I fully support abortions” is shown at 36% against the complete ban at 50% but the length of the bars are kinda reversed… so, did they forget to screw this part in their favor? They can’t even cheat correctly on their own website?

  2. travisrm89 says


    I think that’s just poor website design. If you look at the location of the percentage numbers, the bar for “I fully support abortions” is about 36% of the way to the percentage number and the bar for complete ban is about 50% of the way to the percentage number.

  3. says

    @travisrm89: I don’t know… on Safari/Mac, the numbers are all over the place: the 5% mark is all the way to the right etc.

    Anyway, it doesn’t really matter.

  4. says

    I went and emailed Jeff. I’ll post the response if it ever arrives:

    Mmmmmh… 50% support for a complete ban on abortion? I find that hard to believe. Perhaps the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been fiddling the data with His Noodly Appendage.

  5. donny5 says

    Yes, these right-wing religious nuts are desperately trying to bring back a debate they lost 20 years ago and now the anti-choice people have even less support. The Conservative Gov’t in Canada controls the country and could easily have passed this but Prime Minister Steven Harper likes power more than he likes his Tea Party values and he knows this will cost him votes, too many of them.

  6. glodson says

    Well, at least it is a war worth fighting, and one that doesn’t require any violence. Unless you smash your mouse with the pent up fury of thousand gnashing trolls.

    So I guess I did use violence when I clicked the no option with all my fierce rage.

    And at least he proved it was a pointless poll by his own actions. It wasn’t an informal poll to see if there is any interest in the debate, it is another means to express confirmation bias. But we all knew that. It was nice of him to make it more apparent though.

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Canadian government doesn’t want to debate abortion at all

    That should probably read “Harper” instead of “the Canadian government”; he keeps a tight leash on his caucus.

    only kooks are arguing against the right idea

    Sadly, there are some highly placed kooks. Quite a few ministers voted for Motion 312 (“re-examine the legal definition of a fetus as a human being”), including the then-Minister for the Status of Women. If one of them succeeds Harper, the “debate” might resurface.

  8. mythbri says

    Make no mistake, Canadians. These people are trying to get abortion rights and access in Canada to the same point they’re at in the U.S. (That’s backwards, not forwards). Don’t fall for it. Don’t buy into the idea that there are “reasonable restrictions” on a person’s bodily autonomy. Don’t believe that it’s about “protecting women” – women and female-bodied persons don’t need protection from making decisions about their own bodies. Don’t believe that it’s about safety – the less legal abortion becomes, the less safe it is. Don’t believe that it’s about sex-selective abortions – taking away the rights of women to make decisions about their bodies does not empower them. Don’t believe that it’s necessary to stop a plague of late-term abortions – when those happen, it means that something has gone horribly, tragically wrong. Forcing a woman to attempt a delivery in those situations risks her life and prolongs suffering – for both her and the fetus.

    Don’t buy into calls for “compromise”. They don’t want compromise. Women will die to pay the price for what they want.

  9. A. Noyd says

    From the article:

    “All I’m endeavoring to do is dip a toe into the broader range of options,” Watson said.

    In what universe does banning something completely offer a “broader range of options”?

  10. says

    I’m pretty sure the poll is being fudged on the back end somehow. The numbers themselves don’t appear to be budging, and they don’t add up, either. With a poll like this, how is it possible for all the results to total only 97%? Also, the middle option (“I support abortion for any reason but it shouldn’t be taxpayer-funded”) is at 0? Plus the graph displaying the results is fucked. All in all, it makes me highly suspicious of these results.

  11. says

    To paraphrase William S. Burroughs:

    If you’re doing a poll with a religious son-of-a-b*** get it in screen-shots. He’s got the Lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

  12. says

    Canadians are quite content with the current liberal legislation on reproductive rights

    That would be “complete lack of legislation”, ie. abortion is permitted same as appendectomies, and paid for by the public health insurance. It is governed only by medical professional ethics, which in practice can lead to de facto problems of access, but the de jure situation is exactly as it should be.

  13. frankathon says

    Yes it’s called the “Harper governement”.

    This “debate” has been brought up by back bench MPs and knowing Harper who keeps a very tight leash on his cuacus as Rob Grigjanis said this might be a distraction. Last time it was because of election fraud, which is still ongoing but “suprisingly” it’s not being talked about in the news.

    Maybe Mr. Poutine has finaly been found? This gov thinks it’s people are stupid… Mr. Poutine…right.

    This is nothing new. It wont go through. If there is something that Harper does is do what he says . Quote: ” When I’m done with Canada, you wont recognise it”. Ture Story.

    He says abortion wont be debated again and I believe it.

    What we should be wondering is what he’s trying to divert attention from.

    Seal hunt is starting soon, no?

  14. says

    “The latest national poll on abortion, released in January to mark the 25th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision decriminalizing abortion – showed that 59 per cent of Canadians don’t want to debate abortion now.”

    Umm… that’s just about the same percentage of Canadians, who thought their vote counted, who voted *against* the current government in the last election. Fundamentally, it doesn’t matter what the public wants in this country anymore.

  15. bryanfeir says

    Oh, there are a lot of Conservatives that want to re-open the debate, yes. The modern Conservative party is far more the reactionary Reform party than the old Progressive Conservatives, and has a lot of both the Alberta (Texas North) politics and the western Evangelical influences in it.

    However, Harper is probably telling the truth when he says he doesn’t want the debate re-opened, because Harper is a politician first rather than a wingnut. He’s more interested in staying in power, and knows the Overton Window isn’t far enough over for him to get away with bringing THAT up again and still win the next election.

    So, yeah, what donny5 said.

  16. vaiyt says

    “All I’m endeavoring to do is dip a toe into the broader range of options,” Watson said.

    Oh yeah, a broader range of options. We need to keep our minds open about whether women are human beings with full rights, slaves, cattle or children.

    Fuck this noise.

  17. says

    @17: Exactly. Pregnant women — you know, the people who are on the sharp end of the issue — currently have the options they need, as far as the law is concerned: carry it to term, or terminate it, limited only by medical advisability. The “options” these liars are looking for are: “How many ways can we come up with to interfere in someone else’s personal life?”

  18. arctic says

    Not all Canadians have reasonable access to abortion services, they’re absent in particular in the province of Prince Edward Island because of the influence of the Catholic church.

  19. Ichthyic says

    one of the common arguments I saw there in the comments was that because you can be charged criminally with the death of a fetus if it happens when you assault a pregnant woman, or due to other criminal circumstances, this means there is hypocrisy in the Canadian law system.

    I know that this isn’t the case, that the circumstances are entirely different, and the law itself is used differently, but it’s hard to explain without getting technical, or sounding like I’m speaking of a woman’s fetus as “property”.

    maybe someone can point me to a better way of delineating the difference between criminal charges filed for death of a fetus vs criminal charges for murder in the Canadian system? something far simpler than what I was thinking?

  20. shouldbeworking says

    My wife, two adult daughters and I wrote a letter to our Tory MP about not opening up the abortion debate and how misguided her colleague is. Unfortunately, our MP is Rona Ambrose. For you Americans, think Sarah Palin with a token cabinet post.

  21. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    On the bright side at least Jeff Watson seems to now grasp how dumb online polls are:

    “The only thing the poll tells me is that there are two very organized positions,” Watson admitted Thursday.

    Which, correct me if I’m wrong, is the main point of the hoard being alerted to these things in the first place right?

  22. says

    @22: ….but also shows he’s clueless re the internet and social media. It doesn’t take much “organization” to hold a poll-crashing. Just a popular blog, or a Twitter hashtag that takes off (eg: #dropjenny); it’s quite spontaneous.

  23. thumper1990 says

    @Ichtyic #20

    The distinction I see is since a foetus is not an animate, sentient, living thing it only has the worth we assign it. An unwanted foetus therefore has no worth whereas a wanted one has all the worth in the world because it represents the hope of fulfilling the desire for a family hat the parents must have for it to be wanted in the first place. Therefore the destruction of a wanted foetus is the destruction of something of worth, the destruction of an unwanted foetus is not.

    In other words, if the foetus is wanted then it’s loss will cause pain and anguish for the parents. It is the perpetration of this anguish and mental/emotional pain that is being punished when people are charged with causing the death of a foetus in the course of an assault. .

    I think the “cold hard logic” approach of the second paragraph is likely to turn off fence sitters on such an emotional issue, so maybe leave out the first paragraph when trying to persuade people.

  24. thumper1990 says

    Re my #24:

    Shorter me: Killing a wanted foetus causes pain and anguish. Killing an unwanted one doesn’t.

    I don’t know why I felt the need to try and rationalise that. It’s perfectly rational in and of itself.