Our dear friend MP Stephen Woodworth, held a talk at the University of Ottawa recently. He seems to think that: a) History is on the side of human rights (which leads us to believe we have read very different history books) b) Dignity and equality for all human beings is of primordial importance. Now his second point, we can agree with but call usDebbie Downer if you must because dignity and equality is not automatically applied to a person once they are born.
If this were so, girls and boys would not be sold into sexual slavery, Indigenous girls and women in Canada would not be 5 to 7 times more likely than other women to die of violence, people suffering from mental health & addiction issues would not be living on the streets and yes there would not be such a strong preference for male children vs female children in many cultures and countries (whether overtly or covertly)
M-312 was defeated but now the anti-choice windbags have found a new prophet and cause to champion ostensibly under the guise of protecting women and girls.
The torch of freedom fighting is passed on to MP Mark Warawa! M-408 pertains to be about protecting girls but is actually about protecting female fetuses. Similarly to Woodworth’s motion, the who, what, where, why and when of how we go about doing this is unclear. The methodology and implementation are unknown. At least, the picture for this motion is cuter and there is no fake fetus complete with an artificial tear streaming down its face for our supposed sins. Hell, he even tries to be egalitarian too! You see a Caucasian toddler, an Asian toddler and a Black toddler…Complete with cute pink lettering.
Either you thought that was cute or you retched a bit, we do not judge. So let’s get down to the crux of it.
The main claim is that female fetuses are being aborted simply for the fact they are not male and that his happening enough in Canada that we need to spend Parliamentary time talking about it. Although a few preliminary studies have shown an unproportional ratio of female vs male births in some communities (See here. ) the data is limited. The bias here is leaning towards South Asian women. In India, South Korea and China, this is a proven phenomena; that the cultural pressures to have a son are intense and the rewards of having a male child are many.
In those countries, various levels of government and organizations are working together to dig up the roots of son preference. Laws are being changed so that women can inherit property, girls are being educated much more than before, access to clean water for drinking and cooking is being ramped up so girls are not walking many kilometres every day to fetch water, prenatal care is more available, valuable work skills are being taught to girls that traditionally would only be taught to boys and much more.
Here’s the kicker though, in NO CASES is access to safe and legal abortion being banned. It seems that unlike some of our politicians and citizens sitting on their high horses of privilege, it is understood that banning abortion will only be detrimental to the health of the woman. If the woman cannot access an abortion and gives birth to a girl, we can rightfully assume she will not be loved, protected and cherished. At best, she will be tolerated. She will not be equal in rights and dignity to boys just because she is alive.
If this is truly happening in disproportionate numbers, we need to dismantle misogyny at its root causes, rather than demanding change at the Morgentaler clinic.
Abortion is not the issue here: it is misogyny.
Femicide exists, yes. And it can certainly be deemed a horrific form of misogyny. But what we are most definitely not okay with is other people deciding what is best for women. We are not okay with doctors being told to screen patients based on racist, classist and ableist stereotypes. We are not okay with politicians actively promoting misogyny and then claiming to care about the welfare of girls.
Let us not forget that MP Warawa voted against Bill C-398, a Bill that if passed, would have made generic drugs available to countries in the global south who can’t afford them.
MP Warawa is fine with girls dying because they can’t afford lifesaving medication but claims to care about the status of girls around the world.
If you support MP Warawa and his motion, give your fucking head a shake.
We are pro-choice. The very basis of being pro-choice is that regardless of our own personal views, religious dogma or upbringing, we must abstain from infringing on another woman’s right to bodily autonomy.
Once we start drawing these arbitrary lines in the sand, where does it stop? How does one prove to someone else that their reasons are valid? Why should every woman be scrutinized and torn apart when she knows what is truly best for her and her body? Yes, we want to protect girls, but more importantly, we will keep fighting to live in world where girls do not need a knight in shinning armour.
We can fight for access to abortion and fight to end misogyny at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are both imperative.