Author Archives: radicalhandmaids

M-408: The Torch is Passed from Woodworth to Warawa

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.


Pro-choice knitters wanted! / Tricoteuses et tricoteurs pro-choix recherchés!

Le français suit

On September 26, 2012 we successfully defeated Motion 312. Yay!


203 Members of Parliament voted to defeat the Motion and we couldn’t be happier.


But you didn’t think we were going to let the other 91 MPs who voted ‘Yes’ off the hook, did you? Of course not! We’re persistent and snarky like that.


So we’re calling on you crafty Canadians to help us out. Send us your (knitted) wombs! We want 91 of them, in fact.


You pick the size, colour, fabric and style. We love ‘em all.


Send your wombs (and whatever messaging you’d like to include!) to :

CUPW National Office

ATTENTION: Cindi Foreman

377 Bank Street

Ottawa, Ontario

K2P 1Y3


Deadline: January 1, 2013


They want to control our wombs, so that’s exactly what we’ll give them.



Le 26 septembre dernier, nous avons vaincu la motion M-312! Bravo!


203 Députés parlementaires ont voté contre la motion et nous en sommes heureuses.


Vous ne pensiez pas qu’on allait laisser les 91 autres députés qui ont voté pour la motion s’en tirer si facilement!? Il n’en est pas question! La persistance et le sarcasme font partie de notre charme.


Nous faisons donc appel à vous, chers Canadiennes et Canadiens talentueux afin de nous aider. Envoyez-nous vos utérus (tricotés)! Nous en voulons 91.


Vous pouvez choisir la taille, la couleur, le tissu et le style. Nous les aimons tous !


Envoyez vos utérus (en y joignant le message que vous désirez !) à :

CUPW – Bureau national

ATTENTION: Cindi Foreman

377, rue Bank

Ottawa (Ontario)

K2P 1Y3


Date limite : le 1 janvier 2013


Puisqu’ils veulent contrôler nos utérus, c’est exactement ce que nous leur donnerons !


Lunch event at Octopus Books in Ottawa

To all our Ottawa-based fans: Join us on Wednesday, October 24th at noon at Octopus Books (Centretown, 251 Bank St, 2nd Floor, at Cooper) for a roundtable chat about our work, reproductive justice in Canada and how we can beat back anti-choice attacks.

Check out the event poster here!

WE WON! … But the war is not over.

We are proud to announce that Motion 312 was defeated 203 to 91.

To all the haters out there who said it couldn’t be done, we say:


Just as we were getting ready to spread butter on our faces and take a break, this came along.

‘This week Langley MP Mark Warawa introduced the following motion in the House of Commons:

M-408   “That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.”

“Recent studies have shown that the practice of aborting females in favour of males is happening in Canada,” says Warawa. “92% of Canadians believe sex-selective pregnancy termination should be illegal.”

“Gender selection has been strongly condemned by all national political parties,” added Warawa. “As well, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada have vehemently opposed sex-selection pregnancy termination.”

This motion is in response to numerous inquiries and concerns his office received after the CBC presented an investigation on gender selection last June.  Warawa said, “I would like to thank the CBC for bringing this matter to the attention of Canadians.”

With hidden cameras, the CBC visited 22 private ultrasound clinics in Canada. They found that most of these clinics allowed ultrasounds to tell the sex of the baby so that the parents could choose to terminate the pregnancy if the unborn child was a female.

Unequivocal condemnation from Parliament will send a strong message that will help to bring an end to this form of gender discrimination in Canada.’


We are re-grouping and getting ready to fight this latest attack on reproductive rights (And common sense!)

Radical Handmaids on the Hill to protest Motion 312 / Les Servantes Radicales à la Colline du Parlement pour protester contre la Motion 312

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2012

Radical Handmaids on the Hill to protest Motion 312

OTTAWA – To mark the vote on Conservative backbencher MP Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312, the Radical Handmaids will be demonstrating on Parliament Hill for a little “causeplay” in support of reproductive rights.

With their trademark red robes and ‘flying nun’ hats, inspired by Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale, the Handmaids have been fighting against Motion 312 since its initial debate in April.

It is particularly ironic that on September 26, ‘World Contraception Day’, Parliament is deciding whether a fetus has more rights than a woman,” said one member, who identified herself only as “OfStephen”. (“Woodworth or Harper, you decide”).

After their initial ‘coming out’ in April, Handmaids and their knitted wombs have been cropping up in cities across the country, with a recent protest in Vancouver.

Supporters from coast to coast have been sending the Handmaids knitted wombs and vulvas which have resulted in the now infamous ‘Wall of Wombs’. Crafters have been sending them to anti-choice MPs across the country to hilarious results.

“Rather than give up my uterus to a Member of Parliament, I’d rather give him a nice fuzzy crocheted version. It’s less painful that way,” said OfStephen.

For the last hour of debate on September 21, the Handmaids devised an ‘Anti-choice Drinking Game’ that had them taking shots every time the words ‘unborn’, ‘pre-born’ and ‘400 years’, among others, were mentioned.

“Needless to say, the next morning was rough,” said OfStephen.

Parliament has already wasted too much time and money on a Motion that is but a thinly veiled attack on reproductive rights. Instead, the Handmaids propose that Parliament turn its attention to a National Child Care strategy, reinstating the Court Challenges program and bringing gender equality back on Canada’s agenda.

“Canada has a long list of pressing issues it needs to address,’ said OfStephen. “But apparently, Parliament prefers to discuss Woodworth’s feelings about baby toes”.


 For more information, please contact OfStephen (Julie Lalonde) at 613-301-2697


Pour diffusion immediate

Le 26 septembre 2012

Les Servantes Radicales à la Colline du Parlement pour protester contre la Motion 312

OTTAWA- Pour marquer le vote sur la Motion 312 du député conservateur d’arrière-ban Stephen Woodworth, les Servantes Radicales organisent une manifestation sur la Colline du Parlement en faveur des droits génésiques.

Avec leurs robes rouges très reconnues et leurs chapeaux fabuleux, empruntés au livre La Servante écarlate (The Handmaid’s Tale) de Margaret Atwood, les Servantes luttent contre la Motion 312 depuis le premier débat en avril.

«C’est plutôt ironique qu’aujourd’hui le 26 septembre, ‘La Journée de la Contraception’, le Parlement est en train de décider si un fœtus possède plus de droits qu’une femme» a dit une membre, s’identifiant seulement par le nom «DeStephen». («Soit Woodworth ou Harper, à vous de décider»).

Depuis leur arrivée en avril, les Servantes et leurs utérus tricotés peuvent être retrouvées dans des villes à travers le pays, notamment à une manifestation récente à Vancouver.

Des sympathisants d’un bout du pays à l’autre leur ont envoyé des utérus et des vulves tricotés pour la construction du célèbre «Wall of Wombs». Des bricoleurs en ont envoyés aussi aux députés anti-choix à travers le pays avec des résultats hilarants.

«Plutôt que de donner mon utérus à un député, je préfère lui donner un beau réplica en tricot. C’est moins pénible comme cela,» a dit DeStephen

Pour la dernière heure de débat du 21 septembre, les Servantes ont élaboré un ‘Jeu pour boire anti-choix’. Ce jeu consistait de prendre un coup (de jus ou de limonade) chaque fois que les mots ‘à naître’ (unborn), ‘pré-né’ (pre-born) et 400 ans, entre autres, étaient mentionnés.

«Il va de soi que le lendemain était pénible,» a dit DeStephen,

Le Parlement a déjà gaspillé trop de temps et d’argent sur une motion qui n’est qu’un attentat à peine voilé sur les droits génésiques. Les Servantes proposent que le Parlement vise plutôt pour une Stratégie nationale des soins à l’enfance, un redémarrage du Programme de contestation judiciaire et un retour à l’ordre du jour de l’égalité entre les sexes au Canada.

«Le Canada a une longue liste de problèmes urgents qui doivent être abordés,» a dit DeStephen. «Cependant, il semble que le Parlement préfère discuter des sentiments de Woodworth à propos des orteils des bébés.»


Pour de plus amples informations, s’il vous plaît contacter DeStephen (Julie Lalonde) au  613-301-2697


Motion 312: The Radical Handmaids Send-Off!

After months of boring us to tears and getting our blood boiling, Motion 312 will finally be voted on by Parliament on Wednesday, September 26th at 6pm.

Join us for a send-off!

Meet-up at the Eternal Flame for 5:15pm. We will give M-312 a proper send-off with short speeches and chants. Once the vote has been announced, we’ll plan our next steps and introduce our OWN motions!

Wear red or your interpretation of a Handmaid costume. Bring a sassy sign and noise makers.

We won’t allow this attack on our reproductive rights to go unnoticed.

Yes, they are calling for rain. Please bring an umbrella, a rain coat/poncho and weatherproof your signs.

We aren’t made of sugar and anti-choicers don’t leave our wombs along just because it’s raining.

Spread butter on your faces and join us.


Après des mois de nous ennuyer aux larmes, la Motion 312 sera finalement votée par le Parlement ce mercredi, le 16 septembre à 18h.

Rejoignez-nous !

Rencontre à la flamme éternelle pour 17 h 15. Nous dirons « au revoir » à la Motion avec de brefs discours et des chansons. Une fois que le vote a été annoncé, nous allons planifier les prochaines étapes et présenter nos propres motions!

Portez du rouge ou votre interprétation d’un costume de servante. Apportez un signe impertinent et soyez prêt(e)s à faire du bruit !

Nous ne laisserons pas cette attaque contre nos droits ce passer inaperçu.

Oui, ils annoncent de la pluie. S’il vous plaît, apporter un parapluie, un imperméable/poncho et créer vos affiches avec la pluie en tête.

Étalez du beurre sur vos visages et rejoignez-nous.

Vancouver rally!

Check out this independently organized Handmaids event happening in Vancouver!

‘Come out on Tuesday September 25th and Fight against motion M-312!

This is a joint event of The BC Federation of Labour and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to oppose Motion M-312 – a private member’s motion that is a back door attempt to re-open the debate on abortion and restrict abortion rights in Canada.The motion is up for it’s second hour of debate on Sept. 21st and a final vote on Sept. 26th.

For info on Motion 312 and actions you can take to oppose it, visit ARCC’s website:

Please wear your Radical Handmaid costume, or if you don’t have one, just wear red. (links to the patterns for costumes and hats are at the ARCC website above)Make a sign and bring it with you!’
10am (Vancouver time) at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Be there!

M-312 Debate Viewing Party

Want to see the debate on M-312 but just can’t handle doing it alone? We got you covered.

Join us for a debate viewing party in Ottawa. We’ll have copies of our drinking game & some Kool-Aid.

Together, we can get through this.

Meet-up at 1pm, debate starts at 1:30pm.

CUPW Boardroom, 377 Bank street, 1st floor

Not in Ottawa? Host your own viewing party! Download our drinking game, throw on some red and send us photos! 

‘We are all affected’

Thank you to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) for inviting us to present at their National Day of Action: ‘We are all affected’ on September 15, 2012 in Ottawa
As you can see, our rage at M-312 is palpable.

Taking it to the streets!

On September 12, 2012 we took to Ottawa’s ByWard Market to spread pro-choice cheer. We handed out information about Motion 312 and made sure people left equipped with our M-312 drinking game. Nobody should have to endure that debate while sober!

And of course, our Wall o’ Wombs made an appearance!