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Press release

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2012

 

Handmaids on the Hill protest Conservatives’ Anti-Abortion Bill.

 

OTTAWA – On the eve of the introduction of Conservative MP backbencher Stephen Woodworth’s anti-abortion private member’s bill, a determined group of women calling themselves the Radical Handmaids are getting together on Parliament Hill for a little “causeplay” in support of reproductive rights.

 

Sporting red garments and “Flying Nun” hats in an allusion to Margaret Atwood’s classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the Handmaids are protesting Bill M-312 as a regressive attack on women.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t be an instruction manual,” said one young woman, who identified herself only as “OfStephen” (“Woodworth or Harper, take your pick”).

 

In Atwood’s novel, set in a futuristic America transformed by religious fundamentalists into the Republic of Gilead, women are judged by whether or not they are capable of bearing children and, if fertile, are enslaved to men of the ruling elite who forcibly impregnate them.

 

“We’re watching what’s going on in the United States with the war on women and we know the Conservatives are trying to sneak it up here,” said another OfStephen, standing in front of a display of brightly-coloured knitted uteruses.

 

Supporters across the country have been sending the Handmaids knitted wombs and vulvas, using patterns available on the Internet. When they have enough, the Handmaids say they will deliver the woolly parts to any MPs who vote in favour of Woodworth’s bill.

 

“If they want to control our uteruses so badly, they can have a womb of their own,” said OfStephen.

 

If it passes in the House of Commons, M-312 would create a Parliamentary Committee to revisit the question of fetal personhood. The Radical Handmaids point to the futility of reopening the abortion debate, arguing that Parliamentary resources could be better used to restore the national childcare program the Conservatives killed on their election in 2006.

 

“Affordable daycare for working parents isn’t on the agenda,” OfStephen said. “Apparently you have to be a fetus to matter to a Conservative.”

 

-30-

 

For more information, please contact OfStephen (Julie Lalonde) at 613-301-2697 or OfStephen (Aalya Ahmad) at 613-327-1177.

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Response from Liberal Party Leader, Bob Rae

Sent to us by a pro-choice ally
————
On behalf of Liberal Leader Bob Rae, I would like thank you for your email regarding Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion, M-312, regarding Canada’s abortion laws.

It is the longstanding view of the Liberal Party of Canada that women must have the right to choose, and this party will take no step that limits, or opens the door to limiting, access to safe medical services for women across Canada. It is for this reason that Mr. Rae will be voting against this motion when it comes before the House of Commons.

We understand this issue stirs extremely strong feelings and the Liberal Party respects the right of every Canadian to express their views freely and openly, no matter how contrary those views may seem to those of others.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Leader of the Liberal Party.
Yours sincerely,
Colin McKone
Office of the Liberal Leader

Womb-pocalypse is coming!

 

Crafters all across this fine land have been busy at work, knitting wombs.

We figure if anti-choicers are so interested about what goes on in our business, they’d like a uterus of their own.

Seems logical, no?

They’re coming for you!

We’ve got furry ones….

And chatty ones!

If you’ve got the crafter’s itch, send your stuff to:

CUPW
ATTENTION: Aalya Ahmad
377 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 1Y3

Solidarity from Montréal

Hey Radical Handmaids,

The 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, based in Montreal is organizing a bus to go meet you on Wednesday. If you have any people from Montreal who might be interested in coming, pass along the info!

Guess who’s trying to attack reproductive rights again? Harper

And guess who’s going to tell him we are watching him? Us!

The conservative government is using the “private motion” technique to reopen the abortion debate. This is quite in line with what is being done in the states where women are becoming more and more criminalized (again!) for exercising their reproductive rights.

M-312 will be debated in the House of Commons on April 26th, 2012.

On April 25th, join us for a protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Bus is free, bring your lunch (and any signs or props you like!). We leave from 2110 Mackay (metro Guy-Concordia) at 9am and should be back in Montreal by 5pm.

We have 48 places total so please RSVP in advance by emailing campaigns@centre2110.org.

This is an amazing initiative and we are delighted to have solidarity from Montréal!

Response from MP Peter Braid

If you would like to share the responses you’ve getting from your MPs, please send them to us: radicalhandmaids@gmail.com

Canadian pro-choicer, Ms. Nave wrote her Conservative member of Parliament about M-312.

This is his response:

——

Dear Ms. Nave,

Thank you for your email regarding Mr. Woodworth’s call for a public debate on abortion.

I personally do not support this position, nor do I support the intent behind it.

Our government and the Prime Minister have consistently said that we will not open the abortion debate, we will not bring forward legislation, and any Private Member’s legislation on this subject will be defeated.

I continue to fully support the position of our government. Ultimately, any decision on abortion should be made by a woman, based on her individual circumstances, and in consultation with her doctor and her family.

I appreciate hearing your views on this issue, and once again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

Peter Braid, M.P.
Kitchener-Waterloo

10 moyens à prendre contre M-312

1 – Renseignez-vous: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/fr/action/M-312-contre-arguments.html#1

2 – Le Parlement est archaïque et ne reconnaît pas les pétitions en ligne. Imprimez et signez la pétition version papier officielle :

http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/fr/action/m312-paper-petiton-fr.pdf

3 – Communiquez avec votre député(e) et demandez-lui comment il/elle votera sur M-312. Comment savoir qui est votre député(e) et comment les contacter : http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Language=F&Menu=HOC

4 – les 25 et 26 avril, exprimez votre indignation sur Twitter à #NoDebate

5 – Changez votre photo de profil Facebook pour celle de Servante radicale

6 – Si vous habitez dans une communauté où un rassemblement est prévu, participez-y! Aucun événement n’est prévu dans votre communauté? Songez à en organiser un! En vous organisant en servantes radicales, vous n’avez pas besoin d’une grande foule. Même une poignée de personnes costumées en servantes radicales devant leur bureau de député(e) est efficace! Si vous planifiez un événement, communiquez avec nous, S.V.P., afin que nous puissions coordonner nos efforts et vous commanditer officiellement : radicalhandmaids@gmail.com

7 – Si vous avez du talent, tricotez un utérus : http://www.facebook.com/groups/354104927964655/?ref=ts&__adt=6

Nous encourageons les gens à déposer des utérus en tricot aux bureaux de leurs député(e)s. Prenez une photo et envoyez-la à RadicalHandmaids@gmail.com Nous afficherons les actions sur notre site Web.

8 – Imprimez et envoyez les cartes postales anti-M-312 officielles, disponibles pour téléchargement à : http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/fr/action/M-312-cartes-postales.html

NB : vous pouvez les envoyer par courrier postal gratuitement! Vous pouvez trouver une organisation locale ou un syndicat qui serait prêt à faire une impression des cartes postales et amusez-vous! Le but est que nos député(e)s reçoivent un flux régulier de matériel d’ici à l’automne prochain.

9 – Confectionnez-vous un costume de servante, ou par Photoshop, et envoyez-nous la photo. Nous l’afficherons sur notre site Web afin de maintenir l’élan! Interprétez le costume de servante à votre façon ou consultez un modèle à : http://www.ehow.com/how_8487342_make-flying-nun-hat.html

10 – Ne sous-estimez pas le pouvoir du dialogue. Cette motion est consciemment dissimulée et peut facilement amener les gens à penser que le Canada est archaïque, qu’il n’a pas de restrictions à l’avortement et est qu’il est juridiquement irresponsable. Parlez-en à vos ami(e)s, votre famille et vos collègues. Explique-leur pourquoi cette motion est une attaque à nos droits à l’avortement. Rien de moins.

Pour plus de renseignements, contactez-nous à :

radicalhandmaids@gmail.com

@ RadicalHandmaid

Top 10 Ways to Take Action against M-312

1-     Educate yourself : http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/M-312-fact-sheet.pdf

2-     Parliament is archaic and does not recognize online petitions. Please print and sign the official paper petition here: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/m312-paper-petition-en.pdf

3-     Contact your MP and find out how they will be voting on M-312. How to find out who your MP is and how to contact them: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC

4-     On April 25th and April 26th, express your outrage on Twitter through the #NoDebate hashtag

5-     Change your Facebook profile photo to our Radical Handmaid photo

6-     If you live in a community in which a rally is planned, ATTEND IT!

Ottawa rally

Toronto rally

No event planned in your community? Consider organizing one! The joy of organizing as Handmaids is that you don’t need a large crowd to really create some buzz and get people talking. Even a handful of people dressed up in costume in front of their MPs office is effective! Please connect with us if you’re planning an event, so we can coordinate and officially endorse: radicalhandmaids@gmail.com

7-     If you’re crafty, knit/crochet a womb: http://www.facebook.com/groups/354104927964655/?ref=ts&__adt=6 We’re encouraging people to ‘knit bomb’ their communities and MPs offices. Take a photo & send it to RadicalHandmaids@gmail.com We’ll keep track of ‘Womb sightings’ on our website

8-     Print and mail official Anti-M-312 postcards, available for download here: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/M-312-postcards.html Reminder: You can snail mail Parliament for FREE! Find a local organization or union who is willing to get some postcards printed and go hog wild! We want MPs to be receiving a steady stream of lobby material from now until the vote in the fall

9-     Make (or photoshop yourself!) in a Handmaid costume. Send us the photo and we’ll post them on our website to maintain momentum! Interpret the Handmaid costume how you’d like or check out a pattern here: http://www.ehow.com/how_8487342_make-flying-nun-hat.html

10-   NEVER underestimate the power of dialogue. This Motion is purposely cryptic and can easily trick people into thinking that Canada is archaic, has no abortion restrictions and is legally irresponsible. Talk with your friends, family and colleagues and explain to them how this Motion is a thinly veiled attack on abortion rights. Nothing more.

For more information, contact us:

radicalhandmaids@gmail.com

@RadicalHandmaid

http://www.facebook.com/RadicalHandmaids