Tag Archives: abortion

a little something for "reading" week, via Jezebel

What Does Science Fiction Tell Us About the Future of Reproductive Rights? from Jezebel.

I cannot shake the raging disbelief I’m feeling about Virginia’s proposed legislation (sorry to anyone who has talked to me in the past 72 hours, I really cannot work through it on my own, and have to rant repeatedly, incredulously, loudly, and with TMI involved).

Luckily (and I’m sure because of some effective advocacy/ranting), it seems that not everyone has lost their minds (via Ms. Magazine) and the bill won’t become real law (now, at least) (via Jezebel).

But thinking about it and following the debate certainly did make me think of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale specifically, and the unknowability of the future more generally.  And once you get to that point, “smug-canadianness” as a reaction to this kind of proposal feels terribly unsatisfying and unstable.

So, while many tactics on the anti-abortion front seem to be coming around again, or coming on stronger maybe, more inescapable, more stridently proposed, more everything, but ultimately forseeable (outright bans, permissions from family, fathers, doctors, funding withdrawals, etc), the technological possibilities involve many things which are less so. Mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds if you want an early abortion are one, as is the Texas law which tries to force women seeking abortion to listen to the fetal heartbeat (this law has survived legal challenges).  Another is the call to stop pregnancy termination where it is based in a desire to select the sex of a child (see this op-ed from the University of St. Michael’s College and E.D. of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute Dr. Moira McQueen, for instance).  Hence, the turn to art and imagination to get a fuller picture of the possibilities as science moves boldy forward (other options include taking some scientists out for lunch to chat, but hey, it’s “Reading” week!).  Thanks, I think, Jezebel.

h/t Kate Sutherland, who blogs at Osgoode’s LawArtsCulture blog.  Note that films are included in the Jezebel post. Maybe for next week? For this week, read.

Why care less about the disabled fetus? – The Globe and Mail

Why care less about the disabled fetus? – The Globe and Mail.

Osgoode colleague Roxanne Mykitiuk offers timely commentary in the Globe:

But if sex selection can be characterized as a social or cultural practice informed and perpetuated by demeaning attitudes toward women that many of us can agree is discriminatory, what about the selection of fetuses on the basis of disability? For those of us living with, or living with someone with, Down syndrome, a cleft lip or a missing limb, the selection against fetuses with these characteristics is as troubling as the selection against female fetuses.

Abortion Expert panel report from Ontario

Abortion Expert panel report final format_0.pdf (application/pdf Object).

Abortion Expert Panel Report. (2011). Recommendations to improve abortion services in Ontario. Toronto: Echo: Improving Women’s Health in Ontario.

Key findings:

1. Abortion is a safe procedure in Ontario1. Abortion procedures performed at lower gestational age lowers the complication rate, making timely access to abortion services essential.
2. Research shows that high quality abortion services must be readily available to support women’s reproductive health 2,3,4,5. When women are able to make safe choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health, they are more likely to participate equally in social, political and economic life6.
3. The Ontario abortion system is fragile. Abortion services are shifting from a model that relied on hospitals to one that relies on specialized clinics and private physician offices (PPOs). The current abortion system is poorly understood and is dependent upon a relatively small group of providers. Hospitals must remain core providers in the system and provide back-up support to the clinics and PPOs.
4. Access to abortion services can be difficult and access is not equitable across Ontario, primarily due to a complex and fragmented system. A centralized source of information regarding how to access services that support women’s choices needs to be available.
5. Health care professionals have a duty to operate in alignment with legal and ethical frameworks that identify obligations regarding confidentiality, respectful behaviour and full disclosure of pregnancy options and choices to their patients. When women are not referred to abortion service providers, it can cause barriers in accessing an abortion provider and receiving a timely procedure or intervention putting the woman at increased risk.


Another H/T to the amazing list serv from the Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme at U of T: REPROHEALTHLAW-L

Movie Break – Abortion Democracy: Poland/South Africa

Looks interesting.

Lovely song over the title in the trailer (below).

Fascinating paradox around accessibility/legality (the old law vs. folkways fight).

Click here for a link to the film’s website.

Thanks to Linda Hutjens at the REPROHEALTHLAW listserv.

Why are illegal abortions more accessible in Poland than legal ones in South Africa?

This documentary feature explores and contrasts changes in Poland and South Africa regarding abortion laws and their impact on the lives of women.

In the 90’s, Poland banned abortion due to the increasing influence of the Catholic Church after the fall of communism; around the same time South Africa legalized it, reforming the health system after the fall of apartheid.

The film reveals how the legal status of women is a direct result of the silencing or empowering of women’s voices. In the Polish society and media, women’s perspectives were made invisible; in South Africa, on the other hand, they were invited to give public hearings in the parliament about problems in the realm of reproduction.

The film aims to emphasize the need for safe abortions and liberal abortion laws. It also, however, illustrates the paradox that the implementation of such laws may have little effect on the accessibility of abortion services. In Poland, for example, illegal abortions are quite available and relatively safe; in South Africa, where the law is very liberal, women have a harder time getting information and services in public hospitals due to judgmental behavior of the health staff. Only a change in the fundamental social and cultural attitudes towards abortion, contraception, and reproductive health can ensure a woman’s right to choose in a world where about 80.000 women die every year from unsafe abortions.

The 80's are back – only it's about more than shoulder pads and zippered jeans

I shouldn’t joke about it. Abortion rights battles didn’t end in 1988.

Joanna Birenbaum, director of Litigation at LEAF sent this around this morning:  dailygleaner.com – Human rights group opens inquiry into N.B.’s abortion policy

On Tuesday, the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission confirmed that it’s holding an inquiry into New Brunswick’s abortion policy after it had received a complaint about the province’s Medical Services Payment Act, which sets out the conditions under which the government will pay for abortions.

The provincial Department of Health requires that abortions be performed by a gynecologist in a hospital on the approval of two doctors. A women can, however, pay for an abortion at the private Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton. The procedure costs between $600 and $800, depending on how far along she is in her pregnancy.

Schollenberg said the college had documentation relating to the discussion that led to the unique New Brunswick rule that requires the consent of two physicians.

A bit more here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/11/02/nb-abortion-human-rights-complaint-410.html:

Morgentaler won a New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision in 2009 after the provincial government challenged whether he could personally launch the lawsuit.

The provincial government argued a woman who tried to access an abortion should bring forward the lawsuit. However, the province’s top court shot down that argument.

“Dr. Morgentaler brings to the judicial arena financial resources and legal expertise which will undoubtedly help level the playing field and greatly improves the chances that any judicial decision on the merits is fully informed both factually and legally,” the Court of Appeal ruled in 2009.

Morgentaler originally launched his lawsuit to get the New Brunswick government to pay for abortions at his private clinic in 2002.

“I accuse the government of New Brunswick of being sexist, male chauvinist, of victimizing and oppressing women,” Morgentaler said in 2002 when he announced his lawsuit.