We Are the City, the Vancouver, BC indie rock trio, re-released their sophomore album Violent in Canada (with two bonus tracks) last week and for the fir time in the US. To celebrate, the group has put a video of each track from the album on YouTube. T…
“Company’s come. In a ramshackle mansion, meet a family in the same condition—ancient, decayed. There’s the brooding Duke, and his riotous brother. There’s Grandam, lost in wilds of herself. There’s a vicar, a philosopher, an angel, a ghost or two. And somewhere above them all, in a ruined garret…” (from rollistuff.com). IN the five years that I
For years we’ve struggled with the idea of travelling over the holiday season. We’ve had great experiences travelling to tropical paradises, ski getaways and everything in between during this time of year. It was always great to escape with the […]
Many of us have been affected by Breast Cancer in some way. Whether it’s a family member, friend or even ourselves, we are aware and have been touched by this illness. October is a month where we raise awareness and […]
Dear Readers: Much as it pains me to admit this …………….., I might owe the ladies an apology! As you well know, your favourite reporter has ranted and raved for years about how women’s libbers, and feminists, have portrayed men as idiots. It even got to the point where a lot of TV ads show […]
London’s cabbies have moved one step closer to accepting credit cards and contactless payments inside their vehicles. It’s about time, right? After launching a consultation earlier this year, Transport for London (TfL) and London’s Mayor Boris Johnso…
There’s a new theatre production that has caught my attention as a parent and theatre lover. WAITING ROOM by Diane Flacks (in collaboration with director Richard Greenblatt) is making its World Premiere at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto (January 14 […]
Well folks, maybe I should have saved this article for the Saturday Morning Confusion posts, since I really am quite confused about whether I should make this girl our “Winner of the Day,” or maybe our “Loser of the Day,” or maybe even our “Asshole of the Day!” You see, Jasmine Tridevil found a doctor […]
One of the things we cherish about being Canadian is our reputation for being polite. It’s great to raise our families in a country known the world over for having good manners (and it’s super handy to be able to […]
How often do you browse through social media accounts, only to toss your phone aside in disgust, your faith in humanity hitting rock bottom? I know it happens to me several times daily: news of atrocities committed in the name […]
So I just read the This Magazine cover story “No Choice: Why the pro-choice movement won’t let women grieve after abortion” and…well. I have thoughts.
First of all, in the interests of full disclosure, I was interviewed by the author, Rebecca Melnyk, at the start of her research for this article or what I imagine would become this article. Never have I been happier to avoid being quoted; I can’t imagine being associated with this mess. When Melnyk reached out to me she identified herself first and foremost as strongly pro-choice. She probably still does. I’m sure she didn’t choose the title of the article. But holy hell, what is going on here?
It seems to me that the premise is that both “sides” of the abortion “debate” only offer post-abortive people counselling in a politicized environment with some kind of agenda, and that the pro-choice side is routinely dismissive of the range of feelings someone might have after having an abortion. At no point does Melnyk quote a pro-choicer who backs up this assertion; on the contrary, every pro-choice person she mentions points out that folks feel any of a variety of different emotions after abortion and that they should have access to counselling:
That same month, on a warm afternoon in Toronto Miriam McDonald, an editor at the Marxist newspaper Spartacist Canada, struts up and down a hallway at the Ontario Institute of Secondary Education at an International Women’s day rally. “Abortion is just a medical procedure like getting a wart off, except it’s all politicized,” she says. “A woman’s capacity to control her fertility opens the doors to full equality. That’s why it’s … stigmatized.” Another woman standing next to her in a baseball cap, handing out newspapers, says post-abortive women need counselling, not to overcome negative feelings related to abortion, but rather, to cope with society’s stigma and culture of shame.
Some women may need counselling services before or after they have an abortion, says Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC). She does not believe, however, that PAS is real. “It’s like the anti-choice movement works in its own bubble,” she says, “making up it’s own science and ignoring mainstream evidence and consensus.” The result, she adds, is confusion—public misinformation that scares women considering abortion. In Arthur’s mind, the act of abortion continues to be blamed for the source of trauma when, in reality, the unwanted pregnancy is often what’s truly traumatic. It’s not to say women don’t experience negative effects, she adds, just that it’s more complex than the anti-abortion activists portray.
Over in Vancouver, Everywoman’s Health Centre is an abortion clinic that provides free, non-judgmental counselling services and resources like the book, Peace After Abortion. Erin Mullan, who’s been a counsellor for over 20 years, works there. “When it comes to abortion, nothing is in the range of normal,” she says. “A woman’s culture, her religion or history, could all inform how she’ll feel.” For the small number of women she refers out to other counsellors who offer long-term support, abortion is not the main cause of negative feelings, but rather, “it opens a door of pain.” That door can reveal bad relationships, abuse, or mental depression. Mullan points out that coercion—if a woman’s been forced to have an abortion—accounts for one third of the problems she treats. “It can sit unfinished, inside of her for years,” she says, “if she wasn’t given the space to make choices.” At this clinic, the acknowledgment that abortion can be intimately connected to negative feelings serves no greater purpose than a woman’s well-being.
And then Melnyk goes on to describe how many other abortion clinics across the country offer both pre- and post-abortion counselling, usually for free, along with referrals for follow-up counselling with specialists. At no point in the article is there any indication that pro-choicers “won’t let women grieve after abortion”.
My feeling is that the thrust of the article, the point that Melnyk is trying to make is that the options for counselling after an abortion are either shaming, Christian, anti-abortion drivel or militant pro-choice propaganda, that there is no option for folks just looking for non-judgemental counselling. Which is a load of bullshit not even borne out by her research. Yes there is a lack of accessible post-abortion therapy because there is a lack of accessible any therapy – ask any low income person with a mental health issue how easy it is to get in to see a counsellor. But the idea of a lack of non-judgemental post-abortion counselling is especially heinous when the article itself talks about the many clinics that offer it. “Pro-choice” IS “non-judgemental” – no abortion clinic counsellor worth their salt is going to judge you for feeling guilt or regret after your abortion. That’s what counselling is about. That’s why it makes a difference that the counsellors in abortion clinics are trained specifically in non-judgemental pre- and post-abortive counselling and the people in “crisis pregnancy centres” are just random volunteers trained only in making people feel like shit – like they have something to “repent” for – because they had an abortion.
There is a disturbing amount of false equivalence being thrown around in this article.
It just really pisses me off because pro-choice organizations in this country – including abortion clinics, sexual health centres, and organizations like ARCC, NAF, Canadians for Choice, and CFSH, among others – deliberately provide listings of non-judgemental counselling options on request, and often go to great lengths to ensure that people find the care they need regardless of pregnancy outcome. All of these organizations are explicit about not favouring any pregnancy outcome over others, and the number one concern is getting folks the care they want and need in the safest and most accessible way possible.
There is no neutral on abortion, really there isn’t. Not the way it’s framed right now. Either you believe it shouldn’t be allowed, or you believe it should. There is no magical third party who are the only people who can provide non-judgemental counselling. If you believe people have the right to choose how to handle an unwanted pregnancy – if you are pro-choice – then that belief extends to how people feel after their abortion. Anyone providing actual non-judgemental counselling is pro-choice by definition.
I think Melnyk knows this, but I don’t know how to explain this mess of an article. I think she is (rightfully) concerned for folks – like her – who have had abortions and haven’t received the support that they need. And that is legitimate. But the solution there has to be more support and funding for pro-choice, sex-positive, woman-positive counselling services; fighting against abortion stigma; advocating for reproductive and sexual health services in underserved areas – not bizarre magazine articles attacking the pro-choice movement for imagined slights, for not “letting” women grieve. Women can do what they damn well please – isn’t that the whole point?
The Male Cycle: When I was 13, I hoped that one day I would have a girlfriend with big tits. When I was 16, I got a girlfriend with big tits, but there was no passion, so I decided I needed a passionate girl with zest for life. In college I dated a passionate girl, […]
Sindy with an S was voted off of Big Brother Canada the second week into the game, but we may not have seen the last of her yet. Sindy and Risha both sit waiting to see if they will be able to go back into the house…and on Sunday another person will …
Canada has long needed a REAL National Autism Strategy, one which includes coverage of autism in medicare to ensure that children with autism disorders received treatment for their autism disorders regardelss of which province their parents live in. One of the most glaring examples of the need for national autism medical coverage is in the province I once called Canada’s Autism Wasteland province. Since that commentary on September 2, 2007 little progress appears to have been made judging by the Global story by Amber Rockliffe: Saskatchewan families moving due to lack of autism funding. Rockliffe reports of Saskachewan families leaving the province to find treatment for their children’s autism disorders; treatment which is not available because of long wait lists and is not usually delivered in sufficient hours to make a substantial difference in treating their children’s autism.
“Sheri Radoux, has moved south of the U.S. border to Minnesota. “I think the services in Saskatchewan are probably the worst, or one of the worst in Canada, “said Radoux. “We moved down to Minnesota and we got full-time therapy for all our children, paid and funded by the state.”
The kids are off of school for a couple of weeks. I came to the realization yesterday that, oh yeah, they’re home with me! My daily routine of sitting at the computer with a bottomless cappuccino is not their idea […]
Here’s another one from Wayne! An Israeli doctor says: “In Israel, medicine is so advanced that we cut off a man’s testicles, put them on another man, and in 6 weeks, he is looking for work.” The German doctor says: “That’s nothing, in Germany we take part of a brain, put it in another man, […]
Boy, oh boy………….! Folks the only real cool class trip I went on was a day trip to Niagara Falls. It sure wasn’t like THIS one! Parents are blaming the teachers; or at least one health official is blaming the parents. But no matter how many fingers are pointed, it doesn’t change the fact that […]
The only biographies I remember reading as a kid were those old Values books by Ann Donegan Johnson. I particularly remember enjoying the Value of Determination: The Story of Helen Keller. But though I still enjoy reading biographies, and I still enjoy children’s books, I’m not finding that I’m overly enjoying biographies for children. Earlier this year I tried Willow Dawson’s Hyena in Petticoats: The Story of Suffagette Nellie McClung and the Susan Hughes/ Willow Dawson collaboration No Girls Allowed and both left me unfulfilled. I wish I could say the same for David Alexander Robertson’s The Peacemaker Thanadelthur, but I cannot.
This is certainly not a comment on any of their subjects. Indeed, I found Thanadelthur, a Dene woman who strove for peace between her people and the Cree, to be an enormously compelling character. And I think it’s an absolute necessity that people like Roberston are writing about important historical figures such as her. About time Canadian history acknowledges that it didn’t begin with white European settlers (granted, they’re also in the book). No, this is more a comment on me. When it comes to biographies, I want them fleshed out more than a child’s book is likely to offer. But at least I’ve had exposure to this character. And at least kids who come across it will as well. Maybe Thanadelthur’s name will stick with them as Helen Keller did with me.
Robertson’s story, while scant perhaps on enough details to wholly satisfy me, is nonetheless interesting. There is a rather unnecessary frame story— a sister is telling Thanadelthur’s story to her brother as a lesson in courage so that he can deliver a speech to his class— but otherwise there is enough of an adventure to appeal to many children.
Wai Tien’s artwork is rich in colour, with stunning landscapes and interesting angles.
Street style, I’m sure you’ve heard of it before. There are thousands of fashion blogs dedicated to just that, they capture real style that is found in everyday life and off the runways. We love it! We love the idea, and […]
Well, well, boys and girls, time to get serious for a change. North American blacks are leading a truly schizophrenic existence, and I don’t think it’s doing them any good! The reason I mention this is because there is a new TV show premiering tonight called “Black-ish” and it throws a light on some very […]
This blog is focused on autism disorders, very closely related conditions including intellectual disability and epilepsy. It is about my son and the joy he brings me each day despite his serious disorders and challenges. Occasionally it is …
Have you ever been to the Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Festival Sale? The Ottawa Mennonite Church has hosted this shopping event for over 40 years. If you love food samples and giveaways you should mark November 13th on your calendar because it’s Foodie Friday at the festival. (!) Here’s what awaits you: A cookie-decorating station for kids – […]
In the 1780s ,the first fleet of British ships brought exiled criminals to Australia to set up a penal colony. Prisoners were separated from the general population in England and shipped off to form their own territory far away from […]
This Fall I have done a lot of these ‘postcard’ projects.It’s an image that would be on a tourist postcard but we make it canvas sized.I have made similar ones for the Taj Mahal and Machu Pichu that tie into the Grade 3 social studies curriculum.  …
I think it’s time for me to put my two cents worth in again, and damn the opposition! OR! As our motto says: “Let’s get things back into perspective here!” First we take you to Ferguson, where things are hopping, and guns are popping’! As any regular reader of this blog knows, your humble reporter […]
Canadian singer Peter Katz is not disappointing anyone with his third studio album We Are the Reckoning – which includes this super cute song Brother featuring another Canadian artist Royal Wood.The song is just so lovely, as is Peter Katz. The first t…
The Vancouver District School Board is closed from March 9 to the 23rd for March Break. While school is out, there are plenty of exciting and fun activities both children and families throughout the city. Skate The Dry Spot Indoor Located […]
I know what your thinking. Donny and Marie Osmond? Yes, remember them? I certainly do! They are in Toronto with their annual Christmas Show bringing everything they’ve got. They’re here until December 21st playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre […]
Folks, let me tell you a little bit about Sun News. First of all, the Sun News TV network is not on basic cable because the left wing media and government have managed to keep it relegated to the hinterland of cable TV by making it the only news network you have to pay extra […]
Dear Readers: Yes, your faithful reporter knows all about Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby, and I know that sexual assault is not to be treated lightly, and I realize that women need to be treated equally in modern day society! I know all this, and I am also aware that I have to make a […]
Still here, still angry. Still too cynical to tell y’all my in depth feelings about recent developments. I am currently reading Olivia Chow’s memoirs and the message I am taking away is the same that permeated Jack Layton’s last letter – hope is better…
The holidays are fast approaching! How many more sleeps? Bah, I don’t really want to count but as the days here in the city start to get chillier and chillier I’m looking for quick escapes even if it’s just for […]
We have a brand new “Asshole of the Day” for ya, folks. A Langley, B.C., teacher has been suspended over a homophobic prank he played on a Grade 11 student in class last year. Daniel Mark Ogloff is a metal fabrication and machining teacher at Aldergrove Community Secondary School. On Sept. 24, 2013, Ogloff wrote […]
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I live in Europe and work in a multi-national environment. People I meet tend to come in two stripes.
1. Passively ignorant, in that they know absolutely nothing about Canadian politics and sti…
Last year I was part of a really cool initiative called Shop the Neighbourhood. The idea behind it is to encourage people to shop locally, which I love, because I truly believe that independent stores are the backbone of our community and help make it a great place to live. I’m very happy to announce that […]
If you’re getting ready to head out on a family vacation here are a few cool things we’ve spotted that are worth bringing in your carry on bag! TEENY KNOT GENIE HAIRBRUSH ($18) Designed for little locks, this handy little brush with […]
Not when he says the oil companies don’t represent the oil companies, but in his generally negative attitude towards the whole thing? Well, let’s play Devil’s advocate for a minute. What does Alberta get from the rest of the planet for…
“I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree!” That’s a poem by Joyce Kilmer, but this is actually a story about Christine Montgomery and Andy Beaton! The ballad of Chris and Andy! You see, Chris is an amateur Poet who put a small box on the tree in front […]
Big Brother Canada season three premieres tonight on Global, and no one is as excited about this as the BBCAN host Arisa Cox. “It is so huge, we are so thrilled!…because it’s on Global in prime time, I excited for the people who have never seen the show or have watched maybe one episode of Big Brother US and they don’t know what all the fuss is about – when they see tonight’s episode, they will be believers,” said Arisa when I talked to her this morning.
I think all of the regular Big Brother fans were excited last year when the announcement came out that the reality show would be moving from the specialty channel Slice over to the main Shaw channel Global. With the audience reach widening, there are all sorts of opportunities to make believers out of all Canadians instead of just the die hards.
If I were Arisa, all I would be thinking about would be the jump in audience. With so many more people potentially watching the show, would that put Arisa off her game? In her words, no. “…if one person is watching or if 3 million people are watching, I always want it to be the best.”
I tried to get Arisa to give me some spoilers (if I were her I would have given them to me and no one else – obviously), but she would not budge. What she did tell me, “We’ve got a ton of superfans in the house…everybody knows the game, everybody knows the show. They are well versed…As a production team we are going to make them throw all that stuff out the window.” So basically – get ready for a season of twists.
“What we have planned for the season is so next level – you won’t be able to look away,” said Arisa. I am counting on it.
Big Brother Canada premieres tonight on Global TV at 9 PM MST/8 PM EST…Arisa will be wearing a navy and black dress as all the superfans walk into the house.