Frederica Mathewes-Green calls abortion violence and likens it to foot binding and the other ways in which we force women to conform in painful ways. Yet she is very kind and conciliatory to those who are pro-choice. You can watch her talk to a group of us yesterday on YouTube. Her story is fascinating. Today is the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade.
Central to the project of cross-border surrogacy is the ideology that legalised commercial surrogacy is a legitimate means to provide infertile couples and gay men with children who share all or part of their genes. Women, without whose bodies this project is not possible are reduced to incubators, to ovens, to suitcases. And the ‘product child’ is a tradable commodity who has never consented to being a ‘take away baby’: removed from their birth mother and given to strangers aka ‘intended parents’.”
An important read as Canada considers opening up our assisted human reproduction laws. I’d differ from Klein on some things; I would certainly categorize abortion as violence against women, which Klein does not, but I’d agree that all surrogacy (paid, unpaid) dehumanizes and commercializes human life. (The review also mentions some negative aspects of adoption, too, which I have to look into before commenting. Complex stuff.)
A new ad has women doing a pregnancy test by peeing on an ad for an IKEA crib. If you’re pregnant the discount code for said crib shows up.
What I like: When you are pregnant, however early, you need a crib because the baby, though you can’t see him or her, is already there. Get a crib, people–whether you parent or someone else does. There’s no “undoing” your pregnancy. (Just waiting for Planned Parenthood in the USA to offer abortion discounts based on this same ad technology.)
What I don’t like: spending so much money and time on advertising that commercializes your family, starting with conception. I hate gimmicks–and that’s what this is. Plus, do you have to show IKEA the ad or do they take your word for it? Who wants to do that?
Creative and yet, annoying.
Somehow I missed this, but obviously I like it. Who wouldn’t?
Discussed the government’s requirement of an ideological purity test (I support “reproductive rights”) in order for small business and not-for-profits to receive funding for summer interns with John Oakley on AM 640 yesterday. Very pleased he took the issue on. Less pleased with my meandering replies here but the gist is this: The Charter is intended to protect conscience rights, not transgress them. And while the Liberals want to stick it to anti-abortion groups, they are in effect creating a chill for all charities who will not check that nebulous box saying they support “reproductive rights.” Many a church or NGO hired interns to help with basic stuff for low-income Canadians–things like summer camps for kids who couldn’t otherwise go, etc. Also, just as a side note, “reproductive rights” needs to be very much challenged as a term, something the media rarely does.
There’s a lobbying push on right now to repeal the criminal sanctions of our already stripped down Assisted Human Reproduction Act. Years ago, Canada was declared as having the gold standard of legislation on reproductive technologies. Our Act was stripped down in 2010 with the Reference to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act at the Supreme Court. No more bragging rights.
There are many ethical considerations involved with assisted reproduction that deserve careful consideration. When I see private corporations lobbying for the purpose of commercialization, I get nervous. Even an ethicist at Dalhousie is clarifying that the lobbying campaign may be misleading in its advocacy efforts:
Françoise Baylis, a bioethicist at Dalhousie University, agrees that the lack of clarity is a huge concern. But she argues the law can be clarified without getting rid of the criminal sanctions, and Health Canada is conducting consultations to do exactly that. Baylis thinks the real issue for the protesters, despite what they say, is that there is a prohibition on payment, which they want overturned. “They use catchy phrases, but if you unpack them, they are not based in reality,” she says. She is referring to one of the campaign’s slogans — “surrogacy is not a crime” — pointing out that it isn’t.
And the MP spearheading these efforts leaves us with this quote:
Anthony Housefather, Liberal MP for the riding of Mount Royal, who supports the lobbying, has made no secret of his desire to see assisted reproduction decriminalized and even commercialized. […] And he isn’t troubled by the prospect of the law being lost altogether. “The abortion law was struck down and not replaced,” he says. “It was no tragedy.”
He should conceded that our status quo has in fact led to tragedy. Due our lack of legislation, in Canada, we know that coerced abortions, sex-selection abortions, and late term abortions, have taken place. These occurrences should make even the most ardent pro-choicer pause and consider whether being the only Western nation in the world without abortion legislation is “no tragedy.” We aren’t exactly skipping, carefree, through sunny fields on this topic. There are real and life-ending consequences as a result of our legislative void.
I hope Housefather’s position for supporting the decriminalization of AHRA sanctions is more carefully considered.
All that to say, if a private members bill is introduced to address the AHRA, as Housefather suggests, I hope we seize that opportunity to have a careful and nuanced discussion about the ethical considerations engaged.
This article explains why Congressman Trent Franks’ resignation makes sense. I had only heard little pieces of information about this case, but this article tells more of the story:
Solicitation for surrogacy offends the dignity of the female person just as much as solicitation for sex. Indeed, solicitation for surrogacy derives from solicitation for sex and is made possible only by the pharmaceutical separation of sex and conception and the medical innovation and sale of in vitro fertilization. Gestational surrogacy provides a clinical method for transferring ejaculated sperm from Trent Franks’ body, for example, into an egg and onto the body of a female contracted, typically for money, to the implantation, gestation and hand-delivery of a living, human baby. The surrogate’s body becomes the object of a legal agreement by which the contracting parties regulate and restrict the daily behavior and the maternal rights of the female and sever the human child’s legal and actual connection to its birth mother.
Read about this, in the New York Times. I’m fascinated by this statement:
While a link had been established between birth control pills and breast cancer years ago, this study is the first to examine the risks associated with current formulations of birth control pills and devices in a large population.
They say this link has been established years ago, as if it were old news. It’s true, the link was established long ago, yet most women are unaware. Doesn’t the Pill help diminish the risk of certain cancers, too?
Risk goes up as you age, leading the researchers to advise that older women find a different method of birth control.
The study also found that the risk increased the longer women used contraceptives involving hormones, suggesting the relationship is causal, Dr. Mørch said. “It is a very clear picture for us, very convincing.”
Vindicating for those of us who spoke against the Pill for this very reason. What’s next: the New York Times reporting the Abortion-Breast Cancer (ABC) link? Likely. Give it time and this is precisely what will happen.
CBC is taking a look at abortion. Today, as I type, they are listening to men’s experience with abortion. I can’t help but think this is a good thing because the stories are definitely conflicted and you can’t avoid that, unless they were to censor almost every story.
One fellow just now, in Windsor:
There were two abortions and you wonder sometimes. Anybody who has experienced an abortion, anyone who doesn’t at least ponder what that child would have been like, I think it’s insane if you never think what that child would have been like… It’s normal. You’re gonna be curious, you are going to think about it… It’s hard to say if we regret it. Looking back now, having three, looking at that whole time frame, sometimes I think maybe it wasn’t the right choice, but ultimately you can’t change the past.”
All this to say, people “get it” on the human level. What would these children have been like? It’s normal to ask that.
As I finish typing this, I’m listening to a man talk about how he has never gotten over the abortion his girlfriend had.
I would love for women and men to be healed from their abortions. Counselling plays an important role in this. When people are healed and can talk about it, I think we’ll see a less pro-choice culture. To this end, if you are in the Ottawa area there is help for you, free of charge, at First Place Options. Also you can google Project Rachel.