When I heard this on the news, I was shocked. I don’t know why I was shocked, because Harper’s Conservatives have rescinded support for women’s groups, gay rights, and Aboriginal education, to name a few of their more dough-brained decisions. Maybe if you look at these things through some kind of government-sponsored tunnel, you won’t see any connexion there. But if you take a step back and start asking questions about it, you start getting paranoid.
And by ‘paranoid’, I mean you start seeing patterns where there might not be any. But there might be. That’s the thing with paranoia. In the famous words of Drang, “I’m not *paranoid*! It’s TRUE!!!” In the famous words of someone else, it’s not paranoia if they *are* after you.
In this latest move, our Prime Minister has decided not to provide funding for abortions in developing countries. And by “developing countries”, I mean places where it’s still pretty common for soldiers to employ the strategy of ‘burn the villages and rape the women’ in order to subjugate their rivals. This is *yet another example* of where Canada’s external and internal policies blatantly contradict each other.
For 22 years (this July), abortion has been legal in Canada. More precisely, *unrestricted legal abortions* have been a choice available to women and to their families since 1988. That basically means there are no legal reasons why women cannot choose to terminate a pregnancy. Guidelines vary among the provinces as to when in a woman’s pregnancy a termination is available, and abortion services are funded by medicare by most Canadian provinces. In fact, in 1969, the government of Canada legalised abortions in which a woman’s health was in danger. I think that was the same bill in which homosexuality and the use of contraception were no longer criminal activities.
So, if abortion is legal in Canada (and this is a position which the Canadian people continue to support), then why wouldn’t our government support abortion in developing countries? It’s a policy and political disconnect which makes us look like backwards idiots.
I mentioned it’s not the first time that Canada has been made to look like a backward idiot by our government; Canada does not employ the death penalty, but it’s perfectly fine for other countries’ governments to murder Canadians. When the rest of the world was apologising to Aboriginal peoples all over the world for the effects of colonialisation, Canada was vehemently opposed to making such an apology, but it was okay for our Prime Minister to begrudgingly do so as the apology applied to Residential Schools.
I understand that Stephen Harper and his Conservatives might have backwards opinions on the policies and laws that the Canadian people support and want, but when our elected leaders make stupid decisions like this on my behalf, I get a bit angry. *I* support a woman’s right to choose and to have access to affordable health care, and that includes reproductive health choices. *I* think women ABSOLUTELY have the right to choose whether to bear a child, *regardless* of the situation they find themselves in. Whether it’s because they were raped, because their birth control failed, or whether they didn’t know enough to *use* birth control…and that choice should ABSOLUTELY be affordable. And if that means ‘paid for by G8 countries’, then that’s what that should mean.
I don’t want to get in to the discussion about using abortion AS birth control, because that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
Think about it – you’re living in a ‘developing country’. This probably means you live in abject poverty. It probably means you have had seven or eight children already, of whom maybe less than half will survive. You become pregnant, whether through rape or otherwise. You can continue with the pregnancy, which puts your health in danger (you probably don’t have enough food to feed the children you *do* have) as well as the health of all of the rest of your family. Or, you can choose to terminate the pregnancy in a safe, clean location with a nurse, midwife, or doctor. Of course it’s not a decision you want to make. But it should be a decision you *can* make. Women still choose to attempt unsafe abortions, using everything from drinking poisonous herbs or chemicals to shoving sticks and wires into their uteruses which leads to haemorrhage, infection, and HUGE health risks.
So yeah. I’m more than a little pissed off at my Pee Em. Again.