Meet the Radical Handmaids

Do you know what’s the coolest new thing in Canadian prochoice politics and badassery? Radical Handmaids. If Motion 312 has got you righteously angry, sign the petition against it, send your MP a letter telling them to oppose it, then join the Radical Handmaids on Facebook  , follow them on Twitter, and check out their webpage.

Not sure who or what a Handmaid is? Then sadly you’re not already familiar with Margaret Atwood’s brilliant novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” and I strongly recommend you head to your local library or independent bookstore and pick up a copy. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a frightening look at where the world could go for women if the right-wing fundamentalists take over; imagine having no name, just a designation based on which man in your life you’re most important too. Ofryan, Ofjeffery, Ofnathan, Ofjames, Ofrichard. Imagine having no control, and I mean none, over your reproduction, if you’re one of the ‘lucky’ Handmaids of reproductive age and fitness, or being a Wife but infertile and having your husband need a Handmaid. Imagine losing everything; your job, your savings, your home, your family, because women are suddenly a protected and sacred resource instead of people. Imagine not even being able to commit suicide because men have learned to keep anything even remotely dangerous away from women’s hands. This is “The Handmaid’s Tale”, and I wasn’t kidding when I said to my husband that I woke up one morning and it felt like suddenly I was in a prologue to that story. Between all the antichoice bullshit happening south of the border, and omg there is so so so much of it I just want to scream but that wouldn’t be enough, and now Motion 312 hitting so very close to home, I’m deeply afraid that the fundies might win, and what that will mean.

As a staunch feminist and body acceptance advocate, a mom and mom to be, someone who’s had to choose whether or not to end and unwanted and unintended pregnancy, the issue of abortion is one that is close to my heart. Everyone, regardless of their gender or sex, must have bodily autonomy, and that means deciding for ourselves when/if/how many kids we want to have. If you want to have a dozen beautiful bouncing babies I wish you nothing but joy and safe deliveries. If you never ever want to have kids, I wish you the strongest of birth controls and never having to make the same choice I did. If you’re somewhere in between, I wish you the continued rights you currently enjoy to decide for yourself what that means and how you’ll go about it. I hope you’ll join me in fighting to keep those rights for everyone.

Submitted by JeninCanada

I Am Not A 2nd Class Citizen

Many of the questions asked in Motion 3-12 are not in need of answering, as no-one argues that a fetus isn’t human, just that it is not and cannot be considered a full person with rights and responsibilities under the law. After all, if a fetus isn’t human, what is it? Canine? Feline? Tadpole? As for what are the legal impacts and consequences of the current Criminal Code on the fundamental human rights of a child, there are none. A fetus is not a ‘child’, it has no rights, and as has been previously determined several times by our Supreme Court, a woman and her fetus cannot be separated into two entities by the law. Until the moment of complete live birth, a fetus has no rights and cannot have any.

To give the right to life to a fetus would mean eliminating the rights to bodily integrity, privacy and safety that pregnant women currently enjoy in Canada, to open the door to criminal investigations into miscarriages, and to curtailing what women can and can’t do while pregnant, in case those activities may harm the fetus. It would mean eliminating abortion as a safe, legal medical option for women who experience an unwanted or unviable pregnancy. As a pregnant woman, as a mother and as a woman who has had her birth control fail and needed an abortion, this motion, and the future path it lays down, terrifies me.

I am not a second class citizen. The women of Canada will not go back to the dark days before R v. Morgentaler. Our bodies are our own, regardless of the contents of our uteri. It is fundamentally unfair that potentially a group of Parliamentarians, mostly men I am sure, might be able to sit down together and determine that they know what is best for our families, our bodies and our futures, despite the word ‘woman’ or ‘women’ not appearing in their set of questions even once. How can they discuss fetuses without discussing women? It’s a grave and deeply troubling oversight, but I’m not surprised. Whenever this discussion raises its ugly head in Canada it’s always about fetuses, never about women, as if these two ideas can exist one without the other. They cannot, and to even try and make it so would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.

Submitted by JeninCanada