A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘abortion

[NEWS] Five links in Canada, from NAFTA corn syrup to Amazon Prime in Iqaluit and abortion

  • Could NAFTA, as one article suggests, have contributed to obesity in Canada by boosting consumption of high-fructose corn syrup?
  • VICE reports on a new Canadian federal program to extend high-speed Internet throughout rural Canada.
  • CBC notes the scary extent to which Iqaluit depends on Amazon Prime to afford even basic things, including food.
  • VICE notes the overrepresentation of indigenous children in the child welfare system in Canada.
  • VICE tells the story of a Maritime women who helps Maritimers navigate the health care system to get abortions.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Antipope’s Charlie Stross wonders if the politics of Trump might mean an end to the British nuclear deterrent.
  • Centauri Dreams shares Andrew LePage’s evaluation of the TRAPPIST-1 system, where he concludes that there are in fact three plausible candidates for habitable status there.
  • Dangerous Minds shares the gender-bending photographs of Norwegian photographers Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.
  • The Extremo Files looks at the human microbiome.
  • Language Hat links to an article on Dakhani, a south Indian Urdu dialect.
  • The LRB Blog looks at policing in London.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that 90% of the hundred thousand lakes of Manitoba are officially unnamed.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the remarkable Akshardham Temple of New Delhi.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes how citizen scientists detected changes in Rosetta’s comet.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer provides a visual guide for New Yorkers at the size of the proposed border wall.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper taking a look at the history of abortion in 20th century France.
  • Torontoist looks at the 1840s influx of Irish refugees to Toronto.
  • Understanding Society takes a look at the research that went into the discovery of the nucleus of the atom.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on Belarus.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares photos and commentary on the stars and plot of Oscar-winning film Midnight.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • blogTO notes that yesterday was a temperature record here in Toronto, reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the pleasure of using old things.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the death of Roe v Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey.
  • Language Hat notes that, apparently, dictionaries are hot again because their definitions are truthful.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if the Trump Administration is but a mechanism for delivering Pence into power following an impeachment.
  • Steve Munro notes that Exhibition Loop has reopened for streetcars.
  • The NYRB Daily considers painter Elliott Green.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that North Carolina’s slippage towards one-party state status is at least accompanied by less violence than the similar slippage following Reconstruction.
  • Window on Eurasia warns that Belarus is a prime candidate for Russian invasion if Lukashenko fails to keep control and notes the potential of the GUAM alliance to counter Russia.

[ISL] “After 35 years, abortions are finally available in P.E.I.”

Anne Kingston of MacLean’s interviews Lianne Yoshida, the doctor who has begun performing the first abortions in decades on Prince Edward Island.

Q: Did you face protesters on Tuesday?

A: No. There were protests after the centre was announced last year. We’ve had peaceful protest in Halifax. Protesters aren’t allowed on hospital property; they have to be on the sidewalk, so there’s a parking lot in between. In Ontario, there is a “bubble zone” law so protestors can’t protest at clinic doors.

The support the government has given to this clinic is great; they’ve put together a great group of people to organize and plan. It’s not an abortion clinic, it’s a women’s health and wellness clinic. I like that they put it in that context.

Q: Why is that important?

A: Women who get abortions are also women who are mothers and women who have gall bladder problems and women who need contraception. It’s important not to separate that. And I think a lot of the anti-abortion people say: “Well, we like mothers, but we don’t like women who have abortions,” and actually it’s the same people. We still have these false divisions about women being “good or bad”—the virgin or the prostitute. That discourse is so simplistic. So women might need abortions, they might need to get contraception, they might need STD screening.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 4, 2017 at 6:30 pm

[PHOTO] 85 Harbord Street, in 2008 and 2016

Passing along Harbord Street with a visiting friend on Monday, I snapped this photo of 85 Harbord Street.

85 Harbord Street, Morgentaler's address #toronto #harbordstreet #abortion #henrymorgentaler #morgentaler #harbordvillage

I’d also taken a photo of this address–not a separate building, just a door in a larger building–in 2008, from across the street.

85 Harbord

Why so much attention to a non-descript address? 85 Harbord Street is the address of Henry Morgentaler’s first abortion clinic in Toronto, as I noted back in August 2008 when I posted the second photo. The Globe and Mail provided a potted history of the building.

The story of this old Annex Victorian semi, among the storefronts on the south of Harbord, really begins on June 15, 1983, when Henry Morgentaler opened an abortion clinic. It was subjected to protests and pickets, and victories and defeats – for both sides of the debate. The drama might have ended in 1988, when the Supreme Court ruled that freestanding clinics were legal, but the rallies continued, reaching 3,000 strong. Harbord Street Cafe, at No. 87, closed shop, its windows papered over. A sign for The Way Inn took its place. The Toronto Women’s Bookstore moved down the street. Then on Victoria Day weekend in 1992, an explosion by arsonists blew the wall out at No. 85. No one was ever charged. A small apartment is there now, next to Ms. Emma Designs at No. 87.

Jamie Bradburn at The Grid also wrote about this in 2013. Without Morgentaler’s clinics, which provided abortions in violation of restrictive regulations in public hospitals, abortion policies in Canada might have ended up being very different. There should be a plaque at 85 Harbord: What happened here really did shape the lives of Canadians.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm

[ISL] On how the end of the Prince Edward Island ban on abortion shows the decline of the old PEI

On the 25th of March, when abortion on Prince Edward Island was still a contentious essay, the Everyday Sociology Blog featured an essay by social scientist Teresa Irene Gonzales. In “Spatial Inequity and Access to Abortion”, Gonzales noted how some American state governments tried to regulate abortion out of existence indirectly, by cutting down the number of abortion clinics as much as possible and forcing women seeking abortion to travel great distances, ideally prohibitive distances.

Abortion and women’s access to abortion are often contested issues within the United States. A recent poll by Pew Research found that 51% of Americans think that abortions should be legal in all or most cases. Yet, 49% of Americans polled think having an abortion is morally wrong. How does this difference in legality and morality impact legal decisions?

Have you heard about the Texas abortion regulations case? In 2013, the Texas solicitor general passed an omnibus abortion bill (HB2) that places additional restrictions on abortion providers. Regulations include requiring doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles from the clinic where they perform abortions, and requiring abortion clinics to be retrofitted to comply with building regulations that would make them ambulatory surgical centers.

The impact of these bills on women’s health has been immediate. Since the passing of HB2, 900,000 women now live farther than 150 miles from an abortion provider and 750,000 live farther than 200 miles; 11 of 33 abortion clinics closed; and wait times have increased. In addition, according to researchers at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), the number of physicians who provide abortions across the state fell from 48 to 28.

The restriction of a woman’s right to access either reproductive health and/or abortion care exacerbates issues of spatial inequality and isolation. In Texas, women are faced with potentially long travel times, barriers to finding a culturally competent doctor and/or a doctor that speaks the patient’s language, and increased costs (time off work, transportation, childcare, healthcare and prescriptions) to accessing reproductive healthcare. This is particularly onerous for impoverished women, women of color, immigrant women, and those who reside in more rural areas.

This fits exactly the historic policy of Prince Edward Island re: abortion, as I described in February in “#heywade, @iamkarats, Anne of Green Gables, and the future of Prince Edward Island”. Starting in 1982, religious conservatives prevented abortions from occurring in the province’s health facilities, requiring women seeking abortion to leave the province. As Prince Edward Island is, in fact, an island, this imposes significant costs indeed. That Island women seeking abortions also had to get referrals was another hurdle imposed.

This ban was famously been rescinded on the 31st, just a few days after Gonzalez’ article was published. That this happened is in no small part because of a brilliant public relations campaign that used the image of Anne Shirley, of Green Gables fame to mobilize opinion against the ban. That the Island also faced an impending lawsuit, as noted in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, doubtless played into things.

[Premier Wade MacLauchlan] noted that the government was unlikely to win the lawsuit launched by Abortion Access Now PEI Inc. That suit contended that the government’s policy contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that its purpose “is to advance a particular conception of morality and to restrict access to abortion as a socially undesirable or immoral practice.” The pro-choice group filed a notice of litigation in January that required a response from the government within 90 days.

The government’s decision to provide abortions on PEI will do more than ensure timely and safe access to this health service; it will reduce the stigma associated with abortion on the island, says Ann Wheatley, cochair of Abortion Access Now PEI. “The policy of the government not to allow abortions to be performed in the province has for the past 30 years conveyed a message that there was something wrong, even sinister, about the procedure. It had the effect of stigmatizing abortion, and causing women to feel ashamed and fearful.”

No abortions have been performed in PEI since 1982. They are offered out of province at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a referral from a PEI physician, or at the Moncton Hospital in New Brunswick, where no referral is necessary. The latter option is relatively new. MacLauchlan made arrangements with the Moncton facility shortly after he was elected in May 2015. Women do not have to pay for the cost of out-of-province abortion services, but they must pay for their own travel, accommodation and other related expenses.

It made the news in Britain’s The Guardian, and it made a proportionally bigger splash in The Guardian of Charlottetown. The news coverage in the latter has been particularly interesting to read, as pro-abortion Islanders celebrate and anti-abortion Islanders mourn. I’m in the former camp, as it happens. I’m particularly interested in how the abortion services will apparently be folded into a new women’s reproductive health centre, one that will also provide more pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women, one that might integrate midwives into the service, and so on. Women’s health, and reproductive health, are now specific priorities of the provincial health system.

I’m personally inclined to see the decline of old Prince Edward Island and its integration into a new modernized world. Premier Wade MacLauchlan is openly gay; the Island’s economy is kept afloat by tourists’ money, primary industries continuing their long slide; immigration is playing an increasingly important role in the province’s population; cultural urbanization is proceeding apace. The old Prince Edward Island, self-consciously conservative and traditional and homogeneous and quietly repressive is almost dead. In its place is a new Island where old norms and the old exceptionalism are increasingly irrelevant. The Island is becoming a place not very different from the rest of Canada.

For a variety of reasons, including personal reasons, I think this a good thing. Doubtless others–including others on the Island–disagree. I wonder what sort of political dynamic this cultural shift will drive in the decades ahead.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture reports on the scene from Palmyra after the expulsion of ISIS.
  • James Bow links to a documentary on the search for Planet Nine.
  • The Dragon’s Tales speculates that the ability to enter torpor might have saved mammals from the en of the Cretaceous extinction.
  • Honourary Canadian Philip Turner discovers the Chiac dialect of the Acadians of the Maritimes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Afrika Bambaataa has been accused of molesting young boys.
  • Language Hat reports on the renaming of the Czech Republic “Czechia.”
  • Marginal Revolution notes Singapore has a graciousness index.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Australia’s upcoming elections.
  • pollotenchegg maps the 2012 elections in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer explains how American investment in the Philippines was made impossible, so as to avoid welding that country to the US.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper examining contraception and abortion among the Czechs and Slovaks in recent decades.
  • Towleroad notes Ted Cruz’ disinterest in protecting gay people.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the scale of Russia’s demographic problems, report the debate on whether Russia will or will not annex South Ossetia, and suggest Russia is losing influence in Central Asia.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World predicts the end for Dilma Rousseff.