Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Policing pregnancy

Why gays should worry about policing pregnancy
PERSONAL POLITICAL / Our mantra has always been: our bodies, our choices

Ariel Troster / Xtra.ca / Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My friend Pam, who is pregnant with twins, delights in making strangers squirm when she's out at a bar. She orders alcohol-free beer and drinks it out of the bottle, eliciting glares from other patrons who are convinced that she's harming her future children.

No one has dared to confront her yet, but if they do, Pam plans to tell them where to go. Because since she's become pregnant, she's noticed that random strangers seem to feel entitled to give her advice on everything from fashion to nutrition. Her body has become a source of public debate — one in which she never consented to participate.

If a private member's bill called the Unborn Victims of Crime Act makes it into law, pregnant women like Pam could find all of their choices scrutinized — and possibly criminalized. Because the bill, sponsored by Conservative MP Ken Epp, would grant legal "personhood" to fetuses, setting a precedent that could significantly chip away at women's reproductive freedom.

In the United States, similar laws also criminalize pregnant women for activities that could be deemed harmful to the fetuses they're carrying. And this should make all queers quake in their boots — even those who have no intention of procreating.

Visit xtra.ca to read the rest.

Also, here are some resources to help you fight Bill C-484:

1. Sign this online petition.
2. Write a letter to your MP, using the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's Talking Points
3. Make a donation to ARCC. This is the fight of their lives. They are broke and doing awesome work.
4. If you live in Ottawa, join pro-choice activists on Parliament Hill on Saturday, May 3rd, for a Rally to Oppose Bill C-484. Here are the details:

For immediate release:

Contact: opposebillc484@gmail.com

Headline: “Moving backwards in fight for abortion rights”

On May 3rd, 2008 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM a protest opposing Bill C-484 will take place at the Peace Tower.

Bill C-484, “The Unborn Victims of Crime Act,” has passed its second reading in Parliament as of March 5th, 2008. The bill creates a separate offence for killing a fetus when a pregnant woman is murdered. It gives an unborn foetus some human rights in these cases, which is a cause for concern in the pro-choice community. Under current Canadian Law, human fetuses are not considered persons(s) until they are born alive. If Bill C-484 should pass, the laws would be in conflict because the foetus would be considered a person and therefore the right to a legal abortion would come into question, as well as the rights of pregnant women in general. The law is clearly not concerned with the roots of violence against women and thus this bill would be a detriment to women’s rights. Similar laws have been passed in the U.S. resulting in dozens of women being punished for trying to “harm their child”. Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

We believe that the government should look to pass laws that increase the sentencing upon those who commit violent acts against women, instead of passing laws just for fetuses that give women no ounce of protection and infringe on their rights.

Women and men are encouraged to come join us and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada at the Peace Tower on May 3rd, 2008 to show their solidarity. We are encouraging supporters across Canada to hold similar protests as a sign of nationwide solidarity against Bill C-484.

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