Turn the other cheek, unless you’re in an abortion clinic

Mary Wagner’s civil disobedience would make Thoreau puke

by Colby Cosh

OTTAWA — An anti-abortion activist who is currently in jail in Toronto has received one of the Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee medals intended to mark “significant achievements” by Canadians. Mary Wagner, 38, who has been repeatedly charged with mischief and violating court orders at abortion clinics, was nominated for the medal by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott.

Vellacott told LifeSiteNews that he had arranged to have Wagner given a medal for “using civil disobedience to further a just cause.” I’m afraid this reflects the intellectual calibre of the pro-life movement very accurately. “Civil disobedience” implies a passive or negative resistance to the state, a non-violent refusal to comply with a law: the seminal example was Thoreau’s refusal to pay taxes to a warmongering government. When a pro-life protester invades a “bubble zone” around a private abortion clinic to express an anti-abortion message, that might, by a generous extension of principles, be considered an act of civil disobedience. I’m afraid Mary Wagner went just a little further than the phrase will allow.

…the appellant appeared at the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic mid-morning on November 8, 2011, and somehow gained entry to the electronically controlled, secure waiting room of the Clinic. It is common ground that she was not welcome. Abortions are performed at the Clinic and the appellant is opposed to abortion. Once inside, she began talking to the patients who were in the waiting room. While no one testified as to what the appellant said to these patients, it is safe to assume that, as some of them ended up distressed and crying, the appellant was speaking to them about abortion.

Patricia Hasen, part-owner and employee of the Women’s Clinic, summoned the police and asked the appellant to leave the premises. She did not leave. The trial judge concluded, based on this evidence, that the appellant became, at least at that point, a trespasser on the premises. When Ms. Hasen tried to ameliorate the situation by moving her patients into a secure interior area of the Clinic, the appellant tried to follow. This led to something of a struggle at the doorway, with Ms. Hasen trying to close the door leading to this interior area, and the appellant trying to keep the door open so she too could enter this area. During this struggle, Ms. Hasen demanded several times that the appellant release the door. Eventually, Ms. Hasen was able to shut and secure the door.

“Civil disobedience” that involves invading a private premises and tussling with the people therein? Hey, why not steal the flat-screen TV and the good drugs while you’re in there? Thoreau would puke. Whenever I have a go at the pro-life movement I always get e-mails and comments from pro-lifers who insist that most of them are sane, sensible, and peaceful. I’m sure it’s true. In fact, I know it is. It’s also sort of irrelevant: if the pro-life movement cannot distinguish crazy people from sane ones, to the point of suffering from an irresistible propensity for making hero-martyrs out of the former, then it can expect to be treated as a social blight.




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Turn the other cheek, unless you’re in an abortion clinic

  1. I figure civil disobedience could involve breaking some minor laws, chaining oneself to a fence to prevent the passage of bulldozers to level a property, for instance maybe even spray painting something. I have little patience with the conduct of Ms. Hasen or her views, and I note there was a way she could have got her point across and not broken any laws at all, but if one wants to use the term civil disobedience I figure that is ok.

  2. I read this and felt so bad.
    While I’m sure 90% of pro-life protesters operate within the laws, using flyers, emails, forums, the internet and discussions, some, like Wagner, are not satisfied until they can get to the women in their most vulnerable state.
    I often wonder if Wagner thinks these women haven’t reviewed their options, sought help and counsel, or if she think the decision to seek a termination was made in the same manner that one would use to decide upon which shoes to pair with which dress?
    Wagner operated in a way that is very frightening – she completely ignored the law, and many times over. Her reasoning is that her moral views are above this country and this province’s laws, which is an extremely dangerous view, and one that isn’t very different from any other religious extremists. People who believe their moral laws are above the laws of rule are the same who can justify killing if the ends justifies the means. This isn’t my Canada.
    We have to be very careful in condoning certain behavior; It opens up the doors to very, very dangerous mindsets.

    • A well-written and reasoned comment; I just want to point out that not only have Wagner’s actions been condoned, but in fact, celebrated and rewarded with a medal in the Queen’s name.

  3. Now, if I were show up at Mary Wagner’s house, pick the lock, sneak inside, proceed to hassle her about her pro-life views, er, exercise my right of free speech, refuse to leave after she asks, and wrestle with the cops when they show up, am I a ‘champion’? Is that reasonable ‘civil disobedience’? Can I expect a medal from the Queen?

    No, I’d be trespassing (at the very least), and I’d deserve to be charged. I wouldn’t deserve a medal.

    • surely there’s a difference between a fully private dwelling place and a facility which, while private and the owner clearly can kick people out, by it’s nature extends an invitation to all in the way a house doesn’t. Nobody turns their head if I walk into the front door of an abortion clinic (most, usually, I hope), not so somebody’s house.

      • They’re both places where the occupants can reasonably expect NOT to be hassled, and indeed have a right NOT to be hassled. They’re both secure facilities/locations. And, there was a court order against her being there to boot.

        • oh to be sure and seh deserves what she got, but it’s still not the same was walking into your home!

          • OK… let’s say it happens at Wagner’s place of employment. Is that a little better analogy?

          • that is probably much closer!

      • That’s true up to the point where, as with malls that kick people out for cause, “the invitation to attend has been withdrawn” at which point it is considered the same wrt trespass.

    • Is Mary Wagner killing children inside her house? If yes, then you would be within your rights to do exactly what you describe.

      • No, she was doing something perfectly legal, I just didn’t approve of it. Just like the folks at that clinic.

        Meanwhile, if it’s abortion that you have a problem with, you and Mary should talk to your boy Stephen Harper. He’s the guy who’s allowing the ‘baby killing’ to continue unabated. You’d have been better off holding a sit-in at his office.

        • Making the murder of unwanted people legal doesn’t make it right. It is precisely in cases where a nation falls into this error that it is important for citizens who care about justice to engage in civil disobedience.

          • Oh, save the rhetoric. Again, if you and Mary are convinced baby murder is happening, go to your nearest Conservative MP and bug him/her. They’re allowing it to happen. They deserve to be harassed, not Mary’s current targets (young women).

          • Mary is trying to help distressed young women avoid the worst mistake of their lives – murdering their children. She is also trying to help the even younger women (and men) being murdered. So save your scorn – you don’t hold a candle to her in terms of selflessness and courage.

            Regarding our MPs, however, you are correct. Their cowardice – all parties – is what allows this to happen. I do not envy them the things for which they are accountable.

          • This is my last post on this.

            So it’s ‘murder’, eh? I don’t think so, but that’s of little importance. In the eyes of the law too, however, it isn’t murder. It just seems to me the people who need to hear from you and Mary are your politicians. As it stands, Mary’s simply inserting herself into a very private matter in which she has no business being. Talk to the politicians who aren’t touching abortion laws instead.

            Ironically, by her actions — barging into abortion clinics and harassing its clients, and instead of working effectively to get action from her lawmakers — she is, in reality, hurting her and your cause. And, I do think in the right circumstances, I could be just as selfless and courageous as her, in that I would be able to engage in acts of civil disobedience to further a cause I believe in. However, if I’m only going to hurt the cause by those actions, well, it’s selflessness and courage thoroughly wasted, isn’t it? This kinda brings it back to the point Cosh was trying to make in the first place.

          • (1) “So it’s ‘murder’, eh? I don’t think so, but that’s of little importance. In the eyes of the law too, however, it isn’t murder.”

            Quite. In the eyes of the law it is not murder… which has absolutely nothing to do with whether it’s murder in reality.

            (2) “she is, in reality, hurting her and your cause.”
            Let’s say she is, for the sake of argument. At worst, it’s a misjudgment of the most effective way to fight this injustice. Not “crazy”, and not “inserting herself into a very private matter in which she has no business.” Widespread child-murder is everyone’s business.

            (3) “This kinda brings it back to the point Cosh was trying to make in the first place.”
            If Cosh’s point was a question of tactics – is this the best way to save unborn children from being killed – then it could have been a worthy piece. Actually, however, his point was that this is “crazy”, since it’s not acceptable civil disobedience like Thoreau’s refusal to pay taxes, and that it renders the entire pro-life movement a “social blight”. The logic is pretty dubious at best, but particularly when you consider that by her actions, Mary may have changed one woman’s mind in that clinic, thus saving a baby’s life. Agree or disagree with her tactics, but she’s not crazy and it’s not immediately clear whether her tactics are effective or not.

      • So home invasion is fine if someone inside is having a cup of pennyroyal tea?

  4. Cosh Who are you to judge who is crazy and who is sane? You support the murder of babies and I bet you have done much worse in your life than get into a tussle at a door. It is amazing what delicate flowers infanticide supporters are.

    Martin Luther King Jr ~ One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

    • Comments like this should really include the street address of the commenter.

      • If you going to send Ms Wagner around to my place, I’m sure I can handle it. I am not afraid of middle aged women.

        • No, no, it would have to be a person who opposes the medical choices you and your wife make in your life, a person who singles out your wife and opposes her medical choices with such vehemence that your wife breaks into tears, a person who refuses to leave when asked. Age or sex make no difference really. Wouldn’t you call the police, or are you suggesting you would kick them in the ribs personally?

          • He would do neither. He would praise them to the heavens for their singular expression of respect for the law.

        • Now that’s brave – having a fellow traveler over for tea.

          • Juno is invited too. So long as she brings Michael Cera.

      • Yes, because disagreeing with Colby Cosh on a blog is totally on par with killing children in an abortion clinic.

    • “I bet you have done much worse in your life than get into a tussle at a door.”

      Yeah! I mean, it was just a little tussle at a door! The door to a secure area in a medical clinic, where medical procedures are carried out. After she was asked repeatedly to leave. While she was harassing vulnerable women who were about to undergo a medical procedure. Oh, and she was in violation of her probation by being within 200m of the clinic.

      All this in a world where she could reasonably have been suspected of carrying a gun with intent to use it.

      And of course, the question is not whether her actions were acceptable. The question is whether she should be awarded a f*cking medal for them.

      Also, everyone please note: the abortion debate has been re-opened by the Conservatives for some time now. Promise made, promise broken.

      • ‘the abortion debate has been re-opened by the Conservatives for some time now’

        I disagree. I once thought as you do, but now I think the Conservative leadership is determined to stay away from that hot potato, because they know it’s far too politically dangerous (much to the chagrin of the pro-lifers who are loyal supporters and donors to the party). They’ll throw around some medals, but real support for the pro-life cause is a useful mirage.

        Ironically (and opposed to Wagner’s stunt), it’d probably make a bigger impact for the pro-life cause if Mr. Vellacott held a civilly-disobedient sit-in with his pro-life Conservative compadres in Stephen Harper’s office — Harper’s the guy who’s standing in their way. But what do you think the chances of that happening are?

        • All bets are off if Jason ever becomes leader. Harper wants to stay clear of the fight, he would relish it.

          • He wouldn’t relish it long. There’s a reason why Harper isn’t touching that issue: it’s political suicide.

        • 30 per cent of the cabinet ministers voted in favour of the motion! Jason Kenney! How much time has been spent in HoC talking about this issue they do not want to discuss; how much ink spilled on it across the country? Surely giving medals out to reward this behaviour only shows support for it!

          • Wake me up when the Conservative government starts drafting abortion legislation, or the Conservative Party puts it in their next re-election platform. They’re just playing the so-cons for fools.

          • “They’re just playing the so-cons for fools.”

            Talk about setting a low bar.

          • I think that’s the point — 30 percent is, at the end of the day, only 30 percent. Do you really think that the NEXT majority Conservative government, if and when it ever materializes, will be significantly more socially conservative than this one? Personally, I doubt it.

        • I tend to agree with your sentiment, but I see it in a different light.

          I don’t think that the CPC isn’t opening the abortion debate because it’s “political suicide”, as you state. If the CPC were to announce their intention to outlaw abortions in their next election platform, I don’t think it would negatively affect the results for them one iota. I think it would be safe to say that not a single person voted for the CPC based on their claims to not touch the abortion issue. I just can’t imagine that a single Pro-Choicer (who considered it an important issue) voted for a CPC candidate anywhere in Canada.

          I think the CPC is more than content to let the Left continue to open the abortion debate. I mean, the debate is happening in the public (like here, for example) not because some whacko got a medal from the government, it’s getting the attention because the opposition and the media are opening the debate. Is it not safe to say that Mary Wagner is the most famous and talked about recipient the Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee medal in the history of Canada at this point? That didn’t happen because she received the medal, it happened because certain people not associated with the CPC decided to make it so.

          The government decides not to fund abortions with foreign aid money, and the Left makes it an issue about the government trying to open the abortion debate. Meanwhile, the common voter who doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about such issues, is left wondering why we’re funding foreign abortions when the same countries have medical pandemics, millions of starving, etc. After that the government looks reasonable, and the Pro-Choicers are looking like their priorities are not to aid foreign developing countries, but simply to see as many aborted babies as possible.

          When a CPC MP ask parliament to condemn sex-selection abortion, the Left tries to use it to beat down the government with the same-old same-old “hidden agenda” BS that we’ve heard for a decade about how they only want to keep women barefoot and pregnant, etc. In reality, civil minded people are left wondering why the Left can’t just condemn a clearly barbaric practice.

          Basically I think the CPC is letting the opposition repeatedly shoot itself in the foot with these antics. They’re not losing any support, but after enough of it the opposition parties just might.

          • “I just can’t imagine that a single pro-choicer (who thinks it an important issue) voted for a single CPC candidate anywhere in Canada”. My goodness Rick, do you not believe that the women of provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan that elected many CPC candidates “think abortion an important issue” and might just be pro-choice? For you to make a statement like you did when urban centres like Calgary, which is young and cosmopolitan, voted almost exclusively CPC shows your lack of insight into what is important to many Canadians. We in the west may be fiscally conservative but we are not necesarily socially conservative. I can attest to the fact that your statement is 100% incorrect. I voted CPC yet I am pro-choice and I believe it is an important issue. Also, I am in favor of gay marriage. Stephen Harper’s pledge not to “mess’ with these existing laws was an important consideration in my voting decision.

          • I agree. I’m actually a pro-choicer myself, also from west of Ontario. But I also think that abortions are generally a Bad Thing.

            Politically speaking, non-existent abortion legislation isn’t going to get the average person like you or I riled up enough to switch which party we’d vote for.

          • Now THAT’S an interpretation I haven’t heard. Wow. I don’t even know where to begin.

            ‘I think it would be safe to say that not a single person voted for the CPC based on their claims to not touch the abortion issue.’ Unless you can show me some polling data to back that up, I don’t buy that assertion for a second. The CPC went to great pains to stay in the centre on social issues during the last several elections. GREAT pains. Why? Because so-con issues chase centrist voters away. They need centrist voters. Why do you think the opposition is trying to paint the CPC as right-wing nutbars?

            I actually tend to agree with you when you say that the opposition is pissing in the wind with the ‘hidden agenda’ stuff. That said, I don’t think the trouble for the CPC comes from without, it comes from within. You can’t tell me there aren’t a lot of good and loyal CPC supporters who, in their heart of hearts, really hope there IS a hidden agenda. In fact, I bet a lot of them are counting on it. And, that leaves Harper in a bind. Does he lurch right on social issues to keep the so-con base happy? If he does that, he loses the centre, and the next election. However, if he stays the course, he tries the patience of his so-cons. Are people like Vellacott going to sit back forever to allow the ‘butchery’ and ‘savagery’ of abortion to continue? From a purely political standpoint, I give Harper full props for continuing the balancing act as long as he has. He could even do it indefinitely, as long as his MPs stay nice and cooperative.

          • Hear that, CC? Dude practically called you a lefty.

          • “I just can’t imagine that a single Pro-Choicer (who considered it an important issue) voted for a CPC candidate anywhere in Canada.” Um…. Stephen Woodworth in Kitchener-Waterloo? This guy’s M.O. from the beginning has been pushing an anti-choice agenda. Ignoring that fact kills your argument right there.

        • @gottabesaid:disqus : I don’t accept that “opening the abortion debate” is defined as “the government sponsoring legislation that will reduce or eliminate abortion rights.” The Conservatives aren’t go blundering directly into the fight.

          Look around you – we’re debating abortion right now! This intractable, divisive fight is freshly energized. I’ve been called a “baby murderer” on these comment boards, FFS.

          And who benefits from deeper divisions in Canadian society? The Conservative Party. Meanwhile they lock down a portion of their base by becoming the only hope for pro-lifers. And all these backbench bills serve as trial balloons for the many, many ways that abortion rights can be chipped away.

          Harper is a notorious control freak. Do you really think these backbenchers would be bringing a steady stream of anti-abortion bills if they weren’t politically useful to him?

          • “Paranoia strikes deep,
            Into your heart it will creep.”
            I’m with gbs on this one.

          • The debate’s reopened? I don’t think it’s ever been closed. Quieted down maybe, but not closed. But until we actually see a government-sponsored bill to change the abortion laws, we’re all just talkin’. I think Harper’s staked a pretty damn clear position on abortion, and unless he’s going to pull the mother of all reversals — a reversal that would AT BEST put his party’s electoral hopes in great jeopardy — he’s not gonna touch that with a 10-foot pole. He’ll let his MPs have their private members bills, and he’ll let his MPs hand out their medals, but they’re a pressure-release valve, not trial balloons. He doesn’t need a trial balloon, because he knows how it’s going to end if he really and truly moves to change abortion availability in Canada.

          • @gottabesaid:disqus : “The debate’s reopened? I don’t think it’s ever been closed”

            Yup, good point.

            But I think ‘pressure-relief valve’ is the wrong metaphor. It implies that the anti-abortion movement will be partly sated. These people will not be sated.

            I think the right metaphor is oxygen – it will reinvigorate a movement that had nearly zero traction in politics or culture. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing. If stats were available I’m sure we would see anti-abortion fundraising and activities on the increase.

            In fact, maybe that’s how we should see these seemingly pointless backbench bills; they’re not going to change legislation but they’re a boon to the movement. This is a long game of boil-the-frog. Maybe pro-life leaders are just happy that the element has been switched on.

          • You could be right — I sure can’t provide any proof that you’re not. That said, my sense is that he doesn’t feel he needs to satisfy them… all he needs is to throw them the occasional bone. But the minute he throws his lot in with them in a meaningful way, i.e. abortion legislation, he’s taking a massive political gamble. I don’t see him ever being willing to roll the dice on that one.

            We shall see!

    • B.S. Tony. These protesters are a public nuisance, the issue they can about is beside the point. If they were anti-trans fat protesters and behaved this way the law would come down on them. They tried banning certain individuals who were causing trouble and that didn’t work, so they banned all of them. They’ve targeted doctors for assassination, why enable them in identifying targets?

    • She didn’t accept the penalty laid down — which was to stay the fuck away. That’s the problem.

    • Aside from the other good points raised in objection to TonyAdams, this protestor did NOT break an unjust law in protest -she’s not protesting the law against trespass. MLK Jr.’s quote in no way applies here.

  5. Doesn’t the GG have to approve these nominations?

    • Because so many of the medals were presented, the GG was left with only the most cursory ability to review the nominations in advance.

      • Thanks, Colby – have you looked at the full list? There could be some more ‘winners’.

        • The “full list” is pending. Postmedia has been asking MPs for their own lists but it looks as though we will have to wait for Rideau Hall to spill the whole thing. (We are talking 60,000 medals here.)

          • I can’t wait! Surely someone like Bruce Carson isn’t getting one, surely…

          • jeez, wouldn’t it just be easier to publish the list of people who didn’t win a medal?

            Or every Canadian who didn’t win can just post here. i will start:

            I, GFMD, didn’t win a jubilee medal.

          • 60,000?!?!?! Seriously?! That actually just makes this whole thing laughable. I’m a little shocked and disappointed that Rick Omen isn’t getting one for Excellence in Canadian Interwebs Trolling!

          • I’d vote for you. You’re good!

          • Hmmm…maybe the real story will be who these 60,000 recipients are and what they have done to deserve the accolades of the CPC…

  6. So, now we are giving out medals for bullying?

  7. We need a government with a real tough on crime agenda, and no more of this coddling criminals, giving them easy time and medals for breaking the law. Hope it was 3 or more per cell, and maybe some of those G20 holding cell conditions when she was first admitted.

  8. Of late I’ve noticed that distinguishing crazy people from sane
    ones is hard.

  9. Thanks for making this better known. I could accept the standard civil disobedience and even accept her getting a medal for it, but as you’ve made clear, she went far beyond that and deserves whatever jail time she got. Next time, and I’m sure there will be a next tme, I hope she meets a hanging judge.

  10. I can think of a slightly similar story, although in the following case the act of committing “civil disobedience” was much more extreme. The story is of a Canadian man who murdered 5,000 Canadian people and was given the Order of Canada in 2008. Sounds bizarre? I agree, much more bizarre than this story above of a woman who is advocating for life!

    The person in question is Henry Morgentaler, a man who murdered 5,000 Canadians by performing illegal abortions!

    If I murdered 5,000 elderly people, I would be charged for murder in Canada! Or wait, would I be given the Order of Canada because I was just performing euthanasia and saving the taxpaying citizens a buck or two.

    What makes foetuses not part of the human race? If something is growing, is it not alive? If this alive “thing” has two human parents is it not part of the human species? If this “thing” that is part of the human species has separate DNA from the mother, is it not its own person? If this person has a nervous system and brain function, don’t they feel pain? Every human has a right to life, age does not determine value!

    • Actually, the question here is whether someone who is incarcerated should receive this medal.

      • Good point! Henry Morgantaler was incarcerated, that’s why I made the comparison. But only for 18 months!

        Thanks for your response :)

        • In fact no jury would convict him, mostly because people on the whole realize what you said is stupid.

          • Just because you disagree with my opinion, there is no need to be rude. In fact, you really said nothing at all in your comment except you criticized what I said for being stupid. If you want to have an educated discussion, educate yourself and say something to me that is worthwhile!

            And I hope your life improves because you seem to be a very bitter person.

          • Now there’s a failed argument.
            GMFD: pro-life is stupid.

        • The convictions against Morgentaler were overturned, which means he was not a convicted criminal when he was awarded the OC. Ms. Wagner at this point remains a convicted criminal.

          Certain conservatives don’t believe in the rule of law.

          • I’m not sure what you mean by “conservatives” because that seems to be a bit of a generalization.

            But I agree with you when you say that certain people don’t believe in the rule of the law. Henry Morgentaler killed 5,000 Canadians and was not rightfully convicted for his actions, abortion was illegal back then. The law should be upheld in my opinion. And yes Mary Wagner is in jail and I hope she serves her rightful sentence just as Morgentaler should have.

            Many great activists have spent time in jail.

          • Morgentaler’s convictions were overturned. In the end, he was not guilty of a crime. He did not, in law, murder a person.

            Ms. Wagner remains guilty of the crimes she was convicted for.

            There is one MP in the HoC who doesn’t respect the rule of law. I find this disturbing coming from a legislator. That’s what I meant by ‘certain conservatives’ because Mr. Vellacott sure ran and sits as a Conservative with the support of conservative voters.

          • The laws were changed because of his crime that was decidedly just.

            Morgentaler didn’t respect the rule of law at the time.

            Blacks used to not have personhood status, so did Native Americans, so did Women. People need to stand up for what they believe in.

            Why is a pre-born baby not a human?

          • Nelson Mandela remains a convicted criminal.

    • “If this “thing” that is part of the human species has separate DNA from the mother, is it not its own person?”

      Not as long as it’s physically attached to and dwelling inside the body of an autonomous person, and surviving on blood to blood nourishment from that person’s body. A person’s body is their property, and no other person, or fetus, or “thing”, has the right to use it against their will.

      Hope this helps.

      • Sophistry is a slippery slope…and ends up missing the fundamental point of the purported “choice” of abortion as an unfortunate capitulation to economic and social demands.

        Note: a forced capitulation mind you…extreme choices that are borne by women alone because of the current structure and demands of society

      • I agree with you when you say no person should have the right to use another person’s body against their will. I agree with that.

        But the situation of a foetus, the baby is there essentially against its will. But the baby is there, because the mother and father gave consent to their sperm and egg to be fertilized by the act of having sexual intercourse.

        So your point doesn’t really make sense.

        • If my point doesn’t make sense to you I’d guess it’s because you think a non-sentient, barely-formed humanoid nub the size of a raspberry is a “baby” with any kind of “will”.

          BREAKING: Most people don’t have sex for reproductive reasons, most pregnancies are accidental and some of those are unwanted. You may not like that, but that’s the way it is, and whether or not you approve is irrelevant outside your own little sphere of influence.

          • Imagine you and I were out hiking in nature and you took a picture with a polaroid camera. Imagine I did not know how a polaroid camera worked. You said to me, “I just got the most phenomenal picture of that deer that just ran away.” And I said, “let me take a look,” and I snatched the pictures away, saw that it was all gray and I ripped it up. As I was ripping it up I said “you screwed up the picture it came out grey, you’re ridiculous!”

            As you understand how a polaroid camera works in this scenario, would you not understand that I really HAD just ripped up the picture of the deer that ran away?

            Just because the human is a “nub the size of a raspberry” that doesn’t mean it’s not human.

            And in regards to your second point, you’re right, most people don’t have sex for reproductive reasons. I think this is an awful reality of our society today. Believe it or not, our society is like this because we have been brainwashed and conditioned into thinking its fine to have sex with someone you don’t love.

            I don’t know if you have ever read Aldous Huxley’s book “Brave New World,” but it’s a fantastic book. Aldous’ brother, Julian Huxley, was a eugenicist (like Hitler). Aldous on his death bed said that his whole book was based on truth and was based on the “plan” than Julian and other eugenicists had planned for the world.

            It’s fascinating to be awake to what is going on in the world and I encourage you to read that book if you haven’t already.

          • I love these tortured analogies you guys are so fond of coming up with.

            Long story short, no you wouldn’t have torn up a picture of a deer: you would have torn up a piece of undeveloped polaroid film.

            That was an entertaining little riff though, so thanks :D

          • So you would not have been upset?

          • Re: screwing around like rabbits
            The issue is about responsibility and the willingness to deal with the consequences of those actions, don’t you think? A lot of people don’t like to, but ultimately only one person ends up having to deal with it, right?

            The arguments you make about the foetus is mainly about distancing the emotion from that choice of abortion, an old argument which really does not need to be invoked in the decision to terminate a pregnancy IMHO.

          • Abortion *is* a responsible way to “deal with the consequences of those actions”. The fact that you don’t happen to like that option is meaningless in the context of anyone else: it’s not your decision to make. What you’re talking about isn’t responsibility, it’s punishment.

            As for my arguments distancing the emotion from the choice, well of course they do. The range of emotions around this decision runs from relief to regret, depending on the individual. Your point?

          • I personally don’t like option, but I also understand that I’m not in a position to tell anybody what to do when confronted with an unwanted pregnancy. That is not my decision. Don’t try to assume my POV.

            But I also think that distancing oneself from the reality of the termination of a pregnancy reduces its severity as both a societal and economic issue. If this is the argument you choose to make, then I think it behooves you to consider how to reconcile the simple fact that sex-selection is made based on this mass of amorphous tissue, and leads to a real effect, namely, a reduction in the female population because some cultures do not place value on “female” vs “male”. To me there is a dangerous disconnect going on here.

            My POV is that if any pro-lifers and pro-choicers want to mitigate this “problem”, there are a lot more things that can be done to do so, so that abortion is *truly* a choice made freely. There are many reasons why women choose abortion, and much of it is due to economic and social pressure. Choices made with a gun to your head is not a freedom of choice…it is an abrogation. If society were to put more economic support in place (child care, penalties for glass ceilings, pay equity, etc.) this would make the abortion option more personal. Also, when people choose (it is a choice) to have unprotected sex, it is a game of russian roulette, and only the woman loses. It is therefore, an issue about proper sex-education and teaching responsible sexuality, don’t you think?

            Economic support. Societal support. Education. Fair and just society. Things that drive so-cons apeshit.

          • I found what you said very interesting.

            Especially when you talked about why women choose abortion. I totally agree, personally I believe the government should spent less money funding abortions, and more money supporting women who want to keep there babies. There is an organization in Toronto called Massey Center that does something along the lines of what I’m talking about, but it is not government funded. Look into it, it is a great organization.

            When it comes to societal pressures, I also definitely agree with you. It is generally unaccepted for a woman to have a child before she is married, or before she is of a certain age. This is so sad, but I believe it is the product of birth control and abortion being so widely accepted and encouraged.

            It is too bad that you wrote “the woman loses.” But it is a reality that some women feel. It shouldn’t be considered a loss to have a baby. But seeing as so many people in our society have sex with people they don’t love, it is considered a loss. So yes, teaching responsible sexuality is key. I blame our loose morals on the media, birth control, and abortion. I don’t think any of our grandparents or parents (depending on how old you are), slept around quite like young people today.

            As a student at University where I see first hand how people treat sex, I find it very sad.

          • Responsible sexuality. Birth control is part of that whether you choose to accept that or not. Full acknowledgement that birth control is not foolproof. and accidents will happen. And how prepared one is, mentally, for that outcome.

            Having a child, as I like to joke, really is the end of your life as you knew it (marriage is the beginning). That is the “loss”. It is a loss of your personal freedom. How one chooses to look at that “loss” versus the potential “gain” is not up to anyone else but the woman involved in that process.

            Indoctrination and self-righteous preaching from either side achieves nothing and really needs to stop.

          • Yes I agree, if you’re going to be sexually active with random men you meet at a bar and don’t know – take birth control. Birth control is not fool proof, and I wish more people took that into consideration before having a sexual relationship with someone.

            I’m also a huge supporter of adoption, I understand that not everyone is ready to make a commitment to a child. There are organizations like the Sisters of Life who look after women who are pregnant and have been kicked out of their homes. Often these women end up putting their child up for adoption. I love this group, and I really support women who want to join Sisters of Life!

            Do you have many children yourself?

          • if you think for a second that a woman doesn’t feel her choice thoroughly, you’re beyond help.

          • Precisely my point. Making glib pronouncements that “it is just a mass of tissue”, is an abasement of that feeling.

            The focus should always be on the reasons that led to that position of “choice”, not on that final act.

          • Is that really right, that most pregnancies are accidental? I wouldn’t have thought that that was the case.

        • Say someone dies because you refuse to donate a kidney, or bone marrow. Is that murder? If not, why is abortion murder? Does the government have the right to force you to provide life-saving bodily services for that person in need? I would argue that allowing a fully sentient adult human die this way is far more morally reprehensible than terminating a pre-sentient clump of cells that weighs a few grams.

          • You are a clump of cells.

            And yes a preborn child doesn’t weight much.

            But what if I declared that if you were just a clump of cells that was under 20 pounds, then we could commit infanticide.

            Why can’t we kill 2 year olds? They are still dependent on their parents for survival. Where are you proposing that we draw the line?

            I’m not going to respond to your argument about kidney donation because it’s irrelevant and has no connection whatsoever to abortion.

          • So if we leave the fetus in the womb but cut the thing off from the mother’s bodily services, that is different from my bone marrow example how?

            Why can’t we kill 2 year olds? Here are a few reasons:

            -the are sentient human beings

            -they do not rely solely on their mother for survival. If the mother were to die, or otherwise be unable or unwilling to care for the child, someone else could take on that duty

            -A prohibition on killing 2 year olds does not impinge on the right of someone else to control their body. The continued existence of that 2 year old does not subject someone else to potentially fatal medical risk.

            The line is currently drawn at birth. It seems like the most reasonable of the arbitrary lines. More reasonable than conception, certainly. Late term abortions are a grey area (and not something I would ever consider), but are very rare anyway. So the line is somewhere between the end of the first trimester and birth, in my opinion. I am not opposed to the current legal line of birth.

            You putting up strawmen with points like this:

            “But what if I declared that if you were just a clump of cells that was under 20 pounds, then we could commit infanticide.”

            This suggests that I am advocating anyone being able to abort any pregnancy. Currently only one person is permitted to make that determination: the mother carrying the fetus. The equivalent argument would be a two year old that needed your bone marrow and yours only in order to live. Giving that bone marrow exposes you to risk of death. Do you have the right to withhold that life-saving treatment?

    • I think that about sums it up.
      Well said Nicknack.

    • Civil disobedience is OK if you’re a leftist. Otherwise it’s wrong.

    • what makes a fetus not part of the human race is that it can’t breathe, digest food, process pain or emotion in any way and had never had that experience prior. until it is not completely dependent on another’s very lifeforce, it’s not a member of the human race. it’s just cells.

  11. Thanks Colby, I couldn’t agree more.

  12. Looks like a couple of members of the Don Valley West Conservative Riding Association were lucky winners. Elect me, I’ll get you a medal!

  13. If Colby’s right, and they’re actually giving out 60,000 of these things, then I’m much more in the camp of “who cares?!”. It’s clearly a meaningless award, and it’s sad to see something meant to honor the Queen more than anything has been politicized.

  14. I’m about as pro-choice as it’s possible to be, but I find this whole “civil disobedience” point that Colby brings up to be a red herring and a distraction. The term “civil disobedience” has gotten significantly bastardized, diluted and overused since Thoreau’s time in any event. As for the trespass, I personally think Mary Wagner is an obnoxious wingnut and I’m happy she got arrested, etc. But lots of other groups that are generally viewed more favourably by most of us also engage in clear acts of illegal trespass. Consider some of the civil rights protests in the US in the 60s — a bunch of civil rights protestors walk into a segregated diner and sit down and demand to be served lunch. The racist white owner and regulars don’t want them there (obviously), so legally speaking it’s a trespass. Same thing with Greenpeace — they constantly use what are technically and legally acts of trespass (e.g., to company meetings, producers of GM food) to gain attention.

  15. The “appellant” holds the understanding that young children are being murdered in the clinic. Given this understanding, she is not doing anything “crazy”.

    I’d have expected Cosh at least to be able to see it from her (and my) point of view, disagreements notwithstanding.

    As to the implied accusation of hypocrisy in the title, let us remember that when asked “What would Jesus do?”, one perfectly viable answer is “grab a bull whip and start overturning tables”. And I would suggest that when facing child-murder for profit, this is an entirely appropriate response.

    • “I’d have expected Cosh at least to be able to see it from her (and my) point of view, disagreements notwithstanding.”

      Yeah Colby – the least you could do is meet Gaunilon halfway, especially when he’s being so reasonable: “YOUNG CHILDREN ARE BEING MURDERED” and “IS MARY WAGNER KILLING CHILDREN INSIDE HER HOUSE?”

      If you would just stop being such an extremist Colby, we could probably solve this thing this afternoon.

      • If they’re not children what are they? Monkey babies?

        • I’m curious – I assume monkey foetuses aren’t sacrosanct in your worldview – So when did human foetuses become so? The feotus of our last common ancestor?

          • You’ll notice that born monkeys are also not sacrosanct, whereas born humans currently are. Eventually, of course, people will realize that this is inconsistent. Then either unborn humans will no longer be treated like animals, or born humans will be. Thankfully this choice will not rest with you.

      • I’d have expected Cosh, a respected writer and thinker, to be able to weigh it from the view of roughly half of Canadians. Never fear, however, I would not expect the same open-mindedness from TJCook.

        • You’re breaking my heart.

          Of course, my response was not about the validity of your point of view, it was about your choice of words and tone. Pretty difficult to engage in a discussion when one’s own stance is described as pro-child-murder for profit.

          I actually respect your position for its congruity – you believe that abortion kills a child and that (I seem to recall) it would be unacceptable under any circumstance.

          Look at that – I just described a position I don’t agree with without accusing you of being pro-women bleeding to death in back alleys.

          Incidentally, can you back up your claim that “roughly half” of Canadians feel the same way you do?

          • “Of course, my response was not about the validity of your point of view, it was about your choice of words and tone.”

            Right, which is why you chose to quote me in all caps, and why you have no problem with Cosh calling Mary Wagner “crazy”. Your concern for tone and rational discussion is touching.

            Abortion kills a child. Killing a child is murder. It is perfectly reasonable to trespass on someone’s property in an attempt to stop a murder. This is called logic, not rhetoric. You claim you disagree with the first premise. Perhaps that is so, although that first premise is pretty indisputable at least in the case of late-term abortions – the law in Canada doesn’t protect the child until birth. I am inclined to think however, from the general bipolarity of your posts between contemptuous disdain and sighing sympathy, that you feel personally stung by the argument, likely because your conscience bothers you about the conclusion. I will pray for you.

            Incidentally, the polling for the last decade showing that roughly half of Canadians believe that there should be some protection for human life prior to birth is shown here: http://www.abortionincanada.ca/history/Polls_Say_Canadians_Favor_Laws_Governing_Abortion.html
            From the polling, roughly one third believe there should be no protection prior to birth (i.e. the status quo). Roughly one third agree exactly with me that there should be protection from conception onward. More than half believe there should be protection beginning some time prior to birth. You’ll note that this makes Mary Wagner’s and my view more mainstream than Cosh’s and yours.

            It is remarkable to me that Cosh is so unable to view the issue from both sides. In fact, it has completely altered my opinion of Cosh as a thinker/writer.

          • I will pray for you.

            Don’t waste your time.

            … that first premise is pretty indisputable at least in the case of late-term abortions

            …which happen how often in Canada today? If Canadian doctors refuse to perform them (and/or no women ask for them), then late term abortions seem like a strawman to me.

            If we accept the data you cite, then your view is no more mainstream than mine. Note: the view that abortion should be banned in all circumstances is not the same as the the view that there should be some law.

            And you – are you able to see the other side? Some people believe that a fetus is not a person, and that state-enforced bans have a terrible impact on women. You don’t have to agree, but can YOU view the issue from both sides?

          • “…which happen how often in Canada today?”

            According to StatsCan, 0.7% of abortions in Canada are after 20 weeks. That works out to approximately 700 per year. Since it seems that we both agree this is indisputably murder, you are ok with 700 children per year being murdered in clinics/hospitals across Canada, paid for by taxpayers. This should bother you, but apparently doesn’t. I wonder why.

            I’m sure if Canadian soldiers had deliberately killed 700 children in Afghanistan each year we were there, you’d be screaming bloody murder.

            Some people believe that the fetus is not a person, yes. But as our discussion above shows, this does not seem to be the root of the disagreement, since (a) they don’t seem to care even in cases where they agree that the fetus is actually a person, and (b) they never seem to want to discuss whether the medical facts bear out their assumption that the fetus is not a person, on which the entire argument rests.

            I can discuss the medical facts with people who think a fetus isn’t a child, and we can get somewhere. But people who acknowledge that the fetus is a child at some point in pregnancy, but still think it’s ok to murder the child, I’ve yet to see any kind of rational argument for that position.

          • …which happen how often in Canada today?”

            According to StatsCan, 0.7% of abortions in Canada are after 20 weeks. That works out to approximately 700 per year. Since it seems that we both agree this is indisputably murder, you are ok with 700 children per year being murdered in clinics/hospitals across Canada, paid for by taxpayers. This should bother you, but apparently doesn’t. I wonder why.

            I’m sure if Canadian soldiers had deliberately killed 700 children in Afghanistan each year we were there, you’d be screaming bloody murder.

            Some people believe that the fetus is not a person, yes. But as our discussion above shows, this does not seem to be the root of the disagreement, since (a) they don’t seem to care even in cases where they agree that the fetus is actually a person, and (b) they never seem to want to discuss whether the medical facts bear out their assumption that the fetus is not a person, on which the entire argument rests.

            I can discuss the medical facts with people who think a fetus isn’t a child, and we can get somewhere. But people who acknowledge that the fetus is a child at some point in pregnancy, but still think it’s ok to murder the child, I’ve yet to see any kind of rational argument for that position.

          • “Since it seems that we both agree this is indisputably murder…”

            Slow down, Chester. The definition of “late term” is not settled and you know it. Got any reliable information on, say, voluntary third-trimester abortions? How about 30 seconds prior to birth? That’s my favorite bit of pro-life hyperbole right there…

            “Some people believe that the fetus is not a person, yes. But…”

            So you can acknowledge half of the other view (and ignore the part about the impact of abortion bans on women). But you immediately try to dismiss it as irrational based on your ridiculous pseudo-reasoning.

            In other words, you can’t even accurately, fairly define the opposing position. Much less show the kind of understanding you demand of Cosh.

          • WRT Cosh, he’s lost the plot on more than a few occasions. He has his good moments and his bad moments. He tempers them all with righteous indignation.

          • You’ve never backed up a claim in your life, hypocrite. Knowing Gaunilon, of course he will and will always back up his words. You’re always caught in lies red-handed and you’ve never attempted to back up a thing you say.

    • Huh. And all this time, I thought you were the one who stood against relative morality.. yet here you are preaching it.

      I guess when it works in your favour it’s not so bad, eh?

      • Incorrect. Certain actions are right or wrong depending on circumstance, while others are wrong absolutely. For example it is generally wrong to speed on the 401, but if one is trying to get a seriously injured person to hospital, it is right to speed on the 401.

        Examples of things that are always wrong are torture, rape, slavery, and murder. Well, I believe they are always wrong. As you’ve been pushed to admit in our prior discussions, you don’t.

        So, it is generally wrong to trespass on someone else’s property against their will. However if that person is busily slaughtering children on their property, then it is perfectly correct to trespass on their property in an attempt to stop them.

        Everyone understands that morality concerning certain things (trespassing, speeding, generally anything that might disturb someone else) is dependent on circumstances. Where people differ is on which things those are, and on whether there are certain things which can never be justified.

  16. “Civil disobedience” that involves invading a private premises and tussling with the people therein?

    She was peacefully demonstrating outside,; you’re an idiot, Colby.

    • Did you miss the part where she invades the premises and then, trying to enter deeper into the premises after being asked to leave, she had to be forcibly removed?

  17. From just about any perspective one would consider relevant, the best of all societies’ are clearly those with the greatest amount of autonomy and equality for all people. Equal societies encourage, engage and employ the greatest number of people and in turn create an environment where the greatest synergies can be realized.

    So for example, being free to be gay and marry and live your life with an equal amount of opportunity as everyone else, neccesarily supercedes any opinion someone else might have on the topic of being gay.

    In terms of abortion, it is obvious to anyone who carefully considers the reality of life for women, that without complete autonomy in the decision to have or not have children, the power balance would powerfully favour men–as it did for most of human history.

    So while philosophical and/or religious arguments concerning abortion are all well and good from a discussion/reflection perspective, the second someone tries to force their personal conclusions on vulnerable women, they’ve over stepped themselves in a very seriously agregious manner that goes deeper than the topic of abortion.

    If you don’t like the law then push for change. If you think women should be slaves to their bodies, that society should control their sexuality, then fine, you’re free to express yourself in a great many ways in this regard and have every right to try and effect change in a reasonable manner.

    Confronting and shaming the most vulnerable of women however–making what is likely the most difficult decision of their life an even more painful experience–is not just disgustingly narcissistic and lacking in empathy, but an attack on their basic autonomy as a person.

    People who do this are on a “head-trip” of monumental proportions, and should not be justified with this type of recognition.

    Thanks for bringing this up Colby, I wish more in the media were prepared to make an issue of this type of thing.

    • “From just about any perspective one would consider relevant, the best of all societies’ are clearly those with the greatest amount of autonomy and equality for all people.”

      Except, of course, unborn people. They don’t count, right?

      • I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve had this debate, but at no time have you managed to move from opinion to fact.

        Only undisputable facts could justify the intense one-sidedness of your view since its renders the mother to a non-consideration in many of the ways you complain about concerning a developing fetus. And you hold this view despite all the obviously egregious long-term social effects it would result in as noted in my comment. In this way you make a mockery of your own arguments.

        If you believed your own arguments you’d balance them between the obviously conflicting interests. Ah, but you ignore that very dichotomy don’t you?

        The vast majority of women who have abortions, do so within the first three months of pregnancy, most at about 10 weeks. Now you can get a lot of people, even me, to agree that late term abortions are irresponsible when they aren’t medically related, but you’ll never get a majority to declare against the early intervention I reference above.

        If you wanted any real impact on the discussion; if you wanted to actually influence people’s opinions toward an outcome you claim to support; you would know better than to engage in black and white morality arguments that the majority will never accept.

        It’s much like the blind ineptitude of the Catholic church. If they truly cared about reducing the number of abortions and protecting human health in general, they’d immediately be on board with contraception methods like condoms.

        That they and so many others take such one-sided and generally unhelpful views makes them easily ignored for their hypocrisy.

        In your case all I see is a man who wants to rail and wail against a philosophical argument he knows he can’t win, because if you had any real sense of actually advancing your view, you’d argue in a different manner altogether.

        • Well, I certainly agree with you in seeing a man who wants to rail and wail against a philosophical argument he knows he can’t win.

          So again, if the goal is “equality for all people”, and to balance “obviously conflicting interests”, then why does the life of the unborn child count for nothing?

          That is the hypocrisy.

          • why does the mother, who can exist without being a parasite off another person, count for less than the fetus? that’s what you don’t get.

          • It doesn’t count for nothing. It just counts for much less than the woman’s life does. If equality for all people includes fetuses, making their claim to life equal to the woman’s, then the woman’s life is now relegated to a second tier; therefore her life is now not included in that equality, either. If fetuses are afforded all the same rights as adults, we can throw any delusion of equality out the window. Just like we do right now when we subjugate a woman’s autonomy to that of a nascent, unknown entity.

  18. Get back to basics: abortion issue is a non issue in 21st century. You NA talibans only think that this should be discussed. The debate about pro-life or pro-choice, between well educated adults that are free to allow others to make their choices is regarded as a ridiculous way to bring old religious fundamentalists back on the scene. There is no baby or a human there. The potential means nothing. The molecules of the piece of bread that I’m eating now also have potential to become life, in my cells or somewhere else. Forget about this issue, live the life you want to and let other people make their choices. You are not invited to make the choice for me. Having sex with a loved or not so loved one and not planning pregnancy is not a bad thing. It’s you thinking that’s a bad thing. But that’s another issue and that issue deserves psychotherapy.

    • “There is no baby or a human there.”

      Really. You do realize that Canada does not even recognize the unborn one minute prior to birth as a human being? You’re seriously contending that there is no baby there at any time in the pregnancy?

      I love the Left for its entertainment value, but this anti-science attitude is getting people killed.

      • Wrt one minute prior to birth…what kinds of events are actually occurring in Canada due to this lack of recognition?

        • You’ve clearly never heard of partial-birth abortions, have you.

          • I have heard the term, but I’m not completely familiar with the context.

            Care to provide some details? How often? What are some of the scenarios that would lead to partial-birth abortions? If partial-birth abortions were outlawed, what might be the consequences, unintended and intended?

          • Awesome. I didn’t see this until just now, but the 30-seconds-before-birth bullsh*t is my favorite piece of pro-lifer hyperbole.

            In his comment below (http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/10/25/turn-the-other-cheek-unless-youre-in-an-abortion-clinic/#comment-694080793) he defines late term abortion as anything after 20 weeks’ gestation. Which is slightly different than one minute prior to birth.

            Hey Gaunilon – how many abortions in Canada take place one minute prior to birth?

          • Are you suggesting that G is pulling a “bait and switch”?

          • Consequences? If partial birth abortions were outlawed, then live babies who have left the womb would not have their heads chopped off while their feet are still in the birth canal.

            It’s not until their feet are out that a baby is safe. Before then they can be killed.

            It’s much easier to kill the baby if you deliver the baby first. They kill them by puncturing the skull and sucking out their brains with a vacuum.

          • Are you able to fill in any of the other details I was asking about?

          • Google can answer your questions.

          • That term does not exist. It has been made up by the antiwomen, antichoice American fundies.

          • Sorry, but the term DOES exist, and the practice is common in China, particularly against female babies. When the top of the baby’s head is visible outside the birth canal, the medical “professional” (of whatever title) takes a syringe full of formaldehyde (or similar chemical compound) and injects said compound through the top of the baby’s skull into the baby’s brain, killing him/her. The mother then finishes giving birth. This is a partial-birth abortion.

  19. Abortion and euthanasia are murder. One can spin these issues in many skilled, and seemingly logical fashions, but the final outcome is the taking of someone’s life before natural or accidental death. I believe that the real issue behind the arguments is a rejection of God, and Divine Law from a Higher Authority. Are we truly happier and more at peace in this post-modern, post-Christian world? I further believe that we are living in the end times, as the moral relativism of our “free” society can’t be undone, in spite of, and conversely, because of our rapid increase in “worldly” knowledge, and its resultant hubris. Those who defend Natural Law can only rest assured that they can face their Creator and final Judge without shame and regret. If you’re firmly convinced that God doesn’t exist, then any opinion and action can be argued to be valid, and my and others’ arguments to the contrary are regarded as foolishness. Time will tell.

  20. What Mary Wagner did wasn’t ‘civil disobedience’, it was criminal tresspass, verbal assault, and various other crimes. If I could believe this woman had a conscience, she’d return the medal because it was awarded in error. If Maurice Vellacott had any decency or respect for the monarch he swore an oath to serve, he would never have put this nomination forward. I find it appalling that misogyny continues to not just be condoned, but rewarded, in an ostensibly modern egalitarian western society. How little things have changed. Over twenty years ago I went to Vancouver General Hospital for a minor
    procedure. Because I had to have a general anesthetic, I also had to
    have a companion with me, in this case my mother-in-law. It was raining
    heavily. Much to my annoyance, as we approached the entry, one of a
    pair of middle-aged woman came rushing towards us, loudly pleading with
    me to ‘reconsider what I was doing’, and attempting to thrust a pamphlet
    into my hands. I told her (quite angrily) to go to hell and pushed
    past her to enter the day-surgery clinic. As it happened, and not that it was anyone’s business but my own, I was there
    to have a laparascopic examination of my abdomen, to see if I had
    endometritis, and if I did to cauterize or remove invasive tissues as required. Other women in the recovery room were there for other
    procedures–one was having her tubes tied, another had to have an
    already-dead much-wanted fetus removed, which is of course an abortion.
    And we all had to run the gauntlet put up by the “pro-harrassment’ crew,
    being accosted and delayed, shamed and judged, on our way into a
    hospital to receive medical treatment because we were women and we might be having a procedure the harpies at the gate didn’t approve.

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