February 23 2014, 12:32 PM
Want to go to Planned Parenthood in D.C.? You’ll have to run the anti-choice gauntlet first.
This is what it looks like when clinics don’t have buffer zones.
They’re sidewalk harassers, sidewalk bullies, whatever else, but they are no where near counsellors. Counsellors are non-judgmental, non-biased, empathetic listeners, that is NOT what those people are. - Paige
If the clinic employees begin exercising their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and carried AR-15’s or AK-47’s along with them, on public streets, that would present an interesting conundrum to the gun loving right wing, would it not? I bet it would stop all the harassment cold too.
There are some abortion providers that do carry guns at all times, wear bulletproof vests to work, hire bodyguards, wear masks into the clinic so protestors can’t identify them, go in the back door, change up their driving routes every day, check under their cars daily for bombs, etc. That’s how serious this is, and that’s why it’s dangerous to take the protestors at face value, even if they seem peaceful. You don’t know who they’re hiding in the crowd.
And doctors who work at abortion clinics have been murdered by pro-life activists, in what has to be one of the biggest ironies in existence. Clinics have also been bombed.
Do the people in the picture look like harassers or bullies at all? Do you see any of them in possession of a gun, waving their arms in the air, or shouting? How are they threatening? In any case, people who are violent when doing something like this are not sidewalk counsellors or pro-life activists. People with unacceptable behavior like have been disowned by the pro-life movement itself. Sidewalk counsellors are supposed to offer real help, not intimidation.
Yeah, how could walking through a group of people who despise you and/or what you’re about to do with every fiber of their being, who belong to a movement with a history of violence in a country where their beliefs are being implicitly codified into law, be at all intimidating?
"People with unacceptable behavior like [this] have been disowned by the pro-life movement itself." No, they really haven’t, and the fact that you both think that’s true and refuse to see how this crowd is threatening shows how far deep your head is buried in the sand.
Yeah fuck that person who thinks this isn’t intimidating for patients.
I do clinic escorting at a local clinic every weekend. We have a fence and the antis aren’t allowed on our property, luckily, but let me just tell you about my experience just today.
- I had a woman ask me for my name multiple times. She knew I worked for the clinic because I wear an apron that says “clinic escort” on it. She kept telling me I didn’t “have” to work for an abortion clinic. This is part of a concerted effort on the part of anti-choicers to harass clinic workers into quitting their jobs. It’s actually called "And then there were none" and it’s pretty fucking disgusting.
- When I walked up to a patient as she was getting out of her car (this is policy, we have to ask if the person has an appointment because the antis try to park on our property all the time), she got really scared at first because she thought I was one of the antis. She told me how relieved she was once she read my apron. This woman had an existing child that she mentioned to me as the antis were screaming over the fence about her “killing her baby”.
- Another woman told me how she was worried I might be “with them” when I walked up, just because the knowledge of how anti-choicers harass people going into the clinic is so commonplace. She was also relieved to have me there. One of the anti-choicers yelled at her about killing her baby from over the fence. She burst into tears.
- These people also yell at and harass the men that come into the clinics with either their partners or their family members. One woman kept yelling out to the men coming in to “protect [his] legacy”.
This was all in one day. One day. I’ve had other experiences on other days when I’ve escorted that are just as bad or worse.
It’s not like these people stand there silently. They are actively yelling at folks and when they can, pursuing them. If an anti-choicer at my place of work can’t get to someone through the part of the fence that overlooks the parking lot, they will push their pamphlets through the parts of the fence that face the doors of the clinic. They are aggressive and totally insensitive to the feelings of any of the patients coming into the clinic.
I haven’t worked at this clinic long, but I have seen the emotional effects that these people have on patients coming into the clinic. So like yeah, in one picture it doesn’t appear that they’re harassing anyone, yelling, or threatening people. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And either way, who wants people staring at them when they’re going in for a medical procedure? Or when you come out of one, and you’re still so groggy from anesthesia that you need one of the clinic nurses (or even myself or someone else in my kind of position!) to hold you up and put you in the car?
Anyone who thinks the people standing outside of clinics are not doing it with the intent to harass and bully is wrong, and patients deserve to be protected from this kind of bullshit. My clinic has a big fence and the patients that we serve still feel harassed and bullied. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people going into a clinic without that, like what is pictured.
February 20 2014, 08:49 PM
Let me tell you some things.
I used to investigate child abuse and neglect. I can tell you how to stop the vast majority of abortion in the world.
First, make knowledge and access to contraception widely available. Start teaching kids before they hit puberty. Teach them about domestic violence and coercion, and teach them not to coerce and rape. Create a strong, loving community where women and girls feel safe and supported in times of need. Because guess what? They aren’t. You know what happens to babies born under such circumstances? They get hurt, unnecessarily. They get sick, unnecessarily. They get removed from parents who love them but who are unprepared for the burden of a child. Resources? Honey, we try. There aren’t enough resources anywhere. There are waiting lists, and promises, and maybes. If the government itself can’t hook people up, what makes you think an impoverished single mom can handle it?
Abolish poverty. Do you have any idea how much childcare costs? Daycare can cost as much or more than monthly rent. They may be inadequately staffed. Getting a private nanny is a nice idea, but they don’t come cheap either. Relatives? Do they own a car? Does the bus run at the right times? Do they have jobs of their own they need to work just to keep the lights on? Are they going to stick around until you get off you convenience store shift at 4 AM? Do they have criminal histories that will make them unsuitable as caregivers when CPS pokes around? You gonna pay for that? Who’s going to pay for that?
End rape. I know your type errs on the side of blaming the woman, but I’ve seen little girls who’ve barely gotten their periods pregnant because somebody thought raping preteens was an awesome idea. You want to put a child through that? Or someone with a mental or physical inability for whom pregnancy would be frightening, painful or even life-threatening? I’ve seen nonverbal kids who had their feet sliced up by caregivers for no fucking reason at all, you think sexual abuse doesn’t happen either?
You say there’s lots of couples who want to adopt. Kiddo, what they want to adopt are healthy white babies, preferably untainted by the wombs and genetics of women with alcohol or drug dependencies. I’ve seen the kids they don’t want, who almost no one wants. You people focus only on the happy pink babies, the gigglers, the ones who grow and grow with no trouble. Those are not the kids who linger in foster care. Those are certainly not the older kids and teenagers who age out of foster care and then are thrown out in the streets, usually with an array of medical and mental health issues. Are they too old to count?
And yeah, I’ve seen the babies, little hand-sized things barely clinging to life. There’s no glory, no wonder there. There is no wonder in a pregnant woman with five dollars to her name, so deep in depression you wonder if she’ll be alive in a week. Therapy costs money. Medicine costs money. Food, clothes, electricity cost money. Government assistance is a pittance; poverty drives women and girls into situations where they are forced to rely on people who abuse them to survive. (I’ve been up in more hospitals than I can count.)
In each and every dark pit of desperation, I have never seen a pro-lifer. I ain’t never seen them babysitting, scrubbing floors, bringing over goods, handing mom $50 bucks a month or driving her to the pediatrician. I ain’t never seen them sitting up for hours with an autistic child who screams and rages so his mother can get some sleep while she rests up from working 14-hour days. I don’t see them fixing leaks in rundown houses or playing with a kid while the police prepare to interview her about her sexual abuse. They’re not paying for the funerals of babies and children who died after birth, when they truly do become independent organisms. And the crazy thing is they think they’ve already done their job, because the child was born!
Aphids give birth, girl. It’s no miracle. You want to speak for the weak? Get off your high horse and get your hands dirty helping the poor, the isolated, the ill and mentally ill women and mothers and their children who already breathe the dirty air. You are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, for children. You don’t have a flea’s comprehension of injustice. You are not doing shit for life until you get in there and fight that darkness. Until you understand that abortion is salvation in a world like ours. Does that sound too hard? Do you really think suffering post-birth is more permissible, less worthy of outrage?
“Pro-life” is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.
December 04 2013, 08:42 AM
A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers.
Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.
The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown.
If you are not absolutely terrified and outraged by this you are wrong. The precedent this sets put every person on earth in danger.
oh my god read the article this is FUCKING HORRIFIC. she got back on her bipolar disorder medication and is in recovery but they won’t give her her child back “because of the risk she might relapse”. What you’re fucking saying with that is that mentally ill people shouldn’t even be allowed children even if they’re safe and well *just in case*, that we’re a permanent threat to ourselves and others even when we’re in treatment and recovery and living a stable life. I am FUCKING LIVID
Over a fucking panic attack. I’m fucking serious, all of this over a single panic attack. They took her baby in the most horrific way possible because she had a fucking panic attack.
From the Article:
She suffered a panic attack, which her relations believe was due to her failure to take regular medication for an existing bipolar condition.
It’s worth noting, that it’s very common for people on psychiatric medication to go off of their meds if they become pregnant, because of risk of side effects.
I bolded the above. I wanted there to be no one to think that she was being irresponsible for not haven taken her meds regularly. She did it for good reason, for the health of her own baby. And she got punished for it.
i fucking cant
So she did what was best for her kid, has ONE SINGLE PANIC ATTACK WHICH IS A THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE WHETHER THEY HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESS OR NOT and decide that they can literally violate her body in a horrific manner and take her kid away. But she’s the dangerous one.
Terribly sad. I hope this gets worked out in her benefit.
I can’t even imagine how terrifyingly awful that situation had to have been. Forcing a woman, against her will, to undergo sedation and then waking up in pain, without the fetus you’ve been carrying for 9 months? That’s beyond the pale. How much do the rights of an unborn fetus circumvent the rights of a full-grown adult? How much do we have to other the mentally ill, treating them (us) as less than human? She was literally treated like a breeding animal, with no cause of concern for her safety, mental health or well-being. Fuck. Fuck.
This is literally the stuff that horror movies are made of.
When K was relating this story to me, I couldn’t believe it until I read the article for myself. Have we really gotten to the point that a woman who, even just from the stress of being pregnant, has a panic attack can legally have her baby ripped out of her body and be thrown into a mental institution? Did we slip back into the 19th century, because I don’t recall any horse-drawn buggies going by outside.
This is why we need mental health reform. This is why we need women’s rights. This is why we need to treat fellow humans like fucking humans, not livestock to be cast aside when they seem a little “off.”
This is horrific
What’s really terrifying to me is that, as a commenter alluded to above, this hearkens back to mental health policies that we had ostensibly done away with decades and decades ago. I had thought we’d established that they were barbaric and wrong, but apparently not.
Here’s a story for you: in my province, for the better part of the 20th century, we practiced forced sterilization of several groups, including the ‘mentally ill’ (and I’m using quotation marks here because there were certain groups that were statistically more likely to be deemed mentally unfit than others and those groups tended to be already oppressed and ‘undesirable’ to the moral majority of the time, big surprise).
This was a huge part of my province’s history, so, of course, I never heard about it throughout my education, until I took a university-level course on Race & Anthropology and we covered eugenics. I was horrified. There is a great deal of mental illness in my family, including one of my parents. The idea that my family members could have been forcibly sterilized in my own province as of only a few decades ago was terrifying to me.
Now, it’s not as if my province was unusual in its embrace of eugenics in the early twentieth century. Nazi Germany was not even remotely the only country to practice and promote eugenics, and for all that Canada may have a (wrongful, misinformed) reputation as a fluffy, happy human rights paradise, many Canadians believed that eugenics was a Totes Valid strategy to make our country a better place. Take, as example, this quote from the Eugenics Society of Canada:
The Eugenics Society of Canada was created, promoting eugenism in claiming that “developments in Nazi Germany as worthy of emulation” and that ”Canada, too had to be ‘purified,’ but in its own particular way.” (source)
Neat, huh? My country looked at Nazi Germany and went, ‘Yeah, you know what? We should totally be more like them, guise.”
Anyway, to put all of this in context — because this case reminded me a lot of one of Alberta’s most famous eugenics cases — I’d like to tell you all in brief about Lelani Muir. Lelani was the first person to successfully sue the Alberta government for her wrongful sterilization. (A moment of wild cheering and applause for this total badass.)
Lelani was one of many Albertans deemed mentally unfit in the mid-20th century. (Her sterilization, btw, took place after WWII. Canada had not by any means learned its lesson yet.) She was from a poor family, dreadfully unwanted, so her mother sent her off to a mental institution (which, incidentally, she was told was an orphanage).
And you know what, I apologize for the overuse of Wikipedia in this because I’m not quite awake yet and I only have so much time before I have to get to work, but I’m just going to let Wikipedia tell this part, because if I try to write it myself I’m going to get way angrier than I can afford just before going to work:
Muir had lived at the Provincial Training School for two years and four months before she underwent an intelligence quotient (IQ) test. Low IQ was a major criterion for sterilization. She was brought to the Calgary Guidance Clinic to take an IQ test a week before meeting with the Eugenics Board and scored an overall mark of 64.Muir was formally diagnosed as a “Mental defective Moron”. The Board used Muir’s IQ score as sufficient grounds for her sterilization, as a score lower than 70 was considered degraded intelligence. Although she was not told at the time, the Board ordered that she be sterilized. Other factors that increased the likelihood of sterilization were Muir’s Irish-Polish background and Catholic religion, her presumed incapability of intelligent parenting, and that she had “shown definite interest in the opposite sex” while living in a public institution.
On January 19, 1959, doctors performed a bilateral salpingectomy (destruction of the fallopian tubes) on Muir.She had been told that the surgery was to remove her appendix. She would not find out until nearly a decade later why she could not bear children.
Okay so. In summary. 1) She hadn’t been warned beforehand by her mother that she was being sent to a mental institution. 2) The decision to sterilize a 14-year-old girl was made on the basis of an IQ test. IQ tests systematically disfavour kids from poor families. IQ tests are not a comprehensive measure of intelligence. IQ tests are fallible. 3) Lelani’s pedigree just wasn’t good enough to warrant her reproducing, guys! We don’t want those people in our gene pool, amirite? 4) The fact that she was interested in sex (hetero sex!) encouraged them to take out her fucking fallopian tubes because we can’t possibly have women having sex if they might enjoy it.
And, most crucially, they never fucking told her what they were doing to her. Lelani didn’t even get to find out after the surgery what had been done to her. For years, she had no idea she had been sterilized. Do you want to know when she did find out what they’d done to her?
When she was married. And trying to have kids.
And — here’s the icing on the cake — Lelani wasn’t even allowed to adopt because she was a formal mental patient! Reminder: this girl was 10 years old when she was institutionalized. The criteria under which she was institutionalized and sterilized had far more to do with classism, ethnic discrimination, sexism, and Puritanical morality than they had to do with her capabilities or character. She was 14 when they destroyed her fallopian tubes, without her knowledge or consent. The only people who failed in Lelani’s early life were the adults who were supposed to look after her.
And, fun fact, when Lelani took an IQ test again in the late 80s, she scored 89. Which either means a) she miraculously gained more innate intelligence over the course of a couple decades or, b) IQ tests are fucking fallible and biased against people who are socially discriminated against. Ie. The grounds under which Lelani was forcibly sterilized were totally fucking farcical.
Anyway, long story short, Lelani successfully sued the Albertan government for just shy of $1M in 1996, and she’s done a pretty incredible job of speaking out about what was done to her and generally being a total Albertan badass and credit to Canadian society. (And one that, frankly, we don’t deserve, given what Canadian society did to her.) If you want to know more about Lelani, I found out about her through The Sterilization of Leilani Muir, a documentary about her case. It’s been a few years since I watched it, but if I recall correctly, it’s heartbreaking as fuck, and absolutely worth watching.
And that’s why this case terrifies me. I thought we were past that. I thought we’d finally fucking learned from our mistakes. The Sexual Sterilization Act in Alberta was repealed in 1972. I thought we were done with this. But when I read that story, all I could fucking think about was eugenics, because that’s what this is. This is an external authority making life-shattering decisions about those ‘unfit’ to parent based on stigma and fear and a dreadful lack of facts.
People with mental illness are perfectly capable of raising children. I know this for a fact, because I was raised by one. You want to check out her credentials? I have two First Class Honours degrees. I’ve won writing awards. I have a large and diverse group of friends who love the shit out of me. I am articulate as fuck, compassionate, and strong, and a lot of that comes from having grown up with a mentally ill parent, because I had to master language in order to articulate the often bewildering experiences that entailed, because seeing all the stigma my mother and her peers faced every day taught me that compassion is essential to responsible moral life, because sometimes, when my mum was sicker than usual, I had to be the strong one, I had to support her just like she always supported me. It wasn’t always easy, but no one’s childhood is, and I wouldn’t trade what I had for the world. My mother is one of the most capable, extraordinary parents I know, and she’s far outshone the parents of many of my friends, who have gone to her for comfort and guidance and love when their own families fell short.
So please. Talk about this. Be outraged. Spread the word. Make them afraid. Do not let the people who would rule the lives of others based on their own fear and undereducation and lack of compassion succeed. Speak out. Eugenics was a bad idea from the start. Don’t let them think they can get away with a regression of politics and morality this radical, this destructive.
I dearly hope this woman gets her child back. And I hope the people who took her away rot.
November 06 2013, 12:13 PM
First Nations to resume blockade in Canadian fracking fight
November 6, 2013
Elsipogtog First Nations members are heading back to the streets in New Brunswick this week to defend their land from a gas drilling company eager to re-start exploratory fracking operations in the region.
The new wave of local anti-drilling resistance will resume an ongoing battle between the community members who faced a paramilitary-style onslaught by law enforcement agencies last month that sparked international outcry and a wave of solidarity protests.
The renewed protest follows a recent announcementby New Brunswick’s premiere that SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of the Houston-based Southwestern Energy Company, will resume shale gas exploration in First Nations territory after it was halted by blockades and protests.
Elsipogtog members announced Monday they will join with local residents and other First Nations communities—including the Mi’kmaq people—to “light a sacred fire” and stage a protest to stop SWN from fracking.
“SWN is violating our treaty rights. We are here to save our water and land, and to protect our animals and people. There will be no fracking at all,” said Louis Jerome, a Mi’kmaq sun dancer, in a statement. “We are putting a sacred fire here, and it must be respected. We are still here, and we’re not backing down.”
"The people of Elsipogtog along with local people have a very strong resolve and will be there as long as they need to be to keep the threat of fracking from destroying their water," said Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with Idle No More, in an interview with Common Dreams.
Community members previously blocked a road near the town of Rexton in rural New Brunswick to stop energy companies from conducting shale gas exploration on their land without their consent.
In early October, the government imposed a temporary injunction on the New Brunswick protest, bowing to pressure from SWN.
Claiming the authority of the injunction, over 100 Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched a paramilitary-style assault on the blockade in late October, bringing rifles and attack dogs and arresting 40 people.
First Nations communities and activists across Canada and the world launched a wave of actions in solidarity in response to the attack.
"Within 24 hours of the paramilitary assault on the nonviolent blockade by the fed police, Idle No More and other networks organized over 100 solidarity actions in over half a dozen countries," said Thomas-Muller.
Days later, a Canadian judge overruled the injunction on the protests. Yet the federal and provincial governments continue to allow SWN to move forward fracking plans on indigenous lands, in what First Nation campaigners say is a violation of federal laws protecting the sovereignty of their communities.
"This is an issue of human rights and access to clean drinking water, and it’s fundamentally about sovereignty and self-determination," said Thomas-Muller. "Support for the Elsipogtog and their actions to reclaim lands in their territory is something that is powerful and united from coast to coast and around the world."