Joyce Arthur

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Joyce Arthur is a founding member of FIRST, a national feminist sex worker advocacy organization based in Vancouver that lobbies for the decriminalization of prostitution in Canada. Joyce works as a technical writer and pro-choice activist, and is the founder and Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national pro-choice group in Canada.
Columnists

Time to repeal Canada's blasphemy law

Photo: David Becker/flickr

There is no God. All religions are false. The Bible is a fanciful document, written by people not inspired by any god. The Old Testament god is a bloodthirsty tyrant, and the Qur'an vilifies non-believers on almost every page. Jesus probably never existed, and even the historicity of Mohammed is questionable.

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Pro-choice reflections on 2014 and predictions for 2015

Photo: Jenn Farr/flickr

What's on the horizon for reproductive rights in Canada for 2015? Let's take a look back at 2014, especially at some ongoing initiatives that may prove very fruitful for 2015.

Anti-choice dinosaurs now extinct in Liberal Party

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December 6 marks the endorsement of violence against sex workers

Photo: Kaytee Riek/flickr

In an act of "sick and twisted" irony, Canada's new prostitution law takes effect on December 6, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and a day now set aside to mourn violence against women. Sadly, the law will lead to violence against sex workers, most of whom are women.

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Not criminals, not victims: Sex workers' lives thrown into chaos under new law

Photo: Esther Shannon

On Thursday, November 6, seven masked sex workers spoke at a press conference in Vancouver to give specifics on how Canada's new prostitution law will harm them. The theme was "What a Difference a Day Makes" -- because on Wednesday they were responsible working adults providing a legal service to ordinary Canadians, and on Thursday the law had transformed them into helpless victims being exploited by violent predators and perverts.

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Coming soon: A brave new pro-choice world

Image: www.september28.org

An important day just went by, marked by hundreds of events and campaigns and lots of noise around the world. Some of you may have never heard of it before, but to an abortion rights activist like me, it's practically a statutory holiday.

September 28 is the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. The day originated two decades ago in Latin America and the Caribbean where women's groups have been pushing governments to decriminalize abortion and provide safe and affordable access. The date itself commemorates the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1871, and came to be adopted by Brazilian women as the day of the "free womb."

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A paean to polyglots

Photo: Nina Helmer/flickr

I don't speak French. I wish I could but I can't. Canada is a bilingual country and it was a mandatory course in my high school. I took two years of French in college, and once even hired a tutor for private lessons. Sure, I can still stammer out a few simple sentences in French and understand some of what I read and hear. But Vancouver is a long ways from Quebec. On the west coast, French is rarely heard and, shall we venture to say? -- unnecessary.

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'Conscientious objection' when it comes to reproductive health is not conscientious

Photo: surroundsound5000/flickr
When doctors refuse to provide reproductive health-care services based on personal beliefs, most people call it "conscientious objection." In reality, it is the opposite of conscientious.

Related rabble.ca story:

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Doctors do not have the right to discriminate and deny basic health care

Photo: surroundsound5000/flickr

It's come to light that three doctors in Ontario and one in Alberta refuse to provide contraception to their patients because of their personal and religious beliefs.

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Prostitution bill poisoned by sexist ideology

Photo: flickr/Silviya Rankova

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The new prostitution bill introduced in June by Injustice Minister Peter MacKay is blatantly unconstitutional and will result in more dead women. Bill C-36 will harm sex workers in even worse ways than the previous criminal provisions that were struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in December.

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Moving forward with the abortion debate

Photo: Nicole Marie Edine/flickr

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Justin Trudeau's statement that any new candidate for the Liberal Party must agree to vote pro-choice on any bills is positive and entirely appropriate. It stirred up a surprising amount of criticism and confusion in the media, however, in addition to the expected histrionics from anti-choice and religious communities.

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