the regina mom collects links and writes blog posts. She had it in mind to do a series around abortion because Motion 312 will be debated in the House of Commons on Thursday. Not surprisingly, the links she’s collected do in fact have to do with abortion. What has become exceedingly clear is that there is not only an attack on women’s reproductive rights in North American, but one that is global.

Many of you will already know about many of the ridiculous pieces of legislation passed or being considered in the USA. 17atHeart has compiled a list of links to pieces of anti-woman legislation in the U.S. states. Read it if you’d like to know a little more about how bizarre it is. Life begins at conception? Hullo? the regina mom posts it here because it provides a window onto what Canadian women could face should the anti-choice faction in the House of Commons have their way with us.

Women in the Ukraine are also seeing their right to reproductive choice attacked. In response to the apparent collusion between the church and the state in preparing a draft law that would restrict abortions, some brave feminists of the group Femen climbed the bell tower of St. Sophia’s cathedral in Kiev. They barricaded themselves in, bared their breasts, dropped a black banner saying STOP, and rang the bells to assure attention to their action.

Femen’s slogan is “We came, we undressed, we conquered.” The group specializes in topless activism, supporting women’s rights and fighting prostitution and trafficking and it travels widely, recently appearing in Davos, Milan and Minsk.

There’s an interesting map of the world which gives a glance at the world’s abortion laws and the restrictions, if any, in each country. Interestingly, however, even though abortion is legal in South Africa, unsafe abortions are on the rise there. Dr. Mhlanga, an abortion rights advocate there, claims that’s because:

the society remains patriarchal and religiously conservative. Many health workers will not provide abortion care because it conflicts with their religious views, and those who are willing to provide care often are stigmatized and marginalized by their co-workers and managers.

The story goes on to give some hope that religious zealots can indeed change. Mhlanga is one of the most ardent abortion rights activists in the country, but he used to be opposed to abortion.

Mhlanga himself was once a self-described “ardent born-again Christian with conservative views about sex and women.” In the early 1980s, however, he witnessed the death of a colleague who suffered complications from an incomplete abortion. He attended her funeral and there saw the four-year-old son she had left behind. That moment was his turning point. He felt that no child should ever be left motherless as the result of an unsafe abortion, and he began doing research and getting active on the abortion issue. At the time, South African law required women seeking abortions to get signatures from three doctors—none of whom could work in the same facility. That effectively kept many women from getting legal abortions, especially poor women in rural areas where there were few, if any, doctors.

Perhaps the ProLife (sic) caucus in the House of Commons would be interested in speaking with Mr. Mhlanga before insisting that we regress to a time where women died from unsafe abortions.

I know. It’s wishful thinking, especially since the Harper Conservative government has slashed yet more funding to women’s health initiatives. The Women’s Health Contribution Program provided financial support for information and services across the country.

And then there’s the previously mentioned Motion 312. Go read what the Canadian Labour Congress has to say about it. Then, print out a copy of the petition opposing the motion, pack it in your purse or pocket and pull it out whenever you meet up with other people. Invite them to sign it. Once you have 25 signatures, send it to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. The folks there will forward it to a pro-choice Member of Parliament who will, in turn, present it to the House of Commons.


Bernadette Wagner

Regina Bernadette Wagner is an award-winning writer, a community activist and a singer. Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, chapbooks and anthologies, on radio, television,...