by Jarrah Hodge
In case you haven’t been keeping up, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s Motion-312, calling for Parliament to debate whether the definition of “human being” should be extended to include fetuses. The Radical Handmaids is a new group that formed out of Ontario. Here’s a little blurb from their blog:
The Radical Handmaids are pro-choice activists who love CanLit and really outrageous hats.
On April 25, 2012 the Radical Handmaids will take action on Parliament Hill to respond to Motion-312.
Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s classic tale, we fight under the banner of Handmaids who will not sit by idly while Canada descends into Gilead. We believe in resisting creatively, working across generations and wearing really fabulous hats.
As a pro-choice CanLit fan (especially Margaret Atwood) I absolutely love the idea of this group, and wanted to share their upcoming events in case anyone near Ottawa or Toronto is able to attend. I also wanted to share their ideas for opposing M-312 for those of us outside Ottawa.
- On April 25, the Radical Handmaids will be holding an event on Parliament Hill (at the Eternal Flame) from 12 until 3. They’re asking supporters to wear red and join them for their protest (event page here for more info).
- Also on the 25th you can join the group in Toronto at Queen’s Park at 9:00 AM (event page here for more info).
- While not a Radical Handmaids event, there will be a “speak-out” at the Guild in Charlottetown, hosted by the PEI Abortion Rights Network on April 26 at 7 PM. “Focusing on abortion and the morning after pill, the intention of this event is to change the culture of shame and silence around these topics through the act of storytelling.” You can contact organizer Bronwyn Rodd (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more info.
- And this from the Radical Handmaids’ Site:
No event planned in your community? Consider organizing one! The joy of organizing as Handmaids is that you don’t need a large crowd to really create some buzz and get people talking. Even a handful of people dressed up in costume in front of their MPs office is effective! Please connect with us if you’re planning an event, so we can coordinate and officially endorse:email@example.com
Also for those of us who can’t attend an event (or those who can but want to take extra action), the group has put together a Top 10 list of ideas to take action against M-312. In addition to attending or organizing an event, here are the suggestions:
- Educate yourself : http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/M-312-fact-sheet.pdf
- Parliament is archaic and does not recognize online petitions. Please print and sign the official paper petition here: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/m312-paper-petition-en.pdf
- Contact your MP and find out how they will be voting on M-312. How to find out who your MP is and how to contact them:http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC
- On April 25th and April 26th, express your outrage on Twitter through the #NoDebate hashtag.
- Change your Facebook profile photo to the Radical Handmaids picture.
- If you’re crafty, knit/crochet a womb: http://www.facebook.com/groups/354104927964655/?ref=ts&__adt=6 We’re encouraging people to ‘knit bomb’ their communities and MPs offices. Take a photo & send it to RadicalHandmaids@gmail.com We’ll keep track of ‘Womb sightings’ on our website.
- Print and mail official Anti-M-312 postcards, available for download here: http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/M-312-postcards.html Reminder: You can snail mail Parliament for FREE! Find a local organization or union who is willing to get some postcards printed and go hog wild! We want MPs to be receiving a steady stream of lobby material from now until the vote in the fall
- Make (or photoshop yourself!) in a Handmaid costume. Send us the photo and we’ll post them on our website to maintain momentum! Interpret the Handmaid costume how you’d like or check out a pattern here: http://www.ehow.com/how_8487342_make-flying-nun-hat.html
- NEVER underestimate the power of dialogue. This Motion is purposely cryptic and can easily trick people into thinking that Canada is archaic, has no abortion restrictions and is legally irresponsible. Talk with your friends, family and colleagues and explain to them how this Motion is a thinly veiled attack on abortion rights. Nothing more.
The ARCC also has a sample letter you can send to your MP (using the contact info you get from #3 on the above list). Thanks for taking any of the above actions and for your help opposing this regressive motion.