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Union Sisters Talk Reproductive Rights

Joyce Arthur, Jackie Larkin and Judy Darcy

Joyce Arthur, Jackie Larkin and Judy Darcy

by Jarrah Hodge

In the late 70′s and 80′s feminists involved in BC’s labour movement launched “Union Sisters”, regular gatherings of union women who would share a meal, listen to a speaker, and organize on important issues.

This fall a handful of union women decided to re-launch these gatherings. Using only emails, Facebook, and social media they put the word out and attracted about fifty women to the first meeting in September, which featured Dr. Marjorie Griffin-Cohen speaking on the negative impacts of BC Liberal policy on women in BC.

I’m pleased I was able to attend the second “Union Sisters” evening in New Westminster earlier this week. The theme of the night was: “The Current Challenges to our Reproductive Rights” and included an oral history on the 1970s Abortion Caravan, as well as a presentation by Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Addressing the current situation, Arthur put the lie to Harper’s claim that he doesn’t want to “re-open the abortion debate”, noting right off the bat by limiting funding to organizations that provide abortion and contraception in developing countries for the first time in decades, that’s exactly what the Harper government did.

Arthur also touched on the defeat of the anti-choice M-312 in Parliament this fall:

“It was quite a strong defeat but nobody was really happy about it… it was disturbing because 1/3 of the cabinet voted in favour of it, including Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose.”

Arthur identified fighting anti-choice advertisements through complaints to Advertising Standards Canada as one area in which the ARCC and its feminist allies have had particular success.

“They’re usually demeaning to women in some way,” Arthur said of the ads. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism 1 Comment

Feminists Disagree on Many Things but Abortion Can’t Be One of Them

by Jarrah Hodge

Calgary Herald columnist Naomi Lakritz says Rona Ambrose is a feminist.

#headdesk

In her latest piece, which ran this past Tuesday, Lakritz argues Ambrose’s feminist credentials were established when she “spoke for herself” in voting for the anti-choice M-312.

“I must have been absent the day the sisterhood held a meeting and decided all women must think alike, or risk being condemned as traitors to their gender. Looks like federal Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose didn’t get the memo, either,” begins Lakritz’ column.

Feminists didn’t speak out against our country’s Status of Women Minister because she didn’t comply with some kind of groupthink. Feminists disagree on a lot of things, big and small. We have disagreements on pornography, sex work, body hair, the SFU Men’s Centre, SlutWalk, whether Pinterest is killing the movement, whether Lady Gaga is a role model, even whether knitting is reclaiming feminist heritage or setting us back.

Where feminists know we can’t afford to disagree is the fundamental feminist issue of the right to choose to have an abortion. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Can-Con, Feminism, Politics 16 Comments