A fetus’s gender should not be revealed until after 30 weeks of pregnancy, says an editorial in the Canadian Medical Journal.

This change in procedure for a fetal ultrasound, where the sex is usually disclosed to parents at 20 weeks, would help prevent female feticide, says Rajendra Kale, editor-in-chief of the CMAJ.

In Canada, doctors rarely perform abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy unless the baby has a lethal fetal abnormality or the mother’s life is in danger because of the pregnancy.

Kale says that in countries such as India, China, Korea and Vietnam, female fetuses are commonly aborted because of a preference for sons. Though by no means widespread, the practice is carried out by some immigrants to Canada, Kale says.

His editorial cites a small U.S. study of about 65 immigrant Indian women that found 40 per cent had terminated earlier pregnancies, and 89 per cent pursued abortions in their most recent pregnancies after learning they were having girls. Previous Canadian research has suggested that sex selection is occurring in Canada in certain groups when families have had girls and are seeking a son.

The practice has created a gender imbalance in these communities.

"A pregnant woman being told the sex of the fetus at ultrasonography at a time when an unquestioned abortion is possible is the starting point of female feticide from a health-care perspective," writes Kale.

Okay, how about this.  How about we DON’T take away the power of choice from women, and put them further under someone else’s control and opinions (and thereby take away the power of choice from all pregnant people) and instead, we work toward improving the value of girls?  And maybe, while we do it, we can try and be inclusive of all contexts and issues and you know.  Not be jackasses about it.  As we often are.

Stopping potential parents from knowing the sex of their baby (what on earth do you do when they ASK, what with the availability of information in books and oh the internet?) does not raise the value of an unwanted girl, or improve her life beyond the womb.  All this does is control women by denying knowledge.  When has that ever worked for empowering anyone?

Repealing a ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in ‘no more virgins’, the country’s religious council has warned.

A ‘scientific’ report claims relaxing the ban would also see more Saudis - both men and women - turn to homosexuality and pornography.

The startling conclusions were drawn by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.

Their report assessed the possible impact of repealing the ban in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are not allowed behind the wheel.

It was delivered to all 150 members of the Shura Council, the country’s legislative body.

The report warns that allowing women to drive would ‘provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce’.

Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be ‘no more virgins’ in the Islamic kingdom.

And it pointed out ‘moral decline’ could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

In the report Professor Subhi described sitting in a coffee shop in an unnamed Arab state.

‘All the women were looking at me,’ he wrote. ‘One made a gesture that made it clear she was available… this is what happens when women are allowed to drive.’

First of all: Daily Mail, stop being a jackass and make a more accurate headline.  K?  ”Saudis” is misleading.

Second of all:

Oh for god’s sake.



The UN states that any country restricting a woman’s access to abortion and/or contraception is, in doing so, violating a woman’s human rights.


So, we’ve got extremely reputable cancer-related organizations saying abortion doesn’t cause cancer or increase your risk.

We’ve got extremely reputable reports declaring post-abortion depression to be a hoax.

We’ve got extremely reputable reports showing how many women die from lack of safe, legal abortions.

And now we have the UN stating that ANY and ALL restrictions to the right to choose, to have knowledge, and to have contraception is a violation of human rights.

Your move, Anti-Choicers. Try not to use slavery, the Holocaust, or the Bible.

Boo.  Effin’.  Yah.

(via stfuconservatives)

hey guys, remember this? (it’s okay if you don’t)


Canada will fund an organization that provides family planning services around the world — but only in countries where abortion is illegal in most cases, CBC News has learned.

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda has decided to approve a proposal by the International Planned Parenthood Federation to provide sex education and contraception in five developing countries.

Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of sexual and reproductive health services, including abortions, abortion counselling and training for providers, is getting the federal funding after Oda let the agency’s previous request sit on her desk for a year without a response, and after a Conservative MP told an anti-abortion group that the government wouldn’t be giving the organization any money.

Oda’s decision to approve Planned Parenthood’s proposal comes more than a year after Canada was embroiled in controversy over whether to fund abortions as part of a G8 commitment to improve maternal health in developing countries.

The proposal gets around the thorny issue of abortion by asking for money for sex education and contraception services, and does not include abortion services.

The funding is worth $6 million over three years for Planned Parenthood to work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania, where abortions are illegal except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.

Oda’s spokesman said he wouldn’t comment on an application under review.

It looks like Planned Parenthood has not heard this from CIDA, but have a meeting with them at 10:30am.  This request has been outstanding since 2010.

Dmitri Soudas, spokesperson for the Government has said in the past that funding abortion is not included in the criteria for maternal health.  Officials have also said that Canadian funds have never been used to directly fund abortion abroad.

I am not sure why this is meant to be reassurance.

If Canada permits abortion (as it does) within its boundaries, then we should also support that abroad.   Why offer women elsewhere any less rights than we want for our women at home? And if the law says it must be offered, than do we not apply the same criteria (in this case, regarding a human right) elsewhere?

I want to clarify that I don’t think it’s appropriate for Planned Parenthood to go into other countries that prohibit abortion and then … offer abortion.  There does need to be respect for state autonomy, as well as the safety of international and at home workers.  And honestly, I would hope that the very presence of Planned Parenthood and other organizations would help create an environment where abortion can become legal.

However, I am uncomfortable with the idea that requesting funding specific only to certain countries (in which abortion is legal) as being described as getting around a “thorny issue”.  Not when it’s my government making it thorny.

MONTREAL - After numerous frustrating phone calls with bureaucrats, Sunshine Rose will exist in the eyes of the Quebec government and her mother will not have to show her vagina to anyone to prove the 5-month-old infant is hers.

Heather Mattingsly, who gave birth in March, has spent her time since trying to convince the Directeur de l’état civil that even though she engaged the help of an unlicensed midwife to give birth at home, the baby is indeed hers.

Days after the birth and as required, she provided the government agency in charge of issuing birth certificates with an ultrasound, a doctor’s letter and an attestation of birth, but none of that was good enough. This week, the agency said she’d have to get a vaginal examination – a procedure that doctors and midwives alike agreed would prove absolutely nothing.

“They’re saying ‘we’re not doubting the pregnancy, we’re doubting that you birthed a live child’,” said Mattingsly, who is collecting maternity benefits and breastfeeding. “How is a vaginal exam going to prove that?”

But late Friday, after many calls from the media, the agency’s director called Mattingsly and said after reviewing her file personally, he decided she didn’t need to go for the examination. But, he said, she still had to provide an ultrasound, but unlike the first one she submitted, this one had to be signed by a doctor.

Marie Godbout, a spokesperson for the agency, said she couldn’t discuss Mattingsly’s case, but said anyone who gives birth without a doctor or licensed midwife present has to prove the biological link between mother and child.

“It’s done in the public interest and to protect the child,” Godbout said. “And it’s to prevent things like trafficking in children.”

I am pretty sure that vaginal examinations will do absolutely nothing to help children trafficking, though it may make a few people feel ever so much better about all the awesome things they do to prevent drug trafficking.

This is a case of Bad Decisions Made By People So Far Removed From The Results That They Do Not Care About The Consequences™ (the title needs work).

I Think This Is One Of Those Posts Where I Will Finish It and STILL Not Really Be Sure About My Opinion

I received a petition from Change.org today, as I often do, about Women’s rights.

Here is the content of the email:

Dear [redacted!],

Girls in a Toronto public school are sent to the back of the room — just because they’re menstruating.

Valley Park Middle School in Toronto allows Muslim students to use the cafeteria for Friday prayer: Seventh and eighth grade girls pray behind the boys, separated by tables, while girls who have their period must sit on their own in the back of the room, not allowed to join in the prayer.

The Muslim Canadian Congress, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and newspapers both left and right have spoken out: Segregating 12-year-old girls who are menstruating sends an unhealthy and sexist message that can scar these children. 

But the school still hasn’t budged. That’s why Tim Das, a father of two kids in Toronto,started a petition on Change.org calling for the Toronto District School Board to enforce its general equity policy and stop segregating menstruating girls in schools. Will you add your name now?

Tim said he started the petition because school should be a safe place for children, not one in which girls are shamed and ostracized for a natural function of their bodies — a development they’re just getting used to. “As a taxpayer, Toronto resident, and first-generation Canadian — and most of all, as the father of a sweet, spirited six year old girl in the Toronto Public School system — I was aghast," said Tim. ”I knew I had to do something.”

Toronto’s School Board is required to promote “gender equity ideals” in “all aspects” of the city’s schools. One board member has already said he thinks the board should enforce that policy. Widespread public outcry can push the rest of the board to agree to stop segregating girls who have their period.

Sign the petition to tell the Toronto District School Board to stop treating girls like second-class citizens — and worse — in publicly funded schools.


Thank you for taking action.

- Shelby and the Change.org team

I don’t … know how I feel about this.  I seem to have a lot of “on the one hand” opinions.

On the one hand - no, I do not think that girls should be ostracized because something is occurring in their body which they cannot control and they certainly should not be shamed for.

On the other hand - I don’t entirely feel comfortable with the idea of a public school board saying: yes, you can come in and practice your religion within these walls every Friday at lunch, oh but, we are going to dictate some of your cultural practices and standards.

To be honest, I don’t particularly like the idea of a public school permitting religion on their grounds at all (particularly if the school board and trustees start to step in and dictate based on their own views, context and policies).

But on the other hand, I can appreciate the inclusiveness and multiculturalism that the school has attempted to create given that three to four hundred of its twelve hundred students are taking part.  The question of religious rights is valid, particularly since our school weeks and years are set up around the Christian religion.  This would be, as I understand it, akin to allowing Christians to have a small mass on Sundays if they were also required to be in school, or Jewish students to have a place to pray during the Sabbath.  

On the other other hand, I feel as if this is not the place to raise the complaint and the issue.  Is the Imam who is running the service part of the same service that the boys and girls would have attended if they had needed to go off schoolgrounds to attend?  If not, or if the parents of the participating children would not normally worship in a place with segregation like this, then perhaps a change in officient is in order? Or a different sort of prayer group?  There seems to be other options other than handing down an edict from above.

I suppose the real reason I do not feel comfortable with this is I do not have enough knowledge to know if by signing the petition, would I be an ally in this or not?  I do not know the opinion of the students and parents who are affected by this.  There are a variety of opinions from Muslim groups who obviously feel that this is more strict than they agree with, however, nothing specific from those who choose to attend every Friday or their parents.  And while it might seem like the simple solution is: Just get everyone to stop the segregation! I have no way of knowing the context or the affects this would have on the people who are actually impacted by this.  It seems to be part of a greater picture, and really, the only outcome I can currently see if the Toronto school forbids the segregation (at least, if the parents and children are not requesting the change as well - at which point, this is a WHOLE other story) is making a lot of people who are not affected by this feel better about themselves and pictures they see on the internet.



I’m going to pinch you like an animal: WAXIN’ (and wanin’)


“Blah blah blah, hair removal is a choice, dammit, and I can make whatever choice I want, don’t judge me, blah blah blah.”


But look, that “choice” doesn’t exist in a social vacuum, and turning a critical eye to the contours of the that “choice” isn’t about condemning individuals who make…

I totally understand all your points.  But…. What about the great numbers of women who are employed by this industry?  The money you say could be better spent elsewhere is going into their pockets, feeding their families, supporting their small businesses and communities.  Are we telling those women they are part of the problem, quit doing hair and supporting the patriarchy? And then what? We like to think that the fashion and beauty industry is some big nameless evil company we can easily dismantle, and too many of us forget the working class women with a specific skill set who make a living working in it.

And just because some of us spend money on these things does not mean we are not also saving,  investing,  and giving to charity. Many of us who can afford these luxuries are financially savvy enough to save, invest and give before we indulge in beauty regimens and shopping.

I am always very uncomfortable telling other people what they should be doing with their time, energy, focus and money.

Bolded for emphasis, because this is something that always seems to get lost in these types of discussions.

It’s true that the choice does not exist in a social vacuum.  However I don’t think the answer is as simple as: women should all chose not to wax/get pedicures/manicures/facials/WHATEVER.  

The issue is not the actual treatments themselves but the privilege that comes with it. ie - if you want to be considered beautiful you must do a, b, c and d religiously but more: hey, if it’s what you like, it’s what you like.

This argument, really, can be applied to a variety of “traditional” female roles.  Women staying home with children, for example.    the problem is not when women choose to do it, but that it is expected, and going counter to that expectation results in all manner of commentary.

It’s unfortunately not as simple a solution as saying: “Well, then let’s not do it and prove them wrong” because then what about the women who DO want to this?  Yes, it can be said this is the result of social mores - we are raised with certain expectations (women stay home with the kids, are expected to adhere to certain social standards) but we need to work on the root of the problem (the social mores - the expectation that women MUST rather than women CAN) rather than tell women they should make different decisions.

this has been a ramble.


There was a bill read to give dower rights to men, and the leader of the Opposition made a heated defense of the working man who devotes his life to his wife and family, and yet has no voice in the disposition of his property. His wife can sell it over his head, or will it away, as had sometimes been done.

The Attorney General, in a deeply sarcastic vein, asked the honorable lady if she thought the wife and mother would not deal fairly—even generously with her husband. Would she have the iron hand of the law intrude itself into the sacred precincts of the home, where little cherub faces gather round the hearth, under the glow of the glass-fringed hanging lamp. Would she dare to insinuate that love had to be buttressed by the law? Did not a man at the altar, in the sight of God and witnesses, endow his wife with all his goods? Well then—were those sacred words to be blasphemed by an unholy law which compelled her to give back what he had so lovingly given? When a man marries, cried the honorable Attorney General, he gives his wife his name—and his heart—and he gives them unconditionally. Are not these infinitely more than his property? The greater includes the less—the tail goes with the hide! The honorable leader of the Opposition was guilty of a gross offense against good taste, in opening this question again. Last session, the session before, and now this session, she has harped on this disagreeable theme. It has become positively indecent.


"The Play"

Nellie McClung, Purple Springs



The Myth of 9 Billion -Why ignoring family planning overseas was the worst foreign-policy mistake of the century. - ForeignPolicy.com

Read this.

Ironically, the future problem stems from today’s success: Women are not having more children than in the past, but fewer of them are dying. Globally, the number of infant deaths per 1,000 births fell from 126 in 1960 to 57 in 2001.



The Myth of 9 Billion -Why ignoring family planning overseas was the worst foreign-policy mistake of the century. - ForeignPolicy.com

Read this.

Ironically, the future problem stems from today’s success: Women are not having more children than in the past, but fewer of them are dying. Globally, the number of infant deaths per 1,000 births fell from 126 in 1960 to 57 in 2001.

(via dayruiningrobot-deactivated2011)



41 ways in which gender roles are unequal and/or oppressive toward women.

This is the link I just mentioned, and #1 - “men are the default and women are the Other” - happens to me all the time.

Just yesterday I saw someone reblog me and be like “whatever he thinks he’s so smart with all his sarcasm” or some shit. I have to constantly remind people that I’m a woman. Joe helps out around here, and he is a man. But any post NOT signed by him and tagged #postsbyjoe are written by me.

I say that I’m a woman in my blog description. But when people don’t know that, they automatically assume I’m a man.

Quite a few of these resonated me - apparently this list changes frequently, but as of this writing, namely it is 5, 6 and 36.  Which ones resonated with you? 

(Source: dion-thesocialist)