3.18.2010

cons: birth control has nothing to do with family planning (updated)

L: I wanted to post about this, but school + war resisters = all my time.

[redsock guest post]

Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon explains why contraception will be excluded from the Harper government's initiative (to be presented at June's G8 summit) to improve the health of women in poor countries:
[Contraception] does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning. Indeed, the purpose of this is to be able to save lives.

Mr. Cannon is a liar and a buffoon and supports the torture of innocent people, but I find it difficult to accept that he truly believes birth control has nothing whatsoever to do with a couple planning how many children to have and when to have them. It's like saying breathing has nothing to do with remaining alive.

Katherine McDonald, executive director of Action Canada for Population and Development: "This is really playing to the base in tractor-loads rather than with shovels." An editorial in the Globe and Mail wonders if the policy "stems from a fear of alienating a small base of extremely conservative voters who oppose birth control".

The opposition parties are incredulous. Liberal health critic Carolyn Bennett stated during Question Period that, according to the United Nations, a "lack of adequate contraceptive services is responsible for 1.5 million deaths in developing countries every year."

Yes, but Cannon wants to "save lives", so taking simple actions that will prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths is quite irrelevant.

G&M columnist Jane Taber notes: "This was the first Question Period in a long time that the Liberals did [not] focus on the Afghan detainee issue." Hoping to run away and hide from the torture allegations by proroguing Parliament did not work, so it's extremely doubtful that this head-line grabber will succeed in permanently changing the subject.

Jay Gribble, co-author and vice president of International Programs at the Population Reference Bureau, states the obvious. Family planning:
permits the healthy spacing of births, prevents the spread of HIV, reduces the number of low birth-weight babies, allows for longer breastfeeding, prevents unplanned pregnancies and abortions, and averts deaths from childbirth that leave infants and their siblings motherless and poorly cared for.

A 2007 report by the Disease Control Priorities Project - funded by the World Bank and other groups - lists pregnancy planning as one of the "most effective and promising interventions" for reducing the death rates of mothers.

The United Nations Population Fund reports that 500,000 women die every year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, leaving more than one million children without mothers. Access to contraception could prevent around 40% of maternal deaths worldwide.

[L again with a reminder: women's rights are human rights. Without control of our reproduction, women can never be free and equal participants in the world. Contraception is integral to women's health and women's lives - but it is more than than that. Access to contraception is essential to human dignity, equality and freedom.]

* * * *

Update: Harper flip-flops: "We are not closing doors against any options including contraception." Yet another sudden change of belief, coming closely on the heels of backtracking on funding of Internet service for rural and low-income Canadians. And the National Post notes that on Wednesday, "the Conservatives held three different positions on the potential ban of '10-percenter' mailings in the space of three hours". Impressive!

14 comments:

Mike said...

You know I'm beginning to think I'm gong to have to apologize to some of my american friends in VT next week, for saying that Obama was almost to the right of our most rightwing PM. Based on what the Conservatives have been up to behind closed doors it's pretty much apparent they're as much of a bunch of neo-liberal/neo-con group as any Replican could hope to meet.

James said...

I came across this talking point this morning, listening to a podcast discussing Bob Marshall's groupies (Bob Marshall is the "deformed babies are punishment for abortions" guy). His group was arguing that Planned Parenthood has nothing to with helping families since it's only about preventing children. Even setting aside the fact that contraception and abortion are only a small part of what PP does, the idea that not wanting children now so that you're in a better position to have children later -- or so that they don't detract from your ability to care for children you already have -- apparently doesn't occur to these types.

But then, they're probably Quiverfull types who think that the only thing better than having 17 children is having 18 children.

L-girl said...

You know I'm beginning to think I'm gong to have to apologize to some of my american friends in VT next week, for saying that Obama was almost to the right of our most rightwing PM. Based on what the Conservatives have been up to behind closed doors it's pretty much apparent they're as much of a bunch of neo-liberal/neo-con group as any Replican could hope to meet.

Right. I used to be fond of saying that Bill Clinton could be the leader of the CPC, a line I got from a former commenter on this blog who is very conservative. But that applied to the old Cons, not this neo-con bunch.

I can't believe I want Michael Ignatieff to be PM. I mean I don't want that... but given the options, I do.

L-girl said...

His group was arguing that Planned Parenthood has nothing to with helping families since it's only about preventing children.

As you said, leaving aside that contraception and abortion are not the sum total of PP's services, contraception IS ALL ABOUT HELPING FAMILIES.

Stupid dipshits. Grrr.

L-girl said...

You know I'm beginning to think I'm gong to have to apologize to some of my american friends in VT next week, for saying that Obama was almost to the right of our most rightwing PM.

But I certainly agree that Obama can barely be considered liberal by any standard, and in some very important areas he is just Bush-Cheney with a better smile.

L-girl said...

Cons flip-flop on birth control

impudent strumpet said...

From the "Help, I've been editing all day and can't turn it off!" files: I'd restate that "flip-flop" word choice. Wanting politicos to change their position and then using dissy language when they do change their position is not only uncool, but also unhelpful next time we want them to change their position.

On topic: On top of all the usual, and on top of wondering how many of these people engage in family planning themselves, I've been wondering how many of them were born into planned families. I mean, I don't agree with my parents' concept of what constitutes sufficient spacing between children, but it is so glaringly obvious to me how much I've benefited from the fact that my own parents had only the number of children they were able to handle and at a time in their lives when they were prepared for us. And it's also glaringly obvious to me the disadvantages some of my elders have suffered from being the product of pure chance.

L-girl said...

I totally meant flip-flop sarcastically. It's a USian sarcasm, born after John Kerry was branded as a "flip-floper" for having the temerity to change his opinion after 20 years of maturity and experience.

I should have made that clear. Sorry!

And, while being totally this and totally that, I totally agree with you re benefitting from being from a planned family. It's something I'm grateful for.

Dharma Seeker said...

I've seen the term flip flop everywhere. Paul Martin was a notorious flip flopper. He flopped so much he might as well have been a noodle.

I understand what Imp Strump is saying, however I don't think Stephen Harper is genuinely changing his position, or should I say agenda. He's simply paying lip service to his critics to silence them. Stand for something or don't, but at least be clear about it. This is just another attempt to manipulate the Canadian public. God help us if he ever gets a majority. It will be very clear what his position is, and I think we'll find it hasn't changed a bit.

"When you sit on the fence you get hemorrhoids" - My OAC history teacher

L-girl said...

I don't mean that the 2004 US campaign invented the term, just that it became HUGE at that time, and I was using it sarcastically in relation to that.

I always saw Paul Martin described as a "waffler" - sometimes "The Waffle".

Stephen Harper has now had 3 shots at his majority, including in an election he himself called against the world's most overcooked noodle, Stephane Dion. And still no majority. That ship has sailed.

Dharma Seeker said...

I didn't see Stephane Dion like that actually. His commitment to the environment never wavered. He made it pretty clear what his priorities and plans were, he just couldn't "sell" them. There's not a doubt in my mind what direction he would have taken this country in had he been elected.

L-girl said...

Sorry, I wasn't clear, was using too much wmtc shorthand there.

I had no problem with Stephane Dion's positions, generally. He was, however, an extremely poor candidate. He had very, very little public appeal. He was seen as extremely weak (hence the overcooked noodle).

Yet even against Dion, and at a time of his own choosing (when the Cons were way up in the polls), Stephen Harper did not get a majority.

Nitangae said...

Sometimes I encounter a scene which really reminds me that that what really bothers the Cons and their core self-styled "Pro Life" supporters is not the deaths of any fetuses but the fear of women having sex without fealing shame and fear. South of border there really should be no conservative Catholic opposed to the conservative health bill that is available, since, among other things, if pregnancy didn't threaten women with bankruptcy or loss of insurance, that might allow women to chose to have a child which they otherwise could not afford to have. And certainly there should never have been a cottage industry of denouncing "welfare moms," if they really think that having children is such a brave and wonderful thing to do.

Harper is beyond ghastly and easily as bad as an American right-winger. Indeed, we had his own words to establish that right at the beginning (remember the "Steven Harper said" ads?), and now have his horrendous actions, only slightly constrained by the opposition (as on unemployment insurance)

I give money to the NDP, demonstrate, and pray - I am feeling a bit demoralized.

L-girl said...

It's easy to feel demoralized. This has gone on for so long here - it's very discouraging.

I take heart, and perhaps you will, too, from the knowledge that a minority of Canadians agree with Harper. A clear majority oppose him.

The system is working against us, allowing the minority to rule the majority. But we can still work from within and outside the system to make Canada reflect the majority will.

We have to!