we will not stfu: another look at nancy ruth, reproductive rights and the harper agenda

After my brief post about Senator Nancy Ruth's "advice" to those of us concerned about reproductive rights in Canada, I followed the advice of many progressive bloggers and looked into it further. I understand Ruth is considered a feminist and earned that tag many times throughout her career. At least a few progressives felt the rest of us had jumped the gun and taken Ruth's remarks out of context.

So I read, and read some more. Here are two of the best pieces I found.

Judy Rebick, writing at Rabble, and on her blog Transforming Power: "It's not the first time feminists have been told to "shut the fuck up." If we had listened women would still be in the kitchen". She writes:
Nancy Ruth is a great pro-choice supporter but she is also a Conservative Senator. Her advice to feminist leaders to "shut the fuck up about abortion" so as not to threaten Harper's initiative on maternal health is no doubt her honest opinion about how best to advance women's rights under this profoundly anti-feminist, anti-choice government, but she is very very wrong.

Dr Dawg reminds us that retaliation is Harper's middle name: 11 women's groups have seen their federal funding cut in the last two weeks alone.

Dawg ends his piece this way:
As the old joke ran, somebody once had to explain to creationist Stockwell Day that The Flintstones isn't a documentary. Now--and it's no joke--it's high time to let Harper and his buddy McVety know that The Handmaid's Tale isn't a user manual.

Rebick closes with this:
Some women in this discussion express a fear that abortion could become an election issue. Harper knows as well as I do that the vast majority of Canadians are pro-choice. If abortion is an election issue, he will lose the election. So to that I say, bring it on.

I agree. I agree with every cell in my body, the body that I have fought like hell all my life to control, standing beside thousands and millions of women and men who feel the same way.

The very last thing we need to do about abortion is shut up. It should be obvious that we must do exactly the opposite. We must make noise, make loud noise, make the sustained, loud noise of The People. Speak up and don't stop speaking up. The vast majority of Canadians do not believe the government should be involved in people's reproductive decisions. We must ensure Canada's laws continue to reflect that, and its foreign policy respects it, too. And we won't accomplish that by being quiet.

Women's rights are human rights. Make a very loud noise.

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