zerbisias: what's a half million women's lives every year?

As I've written here many times, I've made no attempt to chronicle the onslaught of anti-choice legislation battering US women these days. I've posted a few updates - most recently here and here - but one could blog exclusively about these laws (some only proposed, others already passed) and have no shortage of material.

Antonia Zerbisias has the right-wing Canadian position, which is just as deadly as the US version.
Twice in the past week, women have had to watch men use female bodies as political footballs.

Oh sure, there are also women in both the U.S. Congress and Canada's House of Commons, but let's not kid ourselves: When it comes to deciding how women should live their lives, it's not a level playing field.

Kick in the Church, and the odds are even worse.

Last weekend in the U.S., we saw lawmakers throw women under the health care bus when it was decided that no federal funds could be used for abortion. That could result in a potential administrative nightmare scenario that, some women's groups fear, might scare insurance providers – and they don't scare easily – into not providing abortion coverage at all.

Not even when it's a matter of life and death.

But then, what's a woman's life?

What's a half million women's lives every year?

Every minute of every day, in some African or other poor nation, a woman dies of maternity-related causes.

Even though studies show that access to family planning can save the lives of mothers, and hence their children, the anti-choicers choose to remain ideologically pure.

"A woman cannot die from complications arising during pregnancy and childbirth if she is not pregnant," exclaimed a clearly frustrated Liberal MP (and physician) Carolyn Bennett in Parliament on Tuesday.

That's when the Liberals, in an attempt to get Prime Minister Stephen Harper to include contraception in his G8 maternal health care initiative, stumbled, bumbled and fumbled.

They stumbled with the wording of their motion to get "the full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health options, including contraception" into a policy which "must be based on scientific evidence which proves that education and family planning can prevent as many as one in every three maternal deaths."

Now remember, many Conservative MPs – believers in creationism – aren't too keen on science.

But the kicker was that the motion also stated that "the Canadian government should refrain from advancing the failed right-wing ideologies previously imposed by the George W. Bush administration in the United States ... that required all non-governmental organizations receiving federal funding to refrain from promoting medically sound family planning."

Which, of course, had all the Bush fans on the government benches screaming "anti-Americanism."

The bumbling came with the opposition's lack of preparation for the debate.

The government was well-rehearsed and singing from the same hymn book.

Please click through to read the rest.

It's mind-boggling to me that Canadian parliamentarians would say these policies stem from GWB! The US's assault on women's reproductive rights pre-dates the Resident by about 20 years, and has never let up, not during the Clinton administration and certainly not during Obama's. If they're referring specifically to the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, that is a Reagan legacy. Resident GWB only revived it.

I hope I remember this the next time I hear Canadians complain about how ignorant Americans are about Canada.

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