DIY and the right to choose

January 29, 2007 at 12:57 am | Posted in body, choice | 3 Comments

All right, its abortion discusssion week here at One Woman Army (judging from the topics of the past week).

As I mentioned previously, in Canada abortion is decriminalized – not legal – decriminalized. I can’t help but wonder what this would mean in the case of Amber Abreu in Lawrence, Massechussetts who is now possibly facing charges of manslaughter for a DIY abortion.

Are women’s rights under attack still – 34 years after Roe vs. Wade? Just look at Amber’s case:

“Prosecutors in Lawrence, Massachusetts could charge this 18-year-old woman, Amber Abreu, with manslaughter because she took an ulcer medication containing Misoprostol, a drug that is legal in the U.S., in an attempt to terminate a pregnancy.    She has already been charged with ”procuring an improper miscarriage” and faces a possible seven years in state prison.  She is being held on $15,000 bail.   Even though abortion is legal in Massachusetts until the 24th week of pregnancy, she could face manslaughter charges depending on the results of the autopsy.   

Scared that she was pregnant, not sure, but believing she had felt movement in her abdomen, she obtained the ulcer medication from a friend.  She took three doses, began to develop stomach cramps and went to the hospital, where she gave birth to a 1-1/4 pound  girl estimated to be at 23-25 weeks gestation who survived for four days.   While in the hospital, the baby’s urine was tested and the drug was discovered.  “Social workers” (snort) alerted police when Abreu checked herself out of the hospital.” – from Women’s Space/The Margins

Wow, talk about a violation of women’s rights. The sneakiness of the “social workers” and physicians to test the baby’s urine to use against this poor girl.

What I want to know is, why is it illegal or criminal to have a diy abortion not in the santions of a legal abortion clinic? For thousands and thousands of years women have been self-administering abortions or treating their sisters with abortions thanks to abortifacients and herbal remedies. This is absolutely nothing new at all, and that it should now be made out to be criminal and “homicidal” is absurd. This is the result of a medicalized society that obeys the laws of non-feminist medicine.

What would this mean in Canada, however, where there are no laws regarding abortion? Would anything even be done? I can’t help but wonder, and I have no answers. What do you think? Discuss in comments.

For those wanting to explore more:

Bitch PhD has a fabulous post that outlines various links on diy abortions and abortifacients, as well as histories of illegal abortions.



Thursday Thirteen #3: Best of Blog for Choice

January 25, 2007 at 3:00 am | Posted in choice, Thursday Thirteen | 21 Comments

Monday was Blog for Choice Day in remembrance of the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

To continue the discussion and spread the love (and choice), here’s a sampling.

1. Empowerment4Women BlogsCarly shares with us all her own experience of abortion (thank-you) while Leisha analyzes and condems the recent comments of Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party in Canada – “Having an abortion, going through the turmoil of deciding to have an abortion, of having to make a choice of how one’s life will be affected, and having to remember that for one’s entire life – is never “frivolous”.”

2. Persephone’s Box – Sage debates the viability of souls – “Although it’s clear to me that an embryo is a living human being because it’s alive and it’s human, that’s not enough to qualify it as having a right to live in a body that is in some way harmed by this life (emotionally, financially, intellectually, physically, or socially).”

3. Curry St. John’s Travels Abroad – takes us on a journey back to growing up as a woman in the 60s and 70s when Roe vs. Wade was being fought for in the first place. And what’s changed now? “Birth control is not to be discussed as an option, but abstinence is promoted as the only safe sex, and yet teenagers are having babies they can’t afford, nor do they want, and my state of Georgia is trying to overturn Roe v. Wade so that abortion might be illegal once again, forcing all women who choose to terminate a pregnancy to find someone to perform the operation for them illegally and potentially dangerously, if not attempting it themselves.”

4. AngryBlackBitch is talking about sex. “Let’s talk about sex…about black women and our reproductive health. About how choice impacts the treatment of endometriosis, fibroids, breast cancer and other conditions black women are at risk for.”

5. Tennessee Guerilla Women gives a great, brief posting about the social implications of the necessity of choice “About the only thing that hasn’t been tried is giving women an equal say in the direction the world takes.”

6. Our Bodies, Ourselves Blog pares it down to the basics – “I think, therefore I am.”

7. Bitch PhD is so fabulous – the social ability of birth, pregnancy, stillbirth, miscarriage, sexual abuse, infertility – and what it really comes down to is “If there’s one thing we should, as feminists, recognize, it’s that human beings are not brains on sticks. We cannot, and do not, have conscious deliberate control of what happens to our bodies.”

8. Postcards from Guyville talks about the politics of forced birth: “But forcing women to give birth against their will is not an answer to anything at all.”

9. Feminist Law Professors are getting active on Blog for Choice Day! So go over there and try a little Emergency Contraception Activism!

10. I’m Not a Feminist, But… goes to the fear of all those anti-choicers out there: “No matter how much anti-choicers may whine on and on about the tiny weeny babies and wave their gory placards around, what really pisses them off is the fact that abortion allows women to have sex without fear, to take control of our own bodies and our own lives and to stick two fingers up to their misogynistic ideologies.”

11. Carrie Callahan brings it all down to humour. Because we feminists have to have our sense of humour! Thanks Carrie! I used to be really pro-life in high school, but what changed for me was in college I had a pregnancy scare. Before my pregnancy scare I thought about abortion in terms of “When does human life begin?” and “When can the government regulate people’s bodies?” And then after the pregnancy scare, the question that kind of framed the debate for me was, “You want me to have a motherfucking baby?””

12. The Second Shift – Kelly Bean gives a nice synopses of a few select news bytes.

13. One Woman Army! Sorry, its late, and because of an excruciatingly slow dial-up connection this post has been over 2 hours in the works as links slowly attempt to load. So I’m adding in my own Blog for Choice post as #13.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Courtenay, Raggedy, Alisonwonderland, Dangerously Simple, Andrea, Nancy, Rose, Ocean Blue Fire, Lisa Kae, tvaddictgurl, Sybil, Rashenbo, Sharala, incog, Kelly Bean!, Buttercup and Bean, … (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Updating resources

January 24, 2007 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Blogroll | Leave a comment

Its a snow day here in Newfoundland today (yay!) which means no work, no school, and a little time to update some of the links.

There is now a “Resources” section in the sidebar – currently most of the links are Canadian organizations but there are a few International ones.

If there are any I’ve missed please email me at

Happy Snow Day!


Pro-woman, pro-equality… pro-choice!

January 22, 2007 at 11:40 pm | Posted in choice | 2 Comments


Today is the 34th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

The U.S. has been fighting for abortion rights hot and heavy this year – 34 years after they became legal.

But in Canada they are not legal.

They are not illegal.

They are just – not.

Legally, women have no abortion rights in Canada. Abortion is decriminalized – very very different, but there are no laws surrounding them. As such, there are still protests, there is lack of services, there is lack of medical coverage in a country where medicine is supposed to be covered. There are provinces with one government-supported abortion clinic, leaving women in remote rural areas to fend for themselves, to cover expensive travel costs – or just to not get one at all.

Most recently abortion rights in Canada came under attack when women’s rights in New Brunswick were rolled back this year.

In Canada, the government is supposed to pay for abortions in both hospitals and abortion clinics. However, many provinces do not pay for abortions in clinics, or pay only part of the costs.

This year in New Brunswick, the medicare system was changed to only pay for abortions if it takes place by a gynecologist in a  recognized hospital and only if 2 doctors deem it medically necessary for the woman.

Women who have no medically necessary reason for an abortion can go to Fredericton, New Brunswick to pay $750 for an abortion – plus travel costs and expenses and lost work wages – if they can get to Fredericton in the first place.

In Prince Edward Island, the government will not pay for abortions at all. Women must travel out of province to the abortion clinic in New Brunswick. If they can.

So why am I pro-choice?

Because it is my body.

Because someday, I might need the option of having an abortion. Of not being a single mother, of having choice in my life to move my life forward.

Several years ago, I learned that my mother had had an abortion as a teenager. As I was born in 1978 when my mother was 21, I cannot imagine the circumstances  that my  mother might have gone through to have to have an abortion as a teenager in rural British Columbia in the 1970s. But I am thankful that she had the option, had the choice – because without that, her life would’ve been entirely different. So would my life, and my brother’s if that existed at all.

Why am I pro-choice?

Because there truly is no other choice when you believe in women’s lives, in women’s equality, in women’s rights to freedom and respect and choice and equality and justice.

Today is the 34th Anniversary of Roe vs Wade and I’m blogging for choice.

The wage gap, student survival & blogging for pleasure

January 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Posted in moi, women's work | 4 Comments

Its no news to any readers here (I hope) both that students are poor and women are still behind in the wage gap.

I, unfortunately, fit into both categories. I have been in university for 10 years now, working in various forms of my undergraduate degree then master’s degree – always working other jobs – to pay for my education. I managed to avoid the trap of student debt up until my master’s degree. But despite getting *minimal* funding (women’s studies is at the bottom of the funding ladder at my university), I still had to go and get my first student loan and now find myself $25,000 in debt four years later.

I have worked some fabulous jobs – some upaid – many of them at wages far beneath their worth for the value of the job opportunity. Campus newspaper editors, graphic design work, student union work, union organization work – all amazing wonderful job experience. Now childcare. And I have watched numerous of my male colleagues and friends be able to later on maneuver these jobs into high paying jobs, or, on the flip side, working the same work as me and getting paid more for it.

All that said, I still find myself on the track of wanting to pay for my education (and my general lifestyle and what not) through things that I enjoy and are of benefit to me personally. No McDonald’s job or Walmart job for this chicky. So, loyal readers, I have no qualms of signing up for PayPerPost – as referred by fellow blogger extraordinaire Gypsy Princess.

Payperpost will allow me to pick and choose to occasionally write about products on this site while being paid for it. The great thing about PayPerPost (I’ve done some pretty extensive research) is that you can write about the product however you choose. GypsyPrincess does a great job of this – writing about something she had actually already planned to write about but then dropping in a few sentences about a relevant product into the post – all the while getting paid for it. I did share her initial concerns about selling out – but as my rationale above explains, I don’t want to have to take a walmart job and would much rather get paid to do something I really love to do.

So be on the look out for the occasional post (I’m going to be very picky, don’t worry about that) and please stick around, support me loyal readers!!!!!


ps – on a separate note, some of you may have noticed the OhMiBod ad on the side. This was a separate initiative of mine after discovering it through another feminist blogger and I am soooo in awe of the technology that has put music and pleasure together. And I am a huge proponent of women’s pleasure and will be purchasing one myself 🙂 So check it out, and let me know what you think!

Thursday Thirteen #3: Why I Love The Vagina Monologues

January 19, 2007 at 11:49 am | Posted in The Vagina Monologues, Thursday Thirteen | 3 Comments


1. The Vagina Monologues is one of the biggest forces in my life. I have spent the last four years being part of it, performing, directing, producing, volunteering, spending time with the actresses, talking with the beneficiaries, meeting people in the university who had no idea what it was previously, talking with audience members who laughed and cried were shocked, but came back the following year for it. And yet, until I began doing my research on The Vagina Monologues and interviewing the actresses – I had NO idea what it meant to people in their lives and what a big influence it was on them. For me – it has changed my life in so many ways for the better.

2. Lets talk about VAGINAS! Enabling women to speak about that which has previously been unspoken. My first year as director, I admit I had a hard time talking about my own vagina or asking other women about theirs. Suddenly all of us were sharing stories about our coochi snorchers with *less* qualms than we previously had. And in doing so, you could see women start to feel empowered and stronger in being able to put a voice to this silent part of their body. To quote Eve “if my vagina could talk, it would be SCREAMING”

3. The opportunity for healing… When women are assigned parts, you never know how they’ll respond. Will they be doing a monologue they can relate to, or not? But so often what I’ve seen happen is that afterwards – a monologue will relate to some experience in a woman’s life she may not even have really thought about and suddenly she is TALKING TALKING TALKING. And thinking. And consequentally healing. Healing is the biggest factor of The Vagina Monologues – how can we get rid of patriarchy and sexism and oppression without healing all the hurt that we’ve all experienced?

4. Laughter. “If your vagina could talk – what would it wear? Red high tops and a mets cap.” There is so much room for laughter. There has to be. Feminists laughing? You bet! And when women who may not have laughed in years about their bodies can do so again – that’s something.

5. Friendship. I have made so many friends thanks to The Vagina Monologues, it had to be on the list.

6. Raising awareness of sexual violence. And that goes not only for the cast members, but for every single audience member that is exposed to the production. When we talk about our beneficiaries – organizations that are working to stop violence against women and girls – its all about raising awareness of what they do, and in the monologues what violence exists in this world for women. Whether its date rape, sexual harassment, acid-burning, female genital mutiliation, or general sexism – the show is all about raising awareness and that is something that does not happen enough.

7. Raising monies to combat violence against women and girls. Because again, this does not happen enough. If it did, maybe we could absolutely be living in a V-World without violence against women.

8. The promise of V-World. Where no violence exists. No war. No need for crisis centres or women’s shelters. No need for programs that help raise money for violence. No domestic violence counselling. No teasing when boys cry. No negativity to the words “cunt” or “whore”. No being afraid of walking down the street at night. No acid-burning. No violence.

9. Global sisterhood. For every production taking place around the world, there is a bond formed not only amongst its own cast and crew but with others around the world. I am fighting with my global sisters to eradice violence against women. Each production may have its own spin and its own unique features because of the varied cultural differences in each place, but we’re all fighting for the same thing.

10. Individual spirit. Like I said, I had NO idea the impact of The Vagina Monologues in people’s life, even after several years of working on it, until I began doing my own research and interviews. There is no way to explain the impact on individual people and performers, and how it affects each person individually in their own personal histories and experiences. But it happens. And its amazing. Its something people don’t talk about it share. But its incredible.

11. Eve Ensler. The vagina goddess. Enough said.

12. Feminist activism in all its entirety. The chance to yell “Cunt!” on stage to a room full of people. The opportunity to dislay our feminisms on a t-shirt five days a week while advertising the show. There is so much unique individual opportunity for feminist activism from production to production in ways that this generation had never seen previously. It empowers women to do it in other ways in their lives, and gives them the skills to continue with feminist activism throughout their lives.

13. Why do I love The Vagina Monologues? Because I cannot imagine my life without it. The camaraderie, the spirit, the laughter, the emotional tears, the singing in my heart when I go to a rehearsal, when I talk with women who are new to the show and have no idea what its about, when I talk to women years later about it, when I meet someone, when I wear a t-shirt or wear red for V-Day, when I imagine V-World. So many reasons I cannot begin to express here. But this is just a taste.

V-Day is happening in your community during the month of February. For more information or to find a production go to the V-Day website.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Bubba, Marcia, Amy … (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here! The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Carnival of Feminists!

January 17, 2007 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Carnivals | Leave a comment

More carnival news to speak of on this chilly day in Newfoundland! The 30th Carnival of Feminists is now up at Girlistic’s blog Feminist Pulse. As always, amazing posts to read from around the web (I know what I’ll be doing tonight!)

And thanks for the mention of One Woman Army in not one but two posts! Re-read the aforementioned posts Fighting for an education? Damn right! and Women’s Work is Real Work and join in on the discussion!


Carnival of Sexual Violence is now up!

January 16, 2007 at 1:46 am | Posted in Carnivals | Leave a comment

On Abyss2Hope

So many wonderful, beautiful, heartbreaking, survivor stories. Proud. Amazing stories.

Check it out.


Fighting for an education? Damn right!

January 13, 2007 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Thesis | 7 Comments

1500.jpg Yesterday I went to a public academic lecture on the experiences of female graduate students in academia which was both exhilarating and described everything that I already knew. Yet, as highlighted in the presentation, the rest of the world – or the patriarchal ivory tower – obviously doesn’t know or recognize the experiences of women because they are not important.

Surprise surprise.

The amazing Sonya Corbin Dwyer from Grenfell University in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland gave an amazing combination of powerpoint and student monologues in her presentation: Trying to Feel at Home in the Ivory Tower: Graduate Women Monologues . What I was so struck by was the chilly climate on university campuses for women that still exists – and that during the discussion afterwards, the majority of the room seemed still focused on the experiences of female faculty as opposed to female students – which is what the presentation was about.

Female faculty on most campuses now, are unionized, and have some measure of rights thanks to that. I fully believe in unionization – and particularly for women, in climates where there may have previously been no rights at all and sexism obviously allowed through hiring practices, grant distribution, etc – unionization gives women at least a measure of ability with which to fight such practices.

For graduate students however, there is no measure with which to fight.

There is no union for the average graduate student – and female graduate students experiences are significantly different than those of men. We have multiple roles and responsibilities. Often we are mature students, who have families, may be having babies, doing the second shift with our domestic labour. We are paid less thanks to the wage gap (still 71% of what men earn according to Statistics Canada 2003) so it takes us longer to get through school, to pay for school and we might have to work more (again lower-paying) jobs in order to pay for our schooling. The female graduate student subsequently takes, on average, longer to get through her education because of these multiple roles – and when she achieves her education on time there is no comment that the work was more for her, there is no extra credit given.

Yet none of this deters women from pursuing an education. Perhaps that’s because (and this is a stat quoted from the presentation but which I cannot find the correct reference at this point in time) – women who go to university earn 50% more than a woman with a high school diploma – compared to men who earn 23% more than men with a high school diploma. Again – this just highlights the wage gap, and the importance and recognition for women to get an education.

The discussion at the end, unfortunately, focused on female faculty. And while some of the stories told were horrendous of women in the 70s and 80s working on campus in a chilly climate, and who are still obviously fighting sexism as female professors – they have at least an avenue to pursue to fight back. They have union protection. They are employed and have the ability to negotiate.

Female grad students have no protection. No union. No negotation. My friend told a story of a female classmate in Anthropology, who applied to grad school at the same time as him. Because she made a comment to the professor about being “anti-feminist”, the professor moved mountains to ensure her graduate school appliation was denied. Did she have protection? No.

Some interesting statistics (Statistics Canada: Women in Canada: A Statistical Report, 2005):

• There has been a dramatic increase in the proportion of the female population with a university degree in the past several decades. In 2001, 15% of women aged 15 and over had a university degree, up from just 3% in 1971. Women, though, are still slightly less likely than men to have a university degree, although the gap is currently much smaller than in the past.
• While almost as many women as men currently are university graduates, female representation among those with a degree declines sharply among those with postgraduate training. In 2001, women made up 52% of all those with a Bachelor’s or first professional degree, whereas they represented just 27% of those with an earned doctorate.
• The overall difference in the proportions of women and men with a university degree is likely to close even further in the future as women currently make up the majority of full-time students in Canadian universities. In the 2001-02 academic year, 57% of all full-time university students were female, up from 37% in 1972-73. Again, though, women’s share of full-time university enrolment declines the higher the level of study.
• Women also currently make up the majority of full-time students in most university departments. However, females continue to account for much smaller shares of full-time enrolment in mathematics and science faculties. In 2001-02, women made up only 30% of all university students in mathematics and physical sciences, and just 24% of those in engineering and applied sciences.

I live in a climate of women’s studies, surrounded by other female graduate students, other female professors, so have some semblance of protection and shelter from the outside patriarchal ivory tower. Yet it still creeps in. We are punished for performing multiple roles. For being activists. For doing other jobs. None of it is important because its not academic – supposedly. We still take longer to complete our studies and because its a program full of women the entire program gets the blame for having a low completion time as opposed to other programs where the same thing is happening with women, yet there may only be 1 or 2 women in the department.

I wish I could highlight the entire presentation – it was amazing, but this is just my point of view. My thoughts. Feel free to discuss. I’d love to hear the experiences of other female students out there. How do you find your education experience?


Thursday Thirteen #2: Feminist Because…?

January 11, 2007 at 1:02 am | Posted in Thursday Thirteen | 10 Comments


Thirteen Reasons Why I Am A Feminist!

1. I am a feminist because, most primarily, of my foremothers that came before me. Because of my mother, my Nana, and my grandmother – probably none of which would’ve called themselves Feminists – but they were. They helped me to develop my sense of feminism before I could put a label on it. My grandmother who birthed 6 children, was shipped around Europe during the second world war, gave birth to my father in Vienna – on a mental table by herself with no doctors around because she wasn’t Austrian, then watched the janitor come mop up her blood. My mother who raised me, worked, suffered depression, and died from it. My Nana who took in foster child after foster child, and taught me about love and respect and caring for other people. They are my foremothers and taught me the importance of being female – and of being oppressed, and of being equal.

2. I am a feminist for my sisters. My sisters who taught me how to be an active young woman and rally for the cause!!!!! Who taught me the meaning of sisterhood and companionship and having one’s back.

3. I am a feminist for my niece and young cousin. Because I watch them get pushed around, and I know how tough their life is going to be growing up female.

4. I am a feminist because I was drugged in a bar. I got lucky, I made it home. If you can call being drugged lucky. I used to consider myself one of the lucky ones for not being a victim of violence. Then I realized that we are all victims of violence in some regard – and no woman should have to consider herself “lucky”.

5. I am a feminist because I want to stop being asked “for the man in charge”. I am “the man in charge”. I am the boss. Just because I’m female doesn’t mean I don’t deserve an equal wage, equal pay, equal benefits and equal respect on the workplace.

6. I am a feminist because I am tired of walking home at night and feeling scared. Or crossing the street to get away from the guy walking down the sidewalk towards me. Of carrying pepper spray in my purse.

7. I am a feminist for all the amazing women in history who have been silenced. For the “herstory” that remains undiscovered. For the herstory that needs to be reclaimed.

8. I am a feminist because I have the right to choose – whatever I want to. I can choose to have an abortion. I can choose to keep my baby. I can choose to give it up for adoption. But it is my right and no one can tell me differently. I am a feminist for legal abortion and the right to legal abortion so that every woman can have the safe and legal right to choice.

9. I am a feminist because women’s work is unpaid, underpaid, and undervalued. Childcare. Education. Nursing. Social Work. Caregiving. Who decides the value of an occupation? A society that benefits the patriarchy. My work is of value and deserves the right to be recognized.

10. I am a feminist for the right to my body. For the beauty of my body, however it may be. Fat, thin, lazy, old, wrinkled, spotted, freckled, hairy, red, puckered, skinny, droopy, curvy. I celebrate my body in all its beauty regardless of the society that tries to tell us how to portray our bodies. To tell us what beauty is.

11. I am a feminist because my health might depend on it. That means women’s health and as such must be treated as only women’s health. Why are people always surprised when women react differently to some prescriptions or medical treatments? Because they were initially developed only on men and women are different. Our physiologies are different and so of course medical procedures should be different.

12. I am a feminist for all the women in the world who are silenced, objectified, violated, murdered. Enough said.

13. I am a Feminist for ME. My right as a person. My right as a woman. My right to be equal.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. racyli

2. Debbie

3. Caylynn

4. Jane

5. Gabrielle

6. Shanna

7. Starrlight

8. Buttercup

9. Nathalie

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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