Pro-Choice Politics / Time-specific

Anti-Misogynist Action: Day 120

Though I had intended to attend the demonstrations on both days this week, I once again only had the energy to attend on Friday. I’ve been moving around every few days — packing up what I need for a few days and traversing the city with it — and sleeping on the floors of various homes (only occasionally slipping into deep sleep on a soft surface). I felt very anxious getting myself put together and out to the demonstration site on Friday morning, and in retrospect, I believe whole-heartedly that this is a direct reflection of my destabilized housing. As soon as I got to the site, though, I shared a long hug with one of my fellow demonstrators (who is also one of few people I genuinely trust and know to trust).

Apart from getting jerked around by a woman who seemed to think that the four of us were taking up too much space on the sidewalk (either by standing adjacent to the building on the corner, or right on the edge of the sidewalk), we experienced no troubles at all. Of course, for the past two weeks in a row, a woman has stood with an electric scooter in the middle of the sidewalk, and engaged her favourite pro-life demonstrator in lengthy chit-chat, taking up as much space as one human being possibly could. But it’s the four of us who only occupy as much space as individual human bodies can, who are causing a disruption. Not the dozen people who wear sandwich boards and stand on or walk up and down the middle of the sidewalk, hold pamphlets out, and generally try to take up as much space as possible, without even batting an eyelash at all the wheelchair users whose paths are so efficiently obstructed. Never mind the time one of the sandwich-board wearers blocked an ambulance by walking into a marked crosswalk in front of it. This is the same one who stands in the middle of the sidewalk and doesn’t deter the woman with the electric scooter from taking up space. Yeah. I guess (prepare for obvious sarcasm) we’re the bad guys, huh (ok, it’s over now).

There’s not much more to add to the story this week, except that we found out about a 24-hour picketing campaign (which is a pro-life protest organized entirely by devouts) that will be starting soon, that will persist for a total of 40 days. Unlike the people who I have been picketing (who are known Catholics, and who frequently hold rosaries in their hands), they are explicit in their religious motivations. I will not be using the same tactics with them, that is for certain. Motion 312 (to open the debate about when personhood begins in Canadian law) is also still in the proposal stage, and many people are actively challenging it to see that it gets shouted down unanimously by every voice in the population of this country who do not want to see these laws changed to result in a ban on abortion. When we even consider re-defining personhood at any point prior to birth, we will start seeing women charged with murder and sentences to life in prison, for abortions, miscarriages, and stillbirths. If you’re reading this and that’s not what you want even though you still oppose abortion for any reason at all, the onus is on you to acknowledge that your beliefs are not accurately described as “pro-life”.

Maybe you are politically opposed to abortions, possibly even in cases of conception from rape and incest (even though you wouldn’t change the laws to criminalize and ban them, because you wouldn’t want to see women thrown in prisons and padded cells, or put on trial for murder over it). OK, then. Start calling yourself anti-choice and stop allying yourself with pro-lifers. You may believe the same things, but you want different results.

Maybe you are personally opposed to abortions, but wouldn’t try to shame or dissuade anyone who was pregnant and didn’t want to be, such as by picketing an abortion clinic or trying to shut it down and change personhood laws. Alright, then. Start calling yourself anti-abortion and stop allying yourself with pro-lifers. Your personal opinion may sound like pro-life politics, but you keep it to yourself instead of trying to force the entire country to conform to your private expectations.

Maybe you personally would never have an abortion but wouldn’t stand in anyone else’s way if they felt they needed one. Guess what? You’re not pro-life. You’re actually pro-choice, and you would exercise the right to choose by not accessing an abortion. There are plenty of pro-choicers who are just like you. That’s the beauty of choice.

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