It used to be that American politics would make me feel better about living in Canada. However, since the whole election cycle kicked off in the United States, I have been watching south of the 49th parallel with concern. The separation between church and state has never been so fraught with fault lines and our neighbors have that annoying tendency of many neighbors — they don’t know how to mind their own business. Women’s rights have been on the forefront of US politics for all of 2012.
With Virginia passing state laws, such as medically unnecessary ultrasounds in order to show the fetus to a woman wishing to have an abortion, it seemed to be only a matter of time before something slipped over the border. Then, this happened:
Kelowna could become the first city in British Columbia to fly a “pro-life” flag over city hall.
The flag would fly during the last week of September, which the city has proclaimed “Protect Human Life Week,” as it has done for the past five years.
Marlon Bartram, executive director of the Kelowna Right to Life Society, said the city hall rejected the flag’s original design, which included the words ‘From conception to natural death’ along the bottom of the flag.
“That statement apparently violated their policy that the flag cannot advocate a certain point of view, be it political, religious or ethical,” Bartram said.
The second flag design, which is being considered by city staff, is blue and white, with red stripes and with three silhouettes — a toddler, an adult and an elderly person — and with the word “pro-life” printed in capital letters across the centre.
“I think ‘pro-life’ is a very — I mean, it maybe has some history to it, for sure, there’s nothing particularly political or religious about that statement,” Bartram said.
Oh well, as long as they’ve made sure that the flag doesn’t advocate a certain point of view…wait, what? It’s a pro-life flag. That’s like putting up a burning cross on someone’s front lawn and then justifying it by saying you were just trying to brighten up the neighborhood, it’s not a racist statement it’s just ornamental — like a pink flamingo!
Now, of course, the US can’t be blamed for Kelowna’s pro-life flag. But it’s stillagitating to watch an apathetic world allow the erosion of a woman’s right to choose. This is a battle that women have been fighting for over 40 years. Access to birth control is integral the health and safety of women all over the world.
According to a survey carried out by the Guttmacher’s Institute, banning abortion does not stop abortions. They seem to occur at roughly the same rate in a region, whether they are legal or not. All making abortions illegal does is endanger desperate women. Deciding whether to become a parent is an intensely personal decision, and I don’t believe that women get knocked up and have abortions just for kicks. Politicians need to stop trying to interfere with private medical decisions by further politicizing women’s health.
Combine these incidents with the idiotic remarks made by Republican Todd Akin about how abortion should not be given to women who are victims of rape because, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” and it’s as though the world is trying to make feminazis of us all.