«

»

Jul 11 2008

Canada anoints dude

stans_feet.jpg
Unrelated bucolic photo of the day: my boyfriend Stanley on horse-shoeing day. He doesn’t grow any heel on his left fore. It’s so problematic!

Great Scott! Canada has handed out a big gold loving cup to a dude abortion rights activist! That’s right. Dr Henry Morgentaler, pioneer abortion provider, gallops home with an Order of Canada, the government’s top civilian award. As the Guardian’s Heather McRobie points out, this is a big deal; imagine the extent to which your mind would be blown if either the US or the UK even dreamed of officially admitting that women’s abortion rights is a human rights issue, much less publicly announced that a dude who provides abortions ought to be regarded as a national hero.

McRobie does not neglect to mention what we’re all thinking, which is that although Morgentaler has no doubt done his bit for the cause, it’s funky that, you know, a dude should win such a big prize for feminist pursuits. But it turns out that this little hitch isn’t problematic for McRobie, who opines that it is “courageous to commend a man for fighting for women’s rights,” because doing so somehow demonstrates that women’s rights are human rights.

You know, because if they gave the big award to a woman, nobody would notice.

I dunno, man. I think it demonstrates that women’s rights are still officially the purview of men. I mean, sure, yay for dudes who provide abortions in the face of antifeminist terrorism, and yay for governments that acknowledge the legitimacy of pro-choiceism, but come on. Bestowing the Order of Canada on a pro-choice man isn’t “courageous,” it’s patronizing, paternalistic, and predictable. The human status of women will always be in question as long as it remains a foregone conclusion that dudes will mete it out, take the bows, or take it away.

Incidentally, if I read any comments containing the words “baby steps” I’m gonna blow a wheel.

56 comments

1 ping

  1. Lisa KS

    I still think it’s cool.

    It made me jealous of Canada.

    He got an honorary degree, too. Like the Schlaf…

    Given the culture that honors a man for pro-choice activism and one that honors a woman for anti-woman activism…call the former “patronizing, paternalistic, and predictable” if you want, but with such a screaming example of that in the latter case I can’t even see the three p’s in the first.

  2. keres

    Male self-intrest = unquestioned (their reason for being)
    Male other-intrest = honorable, laudatory, parade, etc.

    Female self-interest = selfish, shrewish, monstrous, etc.
    Female other-interest = obligatory, and never sufficient

    Or, as Adrienne Rich writes so succinctly in her poem “Natural Resouces”:

    I am tired of faintheartedness,
    of their having to be exceptional

    to do what and ordinary woman
    does in the course of things

  3. thebewilderness

    I would just like to say that baby steps are perfectly appropriate, for babies.
    Adult human receiving an award for promoting human status and civil rights for other adult humans is farce.

  4. thebewilderness

    Sorry about the potential wheel blowing.

  5. slythwolf

    TheB has it. This is not something that ought to merit an award. That it does only demonstrates that caring about women’s right to ownership of our own goddamn uteruses is exceptional.

    For men, obviously. Nobody gives a fuck if women think we should own our uteruses; of course women want all kinds of stupid shit we don’t deserve, and nobody has to listen to us.

  6. Kay

    This was HUGE up here. Something like 92% of Canadians were opposed to Dr. Morgentaler getting this award. Other folks who have also gotten it returned it. My local paper called him Dr. Death and took the opportunity to publish a write-up about how abortions cause cancer.

    I know he’s a dude and there are loads of women who also deserve the Order of Canada for fighting for human rights, but I’ll say thanks to anyone who gets thrown in jail for my sake.

  7. Twisty

    Before this gets out of hand, let me just clear something up: I got no beef with the Morgentaler. I got no beef with promoting what is euphemized as “reproductive freedom.” My beef, as always, is with patriarchy.

  8. mir

    “Never before has a government recognised the work of the pro-choice activists and doctors of the twentieth century in such an official capacity.”

    Patriarchy says: The big deal being the cookie. Dudes get first dibs on the the “never-before”, “ground-breaking work” and the “pioneering” cookies. When women get cookies the big deal is that they’re women.

  9. Deanna

    Kay said:This was HUGE up here. Something like 92% of Canadians were opposed to Dr. Morgentaler getting this award. Other folks who have also gotten it returned it. My local paper called him Dr. Death and took the opportunity to publish a write-up about how abortions cause cancer.

    WTF? Kay, you’re wrong. The polls showed that 2/3 of Canadians support Morgentaler getting the order of Canada. Here’s a quote from CanWest – which I point out is a conservative newspaper chain:

    Two out of three Canadians either support or somewhat support the appointment of Dr. Henry Morgentaler to the prestigious Order of Canada, reveals a new poll, which points out Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in the minority by voicing his “personal dissatisfaction” with the controversial nomination.

    The survey, conducted exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National, showed 65 per cent of Canadians favour awarding the high honour to the Toronto abortion doctor, while 35 per cent are against it.

    Canada.com

  10. woland

    Twisty,there have been a number of people, both women and men, who have received the order of Canada for fighting for women’s rights. For example, law professor Constance Backhouse, who has fought for equality in the justice system, was appointed this year. So was Kim Campbell, our only female prime minister. Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, who among other things took Canada to the UN to challenge aspects of the Indian Act that discriminated against aboriginal women was appointed to the order in 2005. Lesbian author Jane Rule, who wrote Desert of the Heart (of the movie Desert Hearts) among other things and was a defender of the gay newspaper the Body Politic through their many obscenity trials, was a member. As was feminist Doris Anderson. I could go on.

    None of these appointments got as much international attention as the Morgentaler appointment, or aroused as much controversy. Last year, Rev. Brent Hawkes’ appointment for performing the first same-sex marriages and fighting court battles to have them legally recognised caused a bit of a stir, but usually the appointees are non-controversial. I’m glad the committee’s getting braver. The list of appointments gets a lot of attention in Canada every year; I don’t think the reason Morgentaler got so much extra publicity was that he is a man honoured for fighting for women’s rights, but because he was honoured for fighting for abortion rights in particular.

    Feminist and pro-choice organisations have been fighting for this appointment for years. Morgentaler didn’t just face terrorism (including repeated firebombings of his clinics); he went to jail. It was his challenge of Canada’s abortion law that went to the Supreme Court and resulted in that law being overturned in 1988. We still have no criminal law restricting abortions.

    The coverage that you cite, and the idea that it’s especially commendable for a man to fight for women’s rights are patriarchal bullshit. The fact that he received the award at long last, though, is a product of the Canadian feminist movement.

  11. woland

    Sorry to comment again after being so long-winded, but this is what the Order recognises:

    The Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country. The Order of Canada’s motto is DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (They desire a better country).

    I’m pretty pleased Canada recognises that Morgentaler’s contribution to the fight for abortion rights made this a better country.

  12. Leslie - knitting therapist

    Yeah, I had a whole thing prepared – but Woland said it all pretty much.

    I had the opportunity to meet Morgentaler briefly once in the late 1980′s (after the law had been struck down). He was escorting a relative from out of town and happened to come to the wool shop I was working in. I managed, somehow, to thank him for all the personal risks he had taken, and continued to take, to give women access to safe and appropriate terminations. While I do agree that he wrongly has more commerce than if he had been a woman (and you don’t hear much about the amazing work done here in Toronto by Women’s Health in Women’s Hands), the man is a seriously impressive dude. Count myself lucky to have been able to thank him in person.

  13. panic

    Bestowing the Order of Canada on a pro-choice man isn’t “courageous,” it’s patronizing, paternalistic, and predictable.
    I don’t think it was any of those things. I think it was the right thing to do, not because he’s a man, but because he fought for our rights. Given our current conservative government, it actually flies in the face of “predictable.” Are we not going to award the dude because he’s a dude? Without this dude, we’d not have the rights we have up here. The rights that make people in the U.S. way jealous of the ease and cost (ZERO DOLLAHS) of abortions in Canada.

    If this award was given to a woman, for the same work, we’d notice. The anti-choice camp would be crazy protesting either way, and that’s what gets it in the news (as always). We don’t notice ALL the dudes that get the order of Canada; hell I can’t name one other than Morgentaler! I think you’re way, way off base with this one.

  14. peanutbutter

    Aw, I love the picture. I would have loved to see Stanley’s baby steps as a colt!

    *ducks*

  15. panic

    Kay,
    My local paper called him Dr. Death and took the opportunity to publish a write-up about how abortions cause cancer.
    Where the hell do you live?! Good god! Sounds like something my old hometown would put out there.

    And just to add to Deanna’s article, here’s another on the subject from the Montreal Gazette:
    http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=3bb650ff-8253-4b21-b998-af4a397268a1

    And on that note, Twisty, why cite a UK paper about a Canadian event? Why not look into the Canadian coverage? Or have I missed the point again and it’s really the The Guardian’s coverage that you take umbrage to?

  16. Elinor

    Feminist and pro-choice organisations have been fighting for this appointment for years. Morgentaler didn’t just face terrorism (including repeated firebombings of his clinics); he went to jail. It was his challenge of Canada’s abortion law that went to the Supreme Court and resulted in that law being overturned in 1988.

    Exactly.

    The “oo looky it’s a man” coverage is crap, but this appointment is in no way a case of a man being recognized while equally deserving women get passed over.

  17. Deanna

    Woland has it right. I cannot agree more.

    Also, at the risk of being off topic, I want to say that I have a huge crush on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin, who was one of the people on the committee who decided to give Morgantaler the order. It’s almost as big as my crush on Louise Arbour, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She left the High Commissioner post last month and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

  18. Bird

    The point, for me, is that my country recognizes formally that women’s rights are human rights and are worth fighting for, regardless of whether that individual is a man or a woman.

    Many amazing feminists have earned the award–Muriel Stanley Venne, for example, who is a proud Aboriginal women’s rights activist, or Doris Anderson, who was responsible for the inclusion of women’s rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Also, if one looks at the Governor General’s website, Morgentaler wasn’t appointed to the order for feminism. He was appointed for his contributions to health care. This, I think, is an important distinction. It recognizes that a woman’s right to abortion is about her health, not about the fetus. He is lauded for making an important medical procedure accessible to all.

  19. brainiac9

    I agree that the main reason that there’s been so much controversy about this is because of the fact that Morgentaler is really well known, and that he wouldn’t be so well known if he was not a dude. On the other hand, he’s also done (and continues to do) a lot of really good work for abortion rights. I think his work is commendable regardless of gender – even though it would be more awesome if a woman was the most publicly recognized face of the fight for abortion in Canada.

    And, on the other other hand, I have to say that I really don’t see the Order of Canada as being all that meaningful anyways. Considering the list of recipients this year (like Clay Riddell, for instance, who as far as I can tell was basically named for making lots of money and using some of it to create a faculty named after himself at the University of Manitoba), I have some serious difficulties believe that all the recipients have really done a great job making Canada a better place.

  20. Hawise

    Morgentaler is known primarily for his work on abortion rights and his stance on medical care. He has long deserved formal recognition and I am glad that he is getting it. I am even more pleased that the majority of Canadians accept that it is a correct choice, if late in coming.

  21. mikeb302000

    It sounds to me like he’s a great guy. It also sounds to me like, once again, Canada is well ahead of the good old US of A.

  22. lawbitch

    The point is that this doctor’s accomplishments and recognition exist because he is *male* (a be-penised one). This man will never have to rely on the patriarchy to bestow upon him the rights over his own body.

  23. Grateful Indeed

    Morgentaler is that rare exception in the patriarchal world, a human-being who views women as fellow human beings. He fled to Canada to escape the Nazis, and upon arriving, found more Nazis, disguised as fetus-loving ‘moralists’. So he did in Canada what he couldn’t do in Germany. he fought them, and is still fighting them at 85 years old. When asked about what he’s helped accomplish he said:

    “There are people out there who would otherwise have been murdered. That makes me very happy indeed.”

    Yup, he said PEOPLE and MURDERED, and HE WAS REFERRING TO WOMEN. Women who would die horrible deaths because they had no acccess to safe abortions. HE WAS REFERRING TO WOMEN who sufferred domestic violence for their unwanted pregnancies, WOMEN BEATEN TO DEATH by husbands/fathers/boyfriends BECAUSE THEY WERE FORCED TO CONTINUE UNWANTED PREGNANCIES.

    Because of Morgentaler’s work, many Universities across Canada view ‘pro-life’ groups as would-be violators of basic human rights, and ban these anti-human half-wit groups accordingly.

    And maybe The Archbishop of Ontario says that:

    “Henry Morgentaler is responsible for the most grievous destruction of the most vulnerable in our country…[pray] that the scourge of abortion be lifted from our land.”

    But, Ontario’s (Catholic) premier (canadian version of a US Governor) says:

    “I know Dr. Morgentaler is seen as a controversial figure but I believe in a woman’s right to make a very difficult decision and if she makes that difficult decision and chooses to have an abortion I want her to be able to do that in a way that is safe and a way that’s publicly funded.”

    And he’s not crusading, he’s merely re-stating the status quo. A status quo which Morgentaler fought to the Supreme Court to create. And yes he was only doing what ought to have been done, and what should never have needed to be done in the first place, but civilian awards are usually awarded to people remind other people of how they ought to behave.

    Although mostly, I think his appointment was a colossal ‘screw you’ to our right-wing Prime Minister, his ‘pro-life’ boys club cronies, and their beloved bill c-484 ‘unborn victims of violent crime act’ which goes back to the vote this fall. Because clearly, the increase in domestic violence against women during pregnancy is all about the fetus, and not at all about men hating women for infringing on their self-indulgent freedom by heartlessly inflicting them with a pregnancy that they pretended to support, but that they know deep down is an evil feminine trick to enslave their manliness. And who cares anyway, when there are babies that politicians can pretend to care about but have no intention of helping to look after because that’s what women are FOR.

    Honouring Morgentaler and humiliating the right wingnuts is all around good stuff.

  24. wiggles

    Does Canada have no female abortion providers who’ve fought for women’s reproductive rights? It’s difficult to believe that Morgentaler fought and won this battle single-handedly.

  25. panic

    Bird:
    Also, if one looks at the Governor General’s website, Morgentaler wasn’t appointed to the order for feminism. He was appointed for his contributions to health care. This, I think, is an important distinction. It recognizes that a woman’s right to abortion is about her health, not about the fetus. He is lauded for making an important medical procedure accessible to all.
    Really excellent point. Thank you.

  26. monika

    They can give the Order of Canada to a goat for all I care, as long as it pisses off the anti-choicers.

  27. Elinor

    I want to say that I have a huge crush on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin, who was one of the people on the committee who decided to give Morgantaler the order.

    I have such mixed feelings about her. She tends to read the Charter in a very narrow way, and her stance in Gosselin v. Quebec is absolutely horrible. We’ve nicknamed her “Bootstrap Bev” because she seems to have great contempt for the poor and the mentally ill.

    I am very fond of Arbour, though.

  28. Lara

    Hello! People. The reason he has the formal qualifications he does. The reason everyone knows who the hell he is. Is because he’s a dude. From what I gathered from this post, that was the original point. Sure, he did great stuff. But you know what? There are COUNTLESS women who do stuff like this guys does every day and they will not get recognition or credit for it. Ever.
    Don’t sit there and fool yourself that Canada is this damned feminist utopia. I was born in Canada, I can say that. Y’all are not much better than anyone else. Get over yourselves.
    What is it with people getting so freaking defensive for men all the time? Jesus….

  29. Susan

    I missed you, Twisty! I just know your perspective on this story is one I won’t see anywhere else.

    On an off-topic note, I’m going to Austin next week for the first time in my life. I know there are a few Austin locals here– anything I should absolutely not miss?

  30. Crowfoot

    To reiterate what’s been said, awarding Morgentaler the Order of Canada is akin to awarding Roe the American equivalent. My knowledge of the Canadian feminist movement isn’t very good, I’m sad to say, and I’m not really familiar with many individual women who were in the abortion rights campaign. The only ones I know about really is the Women’s Caucus, a group that organized the Abortion Caravan that travelled across the country (with a coffin on top of the van, if I remember correctly) to end up at the House of Commons, where I believe they tried to drag the thing inside. I understand that this event really spearheaded the Canadian abortion rights campaign? This was in 1972 I think.

    It’s funny (except it’s not), I know the names of many American second-wavers, but painfully few Canadian ones. Why is that? I’ve been reading too many American sources? The Canadian Women’s Liberation Movement was quieter? I don’t know. I should know. Bah.

    And, no one here is saying that Canada is some feminist utopia, good lord. But we are finally starting to get some things right here (but with *a lot* left to go).

    Of course, there is also the “what a dude does is more important/impressive/interesting” patriarchal bullshit involved with this. Why do we all know his name and not others? Why did he get so famous? Were there other doctors, women, who did the same as him? So I understand where you’re coming from, Twisty. I think there’s a lot of weight to what you say, certainly. I do suspect that a part of what mitigates the “ooooh award the man!!” factor is that there wasn’t a female equivalent? If someone were to, say, award Robert Jensen for speaking out against the harms of pornography and completely ignore Andrea Dworkin, well that would be a painfully obvious example of overlooking the woman. But I don’t know if there’s a Dworkin to Morgentaler’s Jensen, if you get my meaning. Of course, I realize that this is circular reasoning: maybe I don’t know because women are ignored so much!

    Either way, I’m glad he got the award.

  31. Bushfire

    Kay said: “This was HUGE up here. Something like 92% of Canadians were opposed to Dr. Morgentaler getting this award. Other folks who have also gotten it returned it. My local paper called him Dr. Death and took the opportunity to publish a write-up about how abortions cause cancer. ”

    You’ve got to stop subscribing to that! Babble.ca is an excellent Canadian news source.

    I think that Morgentaler is a hero and should be celebrated. I have no idea who the women heroes are because they are never talked about. For that, I Blame the Patriarchy.

  32. Artsy Reader

    I remember reading once that Morgantaler was challenged as to whether women might “take advantage” of the accessibility of abortion to use the procedure as birth control. (As if.) His reply was to say that if a woman wanted to have numerous abortions, he would gladly perform them. He said no woman should be a mother unless she chose to be one.

    I’ll stand up for that.

    (Also, some god-bag nun returned her Order of Canada in protest — a letter to the editor in the Globe and Mail pointed out that she had the right to CHOOSE whatever action seemed right to her, which was something every human being should enjoy. Ha!)

  33. woland

    Does Canada have no female abortion providers who’ve fought for women’s reproductive rights? It’s difficult to believe that Morgentaler fought and won this battle single-handedly.

    No, he didn’t fight it single-handedly. But there is no comparable pro-choice activist in Canada (lots of feminists, some of whom were already members of the Order.) Morgentaler opened the first abortion clinic in Canada. He went to jail, was placed in solitary confinement, had a heart attack, was released – and turned around and opened a second clinic in another province, hoping to use the new Constitution to challenge the law. There are threeSupreme Court cases named R. v. Morgentaler; the 1988 decision was the one that established a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion (previously, she could only get one if a hospital committee decided her health was at risk. Morgentaler insisted it was the woman’s decision alone.) The Morgentaler cases also played an incredibly important role in shaping Canadian constitutional law (half my first year con law exam relied on principles from these cases.) Morgentaler is still -at 85 years old -fighting to open clinics in the North and in the provinces that don’t have them. He’s immersed himself in this cause tirelessly for over 40 years. He’s also said to be quite sick, and this is an award only given to the living.

    Look, I get that there are women staff, and doctors, and nurses, and volunteers, and escorts who have also dedicated their lives to this. And there are women all over the world who are making sure raped Polish 14-year-olds can end their pregnancies and women can get past protesters, or out of their countries, or get access to RU-286. And it’s an incredible drag that this seems to be the first time a country has given a pro-choice activist such a major honour, and that most people fighting for this cause, like most other causes, won’t get any awards. But I would consider Morgentaler to be the anti-patriarchy equivalent of a Righteous Gentile. He risked his life and gave up his freedom and his health using the skills he had to fight for human rights. Maybe more people should have gone to jail and be willing to be attacked with gardening shears and firebombs. But Morgentaler did it, and Canada recognised it. I’m a pretty cynical blamer, but that was a good day.

  34. woland

    Argh-again with the adding things. Just wanted to make a small clarification to Grateful Indeed’s excellent post. Morgentaler didn’t just flee the Nazis. He is an Auschwitz survivor who has spent his life trying to gain meaning from his survival of the Holocaust.

  35. keres

    I think many of you are missing the “finer” argument. People who can get pregnant should have utter control over that potentiality. Period. It shouldn’t require arguments (by either men or women) relating to “health” or “privacy” or any other rights that are seen as real-honest-to-god rights because they belong to men (and thus can be argued that they should be extended to women as well). Men don’t get pregnant. Such “and women” arguments, especially when forwarded by men, only serve to obfuscate how patriarchy dare not acknowledge that women have a ability/power that men lack – and accordingly, women should be in charge of it. Period.

    On a practical level, Dr Henry Morgentaler is surely a good guy and clearly forwarding the cause of abortion access. But access to abortion that is predicated by arguments and people so ensconced within the dominant paradigm, though it clearly helps some women, it hardly foments radical feminist revolution.

    Feminism is any act engaged by anyone that repositions her-, his-, or them-self in opposition to the dominant hierarchies, without, and this is the crucial bit, drawing upon the entitlement(s) afforded to oneself along another axis. In other words, it is not feminist to reject ones exploitation as a woman if one does so from a sense that one is ENTITLED to better treatment, better pay, and less-crap-in-general, because of one is white, or middle- or upper-class, or educated, or physically able, or just plain “smarter” and/or “harder working” than the next gal/guy, etc. Feminism is about rejection these divisions WITHOUT rejecting their present and historical significance or pretending that we are all on a level playing field.

    Feminism recognizes that power resides in people and institutions, not ideas, and that you cannot change the existing power structure by simply putting the “right words” in the mouths of those who are already entitled by the system to have a voice. Feminism is getting people to treat as legitimate the words and acts of the de-legitimized. Or to put it another way, “the medium is the message,” and much more is gained by engendering a respect for the voices of the disenfranchised than by others forwarding their/our concerns through more “legitimized” channels. This means that when any of us find ourselves in a position where we may be more respected and/or heard than people whose concerns we share, we should use our (largely unearned) “leverage” to force people like ourselves really see and hear those who they would normally dismiss.

    Therefore men, no matter how sympathetic, should refrain from speaking FOR women, and whites should refrain from speaking FOR non-whites. What men and non-whites can do is speak for themselves as an ANTI-sexist and/or an ANTI-racist, which is when men or whites challenge other men or whites for racism or sexism – especially since such acts are usually emboldened by the perpetrators’ belief that an all-male or an all-white group is a “safe” place to express such bigotry. The difference being that such rebukes are seen as coming from oneself, and are not viewed as some sort of “nobles oblige” on behalf of some other “lesser” folk.

  36. Lisa

    Not wanting to change the subject here, but to comment on Stanley’s feet. He has contracted heels and he doesn’t have a problem growing heels on his left foot, but has too much on his right. Have a peek at Pete Ramey’s homepage http://www.hoofrehab.com/ to see what healthy hooves look like. Stanley could have great feet if he were barefoot.
    Not wanting to be a know-it-all, just a thought from one of your Austrian readers (with horses barefoot since 2006) :-)

  37. Femsei

    mikeb302000
    Jul 12th, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    “It sounds to me like he’s a great guy. It also sounds to me like, once again, Canada is well ahead of the good old US of A.”

    mmmmm, yes and no, mike. At the moment, there are four bills before the commons, one of which has passed second reading (C-484) which attempts to promote the killing of an “un-born” child in the event of a crime against the mother. It’s all in the language and all four bills are being pushed through in an attempt to recriminalize abortion and reopen the constitution on recognizing the fetus as person that precedes wimmin as persons. It can be found below:

    http://tinyurl.com/6z2y43

    I have more to say on this topic, but I will leave that for a bit later.

  38. Crowfoot

    Clearly woland and Grateful Indeed know more about the Canadian abortion rights movement than me- I don’t know how I missed Grateful Indeed’s post. Very informative posts from both, thank you. And Femsei, yeah and ew about C-484. Very worrying.

    At the risk of contributing to thread drift, I also really wanted to thank Lisa for posting that link to Ramey’s work! Good stuff. My old arab always had sensitive feet, and now I wonder if it was largely due to that constant trimming of his frogs. He was almost always barefoot in the back tho, but largely because he had been abused and it was just too dangerous to be back there with his hind feet too much if you weren’t me! Poor fella. He did eventually get better. I’m actually all excited about it, heh. I’m going to go horse-geek out over there now.

  39. keres

    On the subject of hooves, I’d suggest looking into Easy Boots. Like most draft breeds, my Weegies had very shallow hooves, which put their frogs very near the ground. Rocky ground was especially a problem because at the time I lived in an area formed by volcanic activity, which was liberally strewn with sharp edged basalt.

    There are certainly good reasons to shoe a horse, but I think that most of the benefits of shoes can be achieved with boots which have the advantage of letting hooves naturally expand and contract (which promotes the blood flow that helps them grow).

  40. Dawn Coyote

    Another Canadian abortion provider: http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=283931&p=1

  41. also a Canadian

    if the criticism is that it was a dude that got a mess of unconstitutionality thrown out to secure a woman’s right to choose *because* the patriarchy wouldn’t have allowed a woman to do so – i.e. it would have been a woman who did it if we all had a level playing field – i totally get that criticism. (Why Have There Been No Great Women Abortion Providers – with apologies to Nochlin). after all, Florence Bird was only made a *Companion* of the order in 1971 for all her hard work. IBTP.

    that said, in the absence of a level playing field, if it had to be a dude to do it, ROCK ON that he did it. as far as dudes go, he’s an awesome ally. given the private member bill nonsense creeping through our legislature (by dudes AND dudettes who seriously need some blaming), it’s also a clear signal to the Conserva-whackos that they are still the minority, and need to STFU about reopening the “debate” that isn’t, and freeping polls to try to “prove” something.

  42. Kay

    Deanna: The 92% comes from the editorial the Calgary Herald published July 3, which is apparently quoting the Globe and Mail.

    Panic, my hometown is Calgary, which is also the hometown of our crazy-ass conservative prime minister. Today we concluded the annual Calgary Stampede which is apparently a celebration of “western values” such as “acceptance and hospitality” so please visit the Indian Village tucked away in the back corner while we go make money and kill animals for entertainment.For obvious reasons I only come back here when school’s not in session.

    Femsei, I’ve heard of C-484, but what are the other anti-choice bills? It worries me that I don’t know. (But oh wait, I get the Herald, so not surprised).

  43. Twisty

    Keres, and everyone else who has hoof advice, I know, I know! There are so many schools of thought on equine feet I’m about to blow a wheel. I’m down with the EZBoot on rocky terrain, but their rubber soles cling to hard surfaces like concrete and can blow out a ligament should the horse pivot too quickly. I’d love Stan to go barefoot, but I’m scared, dammit, SCARED!

  44. woland

    Companion is the highest level of the Order.

  45. Deanna

    Hey all,

    A little late, but I just found this out.

    Morgentaler is making this splash (in the media) because he is famous.

    Turns out that Elizabeth Bagshaw already received the Order of Canada. She was one of the early female doctors in Canada. She was the head of Canada’s first (and illegal) birth control clinic and performed abortions. She received the Order of Canada in 1972.

    In other words, it’s not that women aren’t being recognized, it’s that Morgantaler is a household name, and Bagshaw isn’t. THAT is the sign of the patriarchy, not the fact that Morgentaler did the right thing and was recognized for it.

  46. hysperia

    Henry wouldn’t have been successful in changing Canada’s abortion laws without the support of thousands and thousands of women who staffed his clinics, rallied the women for demonstrations, housed some of the women who would be making use of the clinics and on and on forever, as Henry and the Morgentaler clinics are at pains to acknowledge. Henry also did things he didn’t have to do. He opened clinics and ran them when he knew he would be arrested. He was arrested. He was convicted. A man who had been imprisoned in Auschwich went to jail in Canada. He risked it over and over again. With the help and support of many women, and men, he won a victory in the Supreme Court that struck down Canada’s Criminal Code provision criminalizing abortion. He continued his clinic work. He focussed on the problem of access to abortion. He opened a clinic in New Brunswick where, previously, women had to travel to Montreal to get an abortion.

    I don’t know exactly why it was Henry who did this work. Perhaps he was better positioned than a woman might have been, because of the effects of patriarchy. But Henry was hardly some typical, privileged patriarch. He was the survivor of a profound anti-semitism that killed most of his family and nearly killed him in Germany. He could have lived quietly in Canada and never seen a jail cell again. Instead, he exposed himself to what he knew would be, and WAS, whole new anti-semitic campaigns against him. Contradictorily, the fetishists like nothing better than to portray Henry as BOTH a baby killing nazi and a slimy, hook nosed Jew.

    Henry Morgentaler comes as close as any man to being a hero for me. But the Order of Canada doesn’t make him a hero. It acknowledges the life work of a dying man who has had very little acknowledgment and has never asked for it. Even now, as he dies, the Order of CAnada has done more to raise concerns about his personal security than almost anything else. It’s not like Henry will be going to Rideau Hall to accept his Order in public. I don’t think so, for a number of reasons.

    Patriarchy sucks. But I’m not so beaten by it that I can’t give respect to a man who fought it alongside me. If not for the fetus fetishist, no one would even have noticed this award to Henry. I bet very few people can tell you the names of the others given the award at the same time as Henry, which includes a pioneering feminist legal-historical political activist scholar. Anyone? And you’re not allowed to go look it up.

  47. hysperia

    Henry Morgentaler became a “Member” of the Order of Canada, two steps down from Florence Bird’s much deserved Companion of the Order of Canada.

  48. Dawn Coyote

    Thanks, hysperia, particularly for the part about surviving Auschwitz and then voluntarily going to jail in Canada. It demonstrates a very poignant (and potent) commitment to human rights.

  49. Lisa

    (Back to the hoof-saga)
    Take the plunge, Twisty. It pays off. Big time. Stanley will be a happier and healthier horse for it. Just ask me (been there, done that). Look at our hp (there’s an english version http://www.reitstall-villach.at). Our whole barn went barefoot together. What an unbelieveable experience. We have lots of healthy, happy hooves – and most run around in easyboot epics (grips). They work great and don’t stick to asphalt – no problems, just healthy little non-contracted hooves.

  50. Satsuma

    Re blowing a wheel over the term “baby steps” A-women! I’ve long hated this idea that you can’t just jump whole hog into radical feminism, no baby steps necessary.

    The gradual approach is an invention of patriarchy.

    Couldn’t resist this comparison to the Canada Doctor who got the award. Yes, we bow and ooo and ahh when men do anything at all that is not typically woman hating or patriarchal. Think all the slobbering over Gandhi and Martin Luther King WOW men who are non-violent!! Oooo ahhh isn’t that amazing!!! Same system, same set-up.

    Don’t know why feminists are so ooo ahh over G and MLK — check their attitudes toward women closer to home! Leader in public, get the British out of India, how about get the men out of India!! Bah blame humbug!!

  51. panic

    Kay,
    My hometown is also Calgary, though I’m happily ensconced in Toronto now. So, I’m not surprised that bullshit came from there. The place just gets worse and worse, IMHO.

  52. Femsei

    Kay
    Jul 14th, 2008 at 2:27 am

    “Femsei, I’ve heard of C-484, but what are the other anti-choice bills? It worries me that I don’t know. (But oh wait, I get the Herald, so not surprised).”

    Hey…ya, this is as much information I have received through a government listserve and I have posted a site that you can view on this–they give a brief idea of what is involved. You can go to the government of canada website and search for “new bills”…there will be a long list of bills and you can look for the number listed, however, the content on these bills are limited and I think the Cons are censoring their full context. Why? Because last I checked on
    C-484 the bill was there in its entirety and now it is not. They are trying to limit all public information through proactive censorship–they already disconnected a major government research portal that journalists, academcis, and the public can use to access information that purportedly is already heavily blacked out or censored.

    In no uncertain terms THEY ARE FUCKERS!

    On another note you can access most of the information you need by going to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada here:

    http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/home.html

  53. Dawn Coyote

    Satsuma, you’re wrong. Ghandi and MLK were oppressed men seeking liberation for their own people.

    A better comparison for Morgentaler would be something like Nelson Mandela going to the Middle East and spending his life working for women’s rights there, under threat of imprisonment and assassination.

    Not to diminish the contributions to global social justice made by Ghandi or MLK, but Morgentaler worked on the front lines for basic human rights for women, specifically, which is different from what MLK and Ghandi did.

  54. Femsei

    On the topic of your boyfriend (Stanley), Twisty, I am not familiar on horse etiquette (shoeing, etc) other than learning about saddling, grooming, and feeding, but I have done some riding in my time and, you know, there is just nothing like riding into the backcountry on horseback. I have done a few rides in the rockies and in Manitoba–mostly from my high school years (way back) and I miss it, and I think I may need to do that again…I just may have to.

    This is a blurb, nothing more…

  55. Greenconsciousness

    They are heroes, Twisty.

    Here in the US they are killed regularly. Shot through their kitchen windows and blown up in their clinics, dragged through the criminal courts whenever a repub DA gets a chance. Most doctors won’t do it. I honor them, bless them. The men and women who perform abortions are heroes in this culture. We should give them all the awards we have. I am a woman who had an illegal abortion in the 1960s. I saw all kinds of horror as other women I knew tried to do it and make it out alive and intact.

  56. Satsuma

    Thanks Dawn Coyote for the Morganthaler and Mandela updates. Got to hit the books again about those two!

    Another book another day :-)

  1. Canada » Toxic Chemicals in Products: Federal Action Needed

    [...] Comment on Canada anoints dude by CrowfootTo reiterate what’s been said, awarding Morgentaler the Order of Canada is akin to awarding Roe the American equivalent. My knowledge of the Canadian feminist movement isn’t very good, I’m sad to say, and I’m not really familiar with … [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>