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"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." Elizabeth Cady Stanton



Monday, 11 June 2012

Tips for Pro-choice Activists

Read Jane Cawthorne and Joyce Arthur's "Tips for Responding to the Abortion Crapavan" here. It is quite a rant against CCBR's newest project, called the New Abortion Caravan

In response, I have some tips for all you pro-choicers out there on how to properly respond when someone protests against your life's passion.

#1. Know thine enemy.

From Cawthorne & Arthur (emphasis my own):
 "[The New Abortion Caravan is] a project of the grossly misnamed Canadian Centre for Bioethical Research - CCBR"

This is just so hysterical because they actually provide a link to the CCBR website, yet they still get it wrong. Perhaps "Canadian Centre for Bioethical Research" seems so grossly misnamed to them because it is a misnomer - CCBR's actual name is "Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform".  Get it right!

#2. If you want to be taken seriously, be serious.

From Cawthorne & Arthur on how to protest (emphasis my own):
"Include fun positive actions, satire, or costumes (dancing genitalia have been used in Calgary)."
"Give out cookies, condoms, balloons, or what have you. Ask a local sexual health centre for freebies."

Yes, because nothings says "I have a message about human rights, and I want you to listen because women's lives are at stake" like dancing genitalia, condoms, and sexual health freebies (is it too presumptuous to assume that women's lives are why Cawthorne and Arthur support abortion? Perhaps, considering their idea of a successful counter-protest centres around sex).

#3. Don't imply that you find images of bloody and dead pre-born children arousing.

From Cawthorne & Arthur  (emphasis my own):
"The so called 'new abortion caravan,' an anti-choice display of fetus pornography ..."

I think it is extremely disturbing when people, who presumably have no problem with imagery of the sexual act, equate violence and death with said imagery.

#4. Be professional and respectful, or people won't respect you.

From Cawthorne & Arthur (emphasis my own):
"... [The New Abortion Caravan is] dubbed the 'Crapavan' by pro-choicers ..."
"... pro-choice activists in Calgary have dubbed the 'Fetus-mobile' ..."
 "ARCC's intent is to protect the safety of pro-choice demonstrators and prepare you for the onslaught of crazy ..."
"The Calgary Pro-Choice Coalition produced a comic book about them, believing such a response was the only logical way to react to their ridiculous and offensive tactics."
Also see the "fetus pornography" comment from above ...

You'll notice that CCBR is professional and respectful in the language they use on their blog and in their press releases. I suggest the ARCC strive to do the same, lest they appear juvenile to the Canadian public.

#5. Don't make obviously false claims.

From Cawthorne & Arthur (emphasis my own):
"The real Abortion Caravan was part of second wave feminist efforts to decriminalize abortion. In 1970, a group of revolutionary women traveled from Vancouver to Ottawa ... to protest the new abortion law that was written to protect doctors, not help women access abortion. The new anti-choice version of this event bears no resemblance to it whatsoever."

Lets compare and contrast, shall we?

The New Abortion Caravan uses graphic imagery and shocking tactics.
The original Abortion Caravan used graphic imagery and shocking tactics.
For example, the original caravan included "a Volkswagen bus complete with a black coffin strapped on the roof". On Mother's Day,  a "convoy of Canadian women, over five hundred strong in support, arrived- coat hangers and a black coffin in tow" Additional aspects of the protest involved Prime Minister "Pierre Trudeau burned in effigy" and "[a] black coffin adorned with coat hangers left at the Prime Minister's front door" (From Wikipedia). Additionally, in an interview with the CBC, Margo Dunn, an original member of the Caravan, admitted that they also used shocking imagery in support of free access to abortion.
The New Abortion Caravan is travelling from Vancouver to Ottawa.
The original Abortion Caravan traveled from Vancouver to Ottawa.
The New Abortion Caravan concerns abortion.
The original Abortion Caravan concerns abortion.
I could go on.
Of course there is one main difference ... the New Abortion Caravan is protesting against the killing of unborn children, while the original caravan protested in favour of the practice. Also, I will be very surprised if the New Abortion Caravan manages to shut down parliament like the original did. But one can hope.

#6. Don't give your opponents free publicity.

From Cawthorne & Arthur (emphasis my own):
"Focus on raising awareness on anti-abortion Motion 312 ..."
"Consider setting up a warning at either end of the demonstration ..."

#8. Stop equating abortion to the Catholic Church. 

"Even Calgary's Bishop Henry has denounced this group's tactics ..."

You know, there are non-Catholics out there who are against abortion, and I'm sure most of them couldn't care less what a Calgary bishop has to say. I'm sure quite a few pro-choicers also don't care about the words of a Catholic bishop. Additionally, it would be good to realize that pro-life advocates turn to more than just the Bible and God in support of their cause, so I also suggest pro-choicers start brushing up on things like science and philosophy.

#7. (Hint: this is the most important one!) Address what your opponent is saying

In response to a protest exposing the realities of abortion and the humanity of its victims, Cawthorne and Arthur seem to only be able to discuss sex and women's bodies. The New Abortion Caravan has nothing to do with "dancing genitalia", "condoms", sex "freebies", or "fetus-porn", and has little to do specifically with what a woman does with her own body. However, it does have everything to do with the bodies of the unborn, and what is done to them. They have been ripped apart, starved, dismembered, disemboweled - in other words, they have been violently killed by Canadian doctors at the request of their mothers. Though I suppose, when the humanity of the child in the womb is so obvious, all a pro-choicer can do is ignore the real problem. 


  1. Great post. Do check out the comic when you get the chance. It rivals Planned Parenthood's infamous superhero cartoon...

  2. good god. educate yourself.