Thursday, April 21, 2005

Canadian women rocket past US counterparts

In some great news today for Canadian women, Health Canada just approved non-prescription sales of the morning after pill. Canadian women will soon have over-the-counter access to levonorgestrel, sold in Canada under the brand name Plan B.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the 49th parallel, one of the latest salvos in the ongoing assault against self-determination and reproductive rights for women has been the refusal of bigot pharmacists to dispense birth control prescriptions, while radical republicans work to encode the "right to discriminate" into local legislation (the same way they handled the "right to discrimination" cases against the civil rights movement).

Canadian girls are learning the birds and the bees along with STD prevention, while American girls are increasingly being taught to "keep your knees together so you can catch a good Christian husband."

Back when I was at university reading the lit on reproductive rights, cross-cultural and international studies showed that high access to fertility control corresponded to high status in society for women*.

Fastforward 15 or 20 years:
Which country do you think will have, per capita, the most women executives? The most women in government? The most women with advanced education? The most women in the paid workforce?

Which country do you think will have the most single mothers? The most women living in poverty?

Fastforward 30 or 40 years:
If you live in the US, what are the odds you'll still be able to find yourself a female dentist or GP or gynecologist? A woman lawyer to handle your divorce? A woman psychologist? A woman professor? A woman police officer in the local rape unit?

This is graham crackers and hysterectomies and valium and shock therapy and rest cures all over again, folks.

If reproductive rights "aren't your issue," think again, and pick up this fight for our daughters and granddaughters, for the social welfare net you don't want to pay for out of your retirement tax dollars, for the skilled labor force that is slipping through your fingers.

Reproductive rights are everybody's fight, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

*The glaring exception was, of course, Japan, a topic on which I can give chapter and verse to anyone that's interested, but it is beyond the scope of this particular post.

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