In a story that is slowly starting to grow legs across the blogosphere, Ottawa's First Place Pregnancy Centre is suing Planned Parenthood Ottawa for comments issued in a press release that eventually resulted in First Place withdrawing from the Ottawa's Senators' Better Halves (hockey wives and girlfriends) annual tree raffle.
Along with Kids Help Phone and Harmony House -- an Ottawa-area women's shelter -- First Place was to split up to $150,000 in support of its services. That's no small chunk of change for an organization that receives no government funding.
Yet, when one examines the entire controversy, one uncovers a not-so-subtle layer of controversy under Canada's feminist establishment, wherein they enforce a deeply-ingrained need to attempt to set the public agenda and allow no deviation whatsoever -- even from public organizations.
A significant portion of the tale revolves around author, journalist and activist Heather Mallick's direct intervention in the matter with Sens Foundation Dave Ready.
Before we can get to that, however, it's actually quite interesting to examine the verbal beating that Mallick heaps upon the Sens Better Halves and, in the process, any and all women who choose to date or marry hockey players:
"I hate picking on women. We're born at a disadvantage and in our wild flailing to stay afloat, we make such easy targets. But really, do the wives and girlfriends of the Ottawa Senators have to dress up in matching pink team sweaters and call their ad hoc union "The Better Halves?"
It's bad enough that these women have hooked up with bruised artist-athletes with careers of inevitably brief span, sold by hockey corporations as if they were cans of Spam, shipped around the continent without notice, thus dooming their wives' careers from the start. But must The Better Halves bully young pregnant women during their own brush with greatness? I'd like to ask the nice ladies about this, but these shy creatures are as hard to track down as the tiny, near-extinct, muntjac deer."
It isn't terribly relevant to the topic at hand, and it's because it isn't all that relevant to the topic that the attack on the poor ladies -- who were only trying to support some local charities -- wasn't all that relevant in the first place.
That aside, Mallick took such a personal interest in the matter in which she called up Ready and allegedly took him on a tour of the First Place website, through several links which don't seem to exist on the site. Birth Pangs' blogger Fern Hill insists that the links were later removed from the site (something which actually is in the realm of possibility, but hard to accept without proof that they existed in the first place).
This, like Mallick's attack on the Sens Wives, is actually largely immaterial. What is really of interest here is Mallick's attitudes toward the entire episode:
"The problem is worse than just some hockey fans inadvertently donating to a cause they may oppose — that is a personal issue between a fan and her team (in my case, the Canadiens). What irks is that our tax dollars are involved.
The raffle money is channelled through the Sens Foundation, the team's registered charity arm, which is matching every dollar raised by The Better Halves.
Not only does the foundation, which normally does good — make that wonderful — things appear to be breaking Revenue Canada's rules for charities, it is breaking its own rules.
Both the taxman and the foundation agree that donations can only support registered charities. They can't support "political or lobby" or "advocacy or special interest groups." And they shouldn't."
As it turns out, Mallick is actually wrong about two things.
First off, First Place Pregnancy Centre is a registered charity, as the CBC story later notes.
But Mallick herself seems to be overlooking the fact that, for decades in this country, Status of Women Canada has provided funding to various pro-abortion groups. There is clearly absolutely no question that money came from the pockets of Canadian taxpayers, including taxpayers would probably would not have supported such groups.
Yet Mallick, in an article appearing in Chatelaine magazine, makes it perfectly apparent that she believes that taxpayers should be obligated to support the causes she thinks they should, regardless of whether or not they actually agree with it, when she accuses the Harper government of misogyny over the changes made to Status of Women Canada:
"Stephen Harper has crushed Status of Women. The federal agency no longer fights for "equality," that dirty word having been removed from its mandate. No, this now-puny agency exists "to facilitate women's participation in Canadian society by addressing their economic, social and cultural situation through Canadian organizations."
I don't know what that means – that we can now purchase tampons tax-free at the local Legion Hall? Or get our driveways shovelled gratis? – but it does signal that the Conservatives don't like women, especially the ones who speak up."
Of course, not all Canadians agreed with the means under which the Status of Women operates. Particularly troublesome was the program portion effectively culled from the Status of Women -- advocacy, which comes with a double-shot of zero accountability (no accountability in terms of how money granted for "advocacy" is actually spent, and no accountability for results).
Yet when the government moves to shift funding away from wasteful non-services like "advocacy" toward actual services, Mallick joins the chorus of objections.
Here's where the rampant hypocrisy comes in. When the federal government dumps millions of dollars into programs that often pursue causes that many Canadians wouldn't agree with and fund pet projects by special interest groups, Mallick's OK with it.
But when the Sens Better Halves choose an organization that provides actual services to women, Mallick is opposed to that. Mostly because she's opposed to the service itself:
"They exist solely to prevent abortion," Mallick writes. "Terri Mazik, executive director of First Place, sent out a press release attacking 'our colleagues at Planned Parenthood' for their press release. She says First Place makes its position clear by saying it doesn't do "abortion referrals," ignoring the fact that no one does. Referrals aren't necessary; all anyone needs is to be guided to a phone book."
Which is actually an interesting way for Mallick to ignore the fact that First Place Pregnancy centre is actually very up-front about its stance toward an abortion.
Mallick insists that "Planned Parenthood told me it frequently talks to women who went to these apparently welcoming places for counselling on the three options — abortion, adoption and parenting." (Again, the fact that the centre does not refer women for abortion, and is upfront about it should make this rather curious.) "The group says women report feeling badly treated," she adds. And certainly some of them probably would feel "badly treated" if they went to First Place seeking an abortion referral and didn't receive one.
In fact, when one examines some of the services First Place offers, one notices that they offer post-abortion recovery services for women "experiencing emotional effects after an abortion".
Many pro-abortion activists have made it quite clear what the pro-abortion lobby thinks of the very idea that some women experience depression after an abortion. They deny it, despite the various reports of depression by women who have had abortions and research that has determined that women become more vulnerable to depression following an abortion -- a risk that is much higher for women closer to their due date.
In even suggesting that abortion comes with any sort of risks at all, First Place is waaaay off the reservation in the eyes of Mallick and those who think like her.
As their method of squeezing such organizations out of existence, Mallick and likeminded activists have targeted their sources of funding -- in this case, donations from private organizations.
Yet when their own lobby groups and special interest groups are denied funding, they denounce it as a terrible injustice.
At the end of the day, the matter becomes really simple. If, as Mallick insisted, tax dollars -- whether they be provided directly or through tax deductible donations -- should be kept out of the hands of political lobbies and special interest groups, then this should certainly apply to all political lobbies and special interest groups. It should also apply to the groups that were previously funded through Status of Women, and have recently been cut off from such funds.
Of course, many of these individuals will never simply come out and admit that actions such as those of Planned Parenthood and attitudes such as Heather Mallick's are born out of an ill-conceived notion that they are entitled to a monopoly on the public agenda.
Instead, they want to accuse First Place of spreading libel chill, or want to insist that Planned Parenthood's actions are about forcing a private foundation to be apolitical.
But the fact is that they've become rather smart ideologues. They know that, when you despise the ideas that an organization stands for, the best way to erase it is to deny them funding. Whether for good or ill, that is precisely what they've accomplished in the case of First Place.
Unfortunately, this means that it will be increasingly difficult for First Place to provide services -- real services, much unlike the advocacy whose loss these individuals lament at length -- for women experiencing crisis pregnancies who may not want to choose an abortion.
As is so often the case it's these women -- who are real people, experiencing a crisis pregnancy as a real problem -- that are going to suffer for the ideological wranglings of those who insist they act on their behalf.
To top it off, Mallick and her compatriots have the gall to insist that organizations that provide these services should be denied funding if they operate according to principles considered anathema by the pro-abortion lobby. All while they insist they should be entitled to plethoras of federal funding in order to provide services of no real substance at all.
The hypocrisy is absolutely astounding.