Thursday, November 14, 2013

Exposing the specificity of Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in BC

Today I re-read Faye Sonier's article, reprinted in LifeCanada's Journal, on the BC Crisis Pregnancy Centres defamation case against Joyce Arthur Defamation Suit and the Tactic of Being Vague.

Faye says:
Unfortunately the court found that the report was so unclear in its attributions of wrong-doing that a reasonable person reading the report wouldn’t necessarily think that the Vancouver and Burnaby CPCs were guilty of committing those particular ethical breaches. As the judge ruled, “it is difficult to say that the ‘deceptive’ tactics reflect personally on the plaintiffs. The impugned statements do not have any specificity; the Report describes the tactics in broad generalizations.”
I always thought Arthur was writing about BC's CPCs, for the same reasons Faye does:
And keep in mind, that these allegations are made within a report entitled Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia, where that title appears on the top of each page of the report, wherein the stated goal of the report is to “find out what these centres were doing and saying to women in B.C., and whether they were engaging in deceptive or harmful practices,” and where the appendix lists only B.C. CPCs. I think the average reader would likely assume that the allegations made within the report apply to B.C. CPCs, and likely to the two CPCs which launched the suit against Arthur.
What exactly is not specific about "Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia" appearing as a title on every page of the report?

I decided to take another look at my ATIP to Status of Women regarding the infamous $27,400 funding Joyce Arthur received to write this horrid report.

Here are a few "specific" references to CPCs in BC from that ATIP. And remember. This document is what clinched the funding for Arthur.

From Arthur's proposal:
There are CPC's in almost every city in BC. With the closure of many women's centres, and the brief office hours of most family planning clinics around BC, comprehensive and non-judgmental reproductive services for women (and referrals to such services) are becoming very difficult to access. In some areas, women may only be able to access the local CPC. In fact, CPC's are striving to replace feminist-based agencies. They even obtained government funding from the BC Liberals while funding cuts for Women's Centres were being planned. 
It is critical to research and evaluate the extent and impact of CPCs' reach and influence in BC. Armed with this knowledge, we can take concrete steps to stem the tide, by educating women and the public about the true nature of these centres, lobbying government to stop funding them, using the media to publicize the CPC anti-feminist agenda and tactics, and promoting and establishing feminist-based alternative services for women.
Under the document entitled Goal and Objectives in Arthur's proposal:
The overall goal of this social justice project is to minimize the harmful impact of CPC's through public education. As part of that goal, we hope to be able to accomplish the following objectives:
  • research the current situation in BC -- for example, numbers, locations, sizes, and resources of CPC's and similar agencies
  • research community influence of CPC's — for example, relationship between them and other women's groups, whether legitimate agencies refer to them, alternative services in the community impact on minority groups and youth in particular, etc.
  • research how CPC's shape public policy and discourse on reproductive rights — for example:
    • – analyze how these groups are co-opting feminist language and strategies while using them to foster a right-wing patriarchal agenda that promotes a traditional, narrow role for women as wives and mothers
    • – evaluate how and to what extent their anti-feminist agenda asserts itself into the public consciousness and negatively impacts women's ability to achieve equality
    • – evaluate their relative success at supplanting feminist-based resources in local communities in BC, and look at ways to counter this
  • solicit and collect stories from women who have been harmed or deceived by CPC services
  • research and try to curtail CPC's public funding sources
  • publicity expose the anti-woman and anti-feminist agenda of CPC's using various public education and media initiatives, and by doing so, work to mitigate discriminatory attitudes towards women
  • shift public awareness by alerting and educating the following target audiences (in BC):
    • — women
    • — aboriginal, minority, and youth group— women's groups and other community organizations
    • — health professionals and institutions who might refer to CPC's, including doctors, walk-in clinics, hospitals, counselors, family planning clinics — government
    • — public
Under section 24. JUSTIFICATION
Expected concrete results: 
1. To examine the state and organization of CPC's in B.C., including numbers, size, locations, funding sources, their influence in the community and how they shape public policy discourse on reproductive health issues
2. To examine the ways in which CPCs disseminate deceptive and misleading information to circumscribe women's right to full reproductive agency
3. To produce a report detailing the research findings, which will be used as a tool to inform the public about the anti-woman agenda and practices of CPCs, with a particular focus on educating women's organizations, health professionals and government as well as individual women
4. To implement any changes recommended in the report
5. To persuade CPCs to alter their current practices in order to ensure women have full choice over their reproductive health 
In Arthur's Summary Of Expected Outcomes:
  • Public discourse on the issue of women's reproductive choices is drawn from a broad spectrum of perspectives, including a feminist perspective
  • Diverse women throughout BC have full access to comprehensive arid nonjudgmental reproductive services
And finally, this from Status of Women Canada, in their recommendation for approval of the funding to Arthur, and SWC's brief description of the initiative:
This initiative seeks to ensure access by a diversity of women in British Columbia to comprehensive and non-jugmental reproductive services as well as a representative speck of perspectives on women's reproductive rights. It has two related components, research and public education. The first component will consist of examining the current trend towards the proliferation of crisis pregnancy centres operating in the province and their role in shaping public discourse on women's reproductive rights. The second part of the initiative will be to inform the public, educators, health professionals and governments about the results of this research. This information will help ensure the public has an accurate understanding of the various approaches to supporting towards women's reproductive choice, as part of an overall strategy to provide the public with a comprehensive understanding of women's reproductive rights. A set of indicators will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of both components of this initiative in achieving planned outcomes. 
There's only one question left to ask.

If Arthur's report is not "specifically" referring to Crisis Pregnancy Centres in British Columbia, then why would Status of Women Canada, use funds from the Women's Program, whose mandate "is to achieve the full participation of women in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. Funding is provided to eligible organizations in support of projects at the local, regional and national levels", hand over Canadian tax dollars, to a Canadian person, for a report that is about Crisis Pregnancy Centres not in Canada?

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