Contraception as a Human Right: According to the United Nations, there were 80 million unwanted pregnancies in poorer nations this year. The UN Population Fund's annual report called family planning and access to contraception, a universal human right that must be respected.
Yesterday we heard from both sides of the debate with NDP MP Niki Ashton, and Gwen Landolt, vice president of REAL Women of Canada.
That debate continued online.
Alex Tetreault tweeted this:
Gwen Landolt is right. And most people who have been in the field - and it would appear Nicky Ashton has not - would tend to agree with this. They're not generally calling for contraceptives. Often there is good access, but they don't use it.
Chris McIntosh of Richmond Hill, Ontario added:
It almost sickens me to hear Nicky Ashton stumble for the pat euphemisms of the pro-choice lobby. She laments Canada is moving away from financing "contraceptive rights". Good for Canada!
Danny Glenwright worked as a journalist for three years in several countries in Africa, and he writes from Toronto:
From my experience, I can tell you that the need for birth control is real and important. From the DRC, which has one of the world's highest incidences of rape, to Malawi, with the world's highest maternal mortality. Women throughout Africa are calling for these rights, including the right to access abortion.
And here's one more comment from Facebook, where David Stocks posted this:
The rep from REAL Women is speaking with the largely male leaders of some third world countries. I am involved with women's issues in Malawi. They all want birth control. The REAL women rep should go out into the countryside and ignore the UN reps.
Women in Combat: There are 230-thousand jobs in the American armed forces for which women need not apply. This is because women are excluded from ground combat roles in the US military. That exclusion is being challenged in a lawsuit on behalf of American service women. We aired this story on Monday.
This comment comes from a listener who asked to remain anonymous. She is a woman working in a male dominated field, and writes from Montreal:
I play on a mixed sports team and there is a big difference between men and women regarding strength. Women simply cannot develop muscular strength as men do. It makes sense that we should keep women and men out of harm's way by excluding women from ground combat roles.
Here's another view from Selam Yohannes of Toronto who writes:
In the Eritrean civil war, about a third of resistance fighters were women. They fought alongside men with absolutely no issues. Despite what that representative stated, rarely did combat come down to physical strength. Ground combat is not arm wrestling - all one needs to be able to do is fire a gun.
And here's one more comment from James Bain. He spent thirteen months in Kabul as a civilian contractor and writes from Ottawa:
While fraternization between the troops is forbidden while in theatre, there are some breaches of this. But they are a lot fewer than you might imagine.
But fraternization is not specifically between male and female personnel. There are situations of male and male fraternization. Being homosexual is not forbidden in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Reporting on Suicide in the Media: Last week we looked at how the media covered the death of Amanda Todd. We spoke to Jitender Sareen -- a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and who co-authored a report on Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide.
And her comment that teenage suicides in Canada are investigated prompted Michael Simon of Grande Prairie, Alberta to write:
I got pretty riled when I heard Professor Sareen assert that "all teenage suicides in Canada are investigated". He is absolutely wrong.
I have worked as a school counselor for years now; most of my career has been in Canada's northern, isolated and predominantly native communities.
From the spring of 2007 to early spring of 2009, there were twelve suicides by youth in La Loche, Saskatchewan -- they were between the ages of 15 and 22.
Even when under-age drinking was a known factor in a suicide by a 15 year girl, there was no investigation, no real community dialogue and therefore little if anything learned.
We wanted to hear more from Michael Simon so we reached him in North Alberta.
NS Home for Colored Children: An update just hitting the news today ...
Last month we brought you the story of a group of adults who had spent part of their childhood in what was then - and still is - called The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children - which first opened as an orphanage for Black children back in the 20s .. and later became a shelter.
We spoke to three people who alleged physical and sexual abuse at the hands of staff .. their stories stretching back to the 50s and into the 70s and 80s.
This morning, the RCMP announced that their investigation into allegations involving 40 complainants is complete. The RCMP says no charges will be laid that the evidence brought forward does not support charges that its investigation warranted only limited consultation with the Nova Scotia public prosecution Service due to what it calls a lack of reasonable and probable grounds to lay charges.
Healthcare in Private Clinics: Across the country, the number of private, for-profit health clinics is growing. In Ontario, the first audit of private clinics has been released but information released about the results is limited. Tuesday, we heard the debate about how best to inspect private clinics.
Dorothy Higgins of Mississauga, Ontario sent us this:
A good inspection involves saving people's lives ... and if blame is appropriate, not only should the inspection be used as information but also as documentation to establish criminal negligence. Saving face for private clinics is an abomination.
And here's one more comment from Ariel Nesbitt of Vancouver who writes:
Wendy Nicklin's point that all patients should ask about accreditation when they enter health facilities is ridiculous. Patients entering health facilities are often in a vulnerable state. The onus should not be on the patient to ensure quality of care.
Doomsday: We started this segment with a clip from Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard poking fun at the belief that the end of the world is nigh. Some seem to believe that the Mayan calendar predicts the world will come to an end on December 21st... just 7 short days from today.
A man in China has reportedly spent more than 150 thousand dollars to build an ark in preparation. And in southern France, officials are blocking access to a mountain in the Pyrenees that doomsday believers say will be the only thing standing after the world's end.
Since we also brought you the story of Harold Camping's prediction -- or should we say predictions -- the first prediction was for May 21, 2011 and when that day came and went without too much excitement, he recalculated and predicted it would all end on October 21, 2011 .. well ... we're still here ... but that hasn't stopped people from rescheduling the apocalypse. So we couldn't let this latest prediction pass without a reality check of sorts.
Kathryn Reese-Taylor is just the person to help us out. She's an Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Calgary. She's been working in the Maya region since 1985 and she was in our studio in Calgary this morning.
Well if we're all still here next week we'd love hearing what you have to say about anything you hear on the program. Call us toll free at 1 877 287 7366. You can find us on Facebook - facebook.com/cbcthecurrent. Or tweet us @thecurrentcbc.
This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien and Carole Ito.
Artist: Steve Dawson
CD: Bug Parade
Cut: # 7, ZigZag City
Label: Black Hen
Spine: BHCD 10272
Last Word - Hanukkah Song
Well, no matter what you believe, this is the time of year many people make holiday plans. For today's Last Word, here's Tom Lehrer with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.
Other segment from today's show: