The abortion pill Mifegymiso was available for the first time in Canada in mid-January at two women’s health clinics: Calgary’s Kensington Clinic and Vancouver’s Willow Women’s Clinic. Health Canada approved the drug in 2015 for distribution in 2016 but delays on the manufacturing and distributor’s side prevented it from becoming available until last month. Celia Posyniak, the executive director of Calgary’s Kensington Clinic, told the Globe and Mail, “we were over the moon.” Doctors must take an online course and dispense the drug from their own offices according to Health Canada guidelines. According to Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, just 26 physicians have passed the course and another 65 have registered to take it … The CBC announced that its long-running Degrassi franchise would have an abortion episode (again) in its newest season of “Degrassi: Next Class.” Creater Linda Schuyler said that 16-year-old character Lola Pacini will have an abortion and unlike other iterations of abortion storylines, the character will not regret or second-guess her decision. Schuyler said viewers will see Pacini’s perspective including from inside the operating room. She denied the show was “advocating abortion” and insists it is neutral, although Schuyler also said the show’s producers “have our finger on the pulse of the scary right-wing thinking that’s out there” … The Calgary Herald reports that supporters of former MP Jason Kenney, who is running to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and unite it with the Wildrose Party, expect the PC Association of Alberta to “move to oust him” if it looks like his slate of delegates will win at the March 17 convention to decide a new leader. Already the PCAA has rescinded the party membership of Kenney campaign organizer Allan Hallman … The CBC reports that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has amended its screening procedures “to increase sensitivity and privacy for transgender travelers” including permitting individuals to request a search by a female or male officer or a “split search” in which a female officer searches one half of the body while a male officer searches the other … Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a townhall meeting in Kingston, Ont., Jan. 12, that he would “look at” and “address” how Corrections Canada houses transgender inmates. Trudeau called being housed according to genitalia rather than identity is “torture” and vowed to end the practice … Comedian Colin Mochrie, a star on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” is hoping to become a champion for transgender rights after his son Luke, 26, announced last April he wants to be identified as Kinley. Mochrie said on Twitter: “My 90-yr-old mother-in-law and 87-year-old mother love and acceptance of our trans daughter warms me. Wonder why some who are younger can’t.” Mochrie said he was motivated to speak out because of the divisive political climate south of the border. Luke Mochrie announced in 2014 he was bisexual before revealing his latest preference.

United States

Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) introduced a bill to prohibit abortions when a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. A baby’s hearts begins to beat as early as 21 days after fertilization. The Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 490) mandates that abortionists check for a fetal heartbeat before committing abortions. Unless the mother’s life was in danger, an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. King said if the bill is passed, “if a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.” Kate Black, vice president of the pro-abortion EMILY’s List, said, “Republicans now feel like they have a shot at passing the most extreme anti-choice laws they can think of — and they might” … On the first day of the Donald Trump presidency, the White House removed pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual) webpages from its website … Organizers claim between 2-3 million people participated in women’s marches around the world on Jan. 21, calling for an expansion of “reproductive rights” and resistance to the new president. The Washington event removed pro-life feminist groups from the list of official supporters of the march, but some, like Aimee Murphy of Life Matters Journal, said they would participate anyway. Murphy wrote in the Washington Post, “Planned Parenthood does not own women’s rights,” noting that “first-wave feminists” such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cody Stanton, “understood that abortion is killing and that it is a tool of the patiarchy” … The New York Times reports that “San Francisco, population 865,000, has roughly the same number of dogs as children: 120,000. In many areas of the city, pet grooming shops seem more common than schools.”


An estimated 50,000 French citizens took part in the Paris March for Life, the largest annual pro-life demonstration in Europe … Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte issued a proclamation ordering all government agencies to supply free contraception by 2018. His executive order is an attempt to pressure the Supreme Court to lift its temporary restraining order on the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act passed in 2012 by the previous government which sought to expand the availability of family planning in the predominantly Catholic country.