Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On October 30, ...

... 1997 (10 years ago today), Canada's Supreme Court held in Winnipeg Child and Family Services (Northwest Area) v. G. (D.F.) that a lower court erred in ordering a woman to be placed against her will in a state-sponsored custodial drug treatment program, notwithstanding that she was addicted to glue sniffing, that she was 5 months pregnant with her 4th child, and that 2 of her previous children, born disabled, were wards of the state. At the base of the 7-2 ruling was the Supreme Court's conclusion that Canada's law did not recognize the unborn as rights-bearing individuals. University of Ottawa Law Professor Martha Jackman (left) represented the woman.
... 1957 (50 years ago today), the British government announced that it would open the House of Lords to women for the 1st time. Incumbent Lords' comments seem curious to an ear more accustomed to women in places of power. The BBC reported comments by Conservative Leader Lord Home thusly:
There were cheers when he said admitting women would simply be recognising the place they had commanded for themselves as a right in modern society. He raised a laugh when he added: 'Taking women into parliamentary embrace is, after all, only an extension of the normal privileges of a peer.'
The Liberals' Lord Samuel then took his own turn at gender-charged metaphor:
'House of Lords reform has been rather like a slow motion film of a prima ballerina, not marked by agility or grace, but by languid exhibition and elephantine deliberations.'

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