Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Washington NARAL Protests “March of the Penguins”

SEATTLE—August 1, 2005. Coming on the heels of their recent protest in front of a Seattle area crisis pregnancy center, WA-NARAL came out to protest the family-friendly movie of the summer, “March of the Penguins”. They cited the movie as yet another example of the perpetuation of the “cult of motherhood” by the extreme right-wing and the Catholic Church.

Karen Cooper of WA-NARAL said “This movie makes clear to the world that penguins do not have full access to the reproductive health services all animals have a right to regardless of species.” There are currently no abortion clinics in Antarctica where the majority of the penguins live. “Access to birth control and abortion are critical to the rights of penguins if they are to achieve equal status with whales, sea lions, salmon and humans” she continued.

Planned Parenthood is exploring the opening of a clinic in Antarctica, the only continent where they do not have a clinic, in late 2006 but is having trouble finding doctors willing to spend 6 months out of the year in the freezing temperatures of Antarctica.

Even though the Catholic Church has no noticeable presence in Antarctica the movie clearly show the oppression of penguins, especially the females who must swim great distances to find food. “Clearly this movie is biased in favor of the mythological view of motherhood and parenting put forward by the Pope.” The producers failed to respond to questions about why they didn’t include more balance in the portrayals of penguin life in their film. “There wasn’t any footage of non-parenting penguins enjoying a life free from offspring -- swimming, playing on the ice, or taking a cruise through the Panama Canal,” she added.

An island covered in ice for most of the year, Antarctica is at risk for overpopulation and thus a lowering in the quality of life for all penguins if they continue to produce offspring. “The movie completely ignores this part of the debate” Cooper further explained. WA-NARAL is asking the producers of the film to remove the film from all area theatres. So far they have fail to comply but the Seattle City Council has already declared July Animal Reproductive Health Month and Dow Constantine, celebrity judge at last year’s “Chocolates for Choice” WA-NARAL fundraiser has pledged to fly any penguin to Seattle for an abortion at his district’s Planned Parenthood. “I fully support a penguin’s right to choose,” he said. He also supports an idea put forward by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickles to fly a one-year supply of Ortho-Evra to any penguin in the Antarctic but acknowledged that it remains to be seen if “the patch” will stay on in the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean.

Dan Kennedy of Human Life of Washington only had this comment, “They’ve really flown the coop on this one.”

The Seattle PI is asking residents of Seattle to contribute to WA-NARAL’s Penguin Reproductive Health Fund. You can make a donation at any local branch of Bank of America.

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