Friday, July 18, 2014

Kate Desjardins, I'm Calling Your Bluff

The story of 25-year-old Kate Desjardins has been repeated a zillion times in the media, and no one has ever questioned her authenticity. I suppose the mainstream media has stayed away from this because well, questioning the story of a poor young woman in need of birth control would would perhaps seem cruel and not kosher.

But I will go there. Personally, I have reservations about the genuineness of Kate Desjardins. In fact, I believe her whole story to be concocted and bogus.

The marbles don't add up

For one thing, the first place she posted about her story, even before she went to XOX Jane, was the Facebook page of a feminist group here in Ottawa called the Radical Handmaids. The Radical Handmaids are a vicious abortion-rights group with distasteful tactics like dressing as mock nuns at the March for Life.

How did Kate find this group so quickly, and why did she decide that they were the right place to post her story (as opposed to, say, writing a letter to The Ottawa Citizen)? Most young women who go to the doctor would have no idea that such a group exists, nor would they immediately seek out this group.

For another thing, her story doesn't add up. She says in XOX Jane:
I've gone to this clinic for well over two years at this point, and I never had any warning of what was about to happen.
So let me get this straight. Dr. Kyrillos practices with two other pro-life doctors, and the door to their clinic has a sign which informs patients that they do not prescribe birth control pills. How did Kate manage to avoid seeing this sign for two years?
When I mentioned I was there to get a prescription for my birth control, she suddenly looked up at me. She then told me that that couldn't be done. Taken aback, I asked why. She pointed at the stack of letters on the desk. I took one and started reading it. I was truly shocked at what I read. This had never happened before.
Again, for two years she never received this letter before, even as she has allegedly been coming to refill her prescription for birth control pills? Hard to believe.

What really happened

My suspicion is that the real story goes something like this: this woman is affiliated with the Radical Handmaids, and decided to pick on Kyrillos intentionally because they would like nothing better than to eliminate pro-life doctors from being able to practice.

Note that the Radical Handmaids are connected to the  Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. They were founded in part by Julie Lalonde, a very active feminist who sits on the board of the ARCC.

I do not believe Kate's claim that she was a patient at the clinic for two years. In fact, I don't believe she had any intention of being a patient there even on the day that she received the letter. When she walked in the door that day, she already knew very well what she would be told, and that is precisely why she had come to that clinic. She took the letter and headed straight for Facebook.

Successful tactic

As it happens, this tactic by the Radical Handmaids has been hugely successful. In the initial media blow-up in February, Kate Desjardins even got to remain anonymous - her name only surfaced in the second round of the debate this summer. Her story has never been questioned, and nothing about her own background of affiliations has ever been discussed. The media has given her an incredible platform, without even an ounce of doubt as to her contrived claim of embarrassment. 

With success like that, expect to see more such stories popping up like mushrooms.

UPDATE July 20, 2014

I have received information from a very credible source which corrects some of what I wrote above:

  • Dr. Edmond Kyrillos doesn't practice together with the other two pro-life doctors. He practices in a different clinic with other doctors who do prescribe birth control pills - something that is new to me, as the media seem to lump them together into one clinic.
  • The sign on the door is not always present. It is visible whenever Dr. Kyrillos is on duty at the clinic. Some regular patients might never see this sign if they always happen to visit the clinic at times when Dr. Kyrillos is not on duty.
  • When she got the letter, Kate Desjardins posted in on her own Facebook page and also forwarded it to the Radical Handmaids (she and the Handmaids say that Kate sent the letter anonymously). Hard to verify or expand on this information today because it looks like Kate must have erased her FB profile and restarted it in May, so there are no traces left behind.

Based on the information above, it seems that Kate might indeed have been a patient at the clinic, but not a patient of Dr. Kyrillos. She might have been genuinely surprised by the letter, since she might have never previously come to the clinic while Dr. Kyrillos was on duty. Still, I wonder: was Kate a feminist to begin with, and already familiar with or even affiliated the Radical Handmaids? 

And on a side note, why the media has made such a big fuss of Kate's inconvenience? Thousands of doctors across the country put up signs saying that they will not prescribe narcotics, even though some people do need them. And yet, this is apparently not nearly as offensive to the public as not prescribing birth control pills. It's okay to make sick people clinic-hop in search of narcotics, but the sky falls if a woman doesn't get birth control pills on the spot.

Photo: Amber B McN via photopin cc


  1. When I read this, it reminded me of the story of "Jane Roe" in Roe v. Wade. She later admitted to being used as a pawn by the pro-abortion movement and stated that they didn't really care about her at all, only their abortion agenda. Hopefully Kate will understand that someday as well.

    1. Very possible, Lynda. Kate is only 25 and like many others, she may well come to regret her collaboration with a pro-abortion group.

  2. Oh dear.
    First of all, the clinic corroborated Kate's story, as reported by several newspapers.
    Second of all, the Radical Handmaids are called that because they dress up as Handmaids. As in, from the Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, a super famous Canadian novel with a lot of themes about women's sexuality and reproductive rights. Not nuns. Or fake nuns.

    1. Alyssa, thanks for your comment. You are obviously quite familiar with the Radical Handmaids. Thanks for your clarification regarding the name. I wasn't aware that it linked to Atwood but it makes little difference - it is still a mock nun costume because (a) it looks like one and (b) it is intended to look like one. Please keep in mind that Atwood herself used the word "Handmaid" as a mockery of the Virgin Mary, who described herself as a "Handmaid of the Lord," and Atwood's whole novel is heavy with negative Biblical references (one of the most insulting is that the evil secret police are called "Eyes of God").

      Secondly, where did the clinic corroborate Kate's story? They didn't deny that a person came to their clinic and grabbed a letter. However, they have never publicly stated that she was actually an existing patient in their system, or even that she did indeed ask for an appointment with Dr. Kyrillos on the day in question. The media has assumed those facts to be true without any efforts to check their veracity.

      Finally, all that still doesn't get to the links between Kate herself and the Radical Handmaids, and whether her trip to Dr. Kyrillos had an ulterior motive from the start.

    2. I am not in a position to verify (or not) Kate's story, but after this story went public I was told by a relative "that has happened to me" as in she has been denied birth control. Clearly that happens.

    3. Jacqui, yes, a handful of doctors in Ontario refuse to prescribe birth control pills and a small minority of patients will come across such doctors.

      The question is, are such patients ever prevented from getting their prescriptions? The answer is NO. Such patients have a myriad of other options - they can walk down the street to the local Appletree or other walk-in clinic, they can go to their nearest Public Health Clinic or even to any Emergency Room, and they will receive a prescription for birth control pills.

      For the patients, encountering a doctor who will not prescribe is a minor inconvenience. For the doctor, refusing to prescribe is a crucial aspect of his religious freedom. As a society we have always believed that this slight annoyance for patients is a price worth paying for a genuinely free society.

      It is interesting that despite the media hullabaloo about Kate Desjardins, which has continued for some months now, not a single other patient or former patient of the three Ottawa doctors has come forward to support her story of embarrassment and inconvenience. Not a SINGLE one.

      In fact, the opposite has happened. Earlier this year, a patient wrote a letter to the Ottawa Citizen in support of the three doctors, describing how she is happy and grateful for the quality care that she has received from these doctors.