Abortion rallies planned for Saturday

Teresa Wright
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Protestors on both sides of abortion issue to gather at Province House

Province House in Charlottetown

A showdown on the abortion debate may be imminent when two rallies are held in Charlottetown Saturday – one lobbying for abortion services on P.E.I. and one campaigning to keep abortion out of the province.

The newly formed P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO) announced its intention to hold a rally after it exploded into local and national headlines earlier this month when it raised the issue of lack of access to abortion on P.E.I.

The group publicized their plans for a rally on Nov. 19 at Province House, hoping to gain momentum for its lobby for access to abortion services.

Then on Thursday, the Campaign Life Coalition, a pro-life organization, issued a news release stating it also plans to hold a rally on Saturday at the same time and place as the PRRO rally.

Acquinas Ryan, Campaign Life Coalition P.E.I. president, said his group wanted to make sure the pro-life message is included in the debate over whether P.E.I. politicians should change its current policy on this controversial procedure.

“We don’t want access to abortion to be available on P.E.I. and we’ll just be there to make sure we get our point across,” Ryan said in an interview.

“Why mothers would want to have their children aborted – my goodness, I don’t know.”

Ryan said he doesn’t expect a huge crowd of pro-lifers to attend, as it was a last-minute decision to hold a counter-rally to the one lobbying for abortion to be made available in the province.

But he believes attendance will not reflect his organization’s support base.

“We feel a majority of Islanders are opposed. From what we’ve heard from Islanders on this issue, we don’t think they want this on P.E.I.,” he said.

Sam Wight, one of the founding members of the P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization, says she is not daunted by the pro-life group’s plan to hold a rally fighting against her group’s cause concurrent to her own.

The PRRO has been granted a meeting with Health Minister Doug Currie to discuss its concerns and so far they’ve been getting a mainly positive response from Islanders, she said.

“We’ve received almost 100 per cent positive feedback. A lot of women coming forward with their stories, people coming and offering support, so it’s been really great.”

Wight said the purpose of the rally is mainly to educate Islanders about the current availability of reproductive rights while also lobbying for equal access to abortion services on P.E.I.

For the PRRO, this is not an abortion debate, she said.

“It’s not really a matter of pro-choice or pro-life. This is an issue that the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled is a right for Canadian women and we are just looking for the same access to a health service that every other province offers.”

Both groups say they plan to hold peaceful, non-confrontational rallies, despite the fact they will be in the same location, fighting for opposing policies.

“No, we don’t want to be confrontational. We just want to get our point of view across,” Ryan said.

“Everyone has a right to share their opinions. We hope they will be respectful and we definitely plan to be respectful,” Wight assured.

Prince Edward Island is the only province in Canada that does not provide any abortion services. The procedure is not done in Island hospitals and there are no private clinics that offer the service in the province.

Currie has said he has no plans to change the current abortion policies or laws.

Organizations: Campaign Life Coalition, Province House, P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Halifax

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, Fredericton

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Recent comments

  • Fran
    November 19, 2011 - 08:24

    I'd like to make the point, that the decision has already been made and Canadian women already have this right. The debate about that is long over. There's an increasing demand for this service on PEI so why are we denying them?

    • Crazy Eddie
      November 19, 2011 - 20:11

      Since when was the definition of "Service" changed to mean MURDER?

  • Becky
    November 18, 2011 - 14:58

    I think making the island Pro-choice in every way will do wonders for the development of our province. This is not something to pressure our youth or disgrace our province! This is something that is a right to women EVERYWHERE. You will never be able to stop a woman from having an abortion while she lives in Canada! This is making it so women here on the island will have the same rights and chances as any other woman in any other province! You are not preserving our island by not supporting this movement, you are holding back a choice for women who love this island as much as everyone else. This decision should not be made on moral, political or religious ground. It should be made by the government to give more choices to our citizens in need.

  • Don Wright
    November 18, 2011 - 13:02

    ... "Define the meaning of the words and you define the argument. Define the argument and you have won the argument." you'll hear pundits and commentators say something like "Oh, those darn liberals won't win in any sort of honest debate, because the facts are against them, etc.," Well, they're right, but that's beside the point. Leftists (calling them "Liberal" is, or should be, insulting to everyone) have no interest in facts precisely because in any sort of honest debate, they are quite aware they will lose. Facts are an impediment, so the first mistake is thinking that participants in a given debate are looking for the truth, and the unstated but implied agreement that once the facts are laid bare, somehow, a mutually agreeable conclusion will be found. The problem is, leftists are quite aware of where the facts lead, so therefore all energies are directed elsewhere, anywhere, to either fabricate "facts" which support their assertion, coupled with and most especially to ignore or stifle honest debate. That's the real tragedy of what's happend to Democracy Everytime I turn around, something else gets foisted upon the Canadian people with nary a vote by anyone. Once in a while a clinker will get through on a referendum, but rest assured an unaccountable judge will tamp down any semblence of real democracy should it become necessary. Given that hard-core leftists largely control major swaths of academia, the media, the judiciary &c &c, this puts the vast majority of Canadians at an intellectual disadvantage - even though they *are* the majority, it doesn't appear that way - and in this way pop culture molds perceptions and opinions. The trick is to maintain the fiction that debate is wanted or necessary to obtain "consensus" or give the illusion of public input and desires, simultaneously suggesting that the majority beliefs and traditions are extremist, exclusionary, racist, etc., etc.; I talk to a number of longtime Liberals who are in aggregate quite conservative, though they would balk at this suggestion, not only because they have been conditioned to believe otherwise, but because oftentimes their attention span is such that even if I could explain certain concepts - they are still fundamentally unable to think outside themselves, for themselves, ironically because they only think about themselves, much less think critically - they live in a "soft cage" of, get this - bloody *words*. Let us be honest .. the ' fetus' is a human being and abortion is taking the life of a human being- male and female. Pro Choice means being for taking the life of a human being at any stage in the womb. The Supreme Court of Canada has not ruled in favor of abortion . It did something worse. It ruled that a fetus is not a human being and is allowed to be killed as long as it is killed outside the womb in cases of the last trimester. As for the earlier stages of human life , anyone can kill through suction or D and C a person in the womb of the mother. There is no law. The Pro Abortion crowd and the Green Party and the NDP want to be able to kill the babies in the womb on PEI and make the Government of PEI pay for it.

    • Dan
      November 18, 2011 - 18:01

      Move over old man, the kids get their say now. Close minded individuals like yourself best look into totalitarian societies. But hurry, totalitarianism is becoming harder to find these days :)

  • Nancy
    November 18, 2011 - 10:26

    In 1992 , I held the lifeless body of my stillborn son in my arms. He was at 5 months when delivered. He was fully formed, not just a fetus as some believe. His lungs were underdeveloped. The technology did not exist back then , but does exist today to keep a 5 month term baby alive. Abortions are done as late as 8 months. These are human beings that we are talking about.

  • Jessie Horton
    November 18, 2011 - 09:45

    Something To Think About. 1. There's a preacher and wife who are very, very, poor. They already have 14 kids. Now she finds out she's pregnant with her 15th. They're living in tremendous poverty. Considering their poverty and the excessive world population, would you consider recommending she get an abortion? 2. The father is sick with sniffles, the mother has TB. They have 4 chi...ldren. the 1st is blind, the 2nd is dead, the 3rd is deaf and the 4th has TB. she finds she's pregnant again. Given the extreme situation, would you consider recommending abortion? 3. A white man raped a 13 year old black girl and she got pregnant. If you were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion? 4. A teenage girl is pregnant. She's not married. Here fiancee is not the father of the baby, and he's very upset. Would you consider recommending abortion? Answers: If you have answered "yes" in any of these situations: In the first case, you have just killed John Wesley. One of the great evangelists of the 19th century. In the second case, you have killed Beethoven. In the third case, you have killed Ethel Waters, the great black gospel singer. If you said yes to the fourth case, you have just declared the murder of Jesus Christ!

    • go play elsewhere
      November 18, 2011 - 23:46

      And you want to force the rest of the world to believe in your sky daddy BS ?

  • heads up Guardian
    November 18, 2011 - 06:48

    Certainly agree with the other posters who have mentioned that The Guardian is using inflamatory and out of date language and information. The Abortion Debate was over long ago. The Rally is to highlight the request for medical services that are being withheld from residents of the Province that might have need of them. A certain amount of people will always be in opposition to views not of their own choosing .. that's life. Live and let live. Until you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, you won't know what their journey is or has been.

  • Kudos PRRO
    November 17, 2011 - 22:14

    Congratulations as well to PRRO! Keep up the good work. This is about Pro Choice. You can Choose to do what you want with YOUR body. What other women Choose to do with theirs is Their choice and No one elses business. This pro life thing really p;s me off. There are so many unwanted, abused and discarded children in this world, IF you are truelly about what you say then why aren't you out there saving, protecting and helping those babies ? This is about a few passing Moral Judgement on others. PEI Needs to get with it and Start providing essential healthcare to All, including the many women who have to endure this horror.

    • Rob McKinnon
      November 18, 2011 - 15:00

      The supporters of PRRO have very little respect for life and Islanders should have very little respect for them. Unless there are circumstances such as rape or the health of the mother or child, abortion should never ever be taxpayer funded,

  • Danica
    November 17, 2011 - 20:49

    Why can't ignorant people just leave others alone.. Having all these STUPID PROTESTS are ridiculous, it's nobody's business what goes on in someone's life. Try thinking from their perspective.

  • JasonD
    November 17, 2011 - 19:52

    Isn't there something wrong with Campaign Life Coalition being lead by a man? If his wife or daughter gets raped and becomes pregnant......what's he going to do.....FORCE her to have the child? This argument is as old as time itself....it's a woman's RIGHT plain and simple. Go back to church Acquinas and pray that no woman you love ever has to make the decision.

    • concerned woman
      November 18, 2011 - 14:16

      I couldn't have said it better myself!!! Thank you!!!

    • unborn
      November 18, 2011 - 18:21

      he is fulfilling the leadership role of a group -- i'm sure they are not all men and i'm sure many people -both genders-in the group see the error of anti-lifers compared to pro-lifers and ALSO UNDERSTAND exactly what gender equality is all about -- Can equal rights only be given to women on this issue-Also to deny rights of the "about to be born "by interfering with their development is a selfish,imperious and ruthless action which represents cruelty to the helpless --you really want the choice to deny life to someone else ??????????????????-- WOW- you had the sex -you are responsible for your choices --oops !!you only want certain choices to be your responsibility --i got it !!!

  • Julie from Stratford
    November 17, 2011 - 19:12

    I think it is absolutely terrible that this new Pro Choice group feels they can speak for all women. This is false. Why would anyone want to murder their unborn child? The fact that this is not accessible in PEI is a good thing and I think the government better keep it that way otherwise I am one person who will make darn sure they do not see their way through the next election. As far as the PRRO group organizers - I don't dismiss you have an argument but it is not a good one. You are selfish women who can't see past your own deficiencies.

    • sad
      November 18, 2011 - 06:40

      Your comments made me sad. Sad because you are judgmental and critical and harsh toward someone who is advocating for women, not against women. If you are as controlling and disrespectful of your family as you appear to be of your neighbours (on earth) I'm sad for you.

  • Support for Women's Rights
    November 17, 2011 - 18:28

    Congratulations to the wonderful organizers for PRRO. It take a lot of courage to raise this issue in a province like PEI. I plan to be at this rally and encourage all other women & men who care about equal access to health care to attend and show their support. The most important thing to keep in mind is exactly what was quoted by Sam; “It’s not really a matter of pro-choice or pro-life. This is an issue that the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled is a right for Canadian women and we are just looking for the same access to a health service that every other province offers.”

  • Island Mom
    November 17, 2011 - 18:08

    Wish The Guardian journalists would put their schooling to good use and watch out what words they use! This is a Reproductive Rights Rally that is being attended and counter protested by the PEI Pro Life group(s). And this is NOT an Abortion Rally, this is a Rally to provide information on the sad lack of access Island woman have to abortion services. Services that are a part of Primary Health Care and services that are accessible to Canadian Women in all other provinces of Canada. In case you didn't hear, the abortion debate ended in 1988! Your story headline and the quick way in witch you apply labels to the event...is poor, poor journalism. Stop trying to get a quick story, to create a catchy headline and get the story correct!

  • Billions
    November 17, 2011 - 18:00

    Will be there on Saturday for sure. Pro choice!

  • Catholic for Choice
    November 17, 2011 - 17:49

    This is a health issue and not one that should be influence by personal religious beliefs. PEI's health care system should offer similar health care as what is available across the counrty.

  • Canadian first
    November 17, 2011 - 17:27

    Giv' er pro choice people. Let's get w. the program...time for big changes. Enough with the oppression of the so called ruling Islander. Tiresome, fearful people they are.

  • Bothered
    November 17, 2011 - 16:44

    If womens rights and catching up to the future means killing innocent children, what is wrong with our world?

  • Rights eh...
    November 17, 2011 - 16:11

    How about the rights of the unborn child? Everyone has the right to abstain and for those terrible situations where no choice is given, there is always the choice of adoption. Check this out, http://180movie.com/

  • John Baltic
    November 17, 2011 - 15:58

    It is sickening to see an organization like PRRO take root in this province. We already live in a world where life has little meaning. Aborton is NOT a medically necessary procedure and should NOT be paid by taxpayers.

    • sad
      November 18, 2011 - 06:50

      And you know that it is not a medically necessary procedure and should not be paid by taxpayers - BECAUSE??? Go back to school. Learn something.

  • So
    November 17, 2011 - 15:29

    How about a rally for more neurologists and heart surgeons? Why should anyone ever leave PEI for any specialty procedure ? Abortion is an elective procedure. We should be focussing on non-elective procedures first.

    • wrong
      November 17, 2011 - 20:20

      Because PEI has the labour force and equipment to provide a primary service like abortion. It's a five-minute procedure that we actually pay MORE for when it's done off-island. Anything else is just Currie's spin.

  • pro-choice not pro-abortion
    November 17, 2011 - 14:16

    it's so sad that the media is using terms like 'pro-abortion'.... no one is pro-abortion. they are pro-choice. another disappointment from the guardian...

  • Rest of Canada
    November 17, 2011 - 13:37

    Welcome to the 1970's, PEI.

  • hrrrmmm
    November 17, 2011 - 13:24

    Uuuuuuhhh... two quotes from the anti-choice group and one quote from the pro-choice group's facebook page. niiiiiiceee....

  • SDP
    November 17, 2011 - 12:48

    Congratulations to the organizers of PRRO. You are doing fantastic work and should be commended for fighting for equal rights of Island women.

    • Bella
      November 17, 2011 - 18:01

      SDP - thank you for making the same comment that was on my mind!