Journey to abortion access on P.E.I. compared to maze in UPEI research project

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UPEI associate professor Colleen MacQuarrie stands over the Women’s Abortion Access Maze research project during the Sexuality, Gender, Health Expo held at Murphy’s Community Centre.

A woman’s journey to abortion access on P.E.I. was compared to a maze of challenges and roadblocks in a participatory research project held this weekend.

The Women’s Abortion Access Maze, an interactive and ongoing project created by UPEI associate professor Colleen MacQuarrie, was one of the highlights of the Sexuality, Gender, Health Expo held at Murphy’s Community Centre Saturday.

MacQuarrie said the maze and its storylines depict real life paths and obstacles that have been faced by a range of Island women seeking local abortion access.

“The maze shows through the voices of women who’ve tried to access abortion on Prince Edward Island why local access matters,” she said.

The maze saw each participant begin with a separate storyline and go through a number of cue cards and stops that unveiled the full story. Stops along the way ranged from the woman discovering she’s pregnant, telling her parents or partner, getting doctor recommendations and much more.

The yarn was tied to each stop, with the fabric representing the passage of time through each woman’s journey.

While some of the stories shared similarities, no two experiences were the exact same.

“The stories have very complex narratives. Some have a lot more back and forth in the beginning when they’re trying to access abortion,” she said.

The end of the journey saw a comment board where participants could leave their thoughts after completing the maze.

Melissa Good was one of many who took part in the project and found it effective.

“I could have been any one of those women’s stories. It just really hit close to my heart,” she said. “I think everyone should have to experience it.”

The expo featured a variety of other activities highlighting issues, experiences and identities ignored in mainstream culture. It also featured a series of short workshops exploring topics including enthusiastic consent, sex education and contraception.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Brenda Bangay
    October 27, 2013 - 23:12

    As a retired gynaecology nurse I can attest to the fact that each person I encountered who had an abortion for any reason,expressed regret and many felt guilt for life.Choosing to end human life makes us the least of the animal kingdom.

  • bigfrog
    October 27, 2013 - 10:56

    It's easy Colleen, here is something that supersedes any cultural boundary. "Thou shalt not kill". Pretty simple. Now don't tell me that it doesn't matter because it does. I know personally the impact abortion has on a life. I've regretted it ever since. I listened to those who have no concern for life but their own. All of them formulating a life bound for judgement.

    • Ilinizas
      October 27, 2013 - 14:22

      This isn't "sharia law" nor is it "christian feudal society." We live in pluralist society, where everyone is free to view things how they want. Just because YOU consider abortion immoral according to your religion - doesn't make it so. The law is always a balance between the greater good, and individual rights - in this case, the greater good of society, and the individual rights of women, outweigh the rights of fetuses. I generally respect fighting for individual's rights, but in this case - it is more important to fight for the rights of the woman, and for the greater good of society. But - just saying it, doesn't make it so, of course.

    • @bigfrog
      October 28, 2013 - 07:36

      Bigfrog, that is your pain to endure and work through, I am sorry for you suffering. However, YOU had the opportunity for choice to regret, SO SHOULD OTHERS!!! Pretty hypocritical of you don't you think?

  • Just the Facts
    October 27, 2013 - 10:07

    If men had to give birth, abortion would be declared a sacrement.

  • Squirrel
    October 27, 2013 - 08:53

    WHY are we ALWAYS, like a cow's tail, behind the rest of the world. This is as bad as the can/bottle issue - STUPID. What about regional Gov't so badly needed. Kays easy for you to talk you are not having any kids.

  • english major
    October 27, 2013 - 07:17

    Maybe UPEI should stop researching mazes. This is a serious issue, of course, but I'm really tired with mis-placed modifying phrases. I'm sure the headline writor didn't mean that the maze was in the UPEI research project.

    • non-english major
      October 27, 2013 - 12:49

      For an English major, you're one to criticize the *writor*, aren't you?

    • Ummmm . . .
      October 27, 2013 - 13:31

      What is a "writor"?

    • Lack of doctors
      October 27, 2013 - 13:42

      If there is a maze in medical care, as Colleen suggests, the focus should have been on the lack of Island physicians that prevents a significant proportion of Islanders from accessing medical treatment for a variety of symptoms. The medical roadblocks that Islanders face every day does not just exist for those females who might be pregnant but for every Islander in medical distress who doesn't have access to a doctor. In my opinion, an objective researcher and not an ideologue would have presented a balanced conclusion stating all sides of the argument in her public presentation. The fact that it does not reflects poorly on academic integrity and UPEI.

    • I. C. Quibble
      October 27, 2013 - 15:58

      I'm not an English major, but shouldn't one capitalize proper nouns and most adjectives formed from proper nouns?

    • Dave
      October 27, 2013 - 17:35

      What's the difference between a large pizza and an english degree? Only one can feed a family of four.

    • english major
      October 28, 2013 - 06:23

      OK, so I didn't proof read my post, typing fast. But at least I can recognized a typographical error. Mis-placed phrases and syntax are common on this site (or should I write "sight" '-) and the CBC as well.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    October 26, 2013 - 16:47

    Give me a break, it is very uncomplicated .. DO NOT GET AN ABORTION. Yes, let's all get involved in a FAKE drama because that will get everybody worked up and we need to get EMOTIONAL to make a rational decision. If LIFE is not precious to you, GIVE YOURS UP, NOT YOUR UNBORN CHILDS.

    • Billkayesisanidiot
      October 27, 2013 - 07:12

      Must u always have a comment bill u must be a super power with your wealth of information and insight people must flock to u by the dozens get a life

    • Sarah
      October 27, 2013 - 11:06

      Thanks for your comment. I agree. I still don't understand why Canada, always thought of as a gentle peaceful country would allow its children to be painfully murdered. I guess so many are into being like everyone else. The herd thinking of so many small minded Canadians. Maybe some adults would like to be cut into bits and sucked up with a vacuum. Let us all know how you would like it. Leaving God out of it murder is wrong and is never tolerated in a civilized nation. If the shoe fits.

    • Practical Question
      October 27, 2013 - 12:28

      Bill and Sarah, does my vasectomy make me a killer of future children?

    • Just sayin
      October 27, 2013 - 12:31

      Sarah, you can't die if you were never born.

    • Bill Kays
      Bill Kays
      October 27, 2013 - 17:33

      To billkaysisanidiot - yes, you are right, many people do flock to me, but not because of what I know but only because I speak the truth. It is too bad that because you have been brainwashed by lies and propaganda all of your life, you may no longer recognize the truth when you see or read it. Ask God for help. To PRACTICAL QUESTION - are you old enough to have a vasectomy? grow up. No union, no cell splitting, no life. Life begins when God puts the idea into action. Sarah, thanks for the vote of confidence in a crazy Babylonian world.

    • Dave
      October 27, 2013 - 18:30

      Bill, people flock to train wrecks too. Guess why I picked that analogy?