Anti-abortion rally held in front of P.E.I. legislature

Dave Stewart
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One of the women at a Charlottetown pro-life rally Thursday says she regrets her decision to have an abortion 40 years ago.

Angelina Steenstra, the national co-ordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, was one of close to 100 people at a rally in front of the P.E.I. legislature where the fall sitting was about to get underway.

“I was very young, 15 years old. My first pregnancy was the result of a rape and I was offered abortion as a solution,’’ Steenstra told The Guardian in an interview. “I had no idea saying yes would leave the kind of scars that it’s had . . . and that was over 40 years ago.’’

Steenstra, who is from Oshawa, Ont., came to Charlottetown for the rally to lend her voice.

“The option is not after the child is conceived. The option is before the child is conceived. I was your classic example of why abortion was legalized in Canada, because of rape and incest. Even though that child was conceived in rape, that child was still half mine.’’

The rally was organized by the Campaign Life Coalition Youth.

“We’re here today to send a loud and clear message to the provincial legislature that we want to keep the Island abortion-free,’’ said Alissa Golob, executive director for the coalition.

Prince Edward Island remains the only province that does not offer abortion services within the province. Government does pay for the service, but only if done in a hospital. Private clinic abortions are not covered.

Golob says Islanders shouldn’t be forced to pay for the procedure whether it’s done here or not.

“We’re being forced to pay for a procedure that fundamentally violates our freedom and conscience.’’

The group presented Opposition MLA James Aylward with a petition that had more than 3,000 signatures on it. Aylward tabled it in the legislature. He also thanked those gathered for their hard work and dedication.

Sarah MacDonald, provincial co-ordinator with the youth coalition, said government should take the money it spends to pay for the service and invest it in other areas of the health care system.

One person was there in an attempt to disrupt the rally trying to drown out those giving speeches by booing.

Nova Arsenault said he is a member of a communist group that calls itself the Revolutionary Student Movement at UPEI.

“They just want to fight to keep the service that P.E.I. doesn’t have off of P.E.I. and it's really quite disgusting,’’ said Arsenault.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Campaign Life Coalition

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Stand up please
    November 13, 2015 - 10:05

    REGARDLESS of how anyone feels about this issue, people have the RIGHT to their own opinions without being bashed, called names, labeled, and put down for their beliefs. The last time I checked, we still live in a free part of the world. Parents, this would be a great time to teach your children that even though some may or may not agree with them, they are entitled to their thoughts, as are others, without judgment.

  • Betty Green
    November 13, 2015 - 09:38

    Mr. Arsenault, if you're going to argue rights to have procedures available on PEI, you should push to have open heart surgeries or other surgeries performed here that are not available unless you go off Island. That would save lives instead of taking them. I for one would rather see our tax dollars spent for this instead of for abortions.

    • Louann
      November 13, 2015 - 20:43

      Why not have both! Why should one be given up for another ! A D&C is not a big surgical procedure, for example ,a lot of older women have it done to clean the lining so they don't bleed from fibroids. It costs more to travel to have the procedure done ,than the procedure itself.

  • Louann
    November 13, 2015 - 08:25

    Really!! Another form of bullying ! A few Forcing changes for the majority! Abortion from rape 40 years ago , and you regret it now! You made a choice, get over it!! People you seem to have a lot of time on your hands , maybe too much.

  • dmacdougall
    November 13, 2015 - 06:53

    Shame on you Ms. Golob. You are a disgrace to women.

  • jeff
    November 13, 2015 - 06:00

    I am glad my Mother choose life. check out the mess planned parenthood is in.

  • Bella Marie
    November 12, 2015 - 21:21

    How astonishing that someone's personal experience prompts them to try to control another person's life. We all have our own crosses to bear. Let's not force pain onto others by taking away their right to choose what they feel is the right way to deal with their crosses in life. The whole idea of demonstrating against an already existing law, so many fought hard to have come into existence and paid dearly before it became law, is ludicrous. Go away demonstrators and try to lead happier lives, please.

    • It takes two
      November 13, 2015 - 08:32

      Same argument should apply to the 'pro choice' demonstrators - democracy right?

  • mike
    November 12, 2015 - 19:33

    My 14 and 16 yr old daughters just said at the dinner table ...why do these people think what I do with my body is their business.....enough said! Get a life is what I suggest to these folks!

    • Lindsay
      November 14, 2015 - 14:36

      "why do these people think what I do with my body is their business....." I think this gets to the heart of the issue, and why the two sides so often are not able to talk with one another. Fact is, regardless of what one thinks of abortion, there is more than one body involved. If there was just the one body, there would be nothing to remove from the uterus, or it begs the question, what then happens during an abortion? One could argue that what is being removed is part of the woman's body, but given that, with time, it eventually forms into something that can be birthed and exist on its own, it would be difficult to argue that the fetus is part of the body the way a heart is. It could be argued that the fetus is comparable to a parasite, but then, is a parasite is part of the body, or is it something separate that is has an impact on the body? That there demonstrates how the issue is a bit more complicated. The aim of those on the pro-life side is to demonstrate how the body (flab of tissue, parasite or whatever), is just as important as the woman's body, and it is the aim of those on the pro-choice side to show how it is not. But just ignoring it, as if there isn't something else involved in abortion, doesn't do much in terms of advancing dialogue. It skews the issue, ignoring one half of it. If the fetus is comparable to you to a parasite or part of the woman's body, than fine, but it still needs to be acknowledged, defined, and justified as such. If it's not, then again, it misses half of the equation, because it's not a given that a fetus, much like a parasite, is part of the body, as it is considered something separate from it. In terms of getting a life, could not the same then be said of you and your daughters by having dinner discussions and commenting online about the issue and these people exercising a democratic right?

  • James
    November 12, 2015 - 19:27

    “I was very young, 15 years old. My first pregnancy was the result of a rape and I was offered abortion as a solution,’’ Steenstra told The Guardian in an interview. “I had no idea saying yes would leave the kind of scars that it’s had . . . and that was over 40 years ago.’’ So you were given a choice that you regret making, your solution is to deny people the choice at all? Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? This is the fundamental difference between "pro-life" and "pro-choice". One group thinks they have a right to push their beliefs (religious or otherwise) on others, the other group believes that is folly. By the way, you can be pro-choice and anti-abortion.

  • laurent Beaulieu
    November 12, 2015 - 18:41

    It is unfortunate that PEI has not joined the rest of Canada on this issue which is not likely to ever be debated in Parliament again soon. Such groups as the Anti-Abortion lobby represent a fringe element and not Canadian values today. It can only be hoped that the Government of PEI will legislate to allow women to have a choice and not be controlled by lobbyist.

  • Clint
    November 12, 2015 - 14:23

    People who oppose abortion are called PRO LIFE not anti-abortionists. If you call someone an anti-abortionist you are usually a supporter of abortion and your contempt for human life shines through when you use that term. The Guardian writers know this, which means they are biased liberals. PEI needs to wake up and start realizing that the Guardian is a liberal propaganda rag. Shame on you Guardian. The Guardian also censors comments on their site.

    • What what
      November 12, 2015 - 19:21

      Pro Life, anti-abortion, biased liberals, propoganda. Your comment is replete with generalities of attempting to package and wrap people into groups that fit your personal preferences. The core of both sides is choice,and it is choice that defines not the group or position, but the individual caught in a specific moment faced with a decision. Words like freedom and conscience are the rights of the person looking in and the person making the decision. Abortion, birth, euthanasia, at-home-care, choice. That is what our current health system should stand for. And it should do so with welcome arms, open hands and understanding, without generalities, labels or 3,000 signatures.