Anne-tagonizing posters connect icon to P.E.I. abortion debate

Dave Stewart
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Ann Wheatley, co-chairwoman of Abortion Access Now P.E.I., isn't sure who put up posters around Charlottetown advocating for a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion, but she certainly agrees with the message. This poster was placed on a payphone on Prince Street.

Social media group placing Anne of Green Gables posters around Charlottetown supporting abortion

P.E.I.'s most famous fictional character has become part of the province's ongoing abortion debate.

A social media group that supports abortion access in P.E.I. and refers to itself as "iamkarats", has been placing posters around Charlottetown that feature a young redhead with pigtails wearing a bandana, a likeness of Anne Shirley of "Anne of Green Gables" fame.

The poster also appears to be meant for Premier Wade MacLauchlan and is fashioned with hashtags "hey Wade", "access now" and "SupportIslandWomen".

The posters aren't sitting well with the P.E.I. Right to Life Association, which issued a statement saying it is ironic that iamkarats uses an adopted fictional character who is dear to the hearts of Islanders and is the epitome of the unexpected blessing of choosing life, even in challenging and non-idyllic circumstances.

" 'Anne of Green Gables' has warmed the hearts of millions around the world with the hope that unconditional love is possible for an unwanted child coming from difficult circumstances," said Nicole Dupuis, executive director of the association, adding that using Anne "as a mascot for a movement that seeks to end the lives of (dehumanized) unwanted children is pathetic.''

Dupuis also questions the legality of using Anne's image, which is a registered trademark.

Ann Wheatley, co-chairwoman of Abortion Access Now P.E.I., said she didn't have anything to do with the posters but agrees with the message.

"I think that it's a very creative response to a very serious issue in P.E.I.,'' Wheatley said Thursday. "There is obviously a grassroots movement out there of people who are not happy with the status quo.''

Wheatley's group, which was just incorporated in the province, is filing an action in the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island against the P.E.I. government. She says Island women have been fighting for more than two decades for on-Island, legal access to abortion.

Thursday also just happened to be the 28th anniversary of the 1993 Morgentaler decision (Dr. Henry Morgentaler ran an abortion clinic in Toronto) by the Supreme Court of Canada which held that the abortion provision in the Criminal Code was unconstitutional, as it violated a women's right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to security of person.

"I think it's very cool that it's happening today,'' Wheatley said, referring to the poster campaign. "This is a way of celebrating that victory but making note of the point that it wasn't a win that translated productively for Island women, so we still have a lot of work to do.''

The Guardian attempted to reach out to iamkarats on social media but there was no immediate response.

Organizations: Life Association, Supreme Court of Canada, Morgentaler Canadian Charter Rights

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Green Gables, Charlottetown Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Charlottetown Resident
    January 29, 2016 - 19:21

    I believe the culprit behind the posters, is a certain trouble-maker from Halifax, but originally from Charlottetown. This person's sibling was a talk -show host. Hope that narrows it down. Here's hoping this person returns to Halifax and crawls back under the rock she came from under.

  • MFH
    January 29, 2016 - 16:59

    It appears that this woman and her gang of feminists will do or say anything , whether it is in poor taste or not, in order to further their agenda. They seem not to care for anyone else's opinions or common sense. The owners of the Ann of Green Gables rights should sue what ever party is responsible for this uneducated display of poor taste if they can be identified.

    • not politically correct
      January 31, 2016 - 09:16

      When you talk about other people's opinions, you are making the assumption that there is more than one acceptable view. That's so 20th century. It seems we have evolved beyond the whole "freedom of speech" or "You can have your own opinion" stage to the stage where you are told what your opinion should be and if you do not tow the line you are either stupid or evil. We have passed the point where people of good conscience can disagree. It doesn't matter if you want to change the law to do or not do something, simply the fact that one is not sufficiently supportive then one is the enemy. We are in the era of the Social Justice Warrior who will make it their goal in life to silence any dissent from their intended goal. We still have Puritanism and McCarthyism. We have just changed the end goal. Not the tactics or the zealotry or fanaticism. They may claim to be the truth and common sense, but one has to remember the pro-choice position is the side that covered up the sign to a centre that was there to help pregnant women ( because they were not giving pamphlets on how to get an abortion, as that info is apparently hidden) and then claims the pro-choicers don't do anything to help women. The same side that starts an organization to promote women's reproductive rights but when asked if government should help a woman to WANTS to become pregnant with IVF says that that is the woman's issue and she should have to pay herself, thus reducing women's reproductive rights to only the right they get donations to support.

  • cape traverse observer
    January 29, 2016 - 15:38

    reminds me of the old Annex of Green Stables comic that the Montgomery estate was somehow able to completely obliterate from the web. Go girls !

  • Appalled
    January 29, 2016 - 14:14

    Anne Of Green Gables, The abridged version, in one sentence!! Mrs. Shirley went to see Doctor Morganthaler this morning and he took care of her problem…….. forever…… the end!!

  • choices
    January 29, 2016 - 13:57

    I had an abortion many years ago. At the time I was actively addicted to drugs and was not taking care of my body. I along with my doctor decided it was in my and the fetus best interest to abort. Today im no longer using drugs and I regret the decision I made. I think about that choice daily and wish i could go back in time. Complications from the abortion has now made me infertile. I understand that I was given a choice and many people think every women should have the choice. Reflecting back on that time I wish i wasn't given that choice because if i would have been forced to continue the pregnancy I would have gotten off drugs earlier and that child would hopefully be here today and loved. That child wasn't given the choice because I made it for them. I believe a lot of women who have had abortions regret being given a choice.

  • The right to chose comes in many forms
    January 29, 2016 - 07:35

    If the Right to life supporters can demonstrate and these new group who obivously are pro choice can to ,Although they may violate copyright . "Nicole Dupuis, executive director of the association, adding that using Anne "as a mascot for a movement that seeks to end the lives of (dehumanized) unwanted children is pathetic.".. MS DUPUIS may be going to great lenghts to say that pro choice or just women do not have the freedom to decide if they wanta MEDICAL procedure is also pathetic.....She and her minority group are imposing THEIR relegious beliefs and morals on the rest of the province who think otherwise.IT is a MEDICAL procedure ,look beyond the irationale unsubstanciated position that it is person being destroyed ,it is body tissue,no different than tonsils or appendix's....Give women the freedom to decide ..stop playing a political/relegious guilt game that has affected this province for 250's 2016.

    • Barbara
      January 29, 2016 - 13:38

      No one is saying that women do not have the freedom to decide if they want a medical procedure. PEI covers the cost for an abortion out-of-province, with a doctor's referral. The province does not prohibit doctors from referring women so they can have an abortion, we just have to travel a couple of hours to do so. This is NOT unlike other provinces. The people who live Northwestern Ontario are one example. Ontario does offer abortions, IN ONTARIO, but those that live in Northwestern Ontario face the same problem we do on PEI. Accessibility. A woman from a small town in Northern Ontario had travel over an hour to a bus station in Thunder Bay, where she embarked on a 26-hour bus ride to get an abortion in London. Makes the drive to Moncton sound not so bad now doesn't it? PEI is a small province - only as large as some of the cities in other provinces. The fact that we travel for medical procedures, abortion included, is not unlike people living in rural cities in larger provinces. Women have the right to have abortions, but pregnancy is not a life-threatening condition; if we can drive to Moncton to shop, we can drive there for elective medical procedures as well.

    • sorry no
      January 29, 2016 - 17:17

      Those folks in Ontario need to check their privilege. I don't care how far they have to drive, they have to drive. They have a place in province, and hence have no where near the inconvenience that an PEI woman would have. There is no comparison in the amount of oppression they have compared to PEI women. Next someone will say that just because it is legal doesn't mean it has to be covered, like glasses and dentistry. Don't give the haters an excuse to oppress.

    • ok then
      January 29, 2016 - 17:22

      Please give examples of where tonsils, left to the natural course of their development become sentient creatures, get a degree, and a job working as a doctor, and I'll consider it a fair analogy. Since there is no difference, it should not be an issue.

    • Confussed
      January 29, 2016 - 17:33

      I'm not a religious person but...... If someone is to denigrate someone for publicly stating their opinions because they are "religious", why should people accept yours because yours are "philosophical"?

    • Appalled
      January 29, 2016 - 19:30

      It is somewhat ironic that you class the preborn child (who has a functioning brain and a beating heart) as "body tissue no different than tonsils or appendix". Do you not realize that this same description also describes yourself? If the preborn have no right to life because they are made up of "body tissue", you, who is wholly made up of "body tissue" have (equally) no right to life!

  • enough already
    January 29, 2016 - 06:38

    The fictional character has not become part of anything, some fools have decided to stir up more crap and that is their doing.

  • J
    January 29, 2016 - 06:27

    Who said it'sAnne? Maybe it's Wendy? LOL