Pro choice, pro life groups seek notice on International Women's Day

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A coalition of pro-choice groups marched through the streets of Charlottetown on Tuesday, International Women's Day, protesting a lack of abortion services. Many of the marchers wore Anne of Green Gables-style red braids and carried signs with the hashtag #iamkarats representing a Twitter account @iamkarats that has been active in calling on Premier Wade MacLauchlan and the P.E.I. government to allow for abortion services in P.E.I.

Pro-choice advocates rally wearing Anne-style braids, blood-stained flowers at city  benches to protest

One side wore red braids and sang songs. The other left bloody flowers.

As pro-choice advocates prepared for a rally wearing Anne of Green Gable-style braids, someone left blood-stained flowers at various benches in Charlottetown to protest the outing.

"It was a bit shocking," said Becka Viau, marcher at the pro-choice rally.

The flowers were accompanied with a note naming a group called Our Ledger Is Red along with a website with Silence is Complicity as a tagline and saying, Happy International Women's Day.

Nova Arsenault, a fellow marcher, said she didn't get the message the flowers were meant to send.

"It wasn't clear to me what they were about. At first I thought it was domestic violence but I checked the website. That's what it leads you to believe, it's sort of obscure, you sort of have to check the website to see what it's about."

Viau called the flowers tasteless and said the tactic was in sharp contrast to what the pro-choice movement was doing.

"The use of that type of symbolism could be considered to be very violent in its approach, graphic in its approach. It seems strange to me to bring forth that kind of gesture on International Women's Day," Viau said. "We're taking a comedic approach, we're having fun, we're using art and artwork."

The pro-choice protest wore the red braids in solidarity with the #iamkarats twitter account that accompanied a punk rock Anne of Green Gables poster calling out Premier Wade MacLauchlan on not moving to provide services on Prince Edward Island, the only province in Canada that does not provide surgical abortions.

The group marched from Liberal party headquarters on Kent Street to the Charlottetown Club on King Street, also known as the Gentlemen's Club.

"That's a very elite space for some very powerful decision makers and here women on P.E.I. are still fighting for body autonomy," said Viaug. "We're marching because it's 2016."

The group also sang a song about granting access to abortion, to the tune of "Ice Cream" from the Anne of Green Gables musical.

The pro-choice march was organized by several groups including the Campus Alliance for Reproductive Justice, the P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization, Abortion Access Now, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the Revolutionary Student Movement — UPEI Chapter.

Organizations: Charlottetown Club, Campus Alliance for Reproductive Justice, P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Green Gables, Prince Edward Island Canada Kent Street King Street Gentlemen

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Recent comments

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    March 09, 2016 - 15:05

    Priorities - people - Priorities - Please let us deal with life threatening illness before we start changing laws. TASTELESS FLOWERS WILL BE ALL I WILL REMEMBER from these conspiring murderers.

  • Really not funny
    March 09, 2016 - 14:23

    Here is (what is trivialized) by the fun loving comedic, artsy supporters of abortion don't want anyone to see!

  • Islanders must have an open mind,times have changed
    March 09, 2016 - 10:15

    Keep up the good work for womens rights your support is growing.The Christain minorioty has NO right to impose their beliefs on anyone.It is 2016 ,the 21st century the island has changed and Island women have the RIGHT to chose .....Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and to practice same under the Charter,included in that Charter are womens rights...all women ...not just people who feel they have to impose their beliefs on others.....

    • Bill Kays
      Bill Kays
      March 09, 2016 - 15:15

      Christian minority, REALLY? Christianity is only one of many religions that condemns the murder of the innocent, especially abortion. My dad often asked me "if your friend jumped off of the bridge, would you do the same?" While it may be inconvenient to do the right thing, and all your peers tell you it is ok, it really is not. Just because everybody is doing it, that does not make it right.

    • Ally
      March 09, 2016 - 18:56

      This has nothing to do with right to choose. Abortion is legal. The issue is having the service not available on the island. As it is now island women drive to Moncton or Halifax. I'm sure there a people who live other end of NB who drive further to get to Moncton than some island women have to. I'm sure there are other services that islanders have to go away for that are more of a priority. I say this as a woman who did make that trip to Moncton to have abortion before and that was when you had to have two doctors approval first and ultrasound first. The new system is a big approvment. Regardless of what side of the issue you are on, the display that this group put on was very tastelss and certainly didn't win them any supporters.

  • Give it a rest
    March 09, 2016 - 10:15

    We are in desperate need for more facilities that can handle more serious and life threatening conditions. Families are constantly having to travel to the mainland for these. That should be our priority.

  • Quiet Observer
    March 09, 2016 - 09:07

    True equality requires just that - EQUALITY. I am an avid supporter of equality (not preferential treatment, but equality) and it is just part of my life both at my business and in my social life (although I also still believe in ladies and gentlemen). I believe abortion should be readily available on PEI and government funded for cases where medically necessary and cases such as rape, etc - but not as a method of birth control (still available, just not government funded). However, bringing in to it a PRIVATE club that has a men's only membership (I am not a member, by the way, and was only in there once about 35 years ago) will not support the cause. Women are free to have their own PRIVATE club too. It is a free society. True equality will come but it is not going to happen overnight. There are still many men AND women who were raised in a society the norm was different and subconsciously have it in them that there are different roles. Whether we agree with them or not, it is their reality and at their ages not all of them are going to change - and this applies to both men AND women. Comparing today to 25 years ago, there is a dramatic difference in the general views of the public - the vast majority support, and live, equality. And 25 years from now, equality will be the norm. And that will be a great thing. So the fight must continue, but it must be tempered with the reality that societal change cannot happen overnight. Similarly, we still encounter those who believe that equality involves preferential treatment for women and the demeaning of men. That attitude too must go by the wayside for true equality to exist. I have said it many times that an Advisory Council on the Status of Men (or one Council called the Advisory Council on the Equality) needs to be established as there are many instances today where men are discriminated against too. If men and women work together for equality for all, then the changes will happen more quickly and with less drama.

  • Ridiculous
    March 09, 2016 - 08:35

    Red braids and a black bandana covering your face is tasteless as well. Becka Viau- your idea of art is twisted.

  • jill
    March 09, 2016 - 08:22

    Same old tired crew.

  • Merk
    March 09, 2016 - 08:13

    Well done! Nice showing of supporters. Looking forward to the announcement from government that they WILL uphold women's rights finally and not proceed with a wasted court case. And for those ladies who don't know why the rally ended at the Men's club ... oh dear ... um ... read more.

  • A telling paragraph
    March 09, 2016 - 07:55

    Following are the printed words of a pro abortion activist! "The use of that type of symbolism could be considered to be very violent in its approach, graphic in its approach. It seems strange to me to bring forth that kind of gesture on International Women's Day," Viau said. "We're taking a comedic approach, we're having fun, we're using art and artwork." What kind of an upside down world are we living in where the use of stained flowers is considered “very violent”, and the wanton killing of a human, which stops a beating heart and destroys a functioning brain, is trivialized to the point where the supporters of these barbaric acts can say, “ We're taking a comedic approach, we're having fun,………… !! It’s not comedic, it’s not fun, it is a tragedy!

  • Mary
    March 09, 2016 - 06:16

    You had my support up until bring in the gentlemens club? What in gods name does the gentlemens club have to do with this? Should men protest because I go to an all "womens" gym? Stick to the issue at hand here and becareful what bridges you burn you may need their support!

    • pinky
      March 09, 2016 - 08:18

      1) the premier isn't in the province 2) the Gentlemen's club was likely empty because it was 4:30 on a weekday and they were likely at work 3) Doug Currie's office would have been more appropriate.

    • braincells
      March 09, 2016 - 08:28

      It's where the shotcallers hang out...

  • Islander
    March 08, 2016 - 22:31