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

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on November 12, 2015

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

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The Campaign Life Coalition held an anti-abortion rally outside the P.E.I. legislature in Charlottetown on Thursday.

©Dave Stewart/The Guardian