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EDITORIAL: Anti-abortion group crossed a line

Picketers with the anti-abortion group Show the Truth stood just off Three Oaks Senior High School property holding graphic images, Tuesday. Most of the group, which is from Ontario, were confronted by students about their presence.
Picketers with the anti-abortion group Show the Truth stood just off Three Oaks Senior High School property holding graphic images on Tuesday. Most of the group, which is from Ontario, were confronted by students about their presence. - Colin MacLean

An anti-abortion group crossed the line on Tuesday when it protested outside the parking lot at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside.

The group – Show the Truth – is mostly made up of demonstrators from Ontario, except for one Island woman from Montague.

They set up on the back lawn at the Summerside Presbyterian Church across the street from the school’s parking lot.

It wasn’t what high school students in Summerside were expecting to see during their lunch hour.

The demonstrators held signs with graphic images intended to shock the young adults to adopt their anti-abortion point of view.

The students had other plans. They stood up for themselves and showed how educated they are.

They fired back with comments like “show it somewhere else,” “this is ridiculous” and “not your uterus, not your opinion.”

The group admitted that targeting the high school students was a new tactic.

They said it was their right to “educate” the students because they are at an impressionable age, are sexually active and need to know what abortion really is.

Islanders aren’t going to put up with this group and its anti-abortion agenda trying to brainwash our children.

If the group follows through on its plan to demonstrate outside other Island high schools this week, parents should not put up with it either.

The time and the place for discussions about abortion, reproductive rights and safe sex practices is in the school between students and teachers, and at home with parents and children.

If the demonstrators don’t like the law, then they should take the democratic and legal route and try to have it changed.

Let’s not forget that prior to 2017, Island women didn’t have access to surgical abortions on P.E.I. For 35 years, P.E.I. women had to go off-Island to places like Moncton or Halifax to get the procedure until the Women's Wellness Centre at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside opened.

Change was the result of the threat of a lawsuit by abortion rights advocates and demonstrations at the legislature that put pressure on the provincial government, which should not have had to go kicking and screaming to provide this essential service.

If this anti-abortion group wants change, then they should be protesting outside the P.E.I. legislature and put pressure on the newly-elected government. They should also be protesting outside of Parliament Hill and target elected officials to implement change.

They’re not going to gain support for their movement by demonstrating outside of a high school and trying to shock students with graphic images.

As we saw on Tuesday, students aren’t going to put up with it.

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