I’ve never written one of these before, so I just want to say right off the top that I got a lot of help from two exceptional women in putting this together. One of them also helped me to decide who to send it out to. I am extremely grateful for the help and very useful suggestions they both offered me.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVISTS RAMP UP CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHOICE
Pro-choice protestors are subject to frequent threats and harassment, but keep talking back
Beginning Wednesday, September 26th, a religious anti-choice organization called 40 Days For Life plans to picket BC Women’s Hospital using a 24-hour prayer vigil for 40 consecutive days. The group is also organizing similar 40-day pickets in hundreds of other cities across the globe. 40 Days For Life and its supporters claim that abortion is currently the leading cause of death, and the greatest injustice in the world today. According to a recent nationwide study conducted by Ipsos Reid, 94% of Canadians support the right to access abortion in at least some circumstances. 49% support unrestricted access.
Local pro-choice activists have recently begun mobilizing and are planning multiple counter-measures, including at least one demonstration on September 26th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the corner of King Edward and Cambie. Activists are also organizing with local women’s rights groups, pro-choice groups, and at least one non-profit secular organization that promotes critical thought and science-based medicine.
“Anti-choice protesters outside abortion clinics are moralizing busybodies. They’re an affront to women’s privacy and right to access a necessary medical service” said Joyce Arthur, the Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “The main effect of their presence is not to dissuade women from abortion, but to shame and punish them. I applaud Vancouver’s pro-choice activists for strongly and proudly defending women’s right to control their own lives and bodies.”
In February of this year, Motion 312 was proposed by Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth, with the intent to dispute when personhood begins in Canada. Currently, personhood is attributed from birth. If Motion 312 passes, it will cause abortions to become re-criminalized, and Canadian women could face murder charges for abortions, miscarriages, and stillbirths; just as women have in the United States. Tens of thousands have been pushing back against Motion 312 through online petitions and letter-writing campaigns. A rally against the motion is set to take place on September 25th from 10 a.m. until 10:40 a.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Over the past four months, a dedicated weekly anti-choice picket outside a Vancouver abortion clinic has been counter-protested by pro-choice activists, who report that they have been subjected to repeated harassment and shaming by anti-choicers who picket the clinic. “Nearly every week, at least one of the anti-choice picketers tells pro-choice women that they deserve to be raped, while their fellow demonstrators stand idly by and do nothing. People walk up to us and antagonize, threaten, and shame us. The anti-choice picketers actually laugh at us while this happens in front of them, or they just stand there, silent and motionless,” said Jamie James, one of the pro-choice protesters.
“To suggest that the debate is getting personal would be to minimize the issue, which already is and always will be personal,” James added. “The anti-choice stance seeks to police women’s bodies, sexuality, and even their thoughts, by changing laws to make accessing abortion a life-threatening decision.” The pro-choice stance asserts that women should be trusted with the right to choose, which includes the right to choose not to abort.
Jamie James would like to express his gratitude to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, and Joyce Arthur, for providing the quote for this press release.
Jamie James’ phone: [not publishing that here]
Email: [or that one, which isn’t listed on this blog]
Radical Handmaids Rally against Motion 312 (organized by the BC Federation of Labour)
Tuesday, September 25th, 10 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.
At the Vancouver Art Gallery (South side at Robson Street)
Grassroots counter-action #1 (organized by Jamie James)
Wednesday, September 26th, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the corner of King Edward and Cambie Street
More information, from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, about Motion 312 (including counter-measures such as petitions and letter-writing):