Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for May 11, 2012

Opposing sides of abortion issue meet downtown

Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate assembled in downtown Whitehorse on Thursday afternoon.

By Max Leighton on May 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate assembled in downtown Whitehorse on Thursday afternoon.

About 30 people met for an anti-abortion rally, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Old Log Church on Elliott Street.

The group gathered on the front lawn holding signs reading: “Adoption, the loving option,” and “Choose life, your momma did.”

They met on the church grounds, marching around the block, along Main Street and back down Fourth Avenue to the church.

“We are doing this to let people know we are here for them,” said Edna Lorenzen, a demonstration organizer.

“If you are in crisis or don’t know where to turn, we have people who will speak with you. We’re here with open arms.”

Like Lorenzen, most of the participants were involved with the Catholic church, though there was a “varied cross-section,” of participants at the rally, she said.

“Don’t get pregnant,” said Lorenzen. “There are so many options to not get pregnant. There are contraceptives, of course. I don’t believe in those either, but it’s the lesser of two evils.”

Other organizers included Marie Clarke, a woman who says she regrets an abortion she had at the age of 18, and Bruce Fast, a local anti-abortion activist.

Asked when life begins, the three shouted, “Conception!” in unison.

The pro-choice demonstration met on the front steps of the Elijah Smith Building.

“(Conception is) not even the point,” said Julianna Scramstad, an organizer from the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre.

“Once we decide a medial definition, there will still be abortions; that’s why we argue that making abortion illegal only leads to illegal abortion.

“It’s about having the choice to determine what a woman wants for her body.”

Many of the nearly 50 pro-choice attendees came from local organizations such as Kaushee’s Place, the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle and the Yukon Status of Women’s Council, said Scramstad.

“We’re here to bare witness to the folks organizing up the street against women’s right to choose,” she said. “If you are against abortion, and you are a woman, you can choose not to have an abortion.”

The group’s own signs read: “Reproductive choice is a human right”, “If you make abortion illegal you get illegal abortions” and an image of a coat hanger with the words “Never again.”

At about 1:15 p.m., the anti-abortion march rounded the corner to Main Street, walking slowly past the line of pro-choice demonstrators, several pushing strollers with signs that read, “I’m pro-life.”

Several anti-abortionists and the pro-choicers locked eyes for a moment in silence except for the tapping of knitting needles, in recognition of the desperate lengths once taken to terminate pregnancy.

In a few minutes, the anti-abortion demonstrators had rounded the corner to the church. The pro-choice group broke into cheers before dispersing and leaving the steps.

In January 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country’s abortion law as unconstitutional.

Despite a Conservative backbencher’s recent attempt to bring the issue back to the public agenda, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly said his government will not reopen the contentious debate.

CommentsAdd a comment

anonymous

May 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

It’s up to the people involved and that is it. You may not know the story behind the abortion and why it is being done. I think everyone should mind their own business and let people decide for themselves what they need/want to do. Not all circumstances of abortions are due to using it as a form of contraception. I have met those people and I despise them. This is about giving the people involved the right to choose if the circumstances are beyond their control.

Krysta Meekins

May 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I’m not expressing a position on the pro-life/pro-choice issue at all, either way.  But I think it speaks well of freedom of expression here for two groups to demonstrate peacefully like this without disturbing the peace and even passing by their diametrically opposed counterparts respectfully.

It would be nice if student rioters in Quebec and Occupy squatters in other jurisdictions could take note of the quiet effectiveness of this style of rally.

Also, it seems SNS Lavalin is allowing groups to demonstrate at Elijah Smith again?

pro-stupidity

May 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

Over 16,000 children die an extremely painful death due to starvation EACH DAY.

This world does NOT need more humans.

Geoff Capp

May 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

If abortion was still illegal, I don’t think the pro-abortion people would appreciate being told “the issue is decided and closed - it’s no longer open for debate”.  Thank God that He is on the side of life - the mother’s AND the baby’s.  Notice how pro-abortion people say, “A woman’s right to choose [PERIOD]”, but they’re afraid to say what the choice is in regard to.  Why didn’t these women choose to say NO to sex?  What about the baby’s choice to live?  The responsible thing to do, after sex, is to buck up, accept the consequences, give birth and resolve never to allow it to happen again.  There are so many good reasons to wait until marriage when a dad’s around to help.

A mom

May 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

“Don’t get pregnant,” said Lorenzen. “There are so many options to not get pregnant. There are contraceptives, of course. I don’t believe in those either, but it’s the lesser of two evils.” - Edna Lorenzen

And here’s the crux of it, Edna. Your agenda is a religous agenda. Monty Python had the song, “Every Sperm is Sacred”, and no doubt your perfect world has women birthing babies while they’re doing the dishes.

We have countless children and families in Canada living in poverty. Now there’s a target for your do-good works.

another mom

May 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The reproductive rights of women do not belong to the state.

Protect yourselves, be careful, and stand up for your daughter’s rights to her body.

Chilkootwoman

May 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm

‘A Mom’ bless your soul. Total religion based, The Yukon is full of Alcohol and drugs..young girls drinking and spending time with the wrong guys and they get younger every year. We don’t all go to church and Hail Mary every Sunday.

Geoff Capp

May 15, 2012 at 6:57 am

every “dislike” of my posts is a blessing! I have the serenity of knowing that they’ll be acknowledging to God that He was right all along!  God bless you, all of you who don’t agree with me!

Akimajuktuq

May 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

I do not understand how someone who is against abortion can also be against contraception (ie Lorenzen). The extreme religious nuts have done more harm than good to their side of the debate. Anyone who is against abortion as contraception gets lumped in with them and our views get ridiculed.

In our society, in this day and age, there is just no excuse for not knowing the consequences of sex without protection. Young people have access to contraception without stigma; so what’s the excuse? But the issue is “settled”...

My biggest argument against the “pro-choice” side is that in many isolated communities, health care staff promote abortion heavily (it was offered to me flippantly even though I was in my mid 30s and I was obviously HAPPY about the pregnancy) without consideration of the lack of support and counselling available for women who choose it.  I have friends who still carry pain and guilt over their choice even though it’s over 20 years in the past. The damage that can be caused by making this “choice” might be invisible to others but can be irreversible for the woman. Women should be FULLY informed and supported no matter what they choose, and they shouldn’t be pushed to choose what the health care provider thinks is best for them.

flyingfur

May 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Geoff:  From my perspective, a pro-choice person saying that it is a woman’s right to chose PERIOD is very much like the religious zealouts of the pro-lifers saying “this is the way it is supposed to be because God says so PERIOD”.  Additionally, a certain percentage did say NO to sex but things turned out differently, or they chose not to be abstinent, which is not a crime, and may have been faced with an un-planned pregnancy.  So people disagree with you with respect to their situation, their body, and their unborn child…notice the commom word throughout is “their” not “yours”.  You do with yours what you want but maybe you should stop short of trying to whitewash other people’s existence with your religion.  Just my perspective as a married man with two daughters…but my opinion nonetheless.

June Jackson

May 18, 2012 at 1:04 am

I think the abortion issue has to be revisited. Abortion was never meant to be a method of birth control, it wasn’t meant to be used for gender selection, it was never supposed to go to advanced pregnancy termination.. you can kill that fetus at 8 and a half months. Then there’s the money.. tax dollar paid for over 70,000 abortions last year. Doing what you want with your body is fine..but why do I have to pay for it?

Why is it only women who can choose what to do with their bodies?  Suicide should be legalized too then. If someone wants to kill their body, who are we to say, no..you can’t do what you want to with your body because you’re not a woman.

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