An aggressive attempt to restore “abortion services” was launched in November by the newly formed P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization. It is teaming with an Ad-Hoc Abortion Rights Committee, reportedly comprised of several women’s groups and private citizens that have been meeting and planning for several years according to media reports.
The abortion advocates are portraying the lack of local abortion facilities and access as an injustice to P.E.I. women.
“Although this move seemed to come out of nowhere, the board became aware of the orchestration of this campaign some time ago,” said Ann Marie Tomlins, member of the P.E.I. Right to Life Board, and veteran of many pro-life campaigns.
Shannon Moore, president of the University of PEI Students For Life, reported that pro-abortion literature has recently blanketed the UPEI campus. “We are countering it with our own posters emphasizing the goodness and value of all life, and urging students with an unplanned pregnancy to contact Birth Right or the Island Pregnancy Center,” she said.
The launch of this lobby dovetails with research by UPEI professor Colleen MacQuarrie, collecting stories about difficulties experienced by P.E.I. women seeking abortions. The reported intent of her study is to help “create reproductive justice” and “change P.E.I.’s abortion policy to open access for women.”
Tomlins noted that this is an unusual approach for a research project. She raised questions about the source of the research funding and added, “it would seem that the promoters are not really interested in research, but in … destroying our ‘Life Sanctuary’.”
Whatever their intent, politically they are supported by the NDP and the Green party, whose leader, Sharon Labchuk, says the government’s position represents “blatant discrimination against women, especially low-income women.”
Aukje Annema, long-time member of Life Canada board, said, “they are emphasizing reproductive rights for women, and ignoring the child that’s involved. It’s very important for us to keep the focus on the child.”
“Every pregnancy – even an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy – is about having a child,” said Bernard Connolly of the PEI Right to Life Board. “So as a community, we need to consider how receptive we are to mothers in difficulty.”
RTL president Greg Hebert added, “they should not have to go through this crisis alone. They need support, not abortion. That is simply piling trauma on top of trauma.”
Despite the current intense lobbying, the provincial government has pledged to maintain the status quo. “Right now, I see nothing changing,” stated Health Minister Doug Currie.
Still the pro-abortion groups held a rally at Province House on Nov. 19 to further pressure the government. PEI Right to Life, Students for Life, Campaign Life Coalition PEI. and other groups got out their supporters and nearly 200 pro-lifers counter-demonstrated against the 150 pro-aborts who showed up.”
Retired nurse Helen Lannan stated optimistically, “if we want to, we can turn this into a perfect opportunity to get out there and teach the truth.”