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Anti-abortion activists caravan graphic images through Kelowna

Anti-abortion activists are launching an 18-year campaign tracing the successful pro-choice moment
Anti-abortion activists are launching an 18-year campaign tracing the successful pro-choice moment's fight for women's reproductive rights, this time with an aim to see those rights removed. On Monday they recreated the Abortion Caravan of 1970, which advocated for Canadian women's right to choose to have an abortion. This caravan is used to end abortions, so the vans used showed graphic abortion imagery.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

A group of anti-abortion activists want to stop legal abortions by returning to the beginning of the debate, recreating the 1970 Abortion Caravan, which launched an 18-year fight to win women full control of their reproductive health.

On Monday, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform brought two large cube vans through Kelowna outfitted with two-metre by six-metre posters graphically illustrating fetuses they say have been aborted.

"We hope that people are more bothered that abortions are actually happening in Kelowna than they're bothered by the image," said Stephanie Gray, executive director of the CCBR.

Gray noted that it took the feminist movement 18 years to successfully win women the right to a legal abortion in Canada with the 1988 Supreme Court ruling in R v. Morgentaler. As such, the group has devised an 18-year plan to end abortions.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler fought for a women's right to control her own reproductive health in two separate court battles. The game-changing case launched after he opened a clinic (along with two other doctors) in contravention of laws dictating women needed certification from a medical panel in order to obtain an abortion and only a certified hospital could conduct the procedure.

After a protracted legal process, the courts determined women must have the right to an abortion under section seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the individual's autonomy and personal rights from actions of the government.

Now the CCBR hope to emulate the feminist movement's success, beginning with the same cross-country style campaign originally employed by the pro-choice movement. Their 18-year-plan adopts the same timeline it took to make abortion a legal right, but purports to "end the killing and to end it in our lifetime by igniting the abortion debate."

The graphic imagery, Gray says, will draw attention and help change minds.

"We use the graphics because we know they have saved lives," she said.

Local Pro-Choice advocates have consistently ignored such campaigns saying the court has decided how abortion will be handled in Canada and the general public has shown no interest in seeing the issue brought forth again.

No pro-choice information came forth Monday, though Kelowna Pro-Choice did issue a press release saying it is sponsoring a talk from UBCO student Vida Yakong, originally from Ghana, this month.

Yakong founded Ghana Rural Opportunities for Women to help women in rural Ghana achieve more control over their reproductive health—a privilege often out of their reach for financial reasons.

"We hope you will be able to meet and listen to this most interesting and motivating woman who is making such an important contribution to the reproductive health of women who do not have easy access to the choices we have available to us," it read.

The talk will be held at KDPC's Annual General Meeting on June 16th at the library on Ellis Street, beginning at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome.

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