Abortion rallies clash on campus

Pro-life and pro-choice rallies were held in front of the arts building at UBCO, Jan. 24 and 25.

UBCO student Grant Reiger and pro-life member Marlin Bartram have a discussion during a pro-life rally

UBCO students are getting involved with controversial topics.

Pro-life and pro-choice rallies were held in front of the arts building at UBCO, Jan. 24 and 25.

The pro-life rallies upset some students.

Science student Zoe Roberts was frustrated with the pro-life protesters.

“Women in Canada have safe and legal access to birth control, of which abortion is one form. This has been the case for almost thirty years, because of the actions of women and doctors who believed that the government had no place in telling women what to do with their own bodies,” she said.

Roberts decided to send a letter to the media and UBCO administration because of the rally.

“I was having a discussion with my dad and it made me upset they are allowed on campus,” said Roberts.

One organizer for the pro-choice rally, Lauren Richards, said she wanted to provide an opposite perspective.

“It’s important not to just base things off of a general opinion,” said the third-year psychology student.

Nursing student Janine Mintz (pictured left) was also a part of the pro-choice rally.

“It’s important to support the women of UBCO and stand up for our rights,” she said.

Other students thought it was important to engage in each conversation.

Psychology and biology student Grant Regier said he was a pro-choice supporter but also wanted to listen to what pro-life supporters had to say.

“Just shouting at each other doesn’t get us anywhere,” he said.

Pro-life organizer Marlin Bartram said the rally is meant to create a dialogue.

“University is a place for the exchange of ideas… (where people) can come to a conclusion after hearing all sides. We believe abortion is a human-rights violation.”

Bartram said he was impressed with the number of students that were open to creating a dialogue.

UBCO followed the protocols of their sister campus in Vancouver, said director of community relations, Bud Mortenson.

“Demonstrations with opposing views are the expected outcome with controversial topics,” he said.

Mortenson said the Right to Life Society contacted the university before the demonstration, which allowed the university to notify students and faculty as well as coordinate a designated area for the demonstrators.

People have the right to freedom of expression and the university doesn’t have the legal authority to ban these groups, said Mortenson.