New Abortion CaravanTuesday, November 30 1999
On Wednesday, June 6th, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) will be part of a debate in Edmonton, Alberta, on their “New Abortion Caravan” tour. Since they have no plans to stop in Calgary, a local group of Pro-Choice activists are forming their own caravan in response.
The inspiration for both groups is a historic Pro-Choice caravan which helped bring attention to reproductive rights 42 years ago. While abortion was made legal in 1969, the Trudeau Government placed so many restrictions that as few as one in thirty abortions were approved. The Vancouver Women’s Caucus travelled 3,000 miles to protest this, and with a spectacular protest that shut down Parliament, started the modern Canadian Pro-Choice movement.1 The CCBR is hoping to do the same for Pro-Life activism. “Last year, we announced our new EndtheKilling plan to eliminate abortion from our country in our lifetime,” stated their Executive Director, Stephanie Gray, via press release. “We have given ourselves an 18-year deadline to achieve justice for the pre-born.”2
”Availability of abortion is essential for women’s health and lives,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.” Abortion cannot be eliminated because we will never live in a perfect world where unintended pregnancies don’t happen. And if women can’t access a safe and legal abortion, they will resort to dangerous methods.” Arthur predicted the anti-choice tour will fall flat and soon be forgotten. “There’s no comparison between a group of brave and revolutionary women who succeeded in bringing serious national attention to women’s rights in 1970, and a group of fanatics trying to leach off their accomplishments in an attempt to turn back the clock on women’s rights.”
Kelly Fischer, one of the protest organizers, is frustrated by the CCBR’s methods. “The fear, guilt, and shock tactics behind their surprise demonstrations works only to alienate the general public. These acts of cowardice mean to terrify women, rather than work towards a well informed and safe decision that preserves the quality of life for potential mothers. Despite the games they play in an attempt to make a one sided argument, we are pulling together to respond.”
The CCBR enjoys creating controversy, and are notorious for using images of bloodied foetuses and genocide in their advertisements. Stephanie Gray, via their press release, defends the practice: “The pictures of abortion are shocking because abortion is shocking. The images are disturbing because killing a child is a disturbing thing.”
“More than 95% of all aborted foetuses don’t even have a functional nervous system. I haven’t met many children like that,” said H.J. Hornbeck, another of the protest organizers. “Look, we find those images shocking because we evolved to find blood and guts shocking. I get queasy looking at operation photos; should I spend the next eighteen years trying to stop all open-heart surgery in Canada? That’s ridiculous, and most Canadians agree; only five percent side with the CCBR in their crusade to completely outlaw abortion3. In comparison, twice as many Canadians think Little Green Men have visited Earth. It is no surprise the CCBR have turned to such extreme tactics, that’s the only way they can get a little attention.”
The CCBR’s only event in Alberta is “The Great Abortion Debate” at the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, from 7:30PM to 9:15PM. The activists from Calgary, who have dubbed themselves the “New Abortion Caravan Caravan,” plan to peacefully protest the event, and invite all who care about women to join them. They will also collect donations for the Canadian Patient Assistance Fund, which assists women who cannot afford contraception, or do not have abortion covered by their insurance.
“Women’s Health Options believes and supports Women in their right for Choice: when and/or if to have a child,” said Kim Cholewa, a spokeswoman for the Women’s Health Options Clinic in Edmonton, which offers counselling and contraception to women, as well as performing abortions. If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please contact H. J. Hornbeck at firstname.lastname@example.org .
3 2008 Angus Reid poll: