Pro-choice protesters converge on pro-life event at Edmonton community centre

A number of pro-choice protesters gathered outside Edmonton’s Blue Quill Community League on Wednesday night to voice their opposition to a pro-life event being held at the community centre.

Story continues below

Demonstrators arrived dressed as “handmaids” from the Margaret Atwood novel and TV show The Handmaid’s Tale, and others carried signs opposing any potential infringement on abortion rights.

READ MORE: Lack of access is forcing Canadian women to the U.S. for abortions

“This is an anti-choice booking at a local community league,” said Kathy Dawson, a board member with the Alberta Pro-Choice Coalition. “This group is agitating to remove rights from people who can get pregnant — women and gender diverse people — we don’t think that that’s appropriate for community.

“A publicly-funded organization is obligated to uphold Charter rights and that includes the rights of women and LGBT people. And they shouldn’t be renting space to groups that seek to remove our rights.”

The pro-life event was part of the nationwide Operation 50 tour, which has a goal of replacing 50 pro-choice MPs in Ottawa with 50 pro-life MPs.

READ MORE: The House of Commons just gave a standing ovation for abortion rights – minus the Conservatives

WATCH BELOW: MPs (minus Tories) give standing ovation to motion affirming support for abortion rights (May 2019)

Alissa Golob, co-founder and executive director of the pro-life organization RightNow, said that while the issue can be very divisive, she believes many Canadians have concerns with abortions, particularly late-term abortions and sex-selective abortions.

READ MORE: Pro-choice advocates want crisis pregnancy centres defunded and regulated

Golob said she respected the protesters “right to be there.”

“I do acknowledge that there are those that don’t agree with us on that issue, and some of the other places where we’ve had counter-protesters, we’ve had discussions and we’ve talked and we’ve reached that common ground and I think that’s really important.”

READ MORE: Unusual sight as pro-life, pro-choice activists demonstrate side-by-side in Kelowna

Dawson said she believes Golob’s group is working to threaten people’s Charter rights when it comes to abortion.

“Their whole purpose to be in that room tonight is to find a way to subvert the democracy within the conservative party, run anti-choice politicians that are willing to remove our rights,” she said. “[Politicians] that are willing to legislate against our right to choose — our right of bodily autonomy.”

While many of the protesters voiced their opposition outside the community centre, some entered the building and police were called in to ensure the situation did not escalate.

LISTEN: Wait, There’s More podcast — Young, pregnant and in crisis