It’s 2014, folks.
My mother fought for the right to choose and abortion laws in France (legal, since the 1975 Veil Law).
And here I am, today, in Canada, where abortion is legal, still fighting for the same shit.
Every year, a bunch of bigots charter buses from all over Ontario and Quebec and come to Ottawa for a so-called “March of Life”—just an excuse to spit out their hate for women. The sad part is, it’s sold as a “field trip” to many teenagers who are eager to participate.
I refuse to call these folks “pro-life” because those who defend reproductive rights, including access to pregnancy termination, are not against “life”. They are pro-choice. And this is a huge difference.
I can’t explain why the relentless assaults against abortion rights bother me so much. I am usually open to debate. For instance, I am strongly against death penalty but I can understand some of the arguments from the other side. But the anti-abortion movement spread misinformation and shame women—that, I can’t take.
I can perfectly appreciate how hard the decision to have an abortion can be to make. I understand that some women, for religious, philosophical or moral reasons, oppose the idea. Then, it’s simple: don’t have an abortion. Just don’t go around spreading lies and telling other women what to do with their bodies. Abortion laws give women the choice. No woman ever should have to carry a pregnancy she doesn’t want.
I have the same approach with people who consider homosexuality a sin. Fine, don’t be gay, then, don’t marry a gay person (or if you are indeed gay, resign yourself to a life of misery). Just don’t tell other how to live their life. Don’t enforce your views on other people who didn’t ask for anything.
I personally don’t like poutine. But you don’t see me holding a “Eating Poutine = Sinning!” sign in front of deli restaurants, do you?
So I stood there, on Elgin Street, with a bunch of pro-choice folks, waiting for the March for Life to come down from Parliament Hill.
It took a while. Maybe they were waiting for a sign of God?
The police stood in between our group and theirs. “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Your backwards views have got to go!” were the messages heard. Meanwhile, we were screamed at by brainwashed teens, folks wearing religious attire and “blessed” by guys waving—yes—rosaries and praying aloud.
The police did a pretty good job of standing in the middle to avoid big clashes and arguments.
I hope I won’t have to attend another counter march next year. I hope our pro-choice policies are here to stay.
You can see the complete set of the counter-march pictures on Flickr.