Islanders show their support at Pro Choice P.E.I. rally

By Maureen Coulter
Sept. 21, 2014

Access to abortion is incredibly important to Bethany Koughan.
That is why the Charlottetown woman attended the pro-choice rally in the city on National Day of Action on Reproductive Justice on Reproductive Justice, on Sept. 20.
The issue of no abortion access on P.E.I. needs to be addressed because every other province provides the service, she said.
“It’s absolutely outrageous that we are being denied this basic service on the premise of a policy that doesn’t exist.”
Politics should not be part of the discussion, she said.
“The only reason the services are not available here is because it’s politically tricky. It’s a political tricky issue and that shouldn’t block women from accessing services that they are entitled to.”
The crowd cheered as Isaac Williams, the representative for Pro-Choice P.E.I., walked up the steps of Province House to the microphone.
Approximately 50 people attended the rally to hear Williams, along with several other speakers, talk about the need to provide abortion access on P.E.I.
Williams went from being an observer and spectator to an abortion rights activist following the provincial government’s decision to scrap an abortion proposal.
The proposal was from the National Abortion Federation with three doctors willing to travel to the Island to perform abortions using existing facilities on P.E.I.
“I started Pro-Choice P.E.I. as a Twitter account just to engage public discussion and sort of serve as a community building effort and also just to voice my frustrations with the current set-up on P.E.I.”
He has been observing this issue for several years and he hopes the protest would build upon the momentum from national political events and a conference at UPEI.
“The goal is to keep the foot on the gas and keep the issue up front and centre in P.E.I. politics. I don’t want to see it go away for another year.”
Dylan Sampson of Greenwich said many people he looks up to are women and he came to the rally to show his support.
The reason why some people are against abortion is because they don’t have all the facts, he said.
“Even though we keep trying to put them out there, they are not willing to look at them and see them for what they are. They are just wanting to go back to what they know, or what they think they know.”
He hoped the rally would change some minds and people would realize all they are trying to do is provide rights to women, said Sampson.
“It’s kind of silly that we are still fighting for rights for women when they are our equal. Everyone is equal.”