Students clash over reproductive rights at B.C. college

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus was the place for heated debate Tuesday afternoon

Pro choice students and anti-abortionists displayed their clashing views at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus Tuesday afternoon.

A group of anti-abortionists that have named themselves “Expose the Reality” chose the location this week to display large, graphic images of aborted fetuses.

“We’re here today to show the truth of abortion to a demographic we believe needs to see the truth. These students are the demographic most likely to choose abortion, and they are our future policy-makers, politicians, lawyers and social architects,” claimed co-organizer and Kelowna Right to Life Society executive director Marlon Bartram.

“We believe that society greatly believes abortion is just a benign procedure that removes a clump of tissue or a mass of cells and they don’t believe there is a victim involved. We’re here to show that there is a victim involved, a baby.”

RELATED: Pro-life rally targets Kelowna students

While a handful of pro-life demonstrators were on campus with graphic signs, far more students showed up to block their messaging. Messaging some called harmful.

“I’ve seen people get upset at this grossly misinformed signs and this is a place of higher education, not harassment,” said Charlotte Culy, while dressed as a vagina. “I’ve seen people running away crying, I’m seeing them harass people.”

She claims the pro-life group forced their messaging on students that she had previously seen asking the demonstrators to leave them alone.

“They don’t care for the student’s feelings, it’s too much,” added Culy. “They shouldn’t be allowed to come on (campus) with these signs. They can come on and try to engage people, but they are actively trying to upset people and that is wrong.”

She was supported by student Evan Kelly who felt it was important to stand with the women on campus.

“I believe it should be every woman’s choice and freedom to make their decision as they chose too,” said Kelly.

“I don’t think this organization should be on the campus of a learning facility where people come to be safe.”

Sam Penner had just jumped back into the vagina costume Culy had been wearing previously when she spoke to the Capital News.

“These are our own choices, our own bodies, so we should be able to do what we want with it,” said Penner.

Students used large fabric posters to block the imagery of the anti-abortionists, a decision Penner explains was to protect fellow students.

In that regard, Bartram said their right to share their message on campus trumps student’s concerns the imaging could trigger other students who may have been impacted by things like past abortions, miscarriage and fertility issues.

“We have a right to express ourselves on campus,” said Bartram. “All these students are warned ahead of time. So, if they want too, they can avoid this area completely. Our right to express ourselves is paramount to someone else’s right not to be offended.”

The voice of opposition did show up for Bartram and his fellow anti-abortionists though, en masse.

Those who took part in the large group wore costumes depicting sexual organs and held posters that said things like “Mind your own damn uterus” and “If you cut off my reproductive rights can I cut off yours?”

Abortion in Canada is legal at all stages of pregnancy and is governed by the Canada Health Act.

Regulations and accessibility vary between provinces. Prior to 1969, all abortion was illegal in Canada.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Pro choice and anti abortionist protestors clashed at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus Tuesday afternoon. (IMAGE CREDIT: CARMEN WELD)

Okanagan college students used large fabric banners to block the graphic imagery brought on campus by the Kelowna Right to Life Society. (IMAGE CREDIT: CARMEN WELD)

A college literary professor reads lines from The Bell Jar, by Syliva Path, to a Kelowna Right to Life demonstrator. The demonstrator’s sign is being blocked by the pro-life students surrounding her. (IMAGE CREDIT: CARMEN WELD)

Charlotte Culy, dressed as a vagina, laid down as part of a student protest at Okanagan College Tuesday. (IMAGE CREDIT: CARMEN WELD) Charlotte Culy, dressed as a vagina, laid down in front of pro-life demonstrators at Okanagan College on March 27, 2018. - Image: Carmen Weld

Just Posted

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Open casting call issued for Trevor Mack’s first feature-length film

All Indigenous actors, preferably local Chilcotin people, are needed for Portraits From A Fire’s cast

New ferry to B.C.’s central coast sets sail, a year late and $20M over budget

Northern Sea Wolf will cost $76 million when it hits the waters in June

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, B.C. lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

B.C. firefighters rescue frozen dog from ice

The fire crew found a dog stuck in the at Lake Paul on May 20

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

B.C. man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Survey finds 15% of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

Most Read