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

Granite Pointe opens for the season

All 18 holes at the golf course opened Monday

COLUMN: Civic Theatre celebrates the past and targets for the future

See all films in Ingman Bergman’s Trilogy for the price of two

Three Nelson organizations get provincial funding to fight violence against women

The money is part of $6.5 million from the provincial government

COLUMN: Facing the perils of social media

We don’t want to be governed by people with shrinking brains

Nelson to hold open house on cannabis survey results

City staff will review results and present options for regulation

UPDATED: 9 killed, 16 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

The sexual orientation and gender identity program was launched as a pilot project last year

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Most Read