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

Big wrestling from a small town

Aaron Roubicek wants to put Prince Rupert on the map at the BC Summer Games

WEB POLL: Are you guilty of foodwaste at home?

B.C. food retailers are trying to change people’s behaviour to reduce food waste

Bear Creek continues $14.5M civil suit with Brucejack Mine owner

The Terrace-based company is looking for damages for unpaid work as it continues Highway 16 work

Ford F350 bursts into flames on Highway 16

Driver on way to Terrace when incident occured

Suspect responsible for police standoff faces five criminal charges

The 47-year-old male had his first court appearance in Prince Rupert and remains in custody

This Week Podcast — Episode 94

Police standoff, Ridley Terminals plans to expand, a community garden and more in Prince Rupert

Newspaper carriers wanted!

Contact The Northern View today to find out how you can become a part of our team

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

UPDATED: The Dog Creek wildfire has grown substantially over the past two… Continue reading

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Most Read