USA Roe v. Wade ruled behind Kelowna abortion rights protest – Okanagan |

Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna was filled with more than 100 protesters Monday morning in the wake of a controversial ruling on abortion rights in the United States.

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“We are not going to ignore the situation simply because we are in another country,” said protester Alea Panis.

“Just because we’re in Canada doesn’t mean it won’t happen to us.”

Protests like the one in Kelowna have been taking place across Canada since the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade last month.

“I don’t know if there should be laws on anyone’s bodies, as it’s not really the position of the government to be able to say anything about someone else’s body,” said protester Brett Hammerschmidt.

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The repeal of the 1973 ruling paves the way for US states to ban abortions.

“I think it’s terrible. I think it’s horrible. I think we’ve gone back 50 years and that scares me,” said Sophie Harms, a co-organizer of the protest. “And so I think instead of just being scared, we can do something about it.”

Click to Play Video: 'A Deeper Look at Both Sides of Abortion and the Impact of Roe V. Wade on Canada'

A deeper look at both sides of abortion and the impact of Roe V. Wade on Canada

A deeper look at both sides of abortion and the impact of Roe V. Wade on Canada

The rally was organized by Harms and Nyah Meller, two recent Okanagan College graduates who are passionate about the subject.

“I am passionate because so many of my family members have been sexually assaulted, sadly, and we were considered the lucky victims. We were not pregnant by our abuser, fortunately. But that is not the case for all women,” Meller told Global News.

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In addition to bodily rights, organizers said the protest was intended to highlight another key issue, accessibility to abortion.

“For the Okanagan, there is only one publicly traded abortion clinic here for the entire valley,” Harms told the crowd.

Meller said access can not only be limited, but for some people it’s also expensive.

“In New Brunswick, actually, the provincial government won’t provide access, won’t cover the cost of abortion if it’s outside the hospital,” Meller said.

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“And since there is such a high demand, many people cannot go to the hospital to have an abortion, so they have to go to the 554 Clinic and they have to pay $700, up to $850 for an abortion, which is not possible for everyone when you have a low income or you are from a different community.”

Monday’s protest also drew a handful of anti-abortion protesters who normally demonstrate outside Kelowna General Hospital.

“I was made aware of the fact that there were people who are pro-choice and against the Roe versus Wade trade,” said anti-abortion protester Kathy Hein. “And we just wanted to make sure that the whole community doesn’t think this is what everyone feels is the right thing to do. There is also the other side.”

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The pro-life advocate said there are many supports for pregnant women and there needs to be better awareness of all available resources rather than abortion options.

“I know that many have very difficult circumstances. I’m not saying it’s not a difficult thing, but I think we’re creating a very harsh society, when to get away with it I’m willing to destroy a human life, a defenseless human life,” Hein told Global News. . “I think it’s just not a good way to have a functioning society.”

When asked about unwanted pregnancies due to sexual assault, Hein said it’s still about what she called a ‘helpless’ child.

“In sexual assault, there is still a defenseless child involved who had absolutely nothing to do with the assault,” Hein said. “He is a person. I mean, I can’t be responsible for what my father would do. He might be the most evil person on the planet… don’t I have the right to life because I’m a separate individual?”

Click to play video: 'Roe v.  Wade overturned: Pro-abortion protesters march in Toronto in solidarity with women in the US'

Roe v. Wade overturned: Pro-abortion protesters march in Toronto in solidarity with women in the US

Roe v. Wade overturned: Pro-abortion protesters march in Toronto in solidarity with women in the US

Pro-abortion protesters don’t see it that way, arguing that everyone should have bodily autonomy.

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“I will fight this until it is okay in every country,” Meller said.

“Each person should have the option of their body and to abort if they need it without being slighted by the people of the church, of the state, of anything. It is our body and it is our choices.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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