Hundreds of people attended a rally in downtown Calgary on Sunday in support of women’s reproductive rights.
The demonstration was called Solidarity March for Roe v Wade. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 ruling that confirmed a constitutional right to abortion.
Kennady Jones is one of the organizers of the rally.
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For Jones, the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision in the U.S. hits close to home. She had an abortion seven years ago.
“It was a seamless procedure for me. Nobody questioned what had to happen because it was medically necessary,” Jones said. “I would’ve died had I not had that abortion.
“The staff were fantastic and that is the healthcare that every woman and every person with a uterus deserves.”
Most of Jones’ family lives in Tennessee, a state with a “trigger law” which would ban abortion 30 days after part or all of Roe V. Wade being overturned.
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“It has a huge impact, especially with people of colour in the BIPOC community because it’s an economical thing,” Jones said. “It’s even worse because they don’t feel safe using their voices to stand up because of how religious the state is. It’s honestly quite devastating to know I have family members who are directly impacted by this, and if they wanted to seek an abortion — it’s now illegal.”
Jones helped organize the rally on Sunday with hopes to bring awareness to not only what’s going on in the U.S., but to highlight the number of MP’s and MLA’s in Canada who are in support of restricting abortions.
One of those is Arnold Viersen, who represents Peace River-Westlock for the Conservative Party of Canada. He released a message on Facebook last month celebrating the court decision in the U.S.
“The pro-life movement in the United States has been working hard on this for generations and it feels so good to have a win,” Viersen said in the post.
The MP called abortion in Canada “a terrible human rights tragedy.”
Dr. Stephanie Cooper is a Calgary obstetrician-gynecologist and maternal-fetal medicine doctor.
She said it can be challenging for people living outside of Calgary and Edmonton to get access to abortion services.
“They tend to be focused in the two urban centres,” Cooper said. “As you can imagine, in the province of Alberta outside of these two major urban centres, access is more difficult. The further north you get, the more that access is challenging.”
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Cooper said there is a growing body of political interests in Canada that mirror those in the U.S., and COVID-19 has highlighted the division in the country.
“I think people believed in the United States, it would never happen,” she said. “So for us to think it won’t happen here would be naïve.
“What we see with our neighbours in the south is absolutely terrifying.
“It’s a cautionary tale, what happened in the United States, and I think it didn’t just suddenly and dramatically happen.”
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