'Something that needs to be protected': Calgarians rally for abortion rights

Rally host and organizer Adora Nwofor voiced concerns developments south of the border could embolden abortion opponents

Jason Herring 3 minute read May 15, 2022

Approximately 200 Calgarians attended a rally at Olympic Plaza Sunday, May 15, 2022 in support of reproductive rights and to stand against the potential ripple effect from the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States. Gavin Young/Postmedia

About 200 Calgarians gathered downtown at Olympic Plaza on Sunday afternoon for a rally supporting abortion rights.

The event came in the wake of a leaked United States Supreme Court draft decision that indicated justices might overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in that country.

Rally host and organizer Adora Nwofor voiced concern the developments south of the border could embolden abortion opponents, both in the political sphere as well as in broader society.

“Very often the decisions that are made in the States impact Canadians,” Nwofor told Postmedia. “They are planning to keep pushing their pro-life point of view.”

Approximately 200 Calgarians attended a rally at Olympic Plaza Sunday, May 15, 2022 in support of reproductive rights and to stand against the potential ripple effect from the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States. Gavin Young/Postmedia

In early May, after reports of the possible U.S. decision to rescind reproductive rights, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the issue falls under federal jurisdiction and that his UCP government has no plans to change abortion access in the province.

Abortions in Canada are decriminalized and publicly funded, though provinces control access to services. In Alberta, three clinics offer abortions: two in Calgary and one in Edmonton, meaning those living outside these cities must travel to access the procedure.

Andie MacKenzie attended the rally over worries that restrictions on abortion could reduce access at a time when services need to be expanded.

“Whoever needs abortions deserve to be able to access them safely and easily,” MacKenzie said. “Abortion is not some stigmatized thing or some controversial thing. It’s just health care, and it’s something a lot of people need, and probably someone you know yourself will need in your lifetime. It’s something that needs to be protected.”

Approximately 200 Calgarians attended a rally at Olympic Plaza Sunday, May 15, 2022 in support of reproductive rights and to stand against the potential ripple effect from the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Erin Gallon was at the rally carrying a sign that read “reproductive rights = human rights.” She’s completing a sexual and reproductive health education program, with plans to become a sex educator.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that to have less abortions happen, comprehensive, inclusive sex-ed is a way to do that, not abstinence-only,” Gallon said.

University of Calgary professor emerita of history Betsy Jameson was among the speakers at the event. Jameson said she’s been a reproductive rights advocate since before Roe v. Wade, and witnessed first-hand the consequences of criminalized abortions while coming of age in the U.S.

“For the first third of my life, I lived in places where abortion was illegal,” Jameson said.

“I remember when it wasn’t legal. I remember the lies that you had to tell to get one. I remember how far you had to go. I remember the expense and I remember the danger.”

Approximately 200 Calgarians attended a rally at Olympic Plaza Sunday, May 15, 2022 in support of reproductive rights and to stand against the potential ripple effect from the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Nwofor said she hopes more Calgarians take an active voice in advocating for abortion rights.

“It’s always nice to have support and people standing in solidarity, but the numbers that we’re seeing aren’t enough,” Nwofor said.

“This is not a hundreds or thousands of people issue. It’s a hundreds of thousands if not millions of people issue.”

— With files from Lisa Johnson

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.