Abortion presentation sparks protest

A presentation organized by Students for a Culture of Life that focused on abortion incited a protest from members of the U of M Womyn’s Centre last week.

During the event held on Oct. 4 in University Centre, three members of the Silent No More awareness campaign spoke about their negative experiences with abortion.

Angelina Steenstra, the national coordinator for the campaign, explained the campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about the struggle some people experience after abortion.

Steenstra also shared her experience with abortion. “I was told that I would feel no pain; I was lied to,” she said. She explained after the abortion she felt depressed; she changed her name, address and job, and eventually became suicidal.
Several other members of the campaign explained their experiences with abortion to an audience in the Fireplace Lounge.

“I had an abortion more than 40 years ago, and with all my being I regret what I did,” said Anita Sonntag, the regional coordinator of the campaign for Saskatoon.
She said in the 14 years after the abortion she suffered from depression, anxiety, insomnia and drinking problems.

While Sonntag spoke, two other members of the campaign held black signs that read “I regret my abortion.”

“I am here to say that I’ve never regretted having my babies, but I have regretted having my abortion,” said Heather White, the Winnipeg regional coordinator of Silent No More. She also stated that after her abortion she experienced depression, anxiety, anger, low self-esteem and nightmares.

“I had nightmares of missing babies, looking for babies,” she said.
During the presentation, members of the U of M Womyn’s Centre walked to the front of the audience with their own signs. The first protester walked up during Sonntag’s speech with a pink sign that read “I don’t regret my abortion & I support your right to choice.”

More protesters came up during White’s speech with signs that read “choice,” “my body my choice,” “I’m pro choice + I fought back,” and “pro choice pro woman.”
Members of the Womyn’s Centre and a small group of male and female students attended the event. Though they applauded after each speaker finished, the presentation ended in a question period during which several audience members asked whether or not the campaign was against abortion.

“We’re not doing anything else besides sharing testimonies,” Steenstra stated.
Caroline Dubois, president of Students for a Culture of Life, said they were grateful to the three speakers and were glad that the Womyn’s Centre was a part of the presentation.

“Our goal is to inform and educate students on life issues, with a particular focus on abortion,” Dubois stated.

Dubois explained her group’s presence on campus is important because the pro-life message was not being heard or understood at the university.

Lauryn Pizey-Allen, a member of the Womyn’s Centre and one of the protesters, said she was “appalled” by Silent No More’s presentation held Tuesday morning.
Pizey-Allen said she believed the presentation was anti-abortion, “but they weren’t upfront about it.”

Pizey-Allen said she decided to protest because she wanted to show another point of view from the speakers.

“I want women [ . . . ] to know that if abortion is the right choice for you, it’s not something you will live to regret.”

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