How Canadas Anti-Abortion Movement Recruits Young People

The Big Story


There are lots of myths, and lies and assumptions at their regarding abortions, especially these days, especially in the United States, where things are not going great right now for those who believe and a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body. The dominoes keep falling in the Bush to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Ohio governor signing today would critics condemn as the most restrictive abortion law in the country today. Missouri became the latest state to pass one of the order now becomes the third state since March to sign your loan, thirteen other states have introduced or advanced similar legislation to Alabama the lead. Est battleground in the newly energized abortion. But there is one myth in particular, that we need to talk about. And it's not about the medical procedure or who gets them or when or why it's about the people who oppose access to abortion. And this myth concerns, Canadians to it's very easy to look at the old white faces of the men in power in America who are imposing restrictive state laws and viewed them as the face of the anti-abortion movement. And that's fair. But it is not the whole story. And what you think you know about who exactly is out there in front of clinics or at their marches for life is probably wrong. So if you're a person who believes in the right to choose. And in the progress that has been made on that front over the decades, then it's important for you to take a really hard look at who is pushing the anti-choice agenda, and where they're doing their recruiting. I'm Jordan Rawlings. And this is the big story, Sydney Loni is a freelance journalist, she investigated the anti-abortion movement in Canada for flare dot com. Hi, said, hi, let's start with general question, how supportive are we of rate to choice in Canada? I always thought we were very supportive in this sort of non-issue. There was a poll in two thousand seventeen that found seventy seven percent of Canadians support pro choice, and that's a pretty good number. I thought it was on a low side. And if you compared to other countries like, France, it's actually eighty six in Sweden's eighty seven percent and support. So we're, we're still and we have a little ways to go. What is the typical image of the pro-life abortion activists anti-abortion activists in Canada? Gentleness conception out there that sort of, you know, angry white men yelling at side, abortion clinics. And when I did this piece, and I spoke to many anti-abortion. Vists. That's what they said that they wanted to sort of dispel, that myth at. That's what they are. And but I think that it's sort of persistent. We think that sort of a small fringe group. I know you know, when I was in university. It'd be the handful of people walk by maybe five or six people with signs you kinda give them wide berth, because there is sort of seen as these kind of weird outliers. And I don't think that that's the case anymore. What's changing, I think the biggest thing surprised me the most too, is just sort of the, the size of the movement now and the youth of the movement. It's, it's not it's, it's young educated women women university. Many of them when Wednesday spoke to many of the women, I spoke to are pursuing careers in healthcare, and that also surprised me, but these are sort of young articulate s- university, educated women. How do they come by these views because that does seem really in congress to me? Yeah. And that's a good question. I think one of the women, I spoke to some of it is based on religion. They've been brought up with these views and they say that their family is also PR. Prolife, but many, you know, in highschool, they've sort of set of tapped into this, and it sort of resonated with them. Many women, I spoke to said that they saw as being cool movement whereas really years ago. Yeah. Years ago, you know, the said that being pro pro choice was sort of the default everyone, you know, their grandparents are now pro-choice, and they see this sort of rebellious the new rebellion movement and whereas before it was cool to be pro choice. Now, they say it's cool to be pro life that seems so strange to, to be honest. Handle telegraphing my head around that one as well. But yeah, I think a lot of us who are pro choice or just in general progressive people. They see you, as the future of their movement. Right. Outta your member after the shooting and park land, Florida last year. There was this whole movement from these teens and the, the message around them from adults was youth. They're going to save us. Right. And, and it seems like you know, we see young kids fighting climate change and speaking out against racism, and I feel like abortion, just gets lumped in there, too. And maybe it shouldn't. Yeah, I, I think maybe I think maybe we've become complacent about it. I mean I certainly had no idea how big this movement was earlier in may that the March for life, which I'd never actually even wasn't really on my radar took place. And that sort of where I interviewed on these women who are preparing to go the March, and they're excited about the March when young woman, I interviewed was hosting a gala at in Victoria, the university after the March. So it's like a big it's a big cool party and the March started in nineteen ninety eight and were. Seven hundred participants in this last year, they were fifteen thousand and that's only an Ottawa. So the marches all over your city across the country, and it just shows the size of the growing Amenam of this movement. Tell me about a couple of the young women, you've met, if there are any who stand, particularly to you, and what they're like. Yeah. I think one woman in particular, she's she's eighteen eighteen and she was her first March. And she was just like a kid going on a trip. She was really excited about it. It was her first she's, she just graduated from high school. Her family is she told me was also antiabortion, but she was excited to be other people, our age who share those views, and she wanted to be part of the movement, and wanted to possibly in the future, maybe intern at some of these organizations. And that's the other thing is a lot of these groups have interns, who start very young and use of Ashby, where these people are coming from. They start out, you know, they were being recruited in high school to, to come into the offices and work there. And then they end up also out on the streets holding the signs. And the things that we do. See that was actually my next question is, is this, a conscious effort by anti-abortion organizations to get younger? I would say so definitely and even the place to everyone, who I talked to said that they had I'm been exposed to these ideas in high school and in some schools, one of the women, I didn't end up talking to her article, had followed her, and we had talked a little bit, but she actually goes into high schools and does talks about, you know, the antiabortion movement. And so there's that aspect as well. What are pro choice organizations doing to try to? They must see the tide turning than I, I don't know, if the thought that the right metaphor being possibly one woman, I spoke to was very concerned in and she had no when she found out, she wasn't an activist didn't think of his office when before the March for life. But then this was the first year that there was one in Toronto as well. And that kind of freaked her out a bit. And so she organized a counter protest in got on Facebook and got all these people involved to come out of warn people was happening part of it, and also to sort of. Have a have a voice for the other side for the pro choice side, and another woman in Berta longtime activists said that. Yes, there is momentum and that the people who are active in the movement are doing whatever they can about it. But the society is a whole has become a little bit on the complacence. I we don't really haven't really isn't on our radar, and we look so th and think, oh, that could never happen here. And I think the concern is, you know, if it can happen there, I can happen anywhere and you we have some very vocal pro-life politicians who've been elected, and people are electing them despite having them holding these views. So that is an issue. We did a podcast last week about Sam who Stor off who's, obviously interesting not female, but very young. And very vocally anti-abortion, and when we talk about this stuff, even people who are critics of him say, they would never actually change the law. Stephen Harper didn't change the laws. Andrew Scheer has no plans to change the laws. Right. So there is. It's not necessarily complacency. But there just seems to be a thought that this is a done deal. Right. I think that's maybe dangerous thought I think that the anti-abortion people spoke to said that their goal was to, to support pro life politicians into get into show them that they have a huge movement behind them, but there's also this sort of more insidious things terms of, you know, our, our side in tarot back to the nineties, and we're taking steps back everywhere else in related ways. And just how hard it is for women to access abortion in Canada. I think people don't necessarily realize that I mean, you've only been only got one MP is nineteen thousand seventeen and in other provinces. Well, it's not it's not easy there. It's hard to find clinics to find train doctors long wait times. So it's a lot of barriers that,

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