The inoffensive Pro-Life billboard in South Hazelton was recently vandalized with black paint and with offensive language which left no doubt as to the immaturity of the vandals. Reading on page A3 of the Sept. 14 Interior News, “vandalism spiking in Smithers area,” including a black paint defacing of the now famous Pro-Life billboard at the dump, I thought it was probably the same kids. So imagine my amazement to find an editorial lecture on page A6 disclosing to the readers that a Pro-Choice camp had been vandalizing the billboard. Your column, Mr. Orr, was historically ignorant, patronizing and, of course, a libel.
Giving your sensitive, well researched positive approach to some other controversial issues in our region it was both surprising and disappointing.
Since the majority of Canadians are pro-choice — i.e. believe that abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor regardless of their own personal beliefs — and if the vandal(s) were adults, you may be right that they were “pro-choice”. It’s a big step from there to your blanket assumptions.
“Pro choicers should organize if they want to be considered more seriously”? Cameron, we did all that before you were born. Billboards? Serious? You bet. Been there (in our hundreds of thousands) worn the t-shirt, strategized at the meetings, did the fundraising, attended the rallies and achieved the majority of our goals. Now, reasonably secure in the knowledge that the majority of Canadian women and girls have access to safe, effective birth control and a range of women’s reproductive health services, including abortion, we’ve moved on to many other social issues.
You might do better to ask why, 40 years later, some Pro-Lifers are still putting up thoroughly offensive, dishonest billboards and threatening us with hellfire and punitive visitations of breast cancer via Letters to the Editor.
They didn’t agree with the findings of the 1977 report of the Commission on the Operation of the Abortion Law. They certainly did not agree with the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada decision on abortion, which removed abortion from the Criminal Code. They simply don’t accept it, which is to say that they don’t accept the right of female citizens of this country to exercise control over their own bodies.
Just because I don’t agree with some pro-lifers about much doesn’t mean I don’t continue to support their right to their own personal opinions and their right to free speech, a cornerstone of any democracy. I just with that as citizens of a modern, secular, multi-cultural, religiously diverse democracy, they would have the decency to return the favour. It’s not our differences of opinion over access to safe, legal abortion that divide me from my pro-life fellow citizens, it’s their refusal to accept our right to self-determination. And it’s our commitment to that right which makes us Pro-Choice.