Pro-life rally fosters pro-choice demo

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A pro-life demonstration in New Glasgow on Sunday attracted approximately 40 people and inspired a counter pro-choice rally across the street.

It was part of an hour-long annual event called Life Chain taking place across the country where participants are encouraged to “pray silently while holding signs proclaiming their support of the right to life,” according to a press release from pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition.

Ray Hodgson was one of the local organizers of the pro-life event.

“I believe in life,” he said in response to why it was important to him to get involved. “We support women’s choice, but our choice is life. As opposed to the alternative, which is death. But we’re not just talking about abortion. We’re talking about the right of life in every phase of life from conception to natural death.”

In addition to signs that said things like “abortion kills babies,” there were placards that said, “good palliative care, not euthanasia.”

Sharon Heighton was involved with the promotion of the pro-life event, reaching out to local churches and posting flyers.

“We don’t judge anybody. We don’t condemn anybody. We’re just here to stick up for the unborn. If we don’t, who will?” Heighton said.

Promotion of the local demonstration on East River Road near Park Street prompted the Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health to organize its own event.

Executive director Vania MacMillan said being pro-choice is a big part of the centre’s mandate and that’s why they got involved.

“We do help people with pregnancy options when they’re faced with a situation that they have to make a decision. We make sure they have enough information that they can make an informed decision and a decision that’s best for them, that is based on their own beliefs, their own feelings, their own needs and not based on other people or what religion may tell them.”

Organization of the counter demonstration started two days ago, after Shelley Thompson, executive director of the Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre, contacted MacMillan.

“Given that it took two days to bring us together, I’m very proud to see people taking some time out of their day on a Sunday to come out and share their voices,” said Thompson about the pro-choice crowd, which had approximately 18 people holding signs that said things like “no choice means no rights” and “against abortion? Don’t have one.”

“It’s wonderful to see people of all genders out because it’s not a women-only issue,” said MacMillan.

From the left: Jillian Hennick, Doreen Paris, Vania MacMillan, and Shelley Thompson were among the participants in a pro-choice counter demonstration on Sunday afternoon. (Jess photo)