Second protest for reproductive rights to be held at City Hall

Ian Clark, running for council in Williamsville, at Sunday's protest - photo by Garrett Elliott

A group of protestors will once again organize outside of City Hall in response to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade, effectively barring women in a variety of states from abortion access.

Cate Patterson, an organizer of the two rallies along with Maya Cowan, Shannon Beckstead, and Izzy Myers-Tung, said the group came together last time to more generally show their disgust with the decision.

This time, the demonstration is more focused on persuading political leaders to speak publicly on their beliefs regarding reproductive rights.

“We want our leaders on the record as to where they stand,” Patterson said.

“We’re focusing on city councillors and the mayor and we’d like to know where they stand particularly with the fact that there’s an upcoming election.”

The protest was initially planned to be held in front of the offices of Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen, but was to be symbolically focused on pressuring Ted Hsu – the recently elected MPP who currently doesn’t have an office.

Patterson said Hsu has expressed sentiments that have been “anti-choice” in the past, and protestors wanted him to declare his stance.

On Wednesday morning, Hsu shared a series of tweets commiting to the Liberals’ pro-choice platform, and so the protest was moved to City Hall to focus on municipal leaders.

Patterson said it’s important for leaders at all levels to take a hard stance on reproductive rights, and that regardless of some saying that they’re not threatened in Canada, the direction the United States has taken is reason for concern.

“Whatever happens in the States tends to bleed over here,” Patterson said.

“We’re worried about that and we’re worried about the fact that there are a lot of Conservative MPs here in Canada who have been emboldened by this reversal in the United States and we just kind of want to stop that in its tracks.”

A number of Conservative MPs around the Kingston area were listed by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) as having Anti-Choice stances.

Leeds and Grenville MP Michael Barrett and Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MP Scott Reid, who were listed as having anti-choice stances, did not return request for comment on their respective stance.

Newly elected Hastings-Lennox and Addington Conservative MP Shelby Kramp-Neuman also did not return request for comment.

Thursday’s protest will be held outside of City Hall from 1-5.