Anne-tag­o­niz­ing

Posters fea­tur­ing Anne of Green Gables like­ness fuel abor­tion de­bate

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART

P.E.I.’s most fa­mous fic­tional char­ac­ter has be­come part of the prov­ince’s on­go­ing abor­tion de­bate.

A so­cial me­dia group that sup­ports abor­tion ac­cess in P.E.I. and refers to it­self as “iamkarats”, has been plac­ing posters around Char­lot­te­town that fea­ture a young red­head with pig­tails wear­ing a ban­dana, a like­ness of Anne Shirley of “Anne of Green Gables” fame.

The poster also ap­pears to be meant for Premier Wade MacLauch­lan and is fash­ioned with hash­tags “hey Wade”, “ac­cess now” and “Sup­port­Is­land-Women”.

The posters aren’t sit­ting well with the P.E.I. Right to Life As­so­ci­a­tion, which is­sued a state­ment say­ing it is ironic that iamkarats uses an adopted fic­tional char­ac­ter who is dear to the hearts of Is­lan­ders and is the epit­ome of the un­ex­pected bless­ing of choos­ing life, even in chal­leng­ing and non-idyl­lic cir­cum­stances.

“‘Anne of Green Gables’ has warmed the hearts of mil­lions around the world with the hope that un­con­di­tional love is pos­si­ble for an un­wanted child com­ing from dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances,” said Ni­cole Dupuis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the as­so­ci­a­tion, adding that us­ing Anne “as a mas­cot for a move­ment that seeks to end the lives of (de­hu­man­ized) un­wanted chil­dren is pa­thetic.’’

Dupuis also ques­tions the le­gal­ity of us­ing Anne’s im­age, which is a reg­is­tered trade­mark.

Ann Wheat­ley, co-chair­woman of Abor­tion Ac­cess Now P.E.I., said she didn’t have any­thing to do with the posters but agrees with the mes­sage.

“I think that it’s a very cre­ative re­sponse to a very se­ri­ous is­sue in P.E.I.,’’ Wheat­ley said Thurs­day. “There is ob­vi­ously a grass­roots move­ment out there of peo­ple who are not happy with the sta­tus quo.’’

Wheat­ley’s group, which was just in­cor­po­rated in the prov­ince, is fil­ing an ac­tion in the Supreme Court of Prince Ed­ward Is­land against the P.E.I. govern­ment. She says Is­land women have been fight­ing for more than two decades for on­Is­land, le­gal ac­cess to abor­tion.

Thurs­day also just hap­pened to be the 28th an­niver­sary of the 1993 Mor­gen­taler de­ci­sion (Dr. Henry Mor­gen­taler ran an abor­tion clinic in Toronto) by the Supreme Court of Canada which held that the abor­tion pro­vi­sion in the Crim­i­nal Code was un­con­sti­tu­tional, as it vi­o­lated a women’s right un­der the Cana­dian Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms to se­cu­rity of per­son.

“I think it’s very cool that it’s hap­pen­ing to­day,’’ Wheat­ley said, re­fer­ring to the poster cam­paign. “This is a way of cel­e­brat­ing that vic­tory but mak­ing note of the point that it wasn’t a win that trans­lated pro­duc­tively for Is­land women, so we still have a lot of work to do.’’

The Guardian at­tempted to reach out to iamkarats on so­cial me­dia but there was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse.

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

Ann Wheat­ley, co-chair­woman of Abor­tion Ac­cess Now P.E.I., isn’t sure who put up posters around Char­lot­te­town ad­vo­cat­ing for a woman’s right to a safe, le­gal abor­tion, but she cer­tainly agrees with the mes­sage. This poster was placed on a pay­phone on Prince Street.

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