Anti-abortion activists hope changes in U.S. could help cause on P.E.I.

More than 100 people gathered in Charlottetown Sunday for an anti-abortion march and rally.

The March for Life is an annual event, but some involved say they think their message could have more of an impact this year because the topic is prominent.

In recent weeks, a number of U.S. states have moved to restrict abortion access.

"This is an incredible development," said Pat Wiedemer, executive director of the P.E.I. Right to Life Association. "We certainly are of one mind with everyone in the world, from Rome, to Poland, to Germany, to France, to Australia, New Zealand, United States and here in Canada who stand for life being protected at all times."

'People are actually talking about it'

Wiedemer said her group's focus is on positive messages and education. But she does want to see changes to Canadian law.

She's been glad to see new laws enacted in some states and believes those conversations could have an influence in Canada, and on the Island. 

"Anything that goes up on the news today impacts everybody. There's not one of us who are left untainted or untouched." 

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Nineteen-year-old Virginia Pierlot believes that abortion should be illegal in all cases. She agrees that news out of the U.S. could help to push the cause forward here.

"I'm actually very appreciative that people are actually talking about it," she said. "Even if it's for or against. Because you can actually get education by learning what abortion actually is."

No counter-protest

Days ago, an anti-abortion protest in St. John's, N.L., prompted a much larger counter-protest.

Charlottetown police at Sunday's march said they had anticipated there might be some counter-protest along the route, but didn't see any. 

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Earlier this month, a group of anti-abortion activists — not affiliated with P.E.I. Right to Life — protested with graphic signs outside of P.E.I. high schools. Those protests were met with large groups of counter-protestors — both students and others.

While Wiedemer said using graphic images is not a tactic that her group employs, she agrees with the messages. She sees those protests as a sign that the debate around abortion is not over.

Among those in attendance at Sunday's event was Robert Mitchell, the interim leader of the provincial Liberals. He declined to be interviewed.

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