Some Canadians were happy to tell an American actress about their appreciation of reproductive rights for women in this country after she took a shot at Canada's abortion laws.
Ashley Bratcher and her producer were in Ottawa for a screening of "Unplanned, which is based on the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who became an anti-abortion activist.
"It is clear to me that Canada desperately needs @UnplannedMovie Did you know that there are NO RESTRICTIONS ON ABORTION and that the government pays for it in Canada?" Bratcher tweeted on Thursday, along with a photo of her and producer Joe Knopp in front of Parliament.
Yesterday, we had our first screening in #Canada for Members of Parliament and it is clear to me that Canada desperately needs @UnplannedMovie Did you know that there are NO RESTRICTIONS ON ABORTION and that the government pays for it in Canada? #prolife#parliamentpic.twitter.com/Km7jbwEHBA— Ashley Bratcher (@_AshleyBratcher) April 11, 2019
Bratcher's comments were met by some Canadians letting her know they're happy to live in a country with access to free health care and medically necessary services.
Others told the actress to return to the United States, where abortion rights are still highly contentious.
Yes, our public health care system pays for medically necessary services. And our health care system allows women and doctors to make health decisions, not legislators or churches. Win all around!— ArielTroster (@ArielTroster) April 12, 2019
Our laws are fine, lower rates here than that sewage swamp you call USA, cause we offer supports, not hate. You're not welcome here, take your conspiracy garbage, misinformation and anti women propaganda back to US where the collectively ignorant can debate.— Lori King (@1loriking) April 12, 2019
Canada desperately needs your hateful, bigoted kind to leave us alone. We like our freedom, self control, medical care and the last thing we want or need is your dark ages preaching. Incidentally, "government paying" = WE all pay a lower cost 4 healthcare via taxes.— beatrice (@BeaLawson27) April 12, 2019
Dr. Jennifer Gunter, a Canadian-American obstetrician-gynecologist who frequently calls out dubious or false medical information on social media, also jumped into the discussion.
There is no abortion law, but some hospitals impose restrictions. Do get your facts straight! And yes, the governments pays for it because they have this thing called universal health care. You should learn about it!— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 12, 2019
Oh yeah, the abortion rate is lower in Canada! #TheMoreYouKnowhttps://t.co/5vCpFOufQP
She also broke down the history of abortion in Canada for the actress.
Dr. Morgentaler decided to do abortions safely without following the law. He was tried 3 times and no jury would convict him. Everyone would have know a women who died or was maimed by a back alley procedure https://t.co/keICgtkTmm 2— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 12, 2019
The law was challenged by Dr. Morgentaler and deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988. Because a pregnant person is a human and a fetus is not. 3— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 12, 2019
Have a blast in Canada @_AshleyBratcher let me know when you want another Canadian history lesson! 3
This is a lie.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 14, 2019
Is that really the best you can do? https://t.co/tfBaih3efb
The "Unplanned" screening was attended by Conservative MPs Brad Trost and Harold Albrecht, who tweeted about the event.
Thankful for the opportunity to watch @UnplannedMovie an inspiring story of one woman's journey of transformation. #unplanned is still in the top 10 #movies of the week in the States, - so please ask Cineplex to bring it to Canada! Email firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/5Z5HEFgY9K— Harold Albrecht, MP for Kitchener-Conestoga (@Albrecht4KitCon) April 11, 2019
@UnplannedMovie's 1st #Canadian screening was on Parliament Hill! I was joined by @_AshleyBratcher the lead actress who plays @AbbyJohnson in this INCREDIBLE film. Canada, we have ZERO protections for our babies, so the need for this film to be shown across the country is crucial pic.twitter.com/pblIgUtXvj— Brad Trost, MP 🇨🇦 (@BradTrostCPC) April 11, 2019
While women in more rural and remote parts of Canada can struggle to access abortion providers, the procedure has been fully unrestricted in Canada since 1988 and is treated like any other medical procedure.
Late-term abortions are extremely rare in Canada. Statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information estimate that only 2.7 per cent of abortions in Canadian hospitals in 2016 took place after 20 weeks.
As many commenters pointed out, despite looser laws, abortions occur more frequently in the United States. There were 12.1 abortions performed per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in the U.S. in 2014, compared to 8.03 in Canada.
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