Pro-life and pro-choice groups protest in St. John's

Pro-life and pro-choice protesters faced off at the same time in front of Confederation Building on Saturday.
Rally organizer Margaret Hynes tells CBC's Carolyn Stokes why government should stop funding abortions 1:49

Pro-life and pro-choice protesters faced off in front of Confederation Building on Saturday afternoon in St. John's. 

The Campaign Life Coalition in Newfoundland and Labrador is calling on government to stop funding abortions. 

President Margaret Hynes said abortions are not a medically necessary procedure and therefore, should not be paid for by the taxpayers.

"This is all about what's being done with our tax dollars," said Hynes.

"If somebody wants to have an abortion, that's one thing, but expecting us to pay for it is something else and we don't think we should have to. I'm sure there's lots of other people who don't think their tax dollars should pay for it." 

Pro-life supporters held signs outside Confederation Building, demanding that government stop funding abortions. (CBC)

Hynes told CBC News that $1 million dollars is spent annually by the provincial government to cover the cost of abortions. However, the provincial department of health and community services said that the physician costs in 2011/2012 were approximately $118,000. 

Pro-choice activists counter-protest 

Pro-choice activists also rallied on Saturday.

The group believes de-funding abortion could cause women who can't afford one to seek other, and often more dangerous ways to terminate a pregnancy.

Janelle Skeard of Voices for Choices NL said all aspects of a woman's health should be considered.  

"Health is more than the absence of disease — health is an overall state — so you have your physical mental and emotional health," Skeard said.

"When a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, she's not in a very healthy spot, so we need to support that woman to get where she needs to be to be healthy. And if means that choice is to terminate a pregnancy, I think she should be supported."

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