Pro-choice abortion conference set to begin amid protest

An international pro-choice abortion conference begins today at UPEI, attracting both academics and protests.

Organizers billing conference as a first

An international pro-choice abortion conference begins today at UPEI, attracting both academics and protests.

Prince Edward Island is the only province in Canada where legal abortions are not performed.

Organizers are billing the conference, called Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution, as the first international academic conference of its kind in Canada.

"It's an academic conference to talk about reproductive justice scholarship and, specifically, focusing on the impacts or limits of abortion access, in particular," said organizer Colleen MacQuarrie.

MacQuarrie says the event has attracted dozens of researchers from around the world. She says the idea is to move thinking and discussion forward.

"What often will comes out of a conference will be proceedings and publications of just released work, as well as more networking and more research," she said.

The conference has also attracted some protest.

Some members of the Ontario-based anti-abortion group called Show the Truth have already begun distributing flyers in Charlottetown showing graphic images of, what they say are, aborted fetuses.

"We want to be here to show people the truth behind what is being spoken about, because people need to see the reality of abortion," said the group’s spokesperson, Siobhan McLeod.

It's not clear if the anti-abortion group will go to UPEI during the conference, but MacQuarrie says her group has volunteers ready to diffuse any conflicts.

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