Visitor to Valley distressed by pro-life demonstration

Editor’s Note: The Current received the following letter from a visitor reacting to the recent pro-life demonstration. Click HERE for that report.

Dear Editor,

This weekend my family and I visited Bonnechere Provincial Park. We had a wonderful time and were shocked on our way out of town to come across dozens of people standing on the side of the roads protesting a woman’s right to choose.

My husband and I were disgusted at this display and truthfully, it made your town seem uneducated, backwards in thought and made us not want to spend money in Barry’s Bay or the surrounding area. 

Access to safe, legal abortions are critical to women’s health.

Mostly, I’m wondering, what is your goal in standing on the side of the road in the rain? Is it to get enough citizens on your side that abortions become illegal again? If so, you are killing women. While your signs say “Abortions kill children” not having access to safe abortions kills women and children. 

Abortions have always existed. Before, they were done with coat hangers by desperate women and often they would die or become barren. The fetus would be killed, too, in a much less humane way.

When we take away abortion rights, data shows this disproportionately affects women of colour and women who are poor. Rich people will always find a way to get access. In this way, the anti-choice movement is inherently racist. 

It is shameful to have your children out there standing in the rain for this issue. You are entitled to your opinion; however, abortion in Canada has been legal for decades and that is not about to change. Those of us in the pro-choice movement far outnumber anti-choice voices. 

Furthermore, to the men protesting, do you have a uterus? If not, you should not be out there. A woman’s right to choose is between her and her doctor and, in some instances, a supportive partner.

I’m curious, do any of the protestors have adopted children? If not, why? Would you be willing to adopt a child in lieu of the fetus being aborted?

By protesting this issue, all you’re doing is further shaming desperate women (and girls) who are already facing the most agonizing choice of their lives.

What happens when a woman isn’t emotionally or financially able to bring a child into this world? Those of us who are parents know how hard it is. Now imagine if you didn’t want that child, if you’re a teenager, if you’re a drug addict or if you’re already poor. How would you do it? What would that child’s life look like? In all likelihood, that child would be subject to a very difficult, if not miserable, life. 

When you are standing there on the street, you are telling the people in your community and those driving through it, you are people who do not care about women’s rights. You are putting a fetus, who literally cannot survive outside the womb without the mother, ahead of the living, breathing woman or girl carrying that fetus. You care more about that fetus than the woman carrying it or about the child it could become.

For that, we say shame on you. Shame on you for not researching this issue. Shame on you for being against women’s rights. Shame on you for caring only about a fetus, but not what happens to them once they are born into this world. 

If a fetus is a child of God, is the woman carrying the fetus not also a child of God? Does she have no say over her own body in her own life?

What about girls who are raped? They’ve already been through trauma and you think it’s necessary for them to put their body and mind through the difficulty of childbirth and the changes that impact your body forever once you’ve been through it? 

What about the women who will die if they carry through with a pregnancy that their body cannot manage?

What about the parents who find out they are going to have a stillborn child and have to go through the horror of a second trimester (or worse) a third trimester abortion?

There is no woman out there who makes the choice of abortion lightly.  It stays with them forever. Some regret it, most don’t, but regardless, it should be their choice to make. Not yours. Not lawmakers. 

In conclusion, if you are so desperately against abortion that you care enough about this issue to stand out in the rain, may I suggest your community enacts vasectomies for the men and boys in it? Vasectomies are easily reversed and would eliminate abortions entirely. 

Women are blamed, shamed and it is their lives who are most negatively impacted by unwanted pregnancies. There is no pregnancy without sperm. De-fertilize the sperm until the man or boy is ready to have children, then reverse it. It is a virtually painless operation. No more abortions. No more women and girls and their families in peril.

Thank you for your time. We hope when we drive through Barry’s Bay again we don’t see you on the side of the street. And if you are still anti-choice, please, keep it to yourself.


Danielle Hitchcock-Welsh

Hamilton, ON

Note to our readers: Further comments on this letter will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.


  1. Chad Beckwith Smith

    When someone is pregnant, she is not “expecting a child” -she already has one. She is not “going to be a mother” – she is already is a mother. The baby is not ” on the way,” the baby has already arrived. If we are going to change the way society treats unborn children, we have to change the way we talk about them. Abortion is murder.

  2. John Paul Meenan


    In response to Ms. Hitchcock-Welsh’s comment, I would first remind her and all readers that we have the right, and even the duty at times, of free assembly and protest about those matters we hold dear, or at least think important and, in this case, vital.

    But more to the point, and I don’t expect to convince Ms. Hitchcock-Welsh, but only to make clear our perspective: If we believe that human life begins at conception – and medical science is uncontroverted on this point – then how are we to proceed in cherishing and protecting that life? Every woman knows that she is pregnant, not with an ‘embryo’ or ‘fetus’, but with a baby, one that used to be given the rights of a person – including the right to live – but which rights were removed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and John Turner (his Justice Minister) in 1969. Now, it’s open season on the unborn, for soon afterwards, the initial safeguards whittled away, and abortion is now not only ‘legal’, but paid for, for any reason, all through nine months, right up until the baby is partially born. Infanticide is just around the corner, if not already upon us. And we’re already killing the sick and the elderly (and soon anyone who desires death) by the thousands.

    Those of us ‘standing in the rain’ that Sunday afternoon were not specifying what should now be done in ‘law’ to protect the unborn. There are indeed ‘hard cases’, as there are with most issues, but there are also bad solutions to those cases, foremost amongst which is aborting the baby. The line from Rob Roy comes to mind, from the 1995 film, when the Scottish rebel discovers his wife pregnant after her rape: “It’s no’ the child that needs killin’”. I’m not advocating capital punishment, only that it’s the rapist who committed the crime, and deserves punishment, not the child.

    What is the law to do when a mother forgets her baby? Every woman – and studies have verified this – regrets her abortion, regardless of how the child came into existence. And we would say the same of euthanasia: Abortion, murder, suicide, are never good solutions to any problem.

    So we are there simply to witness to life, to choose life, to support, protect and cherish life. Such is our right. Such is our duty.

  3. Laura Teed

    Men commenting on abortion rights is like women commenting on a man’s right to get sterilized… it’s not their body – so it shouldn’t be their issue to comment on, period. You literally NEVER HEAR … “But what about the rights of the little swimmer sperm who did not get their a chance to swim? Some of them were at least 3-4 days old? They were living and now, they are dead… they didn’t get their chance!” I think this whole conversation is incredibly backward and all about one gender trying to control the functions of another. Fact: You can’t have a baby without Sperm – and the sperm are fundamentally the motor to jumpstart the process. So, what about the responsible use of sperm? Why are we just throwing away all this sperm … men, so callously, insensitively ejaculating away potential lives … for centuries … Now, does that sound ridiculous to you? Yes. Because it is. This points out the clear fact that … when the sperm leave the body via ejaculation from masturbation or otherwise, the sperm are gone, and, quite frankly those who ejected said sperm are rarely thinking of “their” welfare … So, why do these same ejaculating individuals feel they, who so callously and carelessly exert their “se(a)men” overboard, without life vests, think THEY can dictate what someone else does with eggs they cannot chose to expel at such a rate? Unfathomable and hypocritical concept to say the very least. Kudos to the author – a hard and a just conversation to ignite!

  4. Sarah Moulton

    Just a question I want to put out there to all pro-lifers. I do understand your view point and respect your opinion, however, with that being said, can I assume you are all fostering or adopting these children of unwanted pregnancies? Financially, emotionally, spiritually supporting these women?

  5. Danielle Hitchcock-Welsh

    In reply to Eve-Marie Chamot

    I’ve just re-read your comment and see that you’re calling abortion birth control. Abortion is not birth control. Abortion is an absolute last resort. No one is pro-abortion. To suggest people are flippantly having abortions is ludicrous. Plan B would be an emergency contraceptive and it is available over the counter and again, is not what should be relied on for birth control. When you over simplify abortions, (and link them to Nazi-era Germany), you ignore so many variables. The movement comes across as lacking empathy and information. There are plenty of people who live in Barry’s Bay and the surrounding area who are equally horrified by these displays who don’t feel comfortable speaking up. As we drove through the town, alongside many other vehicles, not one honked. I imagine each of those cars passing through were as upset as I was but are afraid to speak out. All I ask is the anti-choice movement answer the questions on rape, on unconsensual ejaculation and what your movement is doing to prevent pregnancies? Are you talking to your boys and men about their responsibilities? The pro-choice movement centres around prevention first. No one is out there having abortions just because they can. No one is out there having an abortion as a form of birth control. I highly doubt survivors of Hitler’s Germany would be against a woman’s right to choose — to suggest that is quite extreme and upsetting. The anti-choice rhetoric is harmful on many levels. I ask that your movement do some research on abortion percentages, how access to safe abortions is critical and what happens in places where they are illegal. We will not go back in time to coat hangers. It is 2020, we all need to be more compassionate toward each other, we need to come from a place of empathy and understanding — not of judgment. If this is a religious issue, let God be the judge of these women/girls and their families who make the difficult choice to have an abortion. It should not be up to lawmakers or anyone else. It should be a choice between a female and their doctor. You don’t have to agree with that choice. But you also don’t have to further shame women/girls driving through your town or at your parades. You don’t know what kind of trauma people have been through and it is upsetting to see this as a visitor to Barry’s Bay.

  6. Danielle Hitchcock-Welsh

    In reply to Eve-Marie Chamot.

    With all due respect, 77% of Canadians are pro-choice. The pro-choice movement is not pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. It is an awful situation and a horrendous choice to have to make. But it should be a choice between a woman (or girl) and her doctor. You are absolutely within your rights to protest and demonstrate. I was trying to understanding the point of the protesting though, if it is to make abortion illegal again, that puts women and girls at further risk. Access to safe and legal abortions is a critical point of care. If you are truly pro-life, you also need to consider the rights and life of the person carrying the unborn child. If you are truly pro-life, your focus should be on pregnancy prevention. I hope that you are heavily involved in children’s affairs once they are born and are actively as vocal for those children who are in dire situations once they are born. I don’t disagree that a fetus can be considered a human at 84 days. However, that brings us to 12 weeks gestation. The vast majority of abortions happen within the first trimester. Before 84 days. 2nd trimester abortions are extremely rare, minimal and would likely be due to the woman carrying the child is in peril (or the child is) and dire medical complications have taken place. Only 1% of all abortions in Canada happen after 21 weeks. Again, they are medically necessary.

    I was compelled to write this letter because I thought those protesting should know how unwelcome they are making people to The Valley and how backwards it seems to fight for this. It isn’t as simple as “sex has consequences” or “the fetus has rights.” When you campaign for making abortions illegal, do you have no compassion for women and girls who are raped? Who did not consent to a boy or man ejaculating in them? Are we as focused on the boy or man’s involvement in creating the pregnancy? What are your answers to those questions? Abortions have always happened. Before they were legal, they were done with coat hangers. Women/girls used to become barren or die and regardless the circumstance, the child would also be killed. How does making abortion illegal again change that? It just further shames the people who are already in a desperate situation.

    My confusion with the protests is it seems that those standing on the streets furiously angry about murdering children are lacking empathy for the living, breathing person carrying that child. If the child can not survive outside the womb, how does that child have more rights than the person housing the child in their uterus? There are billions of people on the earth. Being a parent is extremely difficult. If you are bringing a child into the world and are not financially, mentally or emotionally able to care for that child — how is that better for the child than terminating the pregnancy before 84 days? Those are the things I don’t understand about the anti-choice movement and would like someone to answer. How do you make peace with all the variables? How is your movement more pro-life than the pro-choice movement when we are advocating for lives, too?

  7. In reply to Jean-Paul Patenaude

    There is no pregnancy without sperm. There are many women and girls who are subjected to acts they not have chosen, that are not consensual. There are boys and men who pull condoms off because they “don’t like how it feels” and ejaculate into a woman without her knowledge. When we want to make abortion illegal, we are punishing those women and girls further. An incredibly small percentage of people are flippant about abortion. It is a choice that stays with them forever. It’s not an easy choice. Sex takes two people; yet women or girls are most often the ones who suffer from the consequences of unwanted pregnancies. Abortions have and will always exist. Keep them safe and legal; or make them illegal and more women, girls and their unborn children will die. You have every right to oppose abortion, but to campaign to make it illegal and bombard people driving through your town is where most pro-choice people, myself included, draw the line.

  8. Eve-Marie Chamot

    There are two issues here which you seem to have overlooked.
    First, these people certainly do have a constitutional right to freedom of speech and to occasionally gather on streets to peacefully proclaim their views on this or any other matter. In what way was their rather quiet demonstration in their own hometown any more objectionable than noisier protest demonstrations on Parliament Hill or at Queen’s Park or on the streets of any big city? Likewise why should they have any less right to peacefully demonstrate in Barry’s Bay than do people in Toronto or any big city? If you feel your disagreement with their views that strongly then perhaps you should not return for future visits:- you might be happier visiting elsewhere although most rural areas tend to have similar views and the Opeongo region will certainly survive without your patronage and custom.
    Second, every person has a right to life and that right is beyond constitutional and is one of the most fundamental natural rights of all and is directly and indirectly affirmed not only in Canadian law but also in various international treaties and conventions. There is a very good case to be made that a person becomes a person at some point between conception and actual birth although there is a lot of disagreement about when exactly this happens. Based purely on scientific evidence a foetus becomes fully human by at least the 84th day following conception and grows mainly in size thereafter:- “preemies” are babies born before their 252nd day of gestation and most survive and live to a good old age even when born very prematurely. Many people would like to re-open the conversation around abortion since they do feel very uneasy about possibly murdering unborn persons with a basic right to life simply to achieve a form of birth control. It certainly is never acceptable to murder natural persons as a matter of convenience:- that type of thinking eventually leads to a place called “Auschwitz-Birkenau” and Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec, and Majdanek:- I know their names all too well and I have met a few survivors of that terror. You might not agree but that is only your own view which you might share with some others but there are many more people who hold different views on this subject and they are entitled to their freedom of conscience and speech in expressing their views on this matter. Again, if you so intensely dislike hearing and seeing those contrary views being expressed then perhaps you should not visit here. Finis.

  9. Jean-Paul Patenaude

    Abortion claims to be about a “woman’s right”…. Abortion is about a “child’s right”. Once pregnant, a woman made the decision to accept that she is carrying a child, not a blob, a foetus, or a whatever. . So that child has a right to be born. Sexual intercourse carries with it a responsibility, that of possibly getting pregnant. When that occurs, then one has to deal with the possible conequence. One should not write off the result of what one freely chose. If you do not want to run the chance of getting pregnant, then you would avoid doing what could you get into that situation. It stands to reason to you that you would choose to behave in a way that would not creat a problem for you… and for what could affect someone else. Sex is not a game of roulette, but an act of responsibility that you own.

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