Pro-life and pro-choice groups will be outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral well into November to spread their messages. What prompted the clash of opinions was the start of a pro-life campaign by members of the Sacred Heart Cathedral church, who began their “40 Days for Life Vigil” on Sept. 28 and plan to keep a continual presence in front of the church.
Kathy Dahl from Sacred Heart Cathedral said that a 40-day event helps make a routine for people, and she believes that it will create a stronger community message.
“40 days is actually biblical. There was the 40 days of rain and there was the 40 days in the desert. So 40 days is a long time. It’s a test, more or less. If you can actually do it for 40 days, in many ways it becomes a habit. So this is 40 days of pretty heavy praying for our country, for individuals, for people who have really difficult decisions to make,” Dahl said.
And tested they were. A group of local activists took up camp on the same street in order to create a presence for people who support pro-choice ideals.
Marina Taoke, a third-year nursing student at TRU, said that it’s important for people to know that it’s their body and their choice. Taoke said pregnant women should be supported no matter what they decide with regards to abortion.
“[We want] to show the community to not be intimidated, to not be scared or upset by what these people are saying, to show support to women who might be pregnant and might be thinking about abortion and to women who want to keep their babies. We are all for choice,” Taoke said.
Among those protesting on the pro-choice side of things was Ashley Gribble, who appeared topless outside the church. She said made the appearance to drive home the fact that it’s her body and she can do whatever she wants with it, regardless of other opinions. Gribble said that making abortion illegal would be a step backwards.
“Abortion is legal here, and we want to keep it that way because it’s a really important issue. We don’t need backyard abortions. We don’t need more children in the adoption system. We don’t need more babies with drug problems. We need to keep it legal, and people spreading hate is not okay with me,” Gribble said.
“We just want to inform people that pro-life means from conception to natural death. Now that we have some new legislation in Canada, where people can choose to die if they fulfill certain requirements, we are just encouraging people to really educate themselves so that they know all of their options,” Dahl said.
The 40 Days for Life campaign will end on Nov. 8 and both sides of the issue are encouraging people to come out and peacefully show their support. The groups will be standing outside of Sacred Heart Cathedral from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. near 3rd Ave and Columbia Street in downtown Kamloops.