We Need a Law abortion demonstrators Janessa Pires, Emma Dougan, Elyse Vroom and Monica Krump spoke to people passing their flags across Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Anti-abortion groups plants 10,000 flags in Maple Ridge

We Need a Law calls for restrictions on abortions in Canada

Anti-abortion activists planted 10,000 little flags in a Maple Ridge park Saturday.

They said each flag represents 10 abortions in Canada each year.

The group We Need A Law was handing out literature and speaking to the public, their main message being Canada is the only democratic country without laws restricting abortions.

“We’re raising awareness to let people know that there are no laws or restrictions against abortions in Canada,” said Emma Dougan, a Maple Ridge Grade 12 student who helped organize the public demonstration.

She and other members of the group were handing out literature with messages including: “Abortion is not a charter right. The Supreme Court of Canada did not rule in favour of unrestricted abortion; they looked to Parliament to enact a new law.”

She explained the group wants restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy – when a baby can survive outside of the mother’s womb.

They also want to restrict sex-selective abortions, she said, “to protect girls, specifically, who are being aborted just because they are girls.”

Most of the people Dougan she spoke with on Saturday believe there is a law against third-trimester abortions in Canada, and the people on main street Maple Ridge were not alone – statistically 77 per cent of Canadians believe there is such a law, according to the group’s stats.

According to the latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 616 of the nearly 23,000 abortions performed in Canada in 2016 took place after 20 weeks — approximately 2.7 per cent.

Physician guidelines enforced by provincial colleges stipulate that abortions after 24 weeks are reserved for exceptional circumstances, such as if there are serious health risks to the mother or baby.

Dougan said a majority of Canadians want a law.

READ MORE: Scheer says he will not re-open abortion debate

Abortion being a sensitive topic, she heard opinions on both sides of the issue from passersby.

“Mixed reactions – some people are in full support, and they kinda say ‘Great job.’ Other people are quite offended,” she said. Some people shouted at the young women from passing cars.

However, she said many people on the pro-choice side of the divisive debate still said they would support having a law.

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