Anti-abortion demonstrators have drawn criticism recently after holding demonstrations near some junior high and high schools around St. John’s.
While some of the demonstrations included typical signs we’re familiar with from these people, others simply showed a website, as seen in the CBC photo from demonstrators near Waterford Valley High.
These demonstrators usually receive strong criticism, and for good reason. Sling all the “what a bunch of losers” and “get a job” insults you want, that’s the great thing about free speech.
What I take issue with is the hypocrisy from people like Jenny Wright and whoever called the police on these people who were peacefully standing on public property.
Jenny Wright is with the St. John’s Status of Women Council and is often given a platform by local news outlets to spout nonsense. Her noteworthy work includes writing a letter to my former employer a letter with hopes of having me fired or disciplined because of a dumb tweet.
According to “anti-free speech Jenny,” these junior high and high school students are not old enough to be exposed to an opinion any other than her own. Wright says the messaging “is wrong, erroneous, very pervasive and could be harmful” and goes on to say “Lobbyists are there to use any and all tactics to get you on their side. They don’t simply show up for a public education service.”
The hypocrisy here is alarming. She speaks about their “tactics” at the same time she dismisses these people outright as “wrong” and wants to shut them down. Who’s really using tactics here?
These students are indeed old enough to understand what is going on, form their own opinion, and certainly make a decision regarding abortion should they ever have to.
While I’m not a pro-lifer, I recognize some people are, and they’re entitled to that view. In the U.S., the number of pro-life vs pro-choice is about half, so the whole issue is a little bigger than the few “nutbags” we see around here from time to time.
This is the beauty of free speech. They can stand on public property holding signs, and we can laugh at them if we choose.
If they were to do so near an elementary school it might be a bit much, and I do support the ban from protesting near abortion clinics, but otherwise, who cares? I don’t want to stop the flow of information. I don’t want people like Jenny Wright determining what information we should be exposed to. I want to hear about both sides, do my own research, and then make my own decision. Students are taught sex-ed beginning in junior high, they’re old enough to dismiss these demonstrators as morons if they want to.
Pro-choice advocates have just as much right to stand there and demonstrate for their cause. They can also push for education and share their beliefs with these students. Not to mention the parents of these students can provide education, too.
While I share the seemingly common opinion regarding these protestors, as a free-speech advocate, I can’t be selective about which free speech should be allowed or not allowed, no matter how much I may disagree with their stance.
I’m glad we’re able to have a discussion about whether or not we agree with the demonstrations, but if they want to waste their day standing around holding signs on public property, it is well within their rights to do so. Likewise, it’s well within our rights to laugh and make fun of them, so go right ahead!
Do you agree or disagree? Use the free speech comment box below.