News / Edmonton

Women dressed as handmaids protest anti-abortion booth at K-Days, are asked to leave

They held their protest on the basis of believing K-Days is not an appropriate venue to hold discussions on reproductive rights

Members of Edmonton Pro-Choice dressed up as handmaids, which are women who are used solely for childbearing in Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, to protest the inclusion of Edmonton Prolife at K-Days. They are pictured holding their notices that they were banned for 24 hours from K-Days.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Lewak

Members of Edmonton Pro-Choice dressed up as handmaids, which are women who are used solely for childbearing in Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, to protest the inclusion of Edmonton Prolife at K-Days. They are pictured holding their notices that they were banned for 24 hours from K-Days.

Pro-Choice protesters were told they were not welcome at K-Days for a 24-hour period after staging a protest outside Edmonton Prolife’s information booth.

The anti-abortion booth was initially barred from K-Days, a decision Northlands later reversed.

Jennifer Lewak, a concerned citizen who is Pro-Choice, decided to protest the inclusion of the booth because they feel K-Days is not a suitable venue for a discussion on women’s reproductive rights. She said she considered the Prolife booth “disturbing”.

“Nobody got hurt, nobody was swearing, there were no threats of violence from either party … It was a very Canadian way to protest,” she said.

The protestors dressed up as handmaids, characters in The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood’s novel about a dystopian society where women’s bodies and reproductive rights are controlled by the government.

Edmonton Prolife member Karen Richert said their booth contains no graphic images and is focused on fetal development.

“Quite frankly, I’m not sure why they’re protesting our very scientific, factual booth,” she said.

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She said they attended K-Days to “celebrate life” and disputes that their booth is not suitable for a family event.

“How much more family friendly can you get other than welcoming a new member to your family?”

Lewak said there was mixed reaction to the protest, with some members of the public expressing approval or disapproval. She said they were “non-confrontational” and didn’t have any issues with the Prolife organizers.

But she did take issue with security’s manner of telling them to leave.

“Their security was rather demeaning to us, there was a lot of talking down to us, they really weren’t concerned with our safety,” she said.

Northlands spokesperson Lori Cote told Metro she had not had an opportunity to look into the security issue by Wednesday, but said protests are not allowed on Northlands grounds.

“Our policy for any kind of protest is we respect everybody’s right to protest, but we respectfully ask that be done on city property”.

Lewak said she believes the protest was a success if it made people stop and think. 

This article previously stated Jennifer Lewak was a member of Edmonton Pro-Choice. She is in fact a concerned citizen who decided to protest on her own. 

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