For a last minute protest on a Friday before a long weekend, the rally against the so-called Garden of Grace at the Basilica of Our Lady brought out a number of very enthusiastic people of all genders concerned about the placement of a blatantly political monument on the grounds of Guelph’s biggest tourist attraction.
As reported in a GuelphToday article, Guelph Right to Life is spending $91,000 to build a garden and memorial on Basilica land. “The idea behind the garden is that we have a lot of women who have, at one point or another, chosen to have an abortion, and their children haven’t been given a place of rest,” Jakki Jeffs, past-president of Right to Life told the site.
The fact that an anti-abortion group was spending nearly a $100,000 on what is essentially a backdoor piece of protest art did not sit well with the 20-30 people that gathered along Norfolk St. to demonstrate Friday evening. Their reasons were many. There were those that didn’t like the message of the memorial, those that felt that the Garden of Grace was in the wrong place for peace and serenity, and those that just felt the art yet to be installed on the sight is just plain ugly. One lady lamented how they’re installing benches in the garden, but not along the sidewalk, and someone else was so fighting mad on the matter that they were talking about “coming after transit next,” meaning the Right to Life “This is a life, not a child ads” on the back of many buses.
One person attending the rally named Stella said that she thought that women who have suffered miscarriages would be “pretty offended” being lumped in with women who have chosen to have an abortion because “they are two different experiences.”
“I think that someone who suffered a miscarriage would disassociate themselves from someone that chose to their pregnancy, and I think the reason that we’re here is just to show the community what our voice is, which is to support every choice a woman chooses to make with their own body,” Stella said. “This monument isn’t really sending that message.”
All those messages are boiled down in the following video with rally organizers Sarafina BV and Carly Hunt: