Protest outside the Port Theatre

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By Nick Seebruch
Protest outside the Port Theatre
A photo of protesters outside of the Port Theatre on Friday, July 12, 2019. Submitted photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario – A protest was held outside of the Port Theatre on Friday, July 12 in response to a film being screened there this week.

Unplanned, which was first screened at the Port on Friday, is a biographical drama chronicling the life of Abby Johnson who went from being a Director at Planned Parenthood in the U.S. to an anti-abortion activist.

The pro-choice protest asserted that the film was inaccurate and that they wished to inform the public of the facts around abortion.

Lisa Fortier, one of the organizers of the protest characterized the film as “a dangerous ball of lies.”

She relates one part of the film where Johnson claims to have been asked to help with an ultrasound abortion on a black woman who was 13-weeks pregnant.

Fortier says that Johnson would have never have been asked to help with such a procedure, as she was not a doctor and that records of her clinic where she was working show no such procedure taking place on a woman of that description.

Fortier said that around 24 people attended Friday night’s protest. She said that she believed that everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but that they should base their opinions on truth.

“Believe what you want, but don’t try to tell lies to the public,” she said. “We wanted to tell the people that what they were seeing was flagrant lies.”

Fortier said that she reached out to the owners of the Port Theatre, but that she did not receive a response.

Seaway News interviewed Larry Sylvain, owner of the Port, who said that he was not trying to start a contest with anyone, but rather to serve a clientele who attends his theatre regularly.

Sylvain explained how when he first purchased the Port Theatre, he was not able to show Hollywood movies due to a lack of a digital projector, but that he could screen indie films and faith films.

“We’ve maintained a pretty good faith audience,” he said. “It is a faith based film, and we have a faith based audience.”

“I didn’t think the issue would escalate the way it did because there wasn’t this kind of escalation in the states,” Sylvain went on to say.

Sylvain said that around 200 people came to watch Unplanned over the weekend, with more screenings of the film coming this week.

Fortier for her part, is a woman who has experienced abortion, a subject she is willing to talk about openly.

“I am one of the two per cent of people that found out during your second trimester that their fetus was genetically non-viable had to have an abortion at 23 weeks pregnant,” she said. “For me it was the worst thing that ever happened to me. But it could have been much worse had I been forced to carry the term. Every woman should have a choice with what to do with her own body. other people and the government need to stay out of women’s health in my opinion.”

Fortier said that if people are interested in what she feels is a more accurate representation about abortion, that they should watch Abortion stories women tell on HBO.

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