Student group offers alternative to pro-life campaign on campus

When business student Rachel Bolseng found brochures featuring graphic images of aborted infants at the SAIT library, she had to do something.

“Why are these brochures allowed?” Bolseng said.

She asked the librarian about the brochures, which featured what Bolseng says are “misleading and graphic images.”

The library was unable to do anything, so Bolseng, along with her colleague April Kargard, took it upon themselves to form TAACC, The Anti-Anti Choice Community.

“Where there is fear, people don’t act rationally,” says Bolseng. “If it’s taboo people are afraid to ask questions.”

Bolseng and the rest of TAACC aren’t out to silence anti-abortion groups like the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), a Calgary based group that is behind the brochures, as well as public demonstrations that all feature similar graphic imagery.

The goal of TAACC is to provide a counter balance, as well as resources and accurate information to anyone who needs family planning and birth control information.

“It’s our duty to provide more information to SAIT students” said Bolseng.

Bolseng and the rest of TAACC were in attendance at the SAIT Sexual Awareness Expo on Feb. 13, talking to students about their mission.

“Nobody is pro-abortion, that’s not what pro-choice means” said Bolseng, addressing what she called a misconception about being pro-choice.

TAACC has created a series of posters that are around the SAIT campus with slogans such as “Offensive posters don’t make stronger arguments” and “You respect their opinions, they should respect yours.”

The CCBR has come under fire in the past, notably for a 2013 event where demonstrators hung a banner featuring the image of an aborted fetus on an overpass above Deerfoot Trail, causing traffic delays and multiple calls to the police.

The Calgary Police Service had no power to do anything about the demonstation. Similar displays by the group have taken place in Toronto, Saskatoon, Sask., and Surrey, B.C.

The CCBR has also distributed mailers with similar imagery in these cities.

“We have the right as Canadians, to free speech,” says Bolseng. “But there’s a more tactful way to do it. They’re not promoting themselves in the best way.

“I’m frustrated that they have these legal loopholes,” says Bolseng.

“But we are very grateful to live in Canada and be able to express our opinions freely.”

When the CCBR visited SAIT in November, a complaint was filed to SAIT by a member of the faculty, according to a report by The Weal.

According to the report, the complaint said that the CCBR had violated the staff member’s right to a safe workplace.

TAACC says their main goal remains to serve the student community not to antagonize the CCBR.

“We’re here to support and represent the SAIT community and students,” says Bolseng. “We’re here because you feel.”


Campus crusaders: April Kargard (left) and Rachel Bolseng (right) hold a TAACC poster on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at the SAIT sexual awareness expo. Bolseng and Kargard started TAACC to provide a fact-based alternative to posters and literature distributed by the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform. (Photo by Joe Menjivar/The Press)
About Joe Menjivar 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Joe Menjivar worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.