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Heated language marks abortion rallies

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A pro-life protest against health-care funding for abortions in Manitoba drew more than their own supporters to a demonstration at the provincial legislature today.

Pro-choice supporters from the women’s rights and labour movement used social media to counter the planned event, and all together more than 200 people spent a noisy lunch-hour chanting slogans at each other over the polarizing debate.

Pro-choice numbers were easily three times the number of the supporters at the pro-life event.

They clanged pots with spoons and shouted chants at each other across the driveway at the steps of the legislature.

Both sides used bullhorns on the other, making it almost impossible for either side to get their message out.

Despite the noise, it was a mostly peaceful event.

There were a couple of confrontations despite the visible presence of about a dozen security guards, but neither side was violent.

Twice, opponents of pro-life supporters circled around to the back of the event, in an attempt to disrupt speakers who ignored them. One woman was warned to step away from pro-lifer supporters after one aimed a bullhorn at her face and blew hard. "His spit hit me," she fumed afterward.

Organizers on both sides expressed dismay at the provocative actions. The appearance of a couple of city police officers part way through the event was enough to maintain order.

In Manitoba, about 4,000 procedures are performed a year with a budget of about $4 million, according to pro-life literature circulated at the demonstration.

History

Updated on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM CDT: adds photo

2:01 PM: Updates with new photo

3:30 PM: Writethru.

4:51 PM: adds video

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