Pro-abortion billboards in the works for Sask roadsides
‘Jesus loves you’ even if you get an abortion
You have your double-double. The radio is playing either Nickelback or The Tragically Hip. You’re surrounded by drivers that don’t understand how a passing lane works. Yes, it’s the Saskatchewan road trip.
If you’re lucky, you get to see the sun set over the plains on a calm, clear evening. But often that view is interrupted by a slew of corny billboards that ensure you Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Even more irksome is the plethora of anti-abortion billboards that punctuate the otherwise unremarkable landscape.
Megan Johnston recently had a similar experience. Then she had an idea. Last month, Megan formed Abortion is Healthcare Signs Inc. This non-profit organization intends to spread its message by erecting billboards all over Saskatchewan to remind everyone what abortion is really about: healthcare. I spoke to Megan about the project.
What is your organization’s mission?
The first half is that I would like to plaster Canada with pro-abortion billboards. The second half is that I would like to amplify voices of already existing non-profit organizations and businesses that support abortion. I would like to do some work with them to improve understanding about the laws about abortion in Canada, as well as the procedure of abortion itself, in order to reduce stigma and shame.
What is the origin story of the organization?
A couple things. Obviously, the current climate in the USA has brought abortion laws, access, and equity into the forefront of everyone’s minds. Even though [abortion] is legal here, I think a lot of us now understand we aren’t guaranteed that. Another part was that I took a road trip on August long weekend with a friend. We passed 13 anti-abortion or Christian-related billboards. So, I expressed frustration about that and wondered: what can I do about this? I just want to put up a pro-abortion billboard. My friend was like, “Why not?”
You have a GoFundMe set up to raise $50,000 for this project. So far, over $20,000 has been raised. What’s the plan?
Everything with the social media pages started taking off a lot faster than I thought it was going to. I made the GoFundMe because people kept asking how they could help, and where they could donate. The GoFundMe is temporary. Once we get our non-profit status, we will start fundraising by selling merchandise and billboards, and people will be able to donate directly to the website.
You started a Google map of all the anti-abortion billboards around Saskatchewan. How many billboards have you identified so far?
About 60. Altogether, I think there’s around 80 in Saskatchewan.
Ideally, how many pro-abortion billboards would you like to put up?
I’m hopeful to get one pro-abortion sign within a 100-kilometre radius of every anti-abortion sign. There are at least eight anti-abortion signs in the Weyburn and Estevan area. I don’t think we need to put up eight of our signs there, but at least two or three would be good.
Besides helping raise funds, how else can people get involved and spread the message of the organization?
The most difficult thing for us will be finding locations to put the billboards. For example, for us to rent a large billboard space from a company would cost us between $8,000-$12,000 a year. But we can make our own smaller signs for around $1,000, and then pay a lease fee to a landowner for about $300 a year. If anyone wants to get involved, if they know landowners willing to lease some space for us, that would be the most helpful way. Then we’ll have our merch, which will include lawn signs, some clothing, and so on. Those should be out in the next couple weeks.
Are there any other organizations you would like the readers to know about?
The Regina and Saskatoon Abortion Support Networks. They’re both fairly new organizations, so they’re fundraising to help people access abortion care. It would be great if more people knew about these organizations. Another thing that other news articles haven’t mentioned – that I think is amazing – is that we have started working with the United Church. We’re for sure working with one church to set up a billboard. I’m sending a letter to the rest of the United Churches in Saskatchewan this week. I’m really hopeful to get more of them on board as well. I think it’s a very loud statement that will mean a lot to a lot of people.
You can follow Abortion is Healthcare on Instagram and TikTok: @skabortionsigns.