13 tips for responding to pro-choice protestors during Unplanned screenings

What should be done about protestors_

In popular media, it is often the pro-life side of the abortion debate that is painted as fear mongering, anti-woman or misogynist (or ‘internalized misogynist’ if you’re a woman!)

Currently, pro-choice activists and their groomed media are crying wolf again about safety, saying that allowing a pro-life movie to be played will be dangerous to women.

Nothing could be farther from the truth, of course. It has been apolitical movie theatres which have had to shut down screenings of this movie due to death threats from the pro-choice side.

For some reason, that fact wound up on the cutting room floor for the CBC, CTV and Global when they reported on the film’s release.

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Knowing that the pro-choice side is replete with mentally unstable individuals who could pose a threat, and knowing that they will be showing up in droves to protest you seeing a movie this week, you might be wondering what you can do to protect yourself and the movement.

We wanted to give some advice.

  1. Be cordial and respectful: In the movement, we treat everyone with respect regardless of their belief system. The belief system of the pro-choice movement trains them to treat people without dignity. Be better than that!
  2. Know the difference between a discussion and an altercation. Never be the one to start a shouting match, and if it gets to that point remove yourself from the situation.
  3. Stay calm and keep your tone civil. If you can’t be calm, leave. They want you to lose your temper—don’t.
  4. If you know you are the type of person who cannot stay calm, don’t talk to protestors.
  5. Always film if you decide to talk to protestors. Filming is for your protection in case an individual tries to accuse you of hurting them. 
  6. You don’t have to make your filming obvious: In Canada, individuals are allowed to film and record without the other party knowing. Keep your phone camera rolling and make it obvious only if you feel confident to deal with their anger over it.
  7. Ask good questions instead of talking at them.
    • Have you watched this movie?
    • Would you like to come and watch this movie with me? I’ll pay for your ticket.
    • What is your issue with this movie?
    • What is your stance on abortion?
    • Do you believe in human rights?
    • Who gets human rights?
    • If two human beings reproduce, what species is their offspring?
    • If the offspring of two humans is human, then don’t the preborn deserve human rights?
  8. If an individual is doing something illegal call the police immediately. Protect yourself over your property (like if you have a sign).
  9. Use force only when necessary to defend yourself and those around you (according to the Canadian Criminal Code) and ensure someone is filming.
  10. If a pro-choice person is being aggressive, physically take a step backwards. This often ends up de-escalating a situation rather than leaning in and escalating the situation.
  11. Record and report any and all illegal activity (the police must be told about this illegal activity).
  12. You do not have to talk to protestors. If you are uncomfortable or unsure, you do not have an obligation to talk to a protestor.
  13. Truth is on our side, be confident.