OTTAWA —Marches of Life in Ottawa and in a number of provincial capitals, including Toronto, marked the 50th anniversary of legalized abortion in Canada May 9.
At a news conference May 8 in advance of the National March for Life in Ottawa, Campaign Life Coalition Vice President Matthew Wojciechowski said the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau “opened the floodgates to abortion-on-demand in Canada” when it decriminalized abortion on May 14, 1969.
“Today there’s one baby aborted for every four born,” he said.
Wojciechowski said thousands would be marching because they “refuse to let another 50 years” go by with this human rights abuse. They disagree with efforts to expand and export abortion, he said.
“The killing of a human being is not a right,” he said. “We want abortion to be unthinkable in this country.”
Canada’s Catholic Bishops issued a statement of support for Marches for Life in cities across Canada.
“The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in profound unison with Pope Francis, affirms that all human life should be respected and protected from the moment of conception until natural death,” said a May 9 statement. “The Bishops of Canada have and will continue to advocate and collaborate with organizations across the country, many of which are not Catholic, in endeavours to bring together people from different perspectives who believe in the sanctity of life.”
The bishops declared the Catholic Church’s teaching that the "distinctiveness of human life is an absolute good," and that "abortion and euthanasia (are) extremely grave evils that contradict the Spirit of life and plunge us into the anti-culture of death."
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), co-sponsored by the CCCB and the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, noted that “Canada, along with China, North Korea, and Vietnam are the only countries which have no restriction in law with regard to abortion.”
“The attack on human life in Canada is not only limited to pre-born persons; with the passing of Bill C-14 in 2016 we have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide,” COLF said, noting there are efforts to expand the law to include mature minors, those with advance directives and those with mental illness.
“What can we do in the face of what seems to be an unstoppable evil? We truly are living in a ‘culture of death,’” COLF said. “Yet God is the author of life; all that he fashions is sanctified by his saving love. Therefore, as Christians we live in hope.”
On the eve of the National March for Life, LifeCanada released a poll that revealed Canadians remain uneasy about lack of any restrictions on abortion.
“Fifty years ago this month, the federal government legalized abortion in Canada, a controversial decision in 1969,” said a news release from the educational pro-life group. “Currently there are no legal restrictions on abortion at any time during a pregnancy.”
The poll conducted by Public Square Research in April found a “majority of Canadians still have serious reservations about the radical policy.”
Among the findings: two per cent of Canadians support sex selection abortions which “usually target girl babies;” eight per cent support abortions after six months of pregnancy; 16 per cent said “all abortions are acceptable, not matter what the reason, which is the current policy in Canada;” 20 per cent find abortion okay after three months; 11 per cent “find abortion acceptable if the baby interferes with the woman’s future plans, but this is often the justification for abortion;” and four per cent find abortion acceptable “when a woman has already had previous abortions.”
“We commissioned the poll to see what 50 years of abortion has achieved,” says Natalie Sonnen, executive director of LifeCanada. “Considering all that the media and all levels of government have done for the past half-century to justify and promote abortion as a pro-woman policy, the vast majority of Canadians, women and men, are unconvinced. Most Canadians have grave reservations about when, why and how abortions are performed. Simply put, Canadians don’t celebrate it.”
Sonnen pointed out a May 2018 Angus Reid Institute poll showed more women (64 per cent) than men (56 per cent) wanted to restrict abortions. “Overall, in that poll, 61 per cent of those polled supported legal restrictions on abortion.”
Mike Schouten, director of We Need a Law, an advocacy organization that mobilizes Canadians and politicians to pass laws that protect children before birth, says, "not only is our public policy out of line with public opinion, Canada's lack of an abortion legal framework is distinct in that we are the only country in the world without one."
"As Canadians become aware of our lack of abortion regulations, they are rightly disturbed,” said Schouten. “It's time for politicians to stop viewing pre-born children as a political liability and instead lead our country in a national conversation about how to protect fetal rights while at the same time respecting women's rights."