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Catholic Vancouver Feb. 28, 2019

Pro-lifer makes political activism her personal mission

By Agnieszka Ruck

Alissa Golob, co-founder of pro-life political organization Right Now, shared her story at Westwood Community Church in Coquitlam Feb. 27. (Agnieszka Ruck photos)

It wasn’t just her dislike of Justin Trudeau’s pro-choice policies that drove Alissa Golob across Canada in a “NO 2 TRUDEAU” van with an image of his face and an X splashed across the side during the federal election in 2015.

True, it angered Golob that the current Prime Minister refused to allow MPs with pro-life leanings to run for the Liberal party. But for Golob, political pro-life activism was also very personal.

“I am the oldest of nine children,” Golob began in a speech to about 20 supporters at Westwood Community Church in Coquitlam Feb. 27. “The youngest is Mary. She is 8 years old, and there is actually a greater age difference between myself and Mary than there is between my mom and I.”

This is because at age 19, during her first year at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., Golob’s mother experienced an unplanned pregnancy. Afraid to tell anyone, she went to the nearest hospital alone.

“She was sitting in the waiting room, waiting for the results, and the doctor came in and said: ‘Yes, you are pregnant.’ Then, the next words out of the doctor’s mouth were: ‘I’m pro-baby and everything, but I can schedule you an abortion.’”

That conversation, she said, is one of the driving forces behind why she decided to work full-time in the pro-life movement.

“All that doctor saw was a young woman in the waiting room by herself, probably in university, probably an unplanned pregnancy, and without talking to her about any of her options, where she was at, the development of her child, or anything about pregnancy, the very first thing that doctor offered was an abortion, even after acknowledging the humanity of her unborn child.”

Golob got her start in pro-life activism as a youth coordinator with Campaign Life Coalition in 2010. She then represented Canadian pro-lifers at the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women in 2013 and has helped organize the annual March for Life in Canada. She has been interviewed widely about pro-life activism on national TV and radio.

It was during her van tour across Canada with Campaign Life Coalition and the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, and getting heavily involved in other pro-life activism, that she began to realize there was something else she could do to lobby for change in Canada’s pro-abortion environment.

“Every year we would organize Life Chain, we would help in the March for Life, do the 40 Days for Life, do our Christmas fundraiser, and go home for Christmas and come back and do it all over again. We weren’t progressing politically.”

During the last federal election, she said, the number of MPs who could be relied on to vote pro-life dropped in half, from about 80 to 40.

So, in January 2016, she and a few colleagues founded Right Now, a political organization dedicated to mobilizing pro-lifers to vote in their local nominations and to helping pro-life MPs get elected.

“What do we need in the pro-life movement to actually win? What we need is 170 pro-life MPs. We need 50 per cent plus one of the MPs in Parliament to vote pro-life,” said Golob. “We need to elect people who will at the right time stand up and vote the right way.”

That is what Right Now aims to do. Golob said she’s been asked why she goes after political activism instead of trying to change the hearts and minds of average Canadians.

“We can try to educate and reach out to people as much as we can, we can write as many letters to parliamentarians as we can, but the fact is if we don’t have enough butts in the seats in the House of Commons when those pro-life motions are being put forward, we’re going to be in the exact same spot in 50 years that we are today, and that’s with absolutely no law whatsoever on abortion.”

Nicholas Insley, seeking the Conservative nomination in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, attended Golob's presentation.

With enough pro-life MPs to vote, she said, bills such as the Unborn Victims of Crime Act (which would consider both an unborn child and its mother victims in an attack on a pregnant woman) could have passed.

Attending Golob’s presentation in Coquitlam were two would-be MPs: Nicholas Insley (seeking the Conservative nomination in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam) and Nelly Shin, who hopes to represent the Conservatives in Port Moody-Coquitlam.

“Politics is often thought of something as, at worst, sinister like in House of Cards, or dull, quite frankly,” Insley said. He urged the 20 people gathered to vote in their local nominations and encourage their friends to do the same if they want their values represented.

“The reality is, it is a numbers came. That sounds terribly crass, but all this comes down to – if you get enough people to vote, if enough people come out to support you … You either win or you lose. There is no prize for second place. Whoever wins, gets to make the bills.”

Golob will give another presentation tonight at 7 p.m. at the YP Lounge at UBC Robson Square. She spoke earlier this week in Kelowna.