By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
The 15th National March for Life in Ottawa, May 10, is expected to exceed last year’s record attendance of 15,000 people.
“We were absolutely delighted with the turnout last year and we’re looking forward to an even bigger turnout this year,” said Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) national organizer Mary Ellen Douglas.
CLC has organized the March to take place on the second Thursday in May to mark the anniversary of the 1969 Trudeau Omnibus Bill that decriminalized abortion and eventually led to Canada’s current lack of any laws restricting abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
Douglas said the March has been building over the years and each year as more and more people become involved, they organize buses from their local area to Ottawa. CLC has also been involved in organizing marches in provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan so Canadians who cannot travel to Ottawa can participate.
“People want to show their commitment to the unborn,” she said.
The theme of this year’s March is “Abortion hurts everyone.”
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is among the organizations exhorting citizens to participate in the March.
“Every year in Canada, some 100,000 of our most vulnerable neighbors are sacrificed on the altar of ‘choice’---as the exercise of what some misguidedly consider a ‘right’,” COLF said in an Apr. 16 statement. ““Among those aborted in the last year alone we might have counted a future prime minister or a groundbreaking scientist, a playmate for our children, or our future son or daughter-in-law.”
Science demonstrates that the unborn child is an “irreplaceable human being” from its earliest stage of development, the statement said.
“History has shown repeatedly that where the right to life of the unborn is not protected other rights are sooner or later mocked,” said COLF, noting claims by some medical ethicists that even newborns have no “moral right to life”
“Abortion hurts us all,” said COLF, noting the destructive impact of abortion not only in the squandering of human life but also harms mothers who suffer from ‘post-abortion syndrome’ or fathers who experience “loss and isolation.”
“In one way or another, every one of us is impoverished by the culture of death that surrounds and threatens to infect us,” COLF said. “A society which tolerates abortion is a society which makes the human being a mere means to an end.”
“A society which continues to tolerate the destruction of its weakest members is one which will inevitably tolerate the destruction of the relatively weak, the disabled, the sick, the marginalized and the inconvenient,” COLF said. “Can anyone be safe and truly flourish in such a society?
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archdiocese of Ottawa and Toronto, the dioceses of Thunder Bay and Victoria, the Companions of the Cross, Priests of Madonna House are among the sponsors providing financial support for the event. The Catholic Civil Rights League is also supporting it.
“This is the largest annual pro-life event in Canada, and the League is encouraging as many of its members as possible to participate,” it said in a recent message to members.
Among the featured speakers at the March and related events, are Stephen Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute in the United States who will speak at the annual Rose Dinner after the March, and Patrick Mahoney, president of the Christian Defense Coalition also based in the U.S, will address the youth dinner and conference May 11. The youth dinner and conference has attracted 800-1000 youth from across Canada in recent years.
Many Members of Parliament and Bishops from Ontario and Quebec are expected to attend.