Annual protest at the B.C. Provincial Legislature draws mostly youth and young families
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
The pro-life movement's youthful injection blazed their way through the March for Life rally in Victoria.
Nearly 2,000 people, mostly under the age of 30, assembled at the May 10 gathering to advocate for the respect of human life.
"Opinion polls show us that youth are more pro-life than any other generation," said Pavel Reid, the march's master of ceremonies. He referenced a May 8 Toronto Star article, Canada's pro-life movement gets a slick, youthful rebranding, which detailed how young people under 30 have taken the pro-life movement to new heights.
Reid also announced the National March for Life rally, which took place earlier in the day in Ottawa, was attended by nearly 20,000 people, up from 15,000 last year.
"Every spring we are back and we are younger and we are the future!" Reid said to a thunderous cheer.
Illustrating the youthful takeover was Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network and media relations coordinator for the B.C. March for Life. Pearse, 24, started in the pro-life movement as a student at the University of Victoria.
"Upon starting my undergrad I was timid, shy, and I was terrified of conflict and controversy," Pearse recalled. "But in spite of that some of my friends encouraged me to speak up by joining a pro-life club."
Pearse said she was afraid of the time commitment, and what others might think of her taking a stand against abortion. Compounding her fears was confronting the university for the right to protest on campus, but she credits the adversity for making her more active in the movement.
"The more opposition we encountered the more I realized that we have something worth fighting for. We are sharing a truth that must be fought for because too many lives are at stake for us not to."
Pearse's UVIC pro-life group had to file a lawsuit against the school's student society to be treated the same as any other club. But even after winning an out-of-court settlement the club continued to be discriminated against. "This discrimination we face, we can't let it silence us."
Pearse thanked the pro-life pioneers. "Thank you to all you veterans who have been fighting this good fight before many of our lives began. You have built a strong pro-life foundation and the torch you are passing onto our generation will burn brightly."
Also speaking at the event were Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Bishop Richard Gagnon of the Diocese of Victoria and Reverend Robert Fitterer, Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria.
Reverend Fitterer wasted no time naming the pro-life opponents. He started his speech by sarcastically thanking the CBC, Victoria's CHEK TV, and the international media for the non- coverage of the March for Life event.
He called the mainstream media dinosaurs and said new technologies are shedding light on the abortion subject. But Fitterer also pointed out the uncomfortable realties of abortion in the world today.
"Never before have we seen societies wilfully stop reproducing at rates that would keep their culture alive," he said referring to China's one-child policy and population problems documented in India and Iran. "In the next 35 years the world will have an aging population without children to provide social or economic stability. The world's population growth has peaked and it is about to be followed by an astounding population drop off."
But he said with the new media and the availability of communication tools, abortion is being talked about on a global scale.
"We are talking on the Internet about fertility and population control. The issue is alive and it is kicking, and it is happening regardless of what Ottawa wants to do with it."