Ruth Lobo’s pro-life passion stems from her own origins

  • December 2, 2010
Ruth LoboOTTAWA - Ruth Lobo’s commitment to the pro-life cause is a deeply personal one that began 23 years ago in her native India.

All Lobo knows about her birth mother is that she was 19, most likely poor and “most likely ostracized by her family for being pregnant.” She sought shelter in a Bangalore convent that provided help for single mothers. She looked after Lobo for three months before giving her up to a woman who would become her adoptive aunt.

About a year later she arrived in Canada as the newly adopted baby daughter of Ottawa residents Ben and Maria Lobo, who already had three children of their own. They wanted to adopt a child from their native India and prayed to receive this child into their devout family.

Now 23, Lobo heads up Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life club enmeshed in controversy on the Ottawa university campus. Lobo and five members of the group were arrested and hauled to jail Oct. 4 for trying to mount a controversial pro-life display on the Carleton campus. The group has also had its student union funding revoked and lost its official recognition on campus for being “anti-choice.”

“What I’m fighting for is for other children like myself to be given a chance at life,” she said.

Last summer, working for the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR) and telling her story on city sidewalks to people confronted by its GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) imagery, Lobo realized how the pro-life cause gives meaning to her life as an adopted child. The controversial GAP imagery, which shows graphic images of abortion and comparing it to genocide, is disturbing to many people. She heard comments such as “You should have been aborted.”

It made her wonder if her mother might have aborted her if she had the chance.

“All I know is that I’m here, and I don’t think it was a mistake,” she said.

Sharing her story brought a lot of healing, she said.

The Lobos instilled a passion for justice in their children, she said. They also modeled the courage to stand up for what is right. While the family did not focus on pro-life activism, they attended the National March for Life every year and participated in the Life Chain pro-life awareness campaign. Lobo recalls even from her early days accompanying her family to these events that people would be “giving us the finger and yelling at us.”

After taking a year off university to be a missionary to high school students through NET Ministries, Lobo decided to switch from psychology to the new human rights program at Carleton. She finds the cutting-edge human rights discourse “very anti-Catholic and anti-establishment.” Women’s “reproductive rights” are stressed. 

The saddest thing about the human rights movement is they do excellent work in defending the rights of born people, said Lobo, especially those who are marginalized and dehumanized, but they don’t extend that work to defend the unborn. The same arguments that were once used to dehumanize women are now used to dehumanize the fetus.

Lobo credits CCBR with forming her pro-life activism. Jose Ruba, one of CCBR’s founders, is a Carleton graduate and has stayed in touch with Carleton Lifeline. CCBR has taught her and many other young people across Canada to be articulate and defend pro-life views with rational arguments, Lobo said.

And while she too has struggled with the GAP imagery, she has been convinced the campaign is effective.

“In four years of doing pro-life work, the graphic images have brought the most conversations.”

Lifeline has started a new campaign using handheld signs of aborted unborn children with no genocide comparison. They had 25-30 conversations in one day, more than on any other day in four years.

Though she finds stressful the ongoing legal battle following her arrest and recent battles with the student union on campus, she has no plans to quit the fray. When she finishes at Carleton, Lobo plans to work full-time for the CCBR.

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