James and Ruth Lobo Shaw with their baby William at a recent fundraiser in Ottawa. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Livelihood on the line to serve pro-life cause

By 
  • December 20, 2012

OTTAWA - For pro-life activists Ruth Lobo Shaw and her husband James Shaw, a new baby last August only strengthened their willingness to put even their livelihoods on the line.

The couple are both on staff at the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR), a cutting-edge organization based in Calgary with the mission to “make abortion unthinkable.” And like others who work for the organization they must raise their own support.

“We truly believe we can end abortion in our lifetime,” Ruth said at one of nine fundraising gatherings in Ottawa recently. “We’re seeing a generation, a youth movement, rising up to combat abortion.”

Giving birth to baby William has given her greater insights into the sacrifices and sheer fatigue involved in motherhood, but Ruth said she urges mothers not to drop out of their other commitments even if they have a new baby.

Ruth became well-known across Canada in 2010 after police arrested her and four other students on the Carleton University campus for mounting graphic abortion pictures. She was a human rights major at Carleton and a member of Carleton Lifeline, the Ottawa university’s pro-life club.

She and James drew closer as a couple through pro-life activism and have since settled in Calgary, though both their families still live in the Ottawa area.
James produces videos and other social media for CCBR, which is known for its tactics of exposing the effects of abortion through graphic pictures and videos.

“Us pro-lifers have to dedicate our lives to the cause,” he said.

He stressed showing the truth about abortion even though the culture has tried to disguise it behind the language of choice.

“If we want people to change, they have to see exactly what abortion is,” he said.

Children are aborted in Canada for being the wrong race, the wrong sex or for having a disability of some sort, he said.

“When we face it, we can fight it.”

But his new son’s arrival on the scene has made viewing the graphic images he must work with at CCBR far more painful. He’s found himself weeping while working at his computer, realizing the pictures show aborted babies not much smaller than his tiny son. And at the fundraiser, James became choked up when he showed a clip of a health care worker handling the bluish corpse of an aborted 24-week old baby.

The graphic images are highly controversial even within pro-life circles, but the Shaws insist they change lives. James spoke of receiving an e-mail from a woman who decided not to have an abortion after watching one of his videos on YouTube.

“One person at a time, one baby at a time we will see abortion abolished forever in Canada,” Ruth said.

CCBR has adopted a strategic End the Killing Plan, she said, that plans to inundate the culture with pamphlets, lawn signs, Choice Chain demonstrations where members stand on busy corners with large graphic pictures to encourage conversation about abortion, and the use of a travelling abortion truck with graphic pictures on its panels.

“The focus is on who the pre-born are and what abortion does to them,” she said.

Ruth pointed out abortionist Henry Morgentaler turned his life over to a “cause he believed in and went to jail for it.”

“Are we as willing to save babies?” she asked.

“Twenty years of intentional activism will set the stage for change.”

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