Police lead away one of about six half naked women who tried to disrupt the National March for Life in Ottawa May 14. CCN photo/Deborah Gyapong

Topless protesters disrupt rally as 25,000 march for life in Ottawa

  • May 14, 2015

OTTAWA - About a half dozen half naked women tried to disrupt the National March for Life here May 14, disrobing and screaming while pro-life politicians addressed thousands on Parliament Hill.

Unlike last year, when two women stripped on the steps to Centre Block and one tried to take over the microphone as Quebec Cardinal Gerald Lacroix was speaking, RMCP were prepared to quickly subdue the protesters and lead them away.

The more than a dozen Catholic bishops had already left the stage when the protest broke out.

Campaign Life Coalition, organizers of the March, estimate 25,000 participated this year, rivalling the high numbers in 2013. Last year, numbers dipped slightly to 23,000.

In addition to the unruly protest, the air was electric with concern over the Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter decision in February which struck down laws against assisted suicide, paving the way for doctor assisted death and euthanasia.

The upcoming federal election in October and the new Liberal party policy by leader Justin Trudeau to prohibit pro-life candidates from running — a similar stance to that already taken by the New Democratic Party — also charged the demonstration, with speakers urging voters to choose pro-life candidates.

Conservative MP Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, Ont.) told marchers to write their MPs concerning the Carter decision, to let them know, “This is not a good idea,” she said.

She also urged people to find out who the pro-life candidate is in their riding or a neighbouring riding and “help them get elected this Oct. 19.”

Conservative MP Harold Albrecht told the crowd four million lives have been lost since abortion was decriminalized in 1969.  “This year another 100,000 [unborn children] will be denied the most basic human right, the right to life.”

He spoke of the devastating impact of abortion on the economy, on the family and on lost human potential.

“What we are doing is unconscionable,” said Albrecht, adding that he hoped one day the law will change and so will “hearts and minds.”

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast introduced about a dozen Catholic bishops from across Ontario and Quebec.

Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins told the crowd that their witness to the importance of human life from conception to natural death every year was important even though it is often invisible to the news media. The cardinal spoke of the “great evil of abortion” and the new threats against those nearing the end of life through assisted suicide, which he called “another sign of the culture of death.”

He praised the prayerful and courageous witness, stressing the importance of the command “Thou shalt not kill,” as something simple and profound to reflect upon.

The cardinal said the marchers need to pray the gift of life is cherished.  “We need to provide alternatives,” he said.

Montreal  Archbishop Christian Lépine told the crowd the greatness of a civilization is measured by the place given to its smallest and weakest members. The task given to us by God is to serve the weakest ones, the unborn children in the womb, as well as the mothers, he said.

There are many difficulties and challenges people may confront but “abortion is not a solution,”  Lépine. It creates more problems in society and in families, he said.

Former Liberal MP Pat O’Brien who now serves as a consultant for Campaign Life Coalition (CLC)  said in his years serving on Parliament Hill “no other demonstration comes close in size to the demonstration for life.”

Introducing about two dozen Members of Parliament and several senators, O’Brien said one had to work on the Hill to understand the “kind of courage it takes to stand for life.”

MPs face “enormous pressure” from the “carrot and the stick not to speak for life,” O’Brien said.

Conservative MP Bob Zimmer (Prince George-Peace River, B.C.) spoke of a counter-demonstrator who chanted, “My body, my choice.”

“What about your baby’s choice,” Zimmer said. “Every life is sacred and created by God.”

He urged those present to pray for hearts to change, and to become active in their local communities.

Conservative MP Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent-Essex, Ont.) also responded to the protester, saying, “We’re here to consider the other body, that doesn’t have an ability to speak.”

Conservative MP Mark Warawa (Langley, B.C.), the new chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, urged marchers to sign a pro-life petition circulating at the March.

Conservative MP LaVar Payne (Medicine Hat, Alta.) said he was asked if he was pro-choice in the nomination process.  “I am pro-choice for the child to live,” he said.

Conservative MP David Anderson (Cypress-Hills-Grassland, Sask.) told the crowd that people were “rising up” following the Supreme Court’s Carter decision. He accepted a petition from Quebec Campagne-Vie leader Georges Buscemi with 23,000 signatures against euthanasia.

“We all have to make our choices,” said Conservative MP Royal Galipeau (Ottawa-Orleans, Ont.) “When we are faced with hard choices, we let life win.”

He urged marchers to ensure the pro-life torch is handed on to “trusted hands” in the next election.

Christian Heritage Party leader Rod Taylor said his party would provide a pro-life candidate in every riding where no other party offered a pro-life candidate.

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