“It’s nothing to celebrate, so we’re not calling it an anniversary,” said Debbie Duval, national capital organizer for Campaign Life Coalition.
“We’ll march until there’s an end to abortion.”
Organizers of the National March for Life hope to crack 30,000 participants this year, breaking last year’s estimated high of 25,000.
The first march in 1997 attracted just 700 people.
This year’s theme, Life: We Stand on Guard for Thee, was inspired by Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The Coalition’s stated mission is to “demand that our laws once again uphold the right to life which is inherent to every human being.”
The National March begins May 10 with a candlelight vigil before the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa and several prayer services in local churches.
The next day begins with pro-life Masses at several churches in Ottawa, including Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Basilica and St. Clement Parish, as well as Cathédrale Saint-Joseph in Gatineau, Que. There are also two Protestant services.
At noon, marchers rally on Parliament Hill to hear an array of speakers, including pro-life Members of Parliament and Senators, before the march through downtown Ottawa begins at 1:30 p.m.
After the march, the Silent No More Awareness campaign at 3 p.m. on Parliament Hill will feature testimonies of women and men who have experienced forgiveness and healing of both psychological and physical wounds they incurred through participating in abortion.
The Eastern Catholic Chaplaincy of Ottawa will end events on Parliament Hill with a prayer service at 4 p.m.
In the evening, the annual Rose Dinner and Youth Banquet will take place at the Ottawa Conference and Events Centre.
Jim Hughes, Campaign Life Coalition president who organized the first March for Life, is the keynote speaker.
Across the hall, at the Youth Banquet, organized by Niagara Region Right to Life, up to 900 young people will hear Steve Karlen, director of outreach for 40 Days for Life, and a performance by Transform DJs, a pro-life Christian DJ group.
The National March for Life events will close with a Youth Conference on May 12, featuring Dr. Christine Francis, an American obstetrician/gynecologist who will speak on the dangers of abortion drugs.
The Toronto office is coordinating buses to the March. Information about the event and on marches across the country can be found at www.marchforlife.ca.