Sarah Valiquette-Thompson was pressured to abort her baby diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Her story is one of 50 produced by The Missing Project. Photo courtesy The Missing Project

Project puts focus on 50 years of abortion

By 
  • June 13, 2019

OTTAWA -- Fifty videos in 50 days.

An ambitious pro-life project to release an online video every day from Mother’s Day to Canada Day is heading into the homestretch.

Called The Missing Project, the initiative examines the impact of 50 years of legalized abortion in Canada since passage of the 1969 Omnibus Bill that paved the way for abortion on demand. It tells 50 stories of abortion through video testimonies. The first was released May 12 and the project wraps up July 1 with a feature-length documentary.

“We wanted to show Canadians what has been missing,” said Natalie Sonnen, executive director of LifeCanada. “There’s missing medical information, aside from the missing people.”

In addition to Life Canada, the other groups backing the project are We Need A Law, Crossroads Canada and Faith Beyond Belief.

In addition to the human cost, abortion has had a huge economic impact on Canada, said Sonnen. “We really wanted to capture that and show Canadians the debate is not over — it continues. It is still very raw for many Canadians.”

One video features an interview with an Alberta woman whose father was a prominent abortionist in the 1980s, Sonnen said. “She talked about how he had this sense he was helping women but there was this oppressiveness in their home while she was growing up; no mention of God.”

Some videos feature people who work in the pro-life movement. One video features the story of a man who was arrested and imprisoned with several others, including a Catholic priest, for violating the abortion bubble zone law in British Columbia. 

Sonnen said the idea was to “put some faces to some of the people who are touched by abortion ... or who educate people about what abortion is.”

Stories also include “near misses” of people who almost went through with an abortion but then had their babies. There are also adoption stories and stories of people who have had abortions, Sonnen said.

“It’s going very well,” said Mike Schouten, director of We Need A Law. “We’re really excited about it.”

Schouten said the project is unique because its producer and director, Ryan Stockert of Thunder and Light Studios in Calgary, “was a total outsider” to the pro-life movement and without “any ideas on how things had gone” over the past 50 years.

Schouten, Sonnen and Jojo Ruba of Faith Beyond Belief put Stockert in touch with a range of people and “he developed the story,” said Schouten.

Stockert boiled down the list of potential interview subjects to 100, and 50 responded.

“I didn’t want 40 stories just from post-abortive women,” Stockert said. “I wanted to show how abortion impacts a community, a family. It impacts relationships, physical health, mental health and spiritual health.”

Stockert, an evangelical, left his full-time job as a producer for Yes TV in Calgary to work on The Missing Project full-time “not knowing where my next pay cheques would come from.”

“I wanted to show the trauma post-abortive women go through both physically, mentally and spiritually and have the fathers’ voices that have been missing in the conversation,” he said. “I wanted to show the pain that men go through as well.

“There’s a lot of men who pressure women to have an abortion. There are a lot of men who fight to keep their kids, but legally they don’t have a right to saying anything in this country. 

“I’m in love with all my testimonies,” Stockert said.  “It’s hard to feature just one.”

A video released early, on World Down Syndrome Day March 21, tells the story of Sarah Valiquette-Thompson who had to “fight and fight” to keep her child, diagnosed with Trisomy 21, Stockert said.  

“At the end, I get to show this beautiful little boy who is alive, an amazing blessing,” he said. “It even makes me tear up as a I tell it. It is such a wonderful story.”

The Missing Project is based entirely on donations, and has raised only about a half of its budget, Stockert said.  “I’ve taken the costs on myself to get this done.”

The videos can be viewed a www.missing-project.ca.

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