Filmmaker Kevin Dunn, left, with Canadian pro-lifers Josie Lutke (centre) and Ruth Robert at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Kevin Dunn

True north strong and abortion free

  • January 28, 2023

Kevin Dunn is immersed in what he considers “perhaps the most important project of my career as a broadcaster and a filmmaker.”

The three-time Gemini Award (now known as a Canadian Screen Award) recipient’s new production is called Roe Canada: The True North in a Post-Roe World

Dunn, like many pro-life champions across the world, was moved immensely when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 ruling last June. 

“The protection of children of the womb has been paramount to me not only in my film work, but more importantly as a father and a grandfather,” said the Catholic filmmaker. “I’ve seen my wife sacrifice in that beautiful time with all the pregnancies of all of our children. It is also not a secret that adoption has touched our family in a big way. The sanctity of life you witness as a father, grandfather and husband just touches you to the soul.”

He spoke to The Catholic Register after returning from the first March for Life in Washington, D.C., in a post-Roe landscape. He was joined by Canadian pro-life activists Josie Luetke, 26, and Ruth Robert, 24. His film follows these two young leaders as they investigate how the historic upending of Roe v. Wade could impact the efforts to combat abortion in Canada. 

Dunn became acquainted with Luetke and Robert through his media work for the National March for Life in Ottawa over the years. Watching these two women, and hosts of other young Canadians, imbued with a passion to protect the unborn touches the veteran director. 

“The amount of young people, young women especially, in the pro-life movement is heartening,” he said. “They understand that life begins at conception. They understand that science says a baby’s life begins at conception. Everything else is just opinion. Young people know and they don’t want to put up with this any longer.”

During his sojourn to America, he and his crew interviewed former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, Students for Life founder Kristian Hawkins, author and international speaker Stephanie Gray Connors and Seth Dillon, the CEO and owner of the Christian satirical news website The Babylon Bee.  

Roe Canada: The True Northin a Post-Roe World will also feature a host of pro-life voices in Canada, including Jonathon Van Maren of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. Dunn and his crew also spoke to historians and constitutional experts to analyze the landscape of abortion in Canada. 

Since the 1988 R v. Morgentaler decision, Canada has had no law on abortion and it is available at any stage of a women’s pregnancy.No serious challenge has been mounted since Bill C-43 was introduced in 1989. This legislation introduced by Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government would have recriminalized abortion, unless a physician deemed the woman’s physical, mental or psychological health was at risk. The bill passed third reading in May 1990 by a 140-131 vote, but then it was defeated in the Senate. 

Dunn’s busy interview slate over the next few months leading up to the National March for Life in Ottawa in May will also include conversations with doctors and managers of crisis pregnancy centres. These institutions are currently under legislative threat. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised his supporters that his government would “no longer provide charity status to anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling to women about their rights and about the options available to them at all stages of the pregnancy.”

Dunn hopes to show an early cut of the film at the Ottawa event and host some roundtable discussions to generate interest. He doesn’t have any grand design of how the film will premiere upon completion later in 2023, but he would like to see churches, pro-life organizations and other champions of this cause host screenings.

“This film is being made for the Canadian pro-life movement. It is being made to give the movement hope, and to give young people a sense that there is a future for pro-life legislation in Canada so that we have more life and we have it abundantly.”

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