Over 12,000 join National March for Life

  • May 15, 2009

OTTAWA - Despite driving rain and howling winds, the National March for Life May 12 drew more than 12,300 people — the largest crowd in its 11-year history.

Dubbed Exodus 2009, the March marked the 40th anniversary of the Omnibus Bill that decriminalized abortion in Canada, paving the way to abortion on demand.

On the steps to the Peace Tower, Quebec's Cardinal Marc Ouellet called upon Parliamentarians to address the juridical void that leaves abortion permissible right through nine months of pregnancy. He also called on all Canadians to build a culture of life that guards the family and welcomes human life. We are all responsible for the respect for human rights in our land, he said, especially the rights of the most fragile — infants in the womb, the elderly and the handicapped.

While countries are addressing a huge financial crisis, he said it is time to address the moral crisis. The time has come to find justice for victims and make a culture of life.

“The right to life is a question of justice,” said Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins. 

He compared the gathering to previous movements to put an end to slavery and to gain civil rights for black people.

“We have a right to speak in a public conversation,” he said. “We must engage in the public conversation on justice.”

Collins stressed life from conception until natural death, mentioning the growing push for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Pressure to silence pro-life voices was one of the themes of several speakers, including about a dozen members of the Parliamentary Pro-life Caucus.

“Every year they attempt to suppress us,” said caucus chair MP Rod Bruinooge. “But 10,000 people show up on Parliament Hill to show that we are not going away.”

He said those who are uncomfortable with the pro-life position “want to suppress the truth.”

In a news conference earlier in the day, Bruinooge spoke of an “alarming increase” in cases where the pro-life groups have had their freedom of speech denied, whether through pro-life clubs being refused club status on university campuses or LifeCanada’s advertising campaign that was shut down.

Conservative MP Jeff Watson said the face of the pro-life movement is changing, witnessing a change in generations.

Born in 1971, Watson said he was the son of a teenaged girl who gave him up for adoption. 

“For every seven of us, three never make it out of the womb,” he said. “My generation has paid a steep and human price.

“It is not enough to want abortion to become illegal. We must assure that to all Canadians, abortion becomes unthinkable.”

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