TORONTO - When injustice becomes visible, it becomes intolerable, pro-life activist Jonathon Van Muren told an audience of about 150 spectators at the New Abortion Caravan's Toronto stop June 28.

"Great injustices have been conquered before," Van Muren told the crowd gathered at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Toronto's west end. He compared the fight to end abortion to the battles against slavery, child labour and segregation.

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court's June 28 decision upholding the health reform law makes it even more urgent for Congress to act to fix the law's "fundamental flaws" on abortion funding, conscience protection and immigrants' access to health care, the U.S. bishops said.

The court found that although the individual mandate in the 2010 health reform law does not pass constitutional muster under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, it can be upheld as an acceptable exercise of Congress' taxing powers.

Published in International

As the New Abortion Caravan makes its way across Canada, it has drawn a variety of reactions.

One of the most aggressive shows of disapproval came when a pregnant team member was egged, said Stephanie Gray. And in Winnipeg, a group of about 30 protesters gathered outside Living Christ Community Church, where the members were presenting, beating on pots and pans.

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DUBLIN - As the plainchant of "Tantum Ergo" drew the eucharistic procession to a close, the presiding prelates began to filter away. That's when some trip hop music erupted at the back of the massive assembly of pilgrims, which moments before had been on its knees in prayer and adoration.

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QUEBEC CITY - While university students, anti-capitalists and environmentalists have routinely mustered tens of thousands into the streets of Montreal and Quebec City over the last two months, a small coalition of conservative Christians managed 650 for the second annual Christian March from the Plains of Abraham to Quebec’s National Assembly.

The number of marchers for the June 2 event was down from about 1,000 the year before.

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VICTORIA, B.C. - A team of Western pro-lifers has begun a month-long trek to Ottawa in what the group is calling the New Abortion Caravan.

“Our journey will begin with how the opposition began (in 1970) — with a caravan,” said Stephanie Gray, the executive director of Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR). “They did graphic, bloody dramatizations of illegal abortions. We will demonstrate with graphic, bloody images showing the reality of all abortions.”

Gray understands that CCBR’s tactics may cause controversy, but notes the graphic images are necessary to focus discussion on what actually happens in an abortion.

“The pictures of abortion are shocking because abortion is shocking,” she said.

“The images are disturbing because killing a child is a disturbing thing.”

The caravan launched on May 29 from the Vancouver Art Gallery amid shouts of protest from pro-abortionists. It is a project of the Calgary-based CCBR. 

In 1970, a group of woman gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to begin its Abortion Caravan — a touring protest demanding unrestricted access to free abortions on demand in Canada.

The group made its way from Vancouver to Ottawa, where it burned then prime minister Pierre Trudeau in effigy and dumped a coffin full of coat-hangers at his Sussex Drive residence. 

Eighteen years later, the Supreme Court repealed all restrictions on abortion.

The CCBR has turned the tables and will retrace the 1970 caravan by travelling through British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario before reaching Ottawa on Canada Day weekend.

The tour kicked off with a rendition of O Canada by Vancouver Canucks’ anthem singer Mark Donnelly. He said the event was for all Canadians and hoped it would spark a national debate on abortion. As he sang, protesters chanted: “This isn’t a Canadian issue.”

“We have taken the sacred cow of Canada’s abortion rights movement and are using it to advance the cause for pre-born children,” said Gray.

“Last year, we announced our new EndtheKilling plan to eradicate abortion from our country in our lifetime. We have given ourselves an 18-year deadline to achieve justice for the pre-born.”

Many of CCBR’s staff were born after Canada’s abortion laws were struck down and see themselves as a part of a survivor generation.

“Too many of our peers have died and now the young people of Canada are standing up to lead the New Abortion Caravan,” said Lauren Kyfiuk, a CCBR summer intern.

“It’s our responsibility as survivors to speak out for those who have been killed and to be a voice for the voiceless.”

The group will engage the cities they tour using a variety of mediums. Young pro-lifers will drive trucks with large posters of aborted children on the outside, while other staff will demonstrate on street corners holding large signs with similar images. CCBR will circulate graphic postcards at peoples’ homes and will engage the public through debates and presentations.

“We must bring that which is done in darkness into the light and confront the culture with the graphic reality of abortion,” said Kyfiuk. “We must have the courage to tell the truth in love if we aim to EndtheKilling in our lifetime.”

After several stops in British Columbia, the tour was to visit Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina from June 6-9, and then stop in Brandon, Man. June 12 and Winnipeg June 13, before making these Ontario stops: Thunder Bay June 16, Sudbury June 20, Brampton June 21, London June 25, Toronto June 28 and Ottawa July 2. For more information visit: www.unmaskingchoice.ca.

(With files from the B.C. Catholic)

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OTTAWA - The Catholic Organization of Life and Family (COLF) has called the status quo on abortion “intolerable” and calls not only for “legislative reform” but also a “great cultural renewal.”

In its latest publication, “The Unborn Child: a gift, a treasure and a promise,” COLF describes respect for life as a “gauge of civilization” and warns that when the right to life is not fully protected “other rights are sooner or later mocked.”

It points out that in Canada there is no legal protection for the unborn child.

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PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation May 4 that prevents the state of Arizona or any local government from using taxpayer dollars to contract with organizations that offer abortion as part of their services.

Brewer signed the measure at a reception held in Scottsdale by the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that works to elect pro-life candidates to public office.

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A grassroots pro-life movement is hoping to spark a review of abortion laws in Canada through open debate with local MPs, all while maintaining a fair and open discourse for all sides on the issue.

“I’m pro-life from conception,” Mike Schouten, campaign director of the weneedalaw.ca web campaign, told The Catholic Register. “I also recognize that in the current situation in Canada there’s obstacles in our way that prevent us from having a law that bans all abortions. That’s simply just not going to happen right now.”

Schouten said the campaign aims to take an incremental approach.

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COLD LAKE, Alta. - A baby grows in her mother’s womb, and the parents love her and invest in her their dreams for the future. When she is born, this love blossoms. This was the situation for a Cold Lake couple, Patrice and Helene Roussel, in 1985. They were proud parents of a baby girl.

Three days after her birth, the child died.

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Red Deer, Alta. - The foundational beauty of moral theology is that it stands on the belief that every person is made in God’s image, a leading Catholic ethicist told the annual convention of the Edmonton Catholic Women’s League.

“That belief has many consequences, all founded on one major principle: the inherent dignity of every human life from conception until natural death,” Dr. Moira McQueen told some 175 CWL delegates from across the Edmonton archdiocese April 20.

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TORONTO - The idea of family can take on any number of connotations. One might think that the most immediate understanding of the word is filled with thoughts of our biological relatives.

However, for some families, the meaning is a much more fluid one, as parents take on the challenge of providing for children in our society who are in need.

Kim O’Neill has been a foster parent for two years and with her husband Mike provides for two brothers, ages six and seven, in their Whitby, Ont., home. After some encouragement from another foster parent in the area, the couple decided to restart their lives as parents after their own biological children had grown up and left the nest.

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Funny how carefully we choose our words. Working in the hospital, I see it all the time. If a woman is excited about the life in her womb, we call it a baby. With my own unborn child, my doctor, the ultrasound technician, a lady who greets me at the grocery store, they all use the same word: baby. Its very name implies it is human and it has worth. If it is not wanted, we call it a fetus.

It makes us feel better to talk to the post-abortive mother and ask, “How many weeks was the fetus?” rather than using the word baby. Somehow using the technical word removes us from the personhood of what it really is, but it doesn’t change anything.

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OTTAWA - Contentious issues about human rights, even those of unborn children, can be discussed in public in a civil, intelligent way, said Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth. And you need look no further than the recent debate in the House of Commons on his private member's Motion-312 for proof.

On April 26, Woodworth was the only MP who spoke in favour of his motion that would establish a Parliamentary committee to examine the latest medical evidence on whether a child in the womb is a human being. Other MPs from across the political spectrum — including his own Conservative Party — spoke against it.

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It’s difficult to judge which was the sadder sight in the House of Commons on April 26,  Conservative MP  Stephen Woodworth being ridiculed from all quarters for standing in defence of human life or the bleakness of him standing there alone.

The one certainty is that Woodworth has won our respect for rising as a lone voice in a hostile environment to promote values that are widely belittled in society, but also for rising, perhaps inadvertently, as a champion of the right to speak freely in Parliament.

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