Canadian Catholic News: Canadian March for Life focuses on human rights,
use of abortion for sex selection
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – Concern for human rights and the growing use of
abortion for sex selection dominated the annual March for Life May 10.
Canada’s known around the world for its support of human rights, but one
right is missing and that’s unborn child’s right to life, Deputy Supreme
Knight Dennis Savoie told the estimated nearly 7,000 people on Parliament
Hill, the largest crowd in march’s ten-year history. Savoie, a Canadian,
said Canada needed more politicians who were pro-life so this gap in the law
can be filled.
Priests for Life national director Father Frank Pavone said a country cannot
advance social justice, peace on earth or end terrorism unless it “starts at
the beginning and stops the killing of the unborn.”
Pavone said the United States’ pro-life movement has “made some progress”
with the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the partial birth abortion
ban. He said opponents have cried the decision “chipping away at our right
“You are right!” he said. “The end is coming!”
Liberal member of Parliament (MP) Paul Steckle and Conservative MP Maurice
Vellacott, co-chairs of the Parliamentary pro-life caucus, held a news
conference preceding the march to reveal research on the growing use of
prenatal sex selection.
Vellacott said sex-selection abortion is not only a massive problem in
China, but also occurs illegally in Canada.
“Selecting preborn girls for termination, simply because they are female, is
an important example of the violence and discrimination that still exists
against women and girls in Canada today,” said Steckle, who introduced a
private members bill last June that would end abortion after 20 weeks
About 10 Members of Parliament, Conservative and Liberal, greeted the crowd
and others sent regrets. No Bloc Quebecois or the New Democratic Party MPs
came. Several more, including cabinet ministers Stockwell Day and Jason
Kenney, appeared at the annual Rose Dinner following the march.
The human-rights focus echoed the message Catholic Organization for Life and
Family (COLF) issued April 30, stressing the fetal rights.
COLF urged Canada to fill the “juridical void” because Canada lacks any law
protecting the unborn. The message stressed the scientific evidence
revealing the humanity of the child in the womb. “Only three weeks after
conception, its heart is already beating,” the message said, noting that at
12-16 weeks the fetus can “yawn, swallow, suck its thumb, and hiccup.”
“From the first moment of its existence, the human being must be respected
as a person,” the message, available at www.colf.ca, said. The Knights of
Columbus co-sponsors COLF with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
Savoie serves on COLF’s board.
Though no political party will reopen the abortion issue, a recent National
Post front-page article revealed the growing discomfort a most Canadians
have with the lack of any legal protection for the unborn.
Journalist Anne Marie Owens May 5 story asked why abortion was “simply not
addressed publicly,” when an Environics poll showed most Canadians favor
some protection for the unborn. Only about 30 percent favor “abortion on
demand.” A similar number would ban abortion at any pregnancy stage. Another
40 percent would like some restrictions at later stages.
Mainstream media coverage of the event remained scanty or non-existent. The
CBC reported 1,500 marchers, while Maclean’s Magazine online reported 3,000.
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes, who uses a clicker to count
marchers, said he counted about 6,800 who marched through Ottawa and another
100 people who remained on the Hill. Organizers hoped to reach 10,000, but
they seemed pleased numbers exceeded last year’s numbers by nearly 1,000.
The Parliament Hill rally also featured the producer and lead actor from the
film “Bella,” winner the Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award last
fall. Lead actor Eduardo Verastegui said changing the culture through art is
even more powerful than politics.
Producer Leo Severino said much of what Hollywood produces is “poisonous,”
citing the pro-euthanasia message of “Million Dollar Baby” and the
pro-abortion message of “Cider House Rules.”
More clippings from 2007