As she takes part in the National March for Life on Thursday, Angelina Steenstra, the National Coordinator for Silent No More Awareness Campaign Canada and the Co-founder of Second Chance Post Abortion Healing ministry, will wear the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal she received in honour of her service to her fellow Canadians.
The medal was released at the end of 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952. The British monarch is Canada’s head of state, even though Canada has full political independence from the United Kingdom.
Steenstra said she was surprised and moved to learn that Maurice Vellacott, the Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, had nominated her for the award. In a letter that accompanied the medal, Vellacott described Steenstra as “a force for good” and said, “Canada will become a nation that again values life because of works of sacrificial service.” Steenstra said, “I never thought of myself as being in service to my country, but being a recipient of this medal has opened my eyes, and now I see the work of raising awareness of the devastating aftereffects of abortion through a different lens.”
Abortion was legalized in Canada in 1969, but only when the life or health of a mother was imperiled by the pregnancy. In 1988, the Supreme Court struck down the existing law as unconstitutional. Without a law restricting abortion in Canada, abortions are now governed by provincial and medical regulations and can be performed for any reason up to the moment of birth. Because Canada’s 34 million citizens are covered by a nationalized health-care system, in almost every case the government picks up the tab. As in the United States, lax reporting requirements in Canada make it impossible to know how many children have lost their lives to abortion, but the number is believed to be greater than 120,000 per year.
The year 2012 marked 40 years since Steenstra left Canada to travel to Buffalo, N.Y., for an abortion following a traumatic date rape. Just a teenager, she was afraid to tell her family about the rape, and believed an abortion clinic worker who convinced her that her best option was to terminate her pregnancy.
“When I had my abortion, I was told it was no big deal, that it would solve ‘my problem’” she recalled. “In fact, the abortion began a life of problems. For years, I lived in denial that abortion was the root of my emotional, spiritual, physical, and relational pain.”
Steenstra attended the second annual Silent No More Awareness Campaign event during the March for Life in Washington D.C., in January 2004. She was so moved by the testimonies of the women and men that she accepted the invitation to bring the Campaign to Canada. Just four months later, on May 13, 2004, Canada hosted its first Silent No More Awareness Campaign gathering on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, in conjunction with the National March for Life. Thirteen women and men came forward and stood shoulder to shoulder to publicly break their silence. They did this courageous act to help others avoid the pain of abortion, and to let those suffering in silence know that hope and healing were available.
“We were embraced,” she said. “It was a very unique and brave thing to do. People were very grateful and applauded our courage.”
This year’s event will mark the Canadian campaign’s 10th gathering. It is a celebration of all the lives that have been touched through the Campaign. Steenstra points out, “The ripple effect of our testimonies is immeasurable: Babies saved; Post-abortive women and men restored to joy; Relationships healed; Addictions broken; Hearts mended; Medical complications avoided – and the list goes on.”
Steenstra states that she is “grateful to be the recipient of this medal. I accept it on behalf of all the courageous women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign with whom I stand, and on behalf of all the post-abortive women and men whom I’ve served over the past two decades.”
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign gathering will begin at 2:45 p.m. on the steps of Parliament Hill.
Since the launch of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in 2003, 5,612 women and men have shared their testimonies publicly at over 1,195 gatherings in 48 states and 10 countries. More than 12,865 people representing 77 countries are registered to be Silent No More. Raising awareness about the hurtful aftermath of abortion and the help that is available to cope with the pain are two of the Campaign’s goals. The Campaign has over 1,718 testimonies posted here, with over 214 that are shared via video!
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is a joint project of Anglicans for Life and Priests for Life. For more information, please visit our website: