The Pro-life Movement is Still as Relevant Today as it Ever Was
While doing pro-life activism on the streets of downtown Toronto it can be very easy to lose hope when faced with the apathy and indifference people have when they are confronted with the gruesome reality of abortion. Some passersby will even stop to say that the work we are doing is useless and that the pro-life movement is futile as there are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada and the laws will never change. Some may wonder why us pro-lifers still stand on the street and engage the culture on abortion in the midst of insults, colourful language, threats, and sometimes physical violence that is inflicted on us by those with opposing opinions. Advocating for the rights of the pre-born humans in many cases costs us our comfort, but the lives of those babies are worth more than my comfort.
A common phrase my male colleagues often encounter on the street is “no uterus no opinion.” I find that those who are pro-abortion are often fixated on the race, religion, and gender of the male pro-life activists; tirelessly reminding us that they are (sometimes) white, (sometimes) Christian, and men. Yes, diversity is beautiful and it is wonderful hearing the voices and experiences of those of various cultures. However, when human rights are being violated, does it really matter whose mouth the message is coming from? In reality, every day in Canada about 300 unborn human beings are being decapitated, disemboweled, and dismembered, what matters is that someone is speaking up for them, regardless of their age, gender, race, or religion. It should not matter that these men do not have uteruses because abortion is not only a women’s issue, it is a human issue, because so many innocent humans are dying every day in Canada. When it comes to injustice, it is important that everyone uses their free speech to fight the injustice, just as it was reasonable for non-Jewish people to speak out against the Holocaust.
As a female, I often get told that myself and my female colleagues do not have the right to talk about abortion, specifically in the public square, especially if we have never had one of our own. Firstly, we have every right to stand up and share the truth about abortion with the free speech that we rightly have as a Canadian citizen. We have every right to show and share the truth of abortion, especially when it is so hidden in our culture. Secondly, one may argue that this material is meant for the public square, because it is important to hear the truth of what abortion is and how it can damage the lives of so many. Time and time again post-abortive women share about how no one told them how abortion could negatively impact them medically, emotionally, and spiritually - not even their abortion providers. There are serious repercussions to abortion, it is not the simple choice many pro-choice people paint it to be, and it deserves to be talked about in public. As a society, don’t we encourage people to share the truth about how harmful some choices can be? Just think of how many testimonies you have heard of the mothers who speak out against drunk driving. These testimonies are even presented at numerous high school assemblies. The gruesome truth about drunk driving is clearly illustrated in many PSAs. Why is it encouraged to hear some truths but not others?
Yes abortion has been legal in Canada for many years, but that does not mean that what we are doing as pro-lifers is futile or that we are only faced with losses. Winning does not exclusively entail passing pro-life legislation. Yes, passing anti-abortion legislation in Canada is ideal and what we hope to achieve, but that first comes with changing the culture. When evils such as abortion are so entrenched and normalized in a society, it is not surprising that it takes time for a culture to change. We can take a trip down memory lane to the time where slavery was a normalized part of Western society. We could hear similarities from the pro-slavery individuals who would say “Don’t like slavery? Don’t own a slave.” All while accepting the status quo at the time that stated that a slave is not a “person,” therefore not eligible to receive human rights. It took William Wilberforce many attempts to pass legislation to end the slave trade and to ban slavery. People laughed at him, criticized him, and thought his efforts were futile. Looking to the past, we now see that his efforts were not pointless, even though it took him years of ‘losses’ to get things done! I would then encourage our opponents who call our work futile to reflect on what social reform looks like realistically.
One could argue that the pro-life movement is seeing many wins and successes, regardless of the lack of pro-life legislation in Canada. Each year, more people are attending the March for Life, including an increasing amount of young people. Also, many pro-life university students such as those at Ryerson, UOIT, and UTM, are taking a stand as they fight legal battles against their student unions for not allowing them to have pro-life clubs on campus. Also, there are more crisis pregnancy centres compared to abortion clinics in both Canada and the United States. Pro-life activists also continue to change hearts and minds on the issue of abortion every day. In addition, the pro-life movement in Canada is more diverse than ever before, with people from all walks of life, age, creed, and ethnic background. There is no reason to lose hope. The United States has been able to pass a number of anti-abortion legislation, which illustrates the tremendous possibility for change. A movement that aims to stand up for human rights that are so unjustly violated every day is not a futile movement. These are the people that will be held in great esteem when historians look back on our time, the time when society thought it was okay to kill its youngest and most vulnerable citizens.