Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 21, 2007
March for Life targets human rights, sex choice
Canada lacks laws to protect unborn
- CCN photo by Deborah Gyapong
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes speaks with March for Life participants.
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Concern for human rights and the growing use of abortion for sex selection dominated the annual March for Life May 10.
Canada is known around the world for its support of human rights, but one right is missing and that's the unborn child's right to life, Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis Savoie told the nearly 7,000 people on Parliament Hill. It is the largest crowd in the march's 10-year history.
Savoie, a Canadian who is number two in the worldwide Knights of Columbus organization, said Canada needs more politicians who are pro-life so this gap in the law can be filled.
Stop the killing
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."
Liberal 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.
Steckle introduced a private member's bill last June that would end abortion after 20 weeks gestation.
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.
The human rights focus echoed a 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.
It's a baby
"Only three weeks after conception, its heart is already beating," the message said, noting that at 12-to-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 said.
Though no political party will reopen the abortion issue, a recent National Post front page article revealed the growing discomfort most Canadians have with the lack of any legal protection for the unborn.
Journalist Anne Marie Owens' May 5th story asked why abortion was "simply not addressed publicly," when an Environics poll showed most Canadians favour some protection for the unborn.
Only about 30 per cent favour "abortion on demand." A similar number would ban abortion at any pregnancy stage. Another 40 per cent would like some restrictions at later stages.
Mainstream media coverage of the event remained scanty or non-existent.
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.