Today they have come from all over Canada. This afternoon they will converge on Parliament Hill in an attempt once again to get federal politicians to listen. Most politicians will avoid them as if they have bubonic plague. Their message is politically toxic.
Thousands are taking part today in the annual National March For Life. Every year on the second Thursday of May they gather to remind politicians that Canada has no laws protecting the unborn. That, they say, is a fundamental breach of justice and Parliament needs to address the issue.
Estimates of the size of the protest vary. Most demonstrations on the Hill have fewer than 100 people and receive little to no media attention. The March For Life has considerably more people, but will receive little to no media attention, despite it being the largest protest in Ottawa each year. Organizers claim 20,000 (and have suggested this year they expect 25,000) while the media, if they bother to report at all, usually pegs the number at 5,000. The RCMP, in charge of Hill security, usually decline to provide their estimate – I presume they have learned that, whatever number they give, they will be accused of bias by one faction or another.
Estimating crowd sizes in an open space is difficult at the best of times. The annual Canada Day celebrations can see 100,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill. I’ve been to some of those, and I have attended a few open air concerts in my time. The March For life Organizers, in my opinion, do inflate their participant numbers by 20 to 25 per cent. Which still makes for a very impressive turnout. If it was any other issue it would lead the newscasts and be first page of the newspaper, not an afterthought.
I think the reason this topic is so sensitive is because those on the pro-choice side know the pro-lifers are right. Any child with a knowledge of reproduction could tell you that when sperm fertilizes egg the result will be a human child – unless you choose to terminate the pregnancy.
The pro-choicers seem to deny that basic humanity (as does Canadian law at the present). Killing an embryo, a fetus, is not the same as killing a child in the eyes of the pro-choice movement (and the law). To me that seems like they are in denial.
A more honest way to frame the debate would to be to admit from the outset that abortion takes a life, but that the state has decided that in such cases it is acceptable behavior. It isn’t as if the state has never sanctioned immoral or unethical behavior before. But perhaps we don’t want to think about our history, perhaps we are happier pretending that this is not a moral choice as well as a medical one.
A national debate on whether it is justified to kill pre-born babies won’t be taking place anytime soon. There are too many people who are firmly rooted in the status quo who do not want to allow any debate. The reasons for that I leave you to surmise – to go into all the details would turn this from a blog post to a book, and neither of us wants that. Canadian politicians of all political parties do not desire to wade into this issue ever again – they feel it is too polarizing.
So they will gather on Parliament Hill today, as they do every year, to wave their signs and listen to some speeches. When they leave they will promise to return next year, hoping that before then someone will listen something will happen to provide a glimmer of encouragement for their cause. They know they are on the side of Right; they will remain faithful to the cause, no matter how much time it takes.