A Canadian pro-life group is retracing the steps that abortion activists took in the country during the 1970s, but with the goal of repealing local abortion laws.
“We want to take the language for choice and then expose it,” Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Center for Bio-ethical Reform, told CNA May 16.
The group, which is dedicated to “making abortion unthinkable” by engaging the public in discussions about the reality of abortion, will undertake its most ambitious campaign yet on May 29 with a cross-country educational tour.
The New Abortion Caravan will follow in the footsteps of abortion activists who engaged the public with a nearly identical campaign, called the Abortion Caravan, in the summer of 1970 to gain free abortions on demand and repeal pro-life laws.
By using disturbing imagery, having women to share emotional accounts of their experience with illegal abortion and presenting the act as a fundamental women's right, the abortion advocates were able to achieve their goal.
The original Abortion Caravan, which visited provinces from Ottawa to Vancouver, significantly contributed to the repeal of anti-abortion laws 18 years later, resulting in free abortions on demand, paid for with Canadian taxes, through all nine months of pregnancy.
Gray is confident that the new tour – which follows the same route and is part of the organization's larger campaign called End the Killing – will contribute to Canadians overturning abortion laws in the year 2030, precisely 18 years from now.
“We can end the killing and we can end it in our lifetime,” Gray said.
She noted that using similar rhetoric as abortion advocates is key, adding that the New Abortion Caravan hopes to “shift the debate from an abstract notion of choice” to the reality of abortion as “an act of violence which kills a baby.”
During their tour, the group will use graphic imagery, give educational talks and provide testimonies from women who have had abortions to expose the reality of the violence of the procedure.
Whereas the original campaign ended on Mother's Day in order to present the movement as a women's rights issue, the new campaign will end on July 1, Canada Day, to frame abortion as a violation of human rights.
“If someone would harm a toddler, wouldn't you intervene to stop that act of injustice from occurring?”
In the same way, abortion, is simply the killing of children who “are just a little bit younger, less developed and more dependent than toddlers,” Gray explained.
Although the tone and imagery of the campaign may seem extreme, Gray said that her staff must be “good ambassadors” of the truth and love.
Above all, they need to, “communicate that harshness, which can't be changed, because abortion is harsh,” while at the same time practicing empathy, compassion and being good listeners.
Founded in 2001, the center now employs a team of 19 young Canadians who are dedicated to “making abortion unthinkable in our lifetime.” To that end, the group sponsors talks, demonstrations, and campaigns throughout the year that are meant to “engage the culture directly about who the pre-born child is.”
The organization has had surprisingly favorable feedback from various programs, especially with their high school talks.
“We find that we get such a positive, transformative response from students because they typically haven't been exposed to the pro-life message.”