Thousands pack Ottawa’s Parliament Hill for 27th annual March for Life

March for Life Ottawa Pro-life supporters march in this year's March for Life in Ottawa, Canada. May 9, 2024. | Credit: Peter Stockland
Ottawa, Canada, March for Life Participants in the Ottawa, Canada, March for Life on May 9, 2024, sing the national anthem. | Credit: Peter Stockland
Ottawa March for Life Diana Kringayark shares about her pro-life ministry in Naujaat, Nunavut, at the Ottawa March for Life on May 9, 2024. | Credit: Peter Stockland
Ottawa March for Life Nathalia Comrie shares the story of her abortion and the support she received from Silent No More Awareness Campaign and the Sisters of Life at the Ottawa, Canada, March for Life on May 9, 2024. | Credit: Peter Stockland
Ottawa March for Life Thousands gather to hear opening speeches at the 27th annual National March for Life in Ottawa, Canada, on May 9, 2024. | Credit: Peter Stockland
Ottawa March for Life Thousands gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, for the 27th annual National March for Life on May 9, 2024. | Credit: Peter Stockland
Ottawa March for Lifef Pro-life marchers express their support for life from conception to natural death at the 27th annual National March for Life in Ottawa, Canada, on May 9, 2024. | Credit: Peter Stockland

Thousands of pro-lifers packed onto Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, and spilled out onto Wellington Street on May 9 for the 27th annual National March for Life.

The diverse crowd gathered on the Hill at noon with its members bearing both homemade and professionally crafted signs pledging them to stand fast for the unborn and vulnerable.

The march’s theme, “I Will Never Forget You” was taken from the prophet Isaiah’s poignant question: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?”

Participants in the Ottawa, Canada, March for Life on May 9, 2024, sing the national anthem. Credit: Peter Stockland
Participants in the Ottawa, Canada, March for Life on May 9, 2024, sing the national anthem. Credit: Peter Stockland

The rally and march were broadcast live by the U.S. cable network EWTN. (Editor’s note: EWTN is the parent company of Catholic News Agency.)

This year’s speakers included pro-life speaker and author Abby Johnson, President of 40 Days for Life Shawn Carney, and Campaign Life Coalition Vice-Chair Jeff Gunnarson.

The opening prayer was led by Father Daniel Szwarc, OMI, who traveled to Ottawa from the Arctic Circle together with three young women engaged in pro-life activities in their small Inuit village of Naujaat.

Diana Kringayark told the crowd that every week she and the other women buy baby products to distribute to 40 village families to show that “every baby is important.”

Diana Kringayark shares about her pro-life ministry in Naujaat, Nunavut, at the Ottawa March for Life on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland
Diana Kringayark shares about her pro-life ministry in Naujaat, Nunavut, at the Ottawa March for Life on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland

Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Damphousse encouraged the marchers to act with “courage, compassion, and conviction."

Conservative members of Parliament Cathay Wagantall and Arnold Viersen were the only federal politicians to address the crowd.

In her brief speech, Wagantall emphasized that advocating for the unborn and the vulnerable is particularly difficult for Canadian politicians. But she hailed the number of young people in the crowd as a sign of hope.

“If you think it is a battle out here, you know it is a battle in there,” the Saskatchewan member of Parliament said, indicating the Houses of Parliament behind her.

Angelina Steenstra of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign introduced Nathalia Comrie, a young woman who, at 17, was pregnant and felt that “abortion was the only choice my family would accept.” She said she was told that “everything would go back to normal after the abortion.”

Nathalia Comrie shares the story of her abortion and the support she received from Silent No More Awareness Campaign and the Sisters of Life at the Ottawa, Canada, March for Life on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland
Nathalia Comrie shares the story of her abortion and the support she received from Silent No More Awareness Campaign and the Sisters of Life at the Ottawa, Canada, March for Life on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland

“That was a lie,” Comrie said. After years of depression and substance abuse, she was introduced to the Sisters of Life, and through them to other women who, like her, had suffered as the result of abortion.

“I will never forget my son Kaeden. He is why I am silent no more,” Comrie said.

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In the crowd of clergy, habited religious sisters, elderly, schoolchildren, and loud teenagers were women who had found themselves, like Comrie, in situations where they felt pressured and alone.

Christa Ranson came to the March for Life from Montreal because she knew what it was to have considered abortion.

Thousands gather to hear opening speeches at the 27th annual National March for Life in Ottawa, Canada, on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland
Thousands gather to hear opening speeches at the 27th annual National March for Life in Ottawa, Canada, on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland

Ranson had been scheduled to undergo an abortion on two separate occasions. The first time she was actually on the table being prepped for the abortion when she decided not to go through with it. The second time, after hearing her son’s heartbeat by ultrasound, Ranson decided she “just couldn’t do it.”

Ranson said she now tells her son: “I loved you when you were just a heartbeat.”

When asked why it was important for her to come to the March for Life, she told Canada’s The Catholic Register that it was to let women know there is a choice other than abortion.

Thousands gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, for the 27th annual National March for Life on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland
Thousands gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, for the 27th annual National March for Life on May 9, 2024. Credit: Peter Stockland

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“What a lot of people don’t realize is that, when you are on that table, those babies are living, they have a heart, they have feelings.”

“I want other women to know that even if it is difficult, it will be okay and it is worth it. If women are making the decision because of health reasons, or financial reasons, they should reach out. There are resources out there, there are doctors out there who will help.”

This article was originally published by Canada’s The Catholic Register and is reprinted here with permission. 

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