The 16th National March for Life drew to Ottawa thousands of pro-life Canadians who advocated legal protections for all unborn people, with a special focus this year on sex-selective abortion.

"The culture of life is alive, it's loud, and it's growing," Matt Wojciechowski, spokesman for the Campaign Life Coalition, told CNA.

"The march was an amazing, amazing event," he added. "It was very inspiring to see the never-ending crowds."

Between 20,000 and 25,000 pro-life advocates gathered on Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital on May 9.

The youth contingent was "definitely a large presence," Wojciechowski said, estimating that about 90 percent of attendees were under 35. About 1,000 students attended a pro-life conference in Ottawa on Friday.

About 20 Canadian Ministers of Parliament and a Senator attended the event, as did Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa and Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec City. Representatives from other Christian churches were also in attendance.

This year's event focused on the targeting of unborn girls for abortion, a practice common in India and China. Pro-lifers deem the practice "gendercide."

"Sex-selective abortions are happening in Canada. That has become quite an issue," Wojciechowski said.

He charged that Canada's ruling government had "completely rejected" attempts to discuss the issue.

"We're standing up for the pre-born, both male and female, no matter how small or how old," he said. "There's an added emphasis on saving baby girls from sex-selective abortions because they are targeted."

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family, in an April 22 statement released ahead of the March for Life, characterized sex-selective abortion as "a war on girls" fueled by "deeply held cultural biases" in favor of male heirs. It said that in some Canadian communities there are 120 boys for every 100 girls because of targeted abortion.

"The overwhelming majority of Canadians are offended by the thought that a female could be targeted for abortion just because she is, in fact, female," the organization said. "Let us march in the name of equality, in the name of female equality and of human equality."

Wojciechowski said media coverage of the March for Life had improved since last year. However, he lamented the lack of political attention to abortion law in general.

"Politically, the government is refusing to discuss this issue. They're refusing to acknowledge the human being in the womb," he said. "They think it's a losing issue. They don't want to stand up for life."

Wojciechowski emphasized that the pro-life movement in Canada is growing. "People are getting involved. Not just at marches once a year. They're getting involved at the grassroots level."

He encouraged others to become active in their families and talk about pro-life issues over the dinner table with their children, siblings and friends. He said a family focus will then encourage a natural progress in society.

"Family is the solid nucleus of our society. If the family doesn't discuss this issue, we can't expect any changes," Wojciechowski said.