Informing choice: the efforts of pro-life activists to change the abortion-on-demand status quo now focus on educating those making the choice.
Summer is normally a time for young adults to travel, gain work experience, relax with the family or sip a brew on the patio. But instead, for one group of determined activists this summer, things are anything but laid-back--they're walking from Vancouver to Ottawa to bring awareness to an issue they say Canada is ignoring: abortion.
Ben Broussard Benjamin Issac Broussard (born September 24, 1976, in Beaumont, Texas) is a first baseman who currently plays for the Seattle Mariners.
He attended McNeese State and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 1999 entry draft. , one of the walkers for Crossroads Pro-Life, completed a similar trek in 2003 across the U.S., and came north from Louisiana to join like-minded Canucks for the inaugural Canadian walk. "I was expecting us to get such negativity, stuff thrown at us and such, but it's totally the opposite. People are very supportive," he says.
While most politicians are loath to approach the topic, pro-lifers seem to be morphing their strategy from political lobbying to awareness and education projects. But even without political action or religious rhetoric, some of their efforts in public spaces have still bred controversy.
Under headings such as "Everyone gets a choice but the victim," the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, another pro-life group based in Calgary, sets up large, graphic visuals of aborted a·bort
v. a·bort·ed, a·bort·ing, a·borts
1. To give birth prematurely or before term; miscarry.
2. To cease growth before full development or maturation.
3. fetuses at high schools and college campuses. Executive Director Stephanie Gray defends the campaign, arguing that the pro-choice movement uses "choice" in an abstract way, whereas she shows the concrete reality of the choice. "We want to reach the culture visually with the reality of what abortion is," she says.
But pro-choice advocates accuse the CCBR CCBR Canadian Conference on Broadband Research
CCBR Configuration Control Board Request of simply being sensationalist sen·sa·tion·al·ism
a. The use of sensational matter or methods, especially in writing, journalism, or politics.
b. Sensational subject matter.
c. Interest in or the effect of such subject matter. . "People like Stephanie Gray don't raise awareness, they raise anxiety," says Celia Posyniak, executive director of Kensington Clinic, an abortion centre also located in Calgary. "She tries to escalate anxiety using misleading information. I think that is practically criminal."
Gray, however, maintains it's the procedure itself that causes anxiety. "If something is so horrifying we can't stand to look at it, perhaps we shouldn't be tolerating it," reads the CCBR's website. In response to claims of misinformation mis·in·form
tr.v. mis·in·formed, mis·in·form·ing, mis·in·forms
To provide with incorrect information.
mis , Gray says her centre is always open to public debate. "If we debate individuals in a public forum, we are more effective, because the crowd can see how illogical they are," she says.
Posyniak sees no merit in Gray's project, saying it's "a waste of money" to talk women out of terminating their pregnancy. She contends that, "Like or it not, it's a safe procedure--one of the most common, and one of the most safe." When pro-life groups point out the procedure might be safe for women, but fatal for the infant, Posyniak complains that such arguments assume the life of a fetus is "more important than the life of a woman. They dehumanize de·hu·man·ize
tr.v. de·hu·man·ized, de·hu·man·iz·ing, de·hu·man·iz·es
1. To deprive of human qualities such as individuality, compassion, or civility: women," she says.
Yet such reasoning is the motivation behind CCBR's Genocide Awareness Project The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is a movable pro-life display being temporarily installed on multiple university campuses in the United States and Canada since 1997. , which juxtaposes images of aborted babies with those of war crimes. "If you look historically at when injustice has occurred, it often occurs where the victims are denied personhood per·son·hood
The state or condition of being a person, especially having those qualities that confer distinct individuality: "finding her own personhood as a campus activist" status," Gray argues. "Jews were considered parasites (in Nazi Germany), Tutsis in Rwanda were considered cockroaches cockroaches
insects which may carry Salmonella spp. in their gut and play a part in the spread of the disease. ," and she considers dehumanizing "the unborn" no different.
Fortunately for pro-choice advocates, Canadian law does make a distinction, allowing for 110,000 abortions last year, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Statistics Canada. Kensington contributed 3,000 procedures; and with a quarter of all pregnancies in Canada being terminated, Posyniak says the demand is so high that when a woman calls the clinic, she must wait an average of two to three weeks for an appointment. Dr. Stan Iwanicki, an obstetrician obstetrician /ob·ste·tri·cian/ (ob?ste-trish´in) one who practices obstetrics.
A physician who specializes in obstetrics. at the Peter Lougheed Centre Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) is a large hospital in Alberta, Canada. It is located in the city of Calgary, and is administered by the Calgary Health Region. It was named after Peter Lougheed, who served as premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985. in Calgary, says this is largely the result of failed birth control medication, making abortion the "default contraception." Of 100 women reliant on the pill, six or seven will become pregnant within a year, he says; and for teens, the number is closer to 16. But if the CBC's online contest, "The Great Canadian Wish List," is any indication, abortion has hardly become an accepted inevitability, as both sides of the debate duelled this summer for top spot. This likely affirms activists' suspicions that there is still plenty of emotion left for cross-nation walks and graphic displays to draw on. But real success, pro-lifers say, will come only when people choose to raise their children.