Can We Rebuild a Culture of Life?With patience, persistence and a great deal of prayer, maybe an environment can be created which champions life from conception to natural death.
On May 13, an estimated 3,500 people joined the annual National March for Life in Ottawa. This is a pretty good number but it is a far cry from the over one million women who marched for pro-choice recently in Washington. Granted, Canada has a smaller population, and one less given to marching, but it does seem to be hard to draw the crowds to march for life.
Yet there was something different about this year's March for Life. Nearly 20 Members of Parliament turned out for the event. Admittedly, we are all anticipating an election so MPs are looking to be more visible. But being visible as pro-life is not necessarily a vote-getter for many MPs. These MPs are therefore committed to the pro-life cause.
In addition to (cross-party) political representation, the National March for Life also has broad support from a number of faith communities, and various pro-life organizations. Rabbi Bulka of Ottawa, representing the Jewish Community, addressed the assembled crowd as did Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais, representing the Catholic Community, and Bruce Clemenger, President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Also demonstrating support were representatives from Canada's many pro-life organizations and crisis pregnancy centres across the country.
So, while not the majority, there are a good number of pro-life leaders in Canada's political and faith communities. Last week's march demonstrated that. And there is a strong and growing base of pro-life organizations across the country.
So while attendance numbers weren't as strong as they could (or perhaps should) have been, the good news is that there is still strong support across Canada for legislative initiatives on some pro-life issues. LifeCanada funded a poll in November 2003 that shows growing support for legislation to protect life and for informed consent laws that would require women seeking abortions to be fully informed about the process and risks before obtaining an abortion.
What are some of these new initiatives?
It is unlikely that we will see legislation criminalizing abortion outright. But there are incremental steps that can help to build a culture of life. It will take patience and persistence and a great deal of prayer but the tide is turning on this issue.
The bottom line is, and this really is the bottom line, we can build a culture of life.
Janet Epp Buckingham is the Director of Law and Public Policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. See www.evangelicalfellowship.ca.
Copyright © 2004 The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.