About 200 people attended the Campaign Life Coalition banquet dinner and national convention, entitled, “Every human being deserves equal protection,” at the Woodbine Banquet and Convention Hall in northeast Toronto on April 4-5.
The banquet speaker on the Friday evening, Rebecca Kiessling of Personhood USA, gave her testimonial of being conceived in rape and how she was nearly illegally aborted twice. She talked about how she does not appreciate being called “a hard case” and challenged the audience to fight for all unborn children without exception.
Kiessling spoke again the next day and stressed that pro-lifers cannot accept exceptions: “Honour God by having no exceptions.” She talked about the personhood movement in the United States and how it was a strategy to end, not regulate abortion. Crediting Colorado Right to Life with the line, she criticized laws merely regulating abortion as “… and then you can kill the baby laws.” Keissling said that applying the principle of personhood to the preborn “would allow existing homicide laws to apply” to the unborn.
Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and executive director of Priests for Life (USA), was the lunch speaker during the conference. She talked about her book Recall Abortion, which both retells the story of her abortion and is a clarion call to rescind abortion. She said past medical practices such as blood-letting and lobotomies have been ended as cruel and ineffective procedures. Morana said “people in the conflicted middle” need to be told that abortion is not medicine because it does not “help the body to do what it isn’t doing properly on its own,” which genuine medicine does.
Dan Zeidler, president of Family Life Council, and Julia Cardenal, president of the Yes to Life Foundation, both talked about the battle to protect the unborn in South and Central America. Zeidler said “Latin America is under intense pressure from outside forces to legalize abortion.” He said that pro-abortion non-government organizations, various western countries through their foreign aid programs, and the United Nations all push countries in Latin America to liberalize laws that protect the preborn.
Cardenal said that abortion advocates focus on “difficult cases” to “advance their cause” but charged them with deliberately getting the thin edge of the wedge of abortion into law so that they could broaden access once it was legalized. Cardenal said that abortion advocates misrepresent themselves as defenders of women’s rights. “They don’t care about women’s health, women’s dignity, they only care about abortion.”
Cardenal talked about the successful fight in El Salvador to enact a constitutional amendment that recognizes the unborn child as a human being, saying having the Christian churches support the pro-life movement was an essential ingredient to political success.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, talked about Conservative MP Steven Fletcher’s private member’s bills seeking to legalize euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. Schadenberg said “very few jurisdictions have euthanasia,” as he listed them: “Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington state.” He said it is “hardly a wave of euthanasia cascading over the world.”
He said that so-called safeguards in euthanasia laws are designed to “protect doctors not patients” and said that research in countries and states that allow euthanasia find that the protections trumpeted during debate on the issue are seldom respected in practice. Schadenberg stressed that “euthanasia is not just for those who request it,” as killing patients becomes normal treatment and the scope of those eligible for it grows wider. “It is dangerous,” he warned, saying “euthanasia is not about terminal illness, it’s about giving someone the right to kill you.”
Rev. Elmer Manzo, senior pastor at Kipling Avenue Baptist Church, and Fr. Paul Nicholson, missionary preacher of the new evangelism, both gave spiritual talks to begin the conference on the Saturday morning. Rev. Manzo urged everyone to “stay in the battle” and said that pro-life work cannot be done without God. Fr. Nicholson said the movement needed to stay the course and not concern itself with winning, saying that earthly victories are not as important as the ultimate prize of salvation.
John-Henry Westen, editor of LifeSiteNews.com, talked about the importance of sharing “brandishing the truth in love” especially in journalism and other communications.
CLC national president Jim Hughes told The Interim he was pleased with the conference. “We always would like to see more people there, but those who were fortunate enough to attend were inspired and educated by a great roster of speakers who spoke up for the rights of all human beings, without exception.”