Members of the Choice Chain show the public what abortion looks like, including Campaign Life Coalition youth coordinator Alissa Golob.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am a firm supporter of the use of graphic images when it comes to pro-life activism. However, when I signed up for the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform’s Summer Crash Course and was told we would be using them outside of the Calgary Stampede, I have to admit I was a little hesitant.


Every summer in Calgary, Canadians get the chance to experience an all bull-riding, lasso-slinging, good-time at the world famous Calgary Stampede. My first question was: who exactly are we targeting? My Ontario naivety being what it is, I thought the only people who went to the stampede were the cowboys who competed and the families who watched them. Before going I thought that by targeting events like this we would be turning people off by forcing families to look at disgusting pictures while trying to take their kids to milk some cows and pet some horses. I went nonetheless with an open-mind to see if my hesitations were unfounded.

I don’t think words can properly express to you how wrong I really was.

I guess I forgot that abortions don’t stop while the stampede is in town, and realized that just because there is an event going on doesn’t mean we should stray from our mandate to convert hearts and minds to the pro-life cause. Just as the American suffragette Alice Paul did not stop protesting outside the White House during World War I, so too pro-lifers should not stop demonstrating just because Will and Kate want to kick up their boots in some hoedowns.

Throughout my weeklong venture with CCBR doing the Choice Chain – which involves people standing on public sidewalks holding 3×4-foot signs of first-trimester aborted babies and distribute pamphlets, while post-abortive women and men who participate are encouraged to hold “I Regret My Abortion” and “I Regret Lost Fatherhood” signs – I had some pretty interesting conversations that convinced me of this. One young woman, wearing a cropped, plaid, belly-shirt and a jean skirt I could have used as a headband, told me in her drunken state (it was the middle of the day) that she was on her way to the stampede and hoped to “get pregnant tonight.” The next day, a group of rambunctious teenagers, openly chugging their alcoholic beverages in the middle of the street almost choked when catching a glimpse of our display. With intoxication masked as courage and the power of the mob behind them, they approached me asking various questions as to why I felt “the need to tell others what to do.” After a few minutes of conversation and a thorough interrogation of the pro-life position, they quietly left being forced to decide whether they would continue to be lackadaisical when the slaughter of innocents was being perpetrated daily.

These conversations, along with many others, reinforced my position that whether it’s the Calgary Stampede or the Canada Day Parade, this pro-life initiative needs to be at the forefront of Canadian life. It is an outdoor classroom where education about abortion is dispensed to all, teaching, challenging and convincing them to make it unthinkable.

As I stood there, with the pervasive aroma of cow manure and alcohol swirling around me, and the faint twang of Garth Brooks in the distance, I realized that we should never back down. There are more people working full-time to kill babies than to save them. If abortionists are not going to stop during these events, neither should we. They say that pictures are worth a thousand words and these images cut down on the rhetoric that is alive and well in the culture today, bluntly illuminating the grisly menace that is threatening our families and society as a whole. Showing pictures of happy, smiling, Jewish people does not accurately display the reality of the Holocaust, so why do some pro-lifers insist on only showing pictures of happy, smiling babies?

Abortion imagery is essential. A sure way that people will know abortion is for them to see it.

American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote, “never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Can I get a “yeehaw” for that, y’all?

Alissa Golob is co-ordinator of Campaign Life Coalition Youth.