Despite wind, sleet, and temperatures of minus six, more than 350 people attended the Defund Abortion Rally organized by Campaign Life Coalition Youth at Queen’s Park on March 19.
While the crowd was small at the start of the noon-hour event, causing concern among organizers, it quickly grew during the presentations of the first two speakers.
The event opened with Campaign Life Coalition’s Jack Fonseca presenting 560 petitions from constituents in Ajax-Pickering to their Liberal MPP, Joe Dickson. Dickson thanked Fonseca for the petitions and noted that they will now be part of the “permanent record in the province” and urged the crowd to “keep up the good work.”
Fonseca told The Interim it is good to give pro-lifers a chance to see “their elected representatives face-to-face” because their presence encourages them: both the show of support by the elected official to the crowd but also the reinforcement by the movement for members of provincial parliament. “Directly involving the MPP,” Fonseca explained, “is a form of lobbying, to strengthen the good guys and to put pressure on the bad guys.”
Among the other speakers were CLC Youth coordinator Alisa Golob; CLC’s Mary Ellen Douglas, Matt Wojciechowski and Sharon Rose Milan; Canadian Christian College’s Rondo Thomas; the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform’s Jonathon van Maren; and freedom activist and Sun News personality Faith Goldy.
Golob thanked the crowd for “using your voice to stand up against injustice.” She said, “millions of dollars every single year are being taken from our pockets and being used to dismember, decapitate and disembowel children in the womb not only across this province, but across this country and we are here to say enough is enough.”
Golob, who organized the event, further said, “we are here to take action. We are here to send a message loud and clear to our provincial government that we will no longer comply with the tyranny of forced, taxpayer funded abortion.”
Jonathon Van Maren said that everyone in the province was “complicit” in the murder of the unborn “by virtue of all of us being taxpayers.” Rondo Thomas, an ordained minister, said abortion violates “my conscience” and it is wrong to implicate faithful Christians in abortion through the use of the public purse.
CLC has calculated that the direct costs of abortion are at least $30-$50 million, and that instead of funding a medically unnecessary procedure Ontario could hire more than 200 family doctors or 400 nurses, purchased 20 MRI machines, or provide therapy for an additional 500 autistic children.
Sharon Rose Milan quoted sources saying the mental health costs related to abortion could total $500 million and she wondered, “what our province could do with a half billion dollars?” Milan also said by defunding abortion, Ontario “would send a clear message that (abortion) is not a legitimate health care procedure.”
Fonseca quoted abortion advocates admitting that abortion is a lifestyle choice and not a medical necessity, including a 2001 budget submission by the then head of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League. He also read from a message sent to the Defund Abortion Rally from federal MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville), who said “ten years ago I introduced a private member’s motion, M-83, that sought to determine whether or not an abortion is a ‘medically necessary’ procedure in accordance with the definition of the Canada Health Act.” Breitkreuz said neither the federal minister of health nor any of the ten provincial ministers of health could provide any evidence that abortion was medically necessary, nor had they “completed a risk/benefit analysis of abortion.”
Breitkreuz said, “unfortunately, while my motion did not pass, I must say I am encouraged to know that Ontario taxpayers are taking up this cause.” Concluding the remarks read by Fonseca, Breitkreuz said, “you are fighting a noble cause, and I encourage you all to keep working until you succeed at delisting abortion as an insured service in your province.”
Van Maren said it was wrong for abortionists to “profit from the blood and bones of innocent children.”
Golob and Wojciechowski both noted that at a time of a $16 billion deficit, the $30-50 million – an admittedly conservative estimate of the direct costs of abortion – seems small but is still significant. Golob wondered why “our government will continue to fund an elective, medically unnecessary procedure that harms women and kills children.”
Wojciechowski pointed to polls that show a majority of Ontarians oppose the status quo of taxpayer-funding of all abortion, noting that a recent Angus Reid poll found 51 per cent opposed to these costs. “We are the majority,” he said to cheers, Wojciechowski noted that the most popular political party in Ontario is at 30 per cent, meaning that defunding abortion is more popular than whoever forms the next government.
Various speakers had the crowd chanting “defund abortion” and “not from my wallet.”
CLC Ontario president Mary Ellen Douglas brought “greetings from Jim Hughes” and challenged the crowd to go beyond attending the rally and braving the elements “to not just go home and forget it,” but to visit their MPPs in their constituency offices. “This,” she said pointing to the Pink Palace behind her, “is their home, but meet them in their constituencies, which is your home.”
Fonseca told The Interim that he had some concerns before the event, wondering if the weather would make the rally ineffectual due to a small turnout. “I was tremendously pleased to get 350 people out on a day with terrible weather conditions; it shows the spirit and commitment of pro-life citizens.”
Golob told The Interim that the rally might momentarily get the attention of the MPPs at Queen’s Park, but the defund abortion campaign depends on rank-and-file pro-lifers from across the province engaging their elected representatives on the issue at the riding level.