|There is a new movement afoot in the world of pro-life advocacy that is leaving the last leg of the pro-abortion position very shaky, indeed. The movement began in the United States and is called the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC).
All across North America, women are speaking out about their experiences with abortion. And women whom you wouldn’t expect are coming forward with their stories of remorse, suffering, addiction and ongoing physical and psychological distress. You simply cannot argue with a woman who has had an abortion. When she claims that the experience was devastating, people can only listen and respond with compassion.
The SNMAC began in the United States with Georgette Forney, who worked in partnership with Janet Morana of Priests for Life.
Forney had an abortion at the age of 16. For the next 19 years, she lived in denial, until an experience forced her to confront the decision she had made. She later took a position as executive director of a crisis counselling organization and was amazed at the number of women who contacted her with stories of suffering from their abortions.
“These experiences made me realize,” she writes in her reflections, “that while abortion is wrong because our babies die, abortion is also wrong for women. To help the public understand that abortion hurts women more than it helps them, and to let women who are hurting know that help is available, I co-founded the National Silent No More Awareness Campaign in partnership with Janet Morana from Priests for Life.”
To promote this powerful message, the Right to Life Association of Toronto is hoping to sponsor several SNMAC billboards throughout the Greater Toronto Area. To this end, it is holding a Gala Dinner this coming Friday, Oct. 14, at Spirale’s Banquet Hall in Toronto. Forney will be speaking to share details of the campaign, as well as her own experience. Also speaking will be Fr. Raymond DeSouza, a columnist with the National Post, and the Rev. Tristian Emmanuel, executive director of Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre.
Now, the SNMAC is in Canada. It made its inaugural debut at the March for Life on Parliament Hill in May 2004. Angelina Steenstra, who has been ministering to post-abortive women for the past 14 years through her organization Second Chance Ministries, is the co-founder of the Canadian chapter, working directly with Georgette Forney. The campaign has been so effective, it has attracted the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which produced a 20-minute documentary.
The campaign has also spread to other parts of the globe, including Spain, Ireland and England.
“There is something very true about the Silent No More Awareness Campaign,” says Steenstra, “and there is also a dimension of great humility. God is in charge. Silent No More’s approach is tender, kind, compassionate, inviting and it doesn’t have a political component.”
The campaign not only includes women, but fathers, grandparents and siblings who have lost a family member. These, too, have joined in the campaign to publicly give voice to their grief over abortion.
SNMAC billboards are professionally designed, researched and market-tested. A four-week, large-scale billboard campaign will reach 60 per cent of the Greater Toronto Area population every day of the campaign. Toronto Right to Life believes this type of exposure to so powerful a message has the potential to create a culture of life revolution.
Natalie Hudson is the executive director of the Right to Life Association of Toronto and Area.