Campaigns to defund abortion launched in Alberta, Saskatchewan

Last October following a successful Defund Abortion Rally at Queen’s Park, Campaign Life Coalition Youth announced a petition campaign with the goal of submitting 10,000 signatures of Ontario residents opposed to the $30-50 million (minimum) abortion costs the provinces taxpayers annually. In early March, CLC Youth co-ordinator Alissa Golob announced the campaign had garnered more than 20,000 signatures from almost every riding in the province – even as petitions continued to stream into the Toronto offices.

Golob told The Interim the response has been “great” and that they have since altered their strategy and expectations for the petition campaign. The organization’s new goal is to get 50,000 signatures by the end of 2013. CLC is beginning to present the petitions to the MPPs and hopes to have them read into the record at Queen’s Park when they are submitted throughout the next year.

Petitions can be downloaded from the website and print copies can be ordered from CLC. Golob suggested people circulate the petitions at the back of church, within church and youth groups, and among friends and family.

The petitions are only one part of a multi-faceted campaign to educate and activate the public on the issue of taxpayer funding of abortion. An Abacus Data poll last Fall co-sponsored by CLC, and The Interim, showed that 91 per cent of respondents did not know that at least $30-50 million of public money is spent on abortion each year.

Golob said that CLC and CLC Youth are seeking local volunteers in every riding in the province to organize a pamphlet drop in their communities. “The goal is to pamphlet every riding in Ontario at least once by June of this year,” she said, noting that more than two dozen ridings have been pamphleted so far.

She said volunteers “do not need a large group and it takes only an hour or two on a Saturday.” The entire riding need not be covered – only as much as the group can get done in a morning or afternoon –º and CLC will supply localized pamphlets.

Golob said that the drive to defund abortion is creating new pro-life activists as people who have never been involved before are “excited about this campaign.” She said that it is easy to circulate a petition or drop off pamphlets in residential mail boxes.

The pamphlets explain that pregnancy is not a disease and that abortion serves no medical need and thus should not be covered under the provincial medical plan, OHIP.

Golob said the goal “is to educate the average person about the waste of taxpayer dollars that go into abortion, how unnecessary it is, and to activate them to contact their MPP.” She said the message of wasteful taxpayer spending on a medically unnecessary procedure resonates “especially in these times of fiscal austerity.”

Defund abortion efforts are not limited to Ontario. Campaign Life Saskatchewan has launched a similar campaign and CLC Sask president Denise Hounjet-Roth told The Interim that while it has just gotten off the ground, it has received support including from local bishops and priests who are promoting the effort to defund abortion. In 1991, 66 per cent of Saskatchewan voters supported defunding abortion in a non-binding plebiscite that was subsequently ignored by the new NDP government.

The Defund Abortion in Alberta grassroots campaign is trying to make it an issue ahead of the provincial election that must be held before May 31 and is expected to be called in late March for sometime in late April or early May. The campaign is being run mostly by college and university students and Amanada Actman, of the University of Calgary, told Canadian Catholic News that while pro-lifers in the province tend to disagree about tactics, they “generally agree that tax dollars should not fund abortion.”

Defund Abortion in Alberta is also educating the public with a door-knocking campaign to engage voters and encourage them to raise the issue during the election.

In 1993, a poll found that 76 per cent of Albertans opposed taxpayer funding of abortion except in cases of rape and incest.