Pro-lifers across Canada took to the streets on several occasions in May.  In addition to the traditional Mother’s Day rallies on May 11, hospital vigils were held on May 14.

The May 14 evening demonstrations were co-ordinated by Alliance for Life, the umbrella organization of the pro-life education movement.  Pro-lifers from British Columbia to Newfoundland picketed abortion-providing hospitals to mark the anniversary of the 1969 legislation which brought abortion to Canada.

Anna Desilets, Alliance’s executive director, was very pleased with the participation on May 14.  The objective, to have pro-lifers in front of every major hospital providing abortions, was successfully achieved.  It was a very positive event, she said, and all regional organizers were eager to stage a similar event next year.

In the Maritimes, pro-lifers picketed hospitals in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, both on Mother’s Day and on May 14.  In Moncton, the highly successful Mother’s Day rally went unreported by local media who, instead, gave extensive coverage to the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women’s Mother’s Day March for Peace.  Antoinette Wasson, president of Moncton’s Women Exploited by Abortion, noted the irony of this.  “It irks me,” she said, “to think that certain women’s groups want to change Mother’s Day to ‘Day of Peace.’  It seems ridiculous to hear them promoting peace at the same time as mounting a one-sided attack on our unborn babies through abortion.”

In Quebec, pro-lifers picketed the Montreal General.  Although a counter-demonstration was “nasty and ugly,” organizer Anne Kiss congratulated the calm behaviour of pro-lifers. She noted that CBC coverage of the event was “better than usual.”  The reporter made it clear that the pro-lifers were orderly and the counter-demonstrators were “a noisy rabble.”  (full report on this protest, which resulted in the riot squad being called out, will appear in the next issue.)

In eastern Ontario, about 500 people marched in front of five abortion centres.  The largest crowd, about 350, was outside Cornwall’s General Hospital.  Organizer, Marilyn Begeron, said that her group wanted to make people aware that abortion is “not simply a big-city issue.”

The Right to Life Association of Toronto held its annual Mother’s Day vigil on May10.  Between 1,000 and 1,500 (reported as 400) people gathered in Nathan Philips Square, with significant numbers of high school students standing up for life.  On May 14, 19 Toronto area hospitals were picketed by approximately 800 people.

A large crowd, estimated at 500, picketed three Winnipeg hospitals.  Encouraged by the continued refusal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons to issue Morgentaler a license to “operate” in Manitoba, pro-lifers focused public attention on the hospital abortions.

Appalling weather, especially in Lethbridge, hampered Alberta’s May 14 events.  However, the Mother’s Day vigil took place under blue skies.  Pro-lifers stretched for almost three blocks as they marched along Edmonton’s main thoroughfare to City Hall.  A Protestant clergyman told the crowd that silence on abortion is a sin.  Two of the featured speakers were young women living below the poverty line.  Sheila Dollard, whose husband makes little more than minimum wage, condemned the mentality that puts money ahead of life.  “Abortion should never, never, have to be the solution to someone’s financial problems,” she said to an applauding audience.

Over 30 hospitals across British Columbia were picketed, from those in cities to those in rural areas.  In Langley, pro-lifers held a Thanksgiving vigil, to mark only one abortion performed in their hospital last year.  B.C. co-ordinator, Heather Stillwell, expressed her satisfaction with the events.  “It was a good public statement,” she said, “with very little work.”

In Vancouver, the Mother’s Day Walk, held the day before, attracted more than 900 people.  The organizers, Christians for Life, had to agree to strict conditions (designed to make the event low-profile) laid down by City Council before being issued a parade permit.