In the last issue of The Interim, Alex Schadenberg made several comments regarding the efforts to re-establish a national educational pro-life organization. The various options for the new organization are currently being developed by a steering committee mandated by the former affiliates of Alliance for Life Canada.
First, contrary to comments made in the article, I would like to confirm that the educational pro-life movement in Canada is alive, vibrant and committed. In fact, the movement is working as effectively as it ever has – both at the local “grass-root” level and within provincial organizations across the country. What this movement has lacked – and is trying to re-establish – is a national body that will co-ordinate national educational projects, as well as provide leadership on a national level for all those who work within the pro-life educational movement. The educational organization is not a “luxury”, but has been – and will continue to be – an essential and integral component of the pro-life movement in Canada. The educational pro-lifer works within a culture that is very different from the culture encountered by those who choose to work in the political or pregnancy support areas – and this must not be ignored.
Mr. Schadenberg stated that, “… the only way you can have an effective educational group that serves local right-to-life associations is to make it an arm of CLC … ” While my colleagues and I place great value on the work carried out by Campaign Life Coalition – and with great respect – the educational pro-lifer and the political pro-lifer have very different methods of operation. They may complement each other – but they are very different, and that really is okay! As far as donor base is concerned, there was no greater grass-roots donor based pro-life organization than Alliance for Life Canada – and the wish of the leadership of those member donors is to have a national educational body to represent them.
The question of unity within the pro-life movement also surfaced in the article. Unity does not exclude separate focuses as a means of attaining the same goal. In my fifteen years of active involvement in the pro-life movement I have never encountered disunity in our pro-life movement – as far as our goal is concerned. Along the way there have been many differences of opinion in how we should attain that goal – and there have been many differences with regard to the specific areas in which we choose to work for that goal – but never has there been disunity concerning what our goal should be. We work separately as various “arms” of the movement and collectively at local, provincial and national levels to get the job done.
I have watched as people have surfaced who know “the only direction” that we all must take. I have watched groups being formed who will be “more accepted” than the one in which I work. I have watched coalitions come and go “who will do it better” than we do and whom “people will listen to.” And yet we are still here working every day as the nuts and bolts of educational pro-life work – changing hearts and minds one at a time in the classrooms of schools and universities, in the community rooms of local cities, and in the boardrooms of community groups. I could name many across this country who will never write an article in The Interim, nor receive standing ovations at banquets – yet they have given hours of their time over many years to work through education to promote life. These people and groups of people may be “underfunded,” Mr. Schadenberg, but they have never been – nor will they ever be – “ineffective.” The educational pro-life movement is in a renovating, reconstructing and re-modelling mode as we gear up to bring the culture of life about in the new millennium. Stop knocking this and give us a chance. The pro-life movement in Canada will be better for it when the process is complete.
Mrs. Jeffs is executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario.
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