The following is a selection of the top 10 pro-life events and happenings in this country in the past year. They are in no particular order but illustrate the ups and downs of the movement as it strives to change the hearts and minds of Canadians and to get society to adopt a respect for all life.

  1. On September 30, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada upheld as constitutional the Criminal Code Section prohibiting assisted suicide. The court refused the request of Sue Rodriguez, the B.C. woman suffering from ALS, who had asked for the legal right to have a physician assist her suicide. The majority ruled that assisted suicide, outlawed under the common law, has been prohibited by Parliament since the time of Canada’s first Criminal Code. “No consensus has been found in favor of the decriminalizing of assisted suicide,” the judgment states. “To the extent that there is a consensus, it is that human life must be respected.”
  2. The Ontario NDP launched a court case against 18 pro-lifers in February which includes a lawsuit and an application for an injunction banning pro-life activity in front of 23 sites across the province. They include abortion clinics, and doctor’s homes and offices. The government action was in response to recommendations made by a heavily slanted Task Group Report to improve access to abortion across the province. As a response, Campaign Life Coalition presented more than 50,000 petition cards to the government demanding the report be axed. Protestors picketed the offices of New Democrats across the province but the Attorney General went ahead with the action and the court case is to be heard this  month.
  3. Pro-lifers again made their silent witness for the unborn through the annual Life Chain in October. There were more than 45,000 Canadians holding signs in more than 100 cities across the nation. Organizers called it a great success.  The best turnout was in Vancouver where 7,000 people lined the streets. This was mainly thanks to the support from the Roman Catholic Archbishop Adam Exner. Toronto was next with 4,800 people.
  4. The Federal election in October resulted in the election of 67 known pro-life English-speaking candidates. Some staunchly pro-life Tories lost their seats in the Liberal landslide but at the same time, some pro-abortion Tory and New Democrats MPs also lost power. Tom Wappel and Don Boudria, two leading pro-life politicians, were returned to power and are expected to initiate pro-life legislation in the next Parliament. The Christian Heritage Party, the only pro-life federal Party, ran in 50 ridings and received 30,000 votes. Ken Willis of Lambton-Middlesex beat the NDP candidate and finished a strong fourth. The number of Liberal pro-life candidates would have been higher except for the policy of Liberal appointments of women in ridings where Liberals for Life had a good chance of success. The pro-life group within the Liberal Party vows to continue its efforts to turn the party into one which respects all life.
  5. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s traditional moral teaching with the release of his tenth encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, The Splendour of Truth. He said he was trying to “dispel the crippling confusion” of good and evil, right and wrong. The document states that there is an objective morality found in the light of Christ and revealed in His Church. The Pope condemns abortion and other “intrinsically evil acts” putting to rest any thought that the Catholic Church will ever waffle on these issues. The document was greeted warmly by Catholics and non-Catholics alike within the Canadian pro-life movement.
  6. Counseling and picketing continued as pro-lifers offered information to women which they couldn’t get anywhere else. One of the most active crisis pregnancy centers, Aid to Women in Toronto, provided full-time help to women through the efforts of its volunteers.  Joanne Dieleman, director of Aid to Women, called 1993 a very successful year. There were about 100 women in the office seeking help and counseling and through the efforts of the volunteers, numerous women and children were saved from abortion. As well, counselors stood outside and counseled women in front of the neighboring abortion clinic about 80 per cent of the time and had a presence at other clinics in the area.
  7. An Interim columnist vowed not to be “silenced or intimidated” after two terror bombs hit his Vancouver home, the last one on November1. Paul Nielsen and his family were reeling after the attacks which they say were motivated by his outspoken pro-life views. Luckily none of his family was injured after the military-type smoke bombs were hurled through his front window. Police and fire fighters credited the quick evacuation of his home as the reason no one was injured in the attacks.
  8. The much-anticipated report from the Royal Commission on Reproductive Technologies was delivered to Prime Minister Jean Chretien. It was released to the public at the end of November. The report contained nearly 300 recommendations. It recommends banning cloning, surrogate motherhood when such arrangements are identified as buying or selling babies, and sex selection for the purposes of abortion. It will allow research on humans up to 14 days after fertilization, creation of humans for research, and non-commercial surrogate motherhood. Conception services are to be made more available and access should not be determined on the basis of sexual orientation, marital or economic status.
  9. Canadians marched in front of the French Embassy and consulates June 21 to show they want nothing to do with any “killer” drugs entering the country from France. They were protesting the controversial abortion pill RU-486. The protests were part of an international campaign to put on the French government, that participates with the French company Roussel-Uclaf to produce the pill. Also targeted were the offices of Roussel Canada Inc. and its affiliate Hoechst-Roussel.
  10. The Interim celebrated its tenth anniversary in March. Founded by the pro-life movement to report the news, which the media routinely ignores, the national monthly has grown to be Canada’s foremost pro-life, pro-family newspaper.