Editor’s Note: Genevieve Carson, coordinator of Mississauga 40 Days for Life, read the following statement before the standing committee on general government on Oct. 20 during hearings on Bill 163, An Act to enact the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, 2017.
Good afternoon. My name is Genevieve Carson and today I come to speak to you as an organizer of the annual 40 Days for Life grassroots campaign that is currently taking place in cities all over the world and specifically in nine locations throughout Ontario. I’ve been involved in each of the seven vigils held so far in my home of Mississauga.
What exactly is 40 Days for Life? How is it that this effort has managed to close down 90 abortion clinics, convince 154 abortion clinic staff to quit and save 13,553 babies to date?
Quite simply, it is the quiet, peaceful demeanor of thousands of everyday people who decide to make themselves present outside a place where abortions are performed. It is men and women like me who take very seriously the words of Christ who said, “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to Me.”
Consciences stirred, we sign a Statement of Peace. We promise to adhere to a strict code of conduct, whereby we don’t argue, we remain silent, etc.
We pick up beautiful, life-affirming signs that say things like “You are Precious and So Is Your Baby” “Choose Love, Choose Life” and “Pregnant? Need Help” and we provide a list of resources where a mom in crisis can get support if she chooses not to abort that day.
For 12 hours everyday for 40 days, we try to keep a constant presence of people at the vigil site praying resolutely for:
The women who are at risk of aborting;
the innocent babies whose very lives are threatened;
the men and women who carry the pain of past abortions;
those who work at abortion facilities;
our legislators who were elected to protect lives;
people who know the truth about this institutionalized human rights violation to speak up;
Repentance of our nation.
I cannot stress to you enough, that in seven years we have never had an incident of aggression or intimidation at the vigil site.
The odd person may shoot the middle finger as they drive by, but usually the response is positive. Yesterday, when I went after school, two doctors came out of the building to cross over to Trillium hospital. They smiled as they passed and one said genuinely “God bless you.” One day when I was there a woman came out of the medical building and asked if she could join us on her lunch hour.
She works for a psychiatrist in the building who conveyed to her he was glad for our presence as he deals with women who regret past abortions.
A very good friend of mine was praying alone one day, holding his sign, when a car pulled over. The driver blasted the horn and was shouting out his car window.
My friend at first thought he was being harassed, but he was beckoned over only to be told: “You saved one today! My girlfriend saw you there and decided to keep the kid.” So many stories.
To date, there have been five babies saved that we know of, five women who changed their minds and chose to seek an alternative to having their babies destroyed.
Is that such a horrible thing? That we quietly witness to the sacredness of each and every human life? That we be allowed to remain as the last opportunity a woman has to consider her options?
Of course the abortion providers don’t want us there! It’s awkward. It exposes them and makes people a little more aware of what is being done behind the clinic doors for money. Women who are making such a grave decision deserve every chance to reconsider. After all, the staff at the clinic will not tell them how developed their baby is; they won’t encourage a women to hear that rapidly beating heart or see her baby doing somersaults on an ultrasound screen.
They certainly aren’t going to elaborate on the many physical and psychological risks involved in abortion. That would be extremely bad for business. But if we are really advocates of choice, why is this government so biased toward the abortion industry?
If this government cares about protecting peoples’ rights, including the right to assemble and expression as guaranteed under the Charter, why is it implementing “Bubble Zones” — a massive over-response to a problem which does not exist?
Participants in 40DFL are not abusive, harassing or threatening. As a woman, as a mother, as an educator, as a person of Faith, as a law-abiding citizen, I resent the implication that being pro-life makes people like me seem somehow dangerous.
I beg you to reconsider this bill. It is repressive. It is overkill. The only violence occurring at our vigil site is what is being perpetrated inside the clinic to those innocent babies. They have no voice, no balance of power. Our earliest feminist writers all called abortion like it is: the ultimate form of oppression.
I urge you to scrap Bill 163 and let’s really dialogue on this important issue. Allow us to at least continue to pray and advocate for the babies in the womb and for their moms who are in difficulty.
Reprinted with permission of LifeSiteNews.