Most pro-life advocates are fully aware that in order to change the law on abortion, we need legislators to introduce that legislation and a sufficient number of them to vote in favor of it – in the House of Commons and in the Senate.

I dare say that the lack of activity in this area since the failure of the controversial Bill C-43 in 1991 has been a source of discouragement and frustration among pro-lifers ever since. Almost all pro-life activity since then has come from predictable sources.

The pro-life movement of Canada’s Day of Infamy march and rally on May 14, however, may well mark a turning point in this respect. The participation of 28 members of Parliament and senators from three different political parties who remembered, took the time, and were prepared to join us in a public testimony to their pro-life commitment should be a leading reason for celebrating the success of this first annual Day of Infamy event.

This event, therefore, hopefully represents the beginning of an exciting new focus on life-affirming, life-protecting initiatives in the Parliament of this nation. Certainly these 28 politicians (24 MPs and four Senators) represent a larger number who would have been there if schedules permitted and-or if they knew about the event and the importance of their participation at an earlier date.

Once again, though, we need to be reminded that politics in a democracy generally works very slowly. Pro-life MPs cannot act like storm troopers, strong-arming their way into the parliamentary process. We must continue to work at the grassroots level, showing our support for pro-life politicians and keeping them accountable, getting our message out, winning over converts – building momentum.

Queen Esther

The importance of our responsibility to back up the work of our politicians hit home to me even more forcefully than ever before by the words of Eastgate Alliance Church minister Bill Buitenwerf, who participated in the Day of Infamy activities. He compared pro-life work today to the challenge Queen Esther faced several thousand years ago to protect her own people, the Jews, from an impending genocide at the hands of her husband, King Xerxes, and his vengeful advisor, Haman.

Following some initial reticence, Esther agreed to approach the king to appeal to him on behalf of her people, but she made a demand of the Jews to increase the likelihood of her success — if she failed, the price would have been her execution. She requested that they pray and fast on her behalf.

In the same way, Rev. Buitenwerf reminded us that our involvement in fighting for the protection of unborn children is not an option. We cannot wash our hands of the responsibility because we have politicians fighting for us in the legislatures of the land. We have an instrumental role to play and it includes many things from diligent prayer to public rallies and marches, from fasting to the exhortation and encouragement of parliamentarians, from donating time and money to crisis pregnancy centres and other services for women in need, to influencing the media coverage of our side of the issue, etc.

Unless God graces us with a legislative miracle that makes another protest next year unnecessary there will be a 30th commemoration of the Day of Infamy on May 14, 1999. This date falls on a Friday, so if you are from out of town plan to wrap a weekend holiday around the event.

In the meantime, write or call one or more of the MPs and senators who participated in this event, commending them for their courage and letting them know you stand with them. Also, contact your own MP: if he is pro-life, find out why he was absent and let us know; if he is pro-abortion, draw his attention to the growing support in Parliament for attempts to curb the abortion-on-demand regime that exists in Canada today.

(Tim Bloedow, lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition’s Ottawa office, writes a regular column for The Interim on political affairs.)