Canadian Anti-Hate Network
In Canada’s capital, the largest annual action against abortion and reproductive rights went ahead as the March For Life took over the streets.
Part of “National March For Life Week,” the largest rally and marches taking place in Ottawa over the weekend. Running from May 7 to 12, March For Life organizes film screenings, a candlelight vigil, and sing-alongs, culminating in speeches and a large march through the city starting in the shadow of parliament.
While recent years have come to include an increased focus on Canada’s controversial medical assistance in dying (MAiD) program, the focus of the march remains firmly on abortion.
“In Canada, we're suffering greatly under the tyranny of the Liberal Party of death here with Justin Trudeau spending hundreds of millions of dollars taxpayer dollars to promote abortion not only overseas but to normalize it as a form of Health Care here in Canada,” Jack Fonseca told an interviewer the morning of the march.
Fonseca is an anti-abortion activist and the director of Political Operations at Campaign Life Coalition. Aside from his comments about abortion, Fonseca also takes time to praise a youth organizing anti-2SLGBTQ protests across Ontario – and is now visiting Alberta to do much of the same.
“We're even seeing youth rise up to fight all kinds of evils in our society,” Fonseca adds. “We had a Catholic High School teenager named Josh Alexander rise up to stand against gender ideology. It turns out he's also very strongly pro-life and we're seeing more and more of these young people standing up and speaking out against abortion and euthanasia and all the evils that we're facing.”
Alexander is an organizer for “Save Canada,” a youth organization that has carried out multiple protests in Ontario objecting to “gender ideology.” This typically results in protests outside of libraries and schools, specifically against family-oriented drag events or inclusive school policies relating to gender.
Many of Save Canada’s protests have been met by large counter-protests and community support for the 2SLGBTQ+ people. Supporters like Chris Dacey, who often travels with Save Canada and live streams their protests, attended the March For Life in Ottawa.
Speakers included pro-life speakers, members of the executive staff of Campaign Life Coalition and aligned groups like Sisters For Life, the Knights of Columbus, Silent No More, the Christian Heritage Party, and LifesiteNews, among others, including at least one sitting member of parliament.
In attendance was Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen who spoke before the march began.
“You come here today not to celebrate but to mourn and to raise awareness of the 300 babies that lost their lives today and every day in Canada,” Viersen told the crowd.
Far from his first appearance during the March For Life, the member of parliament spoke during last year’s rally as well. Viersen was the only Member of Parliament to address the crowd. Not in attendance this year was Saskatchewan MP Cathay Wagantall who attended in 2022 but was lauded this year for a private members bill that would list pregnancy as an aggravating circumstance in violent crimes.
This also marked the first March For Life in Ottawa since the overturning of Roe V. Wade by the United States Supreme Court in 2022.
Marking the 26th year the march has taken place, March For Life is only part of the advocacy carried out by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC). CLC defines itself as the “political arm of the pro-life” movement in Canada.
“The backlash to the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States has been sharp and swift. As one head of the beast is cut off, many others rear up in attack,” the March For Life website reads. “Both President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have mused about enshrining abortion as a ‘right’ in law. Crisis pregnancy centres have been vandalized.
“The landscape of this debate is being transformed by ‘self-managed’ abortions committed via chemical means.”
“Stand firm is a reminder to put on the armour of God, spiritually fortifying ourselves with truth, justice and faith not with worldly weapons. The violence of abortion and euthanasia will be met with the gospel of peace. We recognize that we fight not against abortionists and doctors who kill their patients nor against death-pushing activists nor Godless politicians but we lovingly fight for them for their conversion, we fight for their lives, we fight for their souls.”
Events took place simultaneously in Ottawa and Toronto – other smaller March For Life events are upcoming in other provinces. Both cities faced counter-protests concerned about preserving reproductive rights in Canada and abroad.
In Ottawa, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was pictured during the Ottawa counter-protest organized by Defend Choice and included Horzen Ottawa and Planned Parenthood Ottawa.
In Toronto, a smaller March For Life rally included speeches on the lawn of the provincial legislature and a march through the streets of the city. The planned route of the Toronto march appears to have been altered somewhat from the original plan as counter-protesters blocked several streets along the way.
Abortion has been decriminalized in Canada for decades, however, there remain a series of serious issues around accessing the medical procedure, many of which depend on geography. As healthcare is under the purview – and budget – of provincial governments, the management of reproductive health programs can vary drastically from region to region. Laws in New Brunswick, for instance, prevent federal funding from going to any other hospitals other than three approved hospitals in two cities that are able to provide abortions.
Prince Edward Island has long suffered from a lack of access to reproductive health services, while the situation has improved somewhat over the past several years, pregnancies over 13 weeks require the patient to travel to the nearby provinces of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.
The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women report on Canada pointed to a number of issues around access to reproductive health services. The report includes recommendations that “conscientious objection by physicians does not impede [patients’] access to legal abortion services” and stresses the need to make affordable contraceptives accessible to all who need it, “in particular those living in poverty and/or in remote areas.”