Pro-abortion North Americans have always been quick to tell prolifers that since abortion “is here to stay”, any activism we take part in is merely screaming into the wind. The debate has been resolved, they iterate smugly, and therefore taking action against abortion merely shows how behind the times and archaic we all are. Never mind that abortion became legal in the US in 1973 and decriminalized in Canada in 1988, before many of us were born and had the opportunity to weigh in on the debate. Case closed, stop talking about it, discussion on a topic that has already been decided is a pointless waste of energy. To sum up: shut up.
Since I have written on the negative aspects of abortion and the pro-abortion movement many times, I feel I have been somewhat remiss in not detailing the major successes the North American prolife movement has gained recently. These successes point to a major shift concerning life issues in the United States and a slow movement of the Canadian abortion debate into the national consciousness, proving that the tired mantra of the intellectually bankrupt pro-abortion activists that “the debate is over” is resoundingly false.
Ironically, the pro-abortion activists know that their influence is fading and that growing prolife sentiment and activism has been dismembering the web of deception carefully constructed around the reality of abortion. Nancy Keenan, the head of America’s oldest abortion-rights group, the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (also known as NARAL Pro-Choice America) has grown “fearful about the future of her movement” according to an April Newsweek article by Sarah Kliff. In January, Nancy Keenan took a train to Washington DC and was shocked to see that the annual March for Life had attracted 400,000 passionate prolifers. “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young”, she told Newsweek, “there are so many of them, and they’re so young.” Her concern is understandable—a rally held by pro-abortion activists in DC two months earlier protesting anti-abortion clauses in Obama’s health care plan had garnered only around 1,300 people.
Pro-life sentiment has been manifesting itself across the US in prolife legislation on the state level. In April, Nebraska signed a law that banned almost all abortions at twenty weeks of pregnancy, citing pain felt by the fetus. USA Today reports that at least 22 states “have bills to increase counselling or waiting periods; 18 states have bills to expand the use of ultrasound.” Tennessee legislators just passed a bill that bans abortion coverage in “any plan sold through its exchange”; Missouri, Louisiana and Oklahoma are expected to follow suit. Oklahoma just passed a bill that requires “doctors to show an ultrasound image to the woman”, Kansas lawmakers decided that “doctors must give a medical diagnosis justifying late-term abortions”, and Utah passed a supremely ironic law that stated that “self-induced abortion” is a homicide. Thirty-eight states have passed bills ruling that a pregnant woman’s murder is seen by the law as two murders, laws which inherently grant personhood status to the fetus and highlights the irrationality of the abortion position. This wave of legislation is correlated to a wave of sentiment that Newsweek characterized: “Millenials are more likely than their boomer parents to see abortion as a moral issue”—even if they support legalized abortion.
While Canadian prolifers have not been having the same degree of legislative success as our Southern neighbours—the only prolife action Stephen Harper has initiated since he became prime minister was to ensure that abortion funding was not a part of the maternal health care package for G8 foreign aid—the use of graphic images across the country on university campuses and elsewhere, sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, has forced the debate back into the mainstream media and consequently, national consciousness. Threats by the administration at the University of Calgary to expel members of Campus Prolife over a Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display led to multiple print stories by the CBC in which they ran un-edited photos of the GAP display—including signs displaying butchered fetuses. CBC’s print article on April 19 had well over three hundred comments, as readers debated abortion—perhaps for the first time in years. A similar story in the Calgary Herald boasted 74 comments, and University prolife clubs across Canada have been on CTV, radio stations, CBC’s The National, Winnipeg Free Press, Globe and Mail, The National Post, and quite a number of local newspapers. Some of the press has been positive, some negative, but for the first time, the Canadian press is covering the abortion issue on a monthly basis—and even publishing pictures of aborted babies. After countless pro-abortion activists proclaiming that the debate over—and the majority of Canadian politicians apparently agreeing with them—discussion in the media is eliciting discussion all over the country. This was made apparent as nearly 16,000 prolifers turned up in Ottawa to protest abortion several weeks ago, in addition to several thousand in Victoria and Edmonton. As the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform expands and forces pro-abortion activists to view the procedure they are defending, Canada is destined to see abortion in a new light.
There are still many obstacles to overcome. Barack Obama stocks the court systems with radically pro-abortion judges. “Obamacare” threatens to expand abortion services at a rate not seen since 1973. In Canada, prolife clubs are persecuted across the nation, being denied club status, funding, and being threatened with expulsion and censure. However, in spite of all obstacles, the prolife movement has been steadily growing. In the United States, the majority of Americans are prolife for the first time in twenty years, and this is also evidenced by a wave of prolife legislation. In Canada, dedicated prolife students willing to withstand persecution, such as those at the University of Calgary, bring the prolife message to their campuses and the streets, as the media notices that the debate is back once again. Truth will ultimately prevail, and if abortion supporters think the debate is over, they haven’t been reading their newspapers.