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WTF Wednesday: The New Abortion Caravan is pro-life

Kyle Dupont

Over 30 years ago, the pro-choice movement in Canada was at its peak. In 1970 the Vancouver Women’s Caucus travelled across the country as part of the Abortion Caravan.

Stopping in various cities and towns on their way to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the women spent their evenings hearing the stories of other women so they could share them with the government. The women’s efforts helped inspire others across our country, establishing solidarity in the pro-choice movement.

This event has been deemed as one of the most under-appreciated rebellions in our country’s history. It helped pave the way for the 1988 Supreme Court decision to rid to country of all existing abortion laws. The Supreme Court’s ruling of Regina v. Morgentaler, found the Criminal Code of Canada was unconstitutional, because it violated women’s rights under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The debate today is vastly different than that of 1988.

On May 29th, the New Abortion Caravan set out on their very own—very different—cross country tour. A group from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, consisting almost entirely of individuals under the age of 30, has a contradicting message to the initial Abortion Caravan of 1970.

According to their website:

Over 3 million Canadian children have been brutally dismembered, decapitated, and disembowelled through abortion. Our taxes pay for this grotesque human rights violation. In fact, the Canadian government has gone so far as to pay for Canadian women to go to the United States to have late term abortions. The “pro-choice” movement has prevailed in every area imaginable.

In 1970, the Abortion Caravan heralded the arrival of a great injustice.  But in 2012, the New Abortion Caravan will make the victims of Canada’s abortion holocaust visible to the entire country. The New Abortion Caravan will signal the beginning of the end of Canada’s greatest human rights violation: The wholesale, state-funded slaughter of the youngest members of our society.

The anti-abortion campaign has taken up a new approach through the use of social media and extreme graphic imagery which has grabbed the attention of a number of youth across the country. A movement typically involving more religious overtones and compiled of an older generation, the new face of the anti-abortion debate is younger than ever.

The little coverage the New Abortion Caravan has garnered thus far has not been about the message, but rather the medium in which they have chosen to spread it. The group has been questioned about their tactics: using large cube vans plastered with horrific images of aborted fetuses.

Some of the women connected to the original Abortion Caravan are disgusted with the ploy to mimic their original movement. Margo Dunn who took part in the 1970s said in an interview with the CBC: “They can do what they want. What I don’t like is the connection to something that I think is considered one of the major actions that cause progressive social change in Canada.”

Stephanie Gray, the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform also sat down with the CBC. She said the reasons for using such graphic imagery is to make it visible and to make the topic intolerable.

The images being used are truly intolerable and visible—to everyone whether they like it or not—but at what cost?  It’s rather difficult to justify the use of such images, to exploit a dead fetus to simply add shock value to a message.

Certainly, people have the right to freedom of speech. Yet, abortion itself is a very private matter. The action cannot be looked at in the broadest sense of the word—most abortions do not yield from the same circumstances, every case is different in its own right. An individual can make their own decision. It is a health and medical issue, in which a woman has the right to make her own decision about her own body.

Whether for good or ill, however, the abortion debate in Canada is not ending any time soon. If we are to have a debate, we should strive to make both sides of the debate  respectful. There needs to be some kind of line drawn; without it there is no telling how far shock value may go. Children do not need to see dead fetuses as they walk downtown with their parents; they do not understand or even need to understand at such a young age. Most children don’t know about the birds and the bees. What is the purpose of bombarding them with this?

When the New Abortion Campaign comes to any town, the CCBR will have achieved part of its goal: residents will be hard-pressed to avoid the massive billboard campaigns. But images like these distract. People are not taking about pro-life and pro-choice, and all the nuances of the debate. They are talking about images. Whatever could be gained from the re-opened abortion discussion is lost behind the graphic nature of the billboards. What we are lacking is what we need most: a civilized debate, absent of disturbing language and imagery, where the public can clearly understand both sides—and make informed opinions.


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