Pro-life campaigners from across Canada gathered on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill last week for the country’s annual National March for Life. Carrying a variety of handmade and pre-printed signs in a variety of languages, pro-life advocates, school groups, families, and clergy turned out to mark the 50th year of legal abortion in the country.
Police declined to give a formal estimate of the crowd; it is believed thousands of marchers were in attendance.
Addressing the crowd at a pre-march rally, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto referenced the changing nature of the pro-life movement in Canada as new laws have been passed over five decades.
Pointing to the spreading practice of euthanasia across the country, the cardinal said that it was paramount that “people recognise the reality, the profound preciousness of the gift of life from the first moment of conception until natural death”.
“In the past we’ve stressed so much – and rightly so – the first part of that,” the second clause regarding natural death is now more relevant than ever, explained Cardinal Collins. “The cold hand of euthanasia is upon our country as well.”
Last year, more than 2,600 Canadians received “medical aid in dying”, effectively physician-administered suicide. This total amounts to 1.12% of all deaths in 2018.
In Canada, doctors opposed to euthanasia do not have the legal right to refuse such requests, and are subject to losing their jobs if they fail to comply.
“There must be protection for all people,” said Cardinal Collins. “Not only those in the medical world, but for everyone.”