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Other pro-life groups to be at March for Life

By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News

04/13/2016

OTTAWA (CCN) — Pro-life groups have often fought over tactics, but this year Campaign Life Coalition is welcoming every organization fighting for the unborn to the National March for Life May 12.

“We’ve done something very deliberate this year,” said Campaign Life Ottawa lobbyist Johanne Brownrigg. “We have decided to present a unified voice from the entire pro-life movement as far and wide as we could reach.”

Even though Campaign Life, the national political arm of the prolife movement, remains the sole organizer of the march, the march’s promo video released March 14 includes groups such as WeNeedaLaw.ca, the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), educational pro-life groups such as LifeCanada, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Priests for Life, and 4MYCanada. The promo may be viewed at marchforlife.ca.

The theme of this year’s march is End the Killing and its focus is abortion, “despite very serious, very concerning developments on euthanasia and assisted suicide,” said Brownrigg. “Of course, for us, these issues greatly intertwined. When you decide to kill the vulnerable, it’s clear you are going to continue to kill more vulnerable people.”

“For our purposes, the March for Life is about abortion and we don’t want that issue to be diluted,” she said. The march is one of the only opportunities every year where abortion is guaranteed a headline.

“We are grateful to Campaign Life Coalition for hosting this event and will do what we can to build support for it,” said WeNeedaLaw.ca director Mike Schouten in an email.

WeNeedaLaw.ca supports incremental legislation that would use a gestational approach to restricting abortion, a tactic Campaign Life has opposed because of its emphasis on protecting life from conception.

“It has been our experience for some time now that if we are going to be successful in advancing legal protections for pre-born children it is necessary for respective pro-life organizations to focus on those things we have in common, rather than on our differences,” said Schouten. “The annual March for Life needs to become more than a stand-alone event. The March for Life affords us a great opportunity to work together to build as much momentum as possible for the following weeks and months.”

ARPA legal counsel Andre Schutten thinks the inclusion of his and other organizations in the march’s promotional video is a “sign of healthy growth and the maturing of the movement.”

“I think it’s great,” he said, noting “a movement that has many different perspectives and approaches is a sign of a healthy and large movement.”

When a movement only has “a single way of dealing with the issue,” it is likely “very new, small and probably not going to be effective,” he said.

Schutten said he has observed a trend over the past five years of the pro-life movement working together more and more. There is also “more and more diversity” among pro-life groups, and “that’s a good thing.”

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