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Baby booties on Parliament Hill send pro-life message

By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News

05/18/2016

OTTAWA (CCN) — On May 11, the day before the annual National March for Life, a carpet of nearly 7,000 crocheted, knitted and sewn baby booties adorned Parliament Hill to send a pro-life message.

Organized by the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), the same group that organized 100,000 pink and blue flags on the lawns of Parliament Hill and of Queen’s Park in recent years to represent the number of abortions each year in Canada, the “Booties for Babies” campaign initially had a much smaller target, said ARPA executive director Mark Penninga.

“We put a pitch out to get 1,000,” said Penninga May 11. While the flag efforts took a great deal of co-ordination and organization, the baby booties campaign became a grassroots effort that “took off,” he said.

Fiena Dykstra, of Houston, B.C., told a news conference on the Parliament Hill lawn she held a workshop to teach some people how to make the booties. Interest grew into “weekly workbees,” she said.

She described the thousands of hours people put into making the booties as a “hands-on ministry of mercy.”

Inside most of the plastic bags containing a pair of booties was a personal pro-life message.

Dykstra said the crocheted, knitted and sewn booties are a “visible voice” of the need to “protect the lives of the most vulnerable.”

Dykstra said she and her husband, Henry, have five children. They had encountered some years ago a pregnant high school girl. They offered to take her into their home and take care of her baby while she returned to high school. The day she was supposed to arrive at their home, the Dysktra’s discovered a doctor had arranged at taxpayers’ expense for the girl to travel 1,200 miles by plane to obtain an abortion. “What kind of health care is death?” she asked.

Conservative MP Kelly Block thanked the organizers for the Booties for Babies campaign for drawing attention to the 100,000 abortions that take place in Canada every year.

The booties will be distributed to all MPs and senators on the Hill but their final destination will be pregnancy crisis centres across Canada.

Betty Bandstra, who runs a crisis pregnancy centre in northern British Columbia, said she symbolically represented crisis pregnancy centres across the country. She said well-trained staff in these centres are prepared to “help anyone who steps through the door” to make a rational decision regarding an unplanned pregnancy.

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