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15 / 05 / 2009 - Billboard-Size Abortion Photos Shock Public on Canadian Abortion Decision 40th Anniversary
A group of activists under 40 years of age mark the 40th anniversary of abortion's legalization with a controversial message
The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) is taking its truck with billboard-size abortion photos on it through Calgary streets today. The truck is on the road to mark the day abortion first became legal in Canada.
On May 14th, 1969, the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau legalized abortion as long as it was approved by a hospital committee of doctors and community workers. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down that law in its R v. Morgentaler decision, asking Parliament to create a new law. Parliament, however, has not been willing to pass new regulations on the issue and so currently Canada is one of the few countries in the world with no abortion law.
"Abortion has been tolerated for forty years because it's invisible," said CCBR's executive director, Stephanie Gray. "We aim to make it visible so that it becomes intolerable." 28-year-old Gray says most people today learn visually and so need to be shown what abortion looks like. "My generation is missing almost 100,000 Canadians every year, and that's why my generation is determined to put an end to this bloodshed."
Gray says her staff members are all under 40 and are part of a new wave of pro-life workers who are changing the abortion debate through its projects. CCBR organizes public presentations and projects like its graphic truck.
CCBR's mobile "messenger," dubbed the Reproductive "Choice" Campaign (RCC), was first launched in August 2007. The project's director, 25-year-old Chandler Kerr, ensures it's on the road several days each week. As a result, angry motorists have called the organization's voicemail to complain.
"If people are so angry at seeing abortion, where is their outrage over the existence of abortion?" asked Kerr. "The pictures are horrific because dismembering, decapitating, and disemboweling a baby is a horrific action."
Besides programs like the RCC, CCBR raises the abortion issue through public presentations. Last month, Gray debated an abortionist at the University of Minnesota and hopes a Canadian abortion advocate would be willing to debate her to mark the anniversary. "I would like to put out a challenge to abortion advocates to do a public debate with us on this issue," said Gray, noting that few abortion advocates are willing to debate.
CCBR is no stranger to controversy. A talk by CCBR's co-founder, 33-year-old Jojo Ruba, earlier this year at St. Mary's University in Halifax was shut down by an angry mob of abortion supporters who chanted over him for 45 minutes. (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eulKIaVM9DE&feature=channel_page). Gray said the incident highlights one reason why her organization runs the graphic truck project: to reach those people unwilling to hear their presentations.