by Eliza Jane Phillis
I’ll be the first to admit that for someone who has lived in Ottawa for four years, attending classes mere minutes away from Parliament Hill, I know very little, and to be perfectly honest, care very little about most of the political process. I vote more out of a sense of obligation toward the strong women of the suffragette movement than anything else, and that’s about it. However, I would really have to have my head in the sand not to have heard about the recent increase in interest in the abortion debate. I don’t really know what the G8 Summit is and only just realized it was happening in my own country this past week; yet, I can’t help but feel grateful for its unexpected side effect. It seems Prime Minister Harper’s has proposed plan of action to combat maternal health tragedies in developing countries which is wonderful and important. Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff’s appears to have pushed for the incorporation of access to abortion in this commendable initiative, and the Prime Minister said no. However, the discussions didn’t end there and the proposal and its opposition have really stirred the pot on the abortion debate. It seems Mr. Ignatieff, in trying to insinuate abortion into a proposal in which it has no place, has achieved what pro-lifers have been trying to do for years with minimal success: bring the abortion debate back to the public’s attention.
Listlessly flipping through a bus station newspaper yesterday waiting for my 96 downtown, I came across no less than three articles concerning abortion. One of these actually showcased the situation of University of Calgary students who are facing expulsion for participating in a controversial pro-life display. I was shocked! I’ve participated in a national March for Life which (legally) shut down whole streets in the capital city and seen no mention of it in the paper the next day. This type of exposure over a debate which the powers that be would like us to believe is closed and old news only demonstrates that the exact opposite is true. Yes, most of the articles had to do with the pro-choice side, but they still hopefully made my fellow readers think about where they stand in the debate which we pro-lifers know never really ended, but which many people on the street would likely rather ignore. This is an opportunity for us to explain our well-reasoned positions on life issues. This could be the unexpected spark which ignites a change in the hearts of those like myself who know little about politics but instead vote according to my personal moral convictions. I challenge all pro-life men and women in this time of great potential to take the time to really consider why you are pro-life. We all have our own personal reasons which keep us anchored to an ideal which sometimes seems so counter-cultural, and being able to clearly articulate and express these reasons is how we will change hearts one person at a time. We can’t all be politicians creating laws to preserve the dignity of life, but we can all explain why we as individuals maintain and promote this ideal. I commend the work of brave pro-life politicians, but I truly feel that politics will not in the end be the solution. Society needs to change, and no laws will bring this about, but individuals having respectful, intelligent, and open conversations have the power to end abortion in this country.