By Rev. Fr. Paul Nwaeze
On Thursday, May 14, 2015, I joined tens of thousands who gathered on Parliament Hill for the annual National March for Life. This event, organized by Campaign Life Coalition, which serves as the political arm of the pro-life movement, is aimed at sending a clear message to our politicians and indeed to all Canadians, that life is a gift from God; that it is sacred; that everyone deserves a chance to live and that every life counts, especially that of the innocent baby in the womb. In other words, the stock-in-trade of Campaign Life Coalition is basically to lobby the federal government for legislation recognizing the unborn, that the widely held universal basic rights also apply to the unborn child.
It all began in the 1960s with the strong push to de-criminalize abortion in Canada. Records show that in 1969, the then Liberal government under Pierre Trudeau passed a bill easing the criminal code restrictions on abortion. Granted, this new law did not legalize abortion but it did make it more easily available. After many decades of political gimmicking by each successive government and with the current Conservative government promising not to introduce any abortion legislation, it is still evident that Canada has no legal restrictions on abortion.
It is under this chequered political climate that we can appreciate the role of the pro-life movement in our Canadian society. Their main agenda is to consistently remind the government of the need to have legislation that would criminalize abortion. Also, to remind the different levels of government that abortion is murder and that it has completely dehumanized the unborn in the eyes of the law. This is the most pressing political issue in the country, which has caused a palpable divide both in the government and the polity. The pro-abortionists justify the killing of the unborn children as being the consequence of a “woman’s right to choose”, but for me this is tantamount to sugar-coating evil so as to make it appealing and acceptable. As Michael Wagner rightly said, the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” is simply a euphemism for the killing of unborn babies! It is a clever choice of words to hide the reality of abortion. This is so true!
Hence, the pro-lifers who march on Parliament Hill and through downtown do so in solidarity with the unborn and so that our government may recognize the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. The pro-life march is a public witness to the truth regarding the most horrendous violation of human rights in our time: abortion. According to statistics, since 1969, over 4 million babies have been murdered in Canada! By the end of the year, another 100,000 babies will be put to death. These are mind-blowing figures. The most disturbing part is that these atrocities are committed at taxpayers’ expense. The question is, how could we as a nation pay to have our children butchered?
Since I came to Canada ten years ago, I have participated in this important event each year. The experience has been edifying and rewarding, to say the least. Seeing the teeming crowd of which the greater number are young people, mainly high school students and young adults, gather on Parliament Hill to protest the killing of innocent babies in the womb is nothing but amazing. As someone who grew up in a culture where life is considered a gift from God, respected and protected, and as a Roman Catholic priest, I don’t think I can hang my convictions, my deeply held personal beliefs at the door. No way! I carry them with me wherever I go. Africans in general believe strongly in the sanctity of life. Even before the advent of Christianity, life was seen as a gift from the Creator God, Who amongst the Igbo of southern Nigeria, is called “Chukwu” or “Chineke”. Hence, the people give names such as Chinwendu (Life belongs to God), Ndusinachi (Life is from God), Chibundu (God is life), to their child, to underscore their fundamental belief in the divine origin of life. For us, life is supreme and is deemed precious as reflected in such Igbo names: Ndubuisi (Life is supreme) and Ndukaku/Ndukauba (Life is more precious than riches and wealth). Before we are introduced to the commandments of God, we already have the concept of the respect and the protection of life engraved in our DNA as reflected in another Igbo name Onyegbule (You shall not kill)! Within the culture, the taking of life, any human life, is considered an abomination. Thus, abortion, euthanasia, suicide and assisted suicide that are today part of the western culture, including Canadian culture, are all strange and unthinkable in the African culture of today.
It is my hope that, one day, our politicians will be courageous and sincere enough to stand up and make a case that abortion be outlawed in Canada. I pray that they realise that no matter how it is sugar-coated, abortion is evil, is killing, is murder, it is the outright denial of these babies’ fundamental right to life!
About the writer
Rev.Fr. Paul Nwaeze is a Nigerian-born priest and pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal parish, Russell, Ontario.