March for Life 2016 as an exercise in (planned?) futility

This year was one of the few times in the last thirty years, I had paid much attention to the pro-life movement. I’d been active once but perceived that the strategies zealously embraced were doomed to utter defeat. One has a moral obligation to use one’s time wisely.

I had come to the March in Ottawa this year hoping to see changes. It is now the eve of euthanasia, when everyone is “the fetus.”

I saw instead a hardened determination to go on doing things the same way, after forty, fifty years of losses. So “pro-life” is still proudly losing on behalf of the most helpless among us.


Thankfully, the March received little media coverage for its size. There were so many obvious communications weaknesses to exploit, one can only be grateful that it probably made no difference!.



Misses and losses

Inclusivity: Obviously, the March is still mostly Catholic Christian despite efforts at “inclusion.” I counted Muslims, Sikhs, gays in the crowd, but seemingly only Christians on the platform. It was assumed that everyone knows Christian lingo too, even the sort that irritates the ear, sometimes, even of a devout Christian.

Creativity: Many, many supportive non-entities, mostly white men, were allowed their endless turns at the mike, testing the patience of the assembled, and communicating nothing to observers except that “We Stand, we Stand, we Stand for Grandstand!”

In this case, grandstanding without achievement.

Common sense: Women speaking about regretting an abortion (silent no more) can do more harm than good. I struggle to say this with charity: If detailed testimony to the damage done by aborting one’s own child is sincerely meant, it is material for a closed meeting. Please, follow the guidelines for such meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous provides a reasonable model; there are others. People who feel free to offer such testimonies repeatedly to the public at large are probably not representative enough of the average griever to build confidence.

These matters are urgent because, as euthanasia builds, there will be grieving grandparents and siblings of euthanized children to consider, as well as grieving parents and siblings of euthanized teens (old enough to “consent”). They will want to share the horror, not the spotlight.

Herds of old white men? At this point, why?

One bright spot was a research scientist born in Nigeria, who denounced Canada’s goal of funding abortion in developing countries. So many women in Third World countries have little independence and will be forced to abort. Their added sufferings from our Cool will, I hope, come back on our own heads more than theirs. But that is a lot to hope for.

Yet Uju Ekeocha was one of a few women among a seeming herd of older white men. Why?

The missed reality check

The truly stunning thing about the whole March is that the platform party stuck to abortion, which is only one part of the Trudeau family’s normalization of ending the lives of other human beings as a form of liberation. And that is despite urgent warnings from Cool Europe where it is becoming entrenched despite the second thoughts of former advocates.


Could there be a pro life movement that makes a difference? Ask sponsoring groups (many were listed) why they are sponsoring activities that are not only likely to fail in principle but have been proven to do so for decades?


Many people have pointed, as a sign of hope, to the huge contingent of young people at the March. Yes, but two problems:

1. The young people will be blocked from key careers if they do not embrace planned death. They will then be either faithful but useless or faithless but useful—to the culture of death. I have already seen how such compromises have affected the Catholic middle class, and that was long before the stakes were so high.

2. I left the rally as it headed south and walked around downtown for a while instead. There, I saw very different young people. It was a warm day, so people were hanging out. I didn’t realize that anyone would cover most of a leg, never mind an arm, with a sleeve of tats. Or have metal dripping out of a nostril, never mind an eyebrow. Or walk around in a public place shirtless— with pants about to hit the floor. So many glazed eyes …

Are these teens as numerous as the ones on the Hill? Hard to say. The Marchers came from all over. The tattooed, pierced, and wardrobe-malfunctioned mall rats are more likely locals. Possibly graduates of local Catholic high schools.

This much I know: The mall rats are not Marching for life. To judge from the imagery they prefer, it might be easier to recruit them to a March for death. Way Cool.

Thankfully, the March received little media coverage for its size. There were so many obvious communications weaknesses to exploit, one can only be grateful if it made no difference.

On a more positive note:

If you attended (apparently 22,000 did), do what I am doing: Post to your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your YouTube account, your blog—any medium you use—what you know about the new legitimization of planned death in our culture and what it means for those who got past the birth canal.

MercatorNet has started a series that is a good place to start, though not stop.

Second, do not buy or advertise in dying mainstream media and—if ever asked—be cautious about even accepting interviews with such outlets. The internet now enables us to reach past them, and we must.


Could there be a pro life movement that makes a difference? I’ll try to write more on that soon but one beginning strategy is: Ask sponsoring groups (many were listed) why they are sponsoring activities that are not only likely to fail in principle but have been proven to do so for decades?

Is it just a matter of being seen to do “the right thing,” because no one really cares what is at stake? That is the most discreet way for a respectable organization to drop out: Keep loyally backing obvious losers year after year.

If the sponsors do not respond by insisting on a complete overhaul of the March and its organizers prior to further funding, assume that they are just in it for the brownie points and transfer your own support to something that will make a difference. The hour is late and the stakes are high. It could be your life or that of someone you love. Ask the Belgians.

See also: Euthanasia And Europe’s Nihilism


Should babies scheduled for infant euthanasia be baptized?

  • Sounds like a very frustrating experience.

    • Not just frustrating. Horrifying. I’ve followed the euthanasia movement since 1972. To this day, pro life failed to communicate the most obvious fact – that there is no way of limiting the people who qualify to be euthanized any more than there is a way to limit the people who qualify to be aborted. But if you had been there on the Hill, you’d doubt their ability to communicate anything effectively. The big question is, who really supports them and why?

  • bargogx1

    Not enough “inclusivity”? Too many Christians? Too many “old white men”? This is the kind of identity politics I’d expect to see on a leftist website. How disappointing to see it here.

    • What if it is principally a question of how to get people’s attention instead of just turning them off in principle? What if their lives may be at stake?

      • bargogx1

        If the message itself does not get their attention, then they don’t deserve to get the message.

        • As teachers say, it’s a bit more complex. One tarts with a presentation that conveys what one intends; people assume that whatever is conveyed was intended.

        • Brian Jones

          If I may, some of it has to do less with getting the message than with being seen to show that you’ve gotten the message.

          For example, I know a few old punks who have evolved from lefties as youngsters to libertarians to conservatives as they’ve grown up. All of them are very pro-life in their beliefs and practises, all of them vote Conservative (or Republican for the Americans), all of them have tattoos and some of them have various bits of metal in their faces.

          None of them have ever participated in things like the March for Life. I get the impression they get the sense that such things are a bit more like clean-cut Christian club events where they would not fit in.

          It’s silly, but then we are a tribal species that often tends to keep to our own kind visually as well as ideologically.

          Having a more diverse set of speakers (be it racially or aesthetically) might help draw more people into the organized movement via a kind of mirroring effect. It would also, in theory, make it harder for the media to dismiss pro-lifers as old crazy white Catholic grannies. (In theory because of course the media either ignores the rallies and the opinion polls or cherry picks who they fim and present to the public.)

  • Jim Horne

    One can easily foresee a time when euthanasia is an accepted policy of provincial governments in Canada and used as a means of controlling the rising costs of health care.

    • Of course. Look at the economics. One can keep one old lady in some comfort for five years and maybe get one progressive vote a year. One can pay for tat removals for ten middle-aged progressives for the same amount. What;s to lose? But many will get caught up in this who are not part of the equation.

  • simus1

    Never ever take uninspiring, place holding, long serving, organization people at face value if they constantly whine about lack of participation by those for whom they so diligently sacrifice themselves. Be prepared when you hear the call and show up all bright eyed and bushy tailed to help out.

    If their first move is to pull something out the dustiest file cabinet in the office a job jar labeled, “useless make work assignments” ………………………………………………….

  • Did you and I witness the same march? There are always teen-agers there.

  • john700

    Without violence, these marches, no matter how large, are useless, there will be no change.

    • Violence only gives oppressive government the chance it needs.

      • john700

        They have a chance, we have a chance. Look at history, change came only through violence.

  • Jay Currie

    Denyse I feel your frustration and the frustration of the millions of pro-Life people in Canada. But the fact is that the argument pro-Life/pro-choice was lost a couple of decades ago when the pro-choice people managed to sideline the debate as now being a) aver, b) a matter of consensus.

    What the pro-Life movement needs to emphasize is that Canada, along with much of the rest of the West, faces a people shortage. Bright, well educated, culturally adapted people are in short supply. For the last couple of decades we have imported 200-300,000 people a year to bridge the gap. Many of these people are wonderful and have made a successful transition to Canada.

    But the sources of great immigrants are drying up. Where we had ambitious Hong Kongers or Sikhs we are now stuck with barely literate, or illiterate Muslims from assorted Hellholes who have little interest in becoming actual Canadians.

    The value of a single person is infinite to God but entirely a matter of calculation to economists and policy makers. Raising that value is a matter of two important changes. A limitation on the absolute number of immigrants and finding ways to make family formation easier at a younger age. The former is a fairly simple decision which would, I suspect, be quite popular. The later is more complicated.

    Everything from housing to employment to taxation is engaged when you try to make it easier for young people to marry and have children at an earlier age. Offering tax incentives for children in themselves is a fairly inefficient strategy. Rather you need to think about an entire set of policies which will allow people to see real benefits from marrying early and having children early.

    Sadly the head on confrontation with abortion has been lost for a couple of decades; but paying attention to family formation and making it less onerous to have children young may begin to shift the society to a pro-child position.

  • Someone wrote me privately to complain about my reference to old white guys. Hey, I’m fine with old white guys in principle, IF the meet had focused on euthanasia, that would have been appropriate. The meet didn’t focus on euthanasia and that’s a big part of the scandal. – d.