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Refuse to ignore the unborn


The lovely lawns of the legislature on Canada's left coast will be filled with pro-life demonstrators today in the provincial counterpart to the National March for Life.


The British Columbia version comes this year only weeks after grisly revelations here about fetal remains being burned for electricity generation.  Such are the degradations that take place when all discussion of the abortion industry is declared off limits in public debate.  The marchers today are performing, in addition to their pro-life witness, an act of democratic hygiene, breaking the unhealthy silence that our political culture attempts to enforce on this issue.

The National March for Life, held today in Ottawa, has become in recent years the largest annual demonstration on Parliament Hill, attracting tens of thousands.  Now in its 17th year, it has become noticeably younger in recent years, with high school and university students engaging in a cheerful, confident celebration of life.  The evening dinner attracts more than 1,000 people, and a similar number attend the youth dinner.

That cheerful celebration takes place while the landscape for life that is weak and vulnerable is growing more bleak.  The PQ government in Quebec failed in its attempt to ram through its unconstitutional end-run around the criminal code prohibition of euthanasia before the election, which it ultimately lost.  The disabled and the weak and the vulnerable who cannot fight to live another day have been temporarily spared, but the attempt to ease them out of the circle of our common concern will be back, and not just in Quebec.

For years the March for Life was subject to an informal news boycott by the mainstream media in Canada.  The parliamentary press gallery would literally go to work through the march, but would refuse to report on the largest annual demonstration outside their office windows.  The National Post broke the boycott, allowing Canadians to read about what pro-life Canadians were saying.

What they are saying this year in Victoria is something more than voicing their opposition to Canada's extremist American-style abortion regime.  The demonstrators here are speaking about what happens to a culture in which the extinguishing of unborn life becomes routine, just another bureaucratized function of the state.

British Columbia hospitals contract with Stericycle Canada, a Brampton firm, to dispose of medical waste — tissue of all kinds, amputated limbs, and, it turns out, the tiny corpses of unborn babies aborted in B.C. hospitals.  Waste is waste, and a cancerous tumour or liposuction fat is treated the same as the dismembered parts of a healthy baby a few months short of being born.  The "waste" is then shipped off to an incineration plant in Marion County, Ore., where it is used to generate electricity.

The Archdiocese of Vancouver not only protests these offences against human dignity.  It offers space in its cemeteries for the burial of fetal remains of stillbirths and abortions, a recognition of the dignity to which the human body is entitled.

The newspaper of the Catholic archdiocese of Vancouver blew the whistle on this grisly trade a few weeks back.  The Marion County board of commissioners was horrified to realize that its coffee makers were powered in part by the remains of unborn babies, and so suspended any further shipments from B.C.  Health authorities here were unfazed.  They will continue as before, and now Stericycle will have to find some other place to dump or burn the remains.

The Archdiocese of Vancouver not only protests these offences against human dignity.  It offers space in its cemeteries for the burial of fetal remains of stillbirths and abortions, a recognition of the dignity to which the human body is entitled.  Even those who champion Canada's unrestricted abortion license ought to blanch at treating what the abortion industry refers to as the "products of conception" as just so much refuse.

"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child, well nursed, is at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout," wrote Jonathan Swift nearly three centuries ago in A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public.

Swift wrote a satire, but such was his skill that it fooled many people — and consequently outraged them.  Incinerating little corpses to power the stewing pots and roasting pans is not a satire today.  No one is fooled.  Too few are outraged.



Father Raymond J. de Souza, "Refuse to ignore the unborn." National Post, (Canada) May 8, 2014.

Reprinted with permission of the National Post and Fr. de Souza.

The Author

desouza Father Raymond J. de Souza is chaplain to Newman House, the Roman Catholic mission at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Convivium and a Cardus senior fellow, in addition to writing for the National Post and The Catholic Register. Father de Souza is on the advisory board of the Catholic Education Resource Center.

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