2000 call for abortion to be defunded in Ontario
On Oct. 22, more than 2000 people turned out for the Defund Abortion Rally at Queen’s Park organized by Campaign Life Coalition Youth.
Eight speakers made the case against funding abortion insisting that the procedure is not medically necessary and highlighting what real health care is not covered by public funds.
Campaign Life Coalition has calculated that the direct costs of abortion are at least $30 million and that the real direct and indirect costs are probably ten times that amount. Dr. Sze Wan Sit, a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and vice president of the Toronto chapter of the Catholic Doctor’s Guild, and Dr. Mike Barry, a retired psychiatrist from Etobicoke General Hospital, both described the damage abortion causes to the physical and mental health of women. Barry said “most women have a negative reaction” to having an abortion.
Family Coalition Party leader Phil Lees was the only political figure at the rally. He said, “the party is unambiguously in favour of defunding abortion.” During the recent election he had the opportunity to talk to a gynaecologist who said that 25 per cent of referals were for “repeat, contraceptive abortions.”
CLC Youth director and rally organizer Alissa Golob told the audience that the Canada Health Act requires that all medically necessary procedures be covered by the public health care system but the CHA does not define what is medically necessary. She noted that the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute admits that most abortions are done for social rather than medical reasons and CLC national president Jim Hughes recalled that Marilyn Wilson, then of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, told a parliamentary finance committee in 2001 that most women had abortions for non-medical reasons.
Michael Thompson, a father of six including a teenage son with autism, described the struggles in providing treatment that is not covered by OHIP. He said it costs $80,000 a year to meet “the basic developmental need” of a child with autism but that the province says the funds are not there to pay for it. He said the government could find the resources if they delisted abortion. He said that 1900 kids with autism are not getting their basic needs met, causing great strain on families.
Golob told The Interim she was very pleased with the turnout and the positive energy of the rally. Hughes told the crowd they represented “all pro-life people who do not want their money going to pay for abortions.” He added: “The government not pay for choices” and said in Canada, about four million babies have been killed at taxpayer expense since 1969.
Hughes and Golob both mentioned the CLC/LifeSiteNews/The Interim sponsored Abacus Data poll which found that 61 per cent of Ontarians oppose the status quo of subsidizing all abortion, with 40 per cent wanting it covered only in cases of emergencies and 11 per cent supporting access to abortion but not funding it; another 10 per cent did not think abortion should be available at all. On the other hand, 30 per cent support taxpayer funding of all abortions.
There were also a number of youth speakers including YouTube sensation Lia Mills, Campaign Life Coalition’s Matt Wojciechowski, and former Aid to Women intern and University of Toronto student Christina Alaimo.
Mills insisted that as a future taxpayer, the government spend its money wisely and stated that paying for abortion was wrong.
Wojciechowski rallied the crowd by calling for the “defunding of a procedure that kills a baby, harms women, and is a drain on our province’s finances.” He urged those in the crowd to contact their MPPs to ask them to support efforts to defund abortion in Ontario.
Alaimo talked about her childhood in which she was provided essential services like eye exams and glasses but poorer friends went without and noted that the disadvantaged do not have essential like eye care provided but they can get a subsidy to kill their child.
The majority of the crowd were youth and Hughes told the throng the young people “are not our future, but our present.” He told The Interim that “it is great to see young people come out” and “it augurs well for the movement.”
Faith Goldy-Bazos, a political science student from the University of Toronto, told The Interim she attended the rally because she wanted to ask Premier Dalton McGuinty “who he is representing in giving at least $30 million of taxpayer money to abortion causes.” She noted that money would be better spent on doctors, nurses, and MRI machines, of which there is shortage of each in Ontario. She noted that her mother, who has cancer, has not had access to medically vital diagnostic testing because “the crucial CT scan is broken.” Goldy-Bazos said that her opposition to abortion funding is both “political and personal.”
Andrew Bailey of Toronto was blunter about his reason for attending. “I have blood on my hands through my tax dollars being used on abortion,” he told The Interim.
A counter demonstration with about 40 supporters of Doctors for Choice and the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Providers held signs and chanted across the street from the rally. Police ensured that they did not interfere with the rally although one pro-abortion activist did sneak into the crowd to steal and vandalize a few signs. Organizers complained that there was no arrest for the acts of theft and vandalism.
There was a small squirmish near the end of the rally when a 19-year-old student approached the pro-abortion demonstrators. Golob said that police informed her he was arrested for disturbing the peace after he resisted arrest.
The newspapers ignored the rally but it was reported on CTV Toronto, CP 24, and several radio stations. CTV’s 20-second spot was described as “balanced” by one member of the organizing committee and it noted that the counter-demonstration was small compared to the pro-lifers calling for abortion to be defunded.
The rally also marked the launch of CLC’s petition calling for the defunding of abortion. Golob said her organization hopes to begin submitting them to MPPs in November. More than 300 signatures were collected at the rally and 110 petitions were taken to be distributed in participant’s home communities and churches to be returned to CLC later.