Canadian Pro-Life Leaders Dismayed by Post Article Undermining Movement
By Steve Jalsevac
VANCOUVER, BC, June 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada's National Post newspaper ran a front page article on Saturday June 13, titled, "Born Again, Anti-abortion groups try a gentler approach." The article, which quoted leaders of two recently formed pro-life groups, as well as past Reform Party leader Preston Manning, is being criticized as an apparent attempt to use the new groups to divide and weaken the movement by denigrating the efforts of the entire pro-life movement over the past 40 years.
One of those quoted, Yvonne Douma of Signal Hill, claimed in a recent email to pro-life leaders that, contrary to the article's author Charles Lewis', "neither I nor the Signal Hill Board believes that working to change the law is a "waste of time". These were the writer's words, not mine." She added that although her organization's mandate is not to change the law, "Other organizations are doing a fine job of dealing with the law."
However, in a discussion with LifeSiteNews Lewis disputed Douma's claim, stating he has interview recordings and notes backing up his report that Douma in effect did indeed indicate that "Signal Hill believes it is a waste of time trying to make abortion illegal."
Leaders of Campaign Life Coalition, the national pro-life political organization, have expressed dismay with many statements in the article that presented a negative and badly informed presentation of the multi-faceted efforts of Canada's pro-life groups since the abortion law was loosened in 1969. They also note that the characterization of a positively presented new "third-way approach" on abortion, as one that has the "moral backing of politicians as diverse as Barack Obama" and Preston Manning, does not reflect Obama's real views on the issue and Manning's practical disinterest in the subject.
CLC national organizer, Mary Ellen Douglas, emphasized to LifeSiteNews that "no informed, genuinely pro-life person could see Barack Obama as being anything other than an abortion extremist." Douglas continued, "The fact that Charles Lewis would indicate that Obama, the most pro-abortion president in US history, supports a new third-way approach against abortion, reveals either Lewis's bias or profound naivete and ignorance of the history and facts of the abortion issue."
As for the Post article's references to Preston Manning and his quotes to Lewis, John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition BC, was incensed at them. The article refers to a speech by Manning at a recent Signal Hill dinner. Hof, who attended the event, wrote a commentary immediately afterwards to express his dismay over the speech. The commentary is published today in LifeSiteNews. The Born Again article is especially being criticized for its belittling of efforts to change laws and its ignorance of the historical necessity of law changes for other major civil rights movement such as the anti-slavery and US civil rights movements.
CLC's Douglas was dismayed that what she says was a 45-minute interview with Lewis resulted in only two brief paragraphs in the lengthy article, with one sentence missing a crucial context. Douglas was quoted as stating, "Laws don't change the heartless but they restrict the heartless." Douglas complains that Lewis was told this was a direct quote from Martin Luther King Jr. about the civil rights struggle, but the crucial reference to King was omitted, with the article giving the impression that those were Douglas's words.
Douglas was concerned that her comments were the only allowed response in the article to the numerous claims of the other groups that she says seriously needed rebuttal. The King reference was crucial for refuting the claim that working to change laws was a waste of time in the fight against the social injustice of abortion.
Additionally, Douglas also noted that the dismissal of all efforts to change laws is completely contradicted by the pro-abortion movement's overwhelming emphasis and success in advancing abortion rights in many nations through judicial and politically driven legislative changes funded by many millions of dollars.