CALGARY, Alberta, June 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) received widespread national media attention in the past week, as they took to the streets with the graphic abortion image campaign “Choice Chain” – this time at Alberta High Schools.
“We come from a perspective that, if someone is old enough to have an abortion, they’re old enough to see an abortion,” said CCBR’s executive director, Stephanie Gray.
The group’s project, called “Choice Chain,” employs large, realistic images of unborn aborted babies. The group’s aim is to expose the truth of abortion in order to make it unthinkable.
“Given that abortions happen also amongst teenagers, it occurred to us that if we wanted to make abortions unthinkable we needed to target that age group in a more focused and intentional way,” said Gray of the high school campaign.
However, many students, staff, and parents at the Calgary High Schools where Gray’s group have set up with their displays do not agree with their tactics or their message.
In a YouTube video posted yesterday, the pro-life group showed some of the negative reactions from staff and parents, including at various Catholic High Schools.
One principal, at Father Lacombe Catholic High School, is shown demanding that the pro-lifers remove their display from outside the school immediately.
Other representatives at Catholic high schools are shown objecting to the abortion display, saying “We don’t believe in what they believe,” and, of the pictures displayed by the group, “They’re not children.”
Students at one school counter-protested, brandishing signs and shouting “You have a choice” to passersby.
“You cannot video tape our students without their express permission,” Gord Baldwin, assistant principal at Sir Winston Churchhill High School told the pro-lifers while blocking their cameras.
Immediately thereafter, however, Baldwin is shown telling one of the students who asks whether he has the right to block the images, “You have the right to do anything you want.”
Because CCBR’s display was on public and not school property, however, they were well within the law to videotape their event and student reactions to it.
LifeSiteNews contacted Baldwin for comment, but did not hear back before press time.
Despite the widespread negative attention the pro-lifers receive, Gray says the campaign has already borne much positive fruit. “We’ve had amazing conversations,” she told LifeSiteNews. “Probably hundreds of students have gathered round because we target the lunch hour.”
Gray recounts how many students have told stories of past or planned abortions. One young male student told the group his girlfriend was right then at an abortion clinic, while another girl said she was scheduled for an abortion the following day.
“It has just reinforced in our minds the need to really reach these young people now,” Gray said. “Ultimately, we are doing this because we believe what we have seen, that it can save lives.”
It is not uncommon for the pro-lifers to meet with girls who are pressured into abortions by older parents or friends, she said. “What we’re seeing with the young people is that it’s the adults in their lives that have betrayed them,” said Gray, referring to a female student who was pushed to schedule an abortion by her mother, herself a victim of two previous abortions.
“What we’re seeing is that when you have unhealed post-abortive women they do damage that’s further reaching than just the damage done through their own choice, and that is a method of dealing with that they’ve done, of rationalizing their own mistake, and making other people do what they did,” added Gray. “They will feel better if their friend or their daughter do what they did in their situation.”
“We’re trying to break through that cycle and it’s really tough,” she added. That is the reason CCBR has teamed up with the Silent No More Awareness campaign, a group of women who witness to their own regretted abortions. A volunteer stands with the group with the sign, “I regret my abortion”, providing girls with the opportunity to approach and speak with her.
Arguments that young people are traumatized by the group’s display do not jibe with Gray’s experience. “These are young people who are immersed in a sexually promiscuous world. If people don’t think that this is age appropriate, they are completely unaware of what young people are up to today,” said Gray. “This is more than relevant for this age group.”
Gray recounted the story of one girl who approached her in anger yesterday. After speaking with Gray, however, the student agreed with the message and expressed how glad she was the group was there.
Another young man attempted to block Gray’s display with an umbrella, yet, as his conversation progressed he removed the umbrella from in front of the image, his attitude turning from hostile to thoughtful.
“You’ve really got me to think about this,” he told Gray, admitting he was uncomfortable with abortion. “I haven’t changed my mind, but you really got me to think.”
“The reality is that this will disturb them,” Gray concluded, but “we point out, it’s far better that they be disturbed by an image of abortion than they be disturbed by an act of abortion that they are going to grieve for a life time.”
For more information on CCBR or “Choice Chain”, visit here.