Toronto Star profiles pro-lifers’ ‘slick, youthful rebranding’ ahead of March for Life

As thousands flock to Parliament Hill, Canada’s largest city newspaper has profiled the pro-life movement’s “slick, youthful rebranding” in a rare positive piece.
Wed May 9, 2012 - 8:55 am EST

TORONTO, Ontario, May 9, 2012 ( – As thousands of Canadians flock to Thursday’s National March for Life on Parliament Hill, Canada’s largest newspaper has profiled the pro-life movement’s “slick, youthful rebranding” in a rare positive piece.

“They will fight to protect the unborn, raise their voices against abortion in Canada — and maybe win an iPod,” begins the Tuesday piece in the Toronto Star, written by staff reporter Wendy Gillis.

“Pro-lifers will rally on Parliament Hill by the thousands Thursday for the March for Life, an ever-growing annual rally attended by, yes, older activists, but also increasingly by hordes of fresh-faced young people snapping photos, shooting videos and live-tweeting while hoisting signs saying ‘Justice for the Unborn,’” it continues.


Click here for the Toronto Star article: Canada’s pro-life movement gets a slick, youthful rebranding.

The pro-life movement has long lamented its struggle to get fair coverage in the mainstream media, which has prompted it to start its own media to get the word out. In Canada, it started with The Interim newspaper, which was founded in 1983 after the media ignored a press conference in Toronto with former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

And now is at the forefront of the new media, growing since it was founded in 1997 to become the world’s most popular pro-life website.

At the same time, many pro-life advocates have noted that the mainstream media’s stranglehold has loosened in recent years, particularly during the few days surrounding May’s National March for Life, which has become the largest annual rally on Parliament Hill.

The event made its greatest breakthrough last year, with coverage in all the major media outlets, including the CBC, CTV, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post, Metro, and Global.

But the most exciting development was the overwhelmingly positive coverage from the newly-launched Sun News Network, which dedicated its top story and a good chunk of its airtime that day to the issue.

In her article for the Toronto Star, Gillis observes that the pro-life movement is “no longer just grey-haired activists,” having “undergone a savvy, youthful makeover.”

Her piece includes interviews with some of the key young leaders in the movement, such as Alissa Golob, coordinator of Campaign Life Coalition Youth, which has developed a network of thousands of young people in the last year or so; Jonathan Van Maren, communications director for the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, which has been working hard to build up activist groups across the country that are largely youth-run; and Rebecca Richmond, executive director of the National Campus Life Network, which has been rapidly expanding its presence on university campuses across the country.

While overwhelmingly positive, Gillis’ article also claims the perception that the number of youth in the pro-life movement has “skyrocketed” in recent years “tends to be anecdotal,” and she quotes a University of Toronto professor who says the involvement of youth is “nothing new” and there is still “no practical effect that they can have.”

But polling has shown that youth are trending more and more pro-life.

In 2010, a Gallup poll found that young adults’ support for legal abortion had dropped continuously over the previous 20 years. In 1990, 36 percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 thought abortion should be legal under any circumstance, but by 2000 that had dropped to 28 percent, and by 2009 it had dropped to only 24 percent.

The same poll showed that 18 to 29 year olds were more likely to support a ban on abortion than those 65 and over: 23 percent told Gallup that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances while only 21 percent of the 65 and over crowd said the same.

Even leading abortion activist Joyce Arthur, who heads the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, acknowledged to the Star that there is a “huge surge in young people being active in the anti-choice movement.”

The events surrounding the March for Life kick off Wednesday night with prayer services and Masses at various churches in the downtown area and a candlelight vigil at the Canadian Human Rights Monument at 9 p.m.

A noon rally before the march on Thursday, May 10th will feature speeches by pro-life Members of Parliament, as well as religious and pro-life leaders.

That evening there will be a Rose Dinner featuring a keynote address by Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. A Youth Banquet takes place at the same time with an address by Rev. Pat Mahoney, president of the Christian Defense Coalition, followed by the day-long youth conference on May 11th.

Click here for the Toronto Star article: Canada’s pro-life movement gets a slick, youthful rebranding.

Find more information on the National March for Life website.

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