November 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Is it ‘unfair’ to children for their parents to engage them in the pro-life cause?


I’ve always believed that children are crucial players in the pro-life movement.  I attended college in a rural Ontario town with a large homeschooling community and was always greatly inspired to attend Life Chain with dozens of large, young families.

Now my wife and I regularly take our 2-year-old and 6-month-old to 40 Days for Life, Life Chain, and the March for Life.

So I was perplexed over the recent debacle in Winnipeg where a Catholic school principal was put on leave after encouraging parents to consider taking their 12 and 13-year-old children to the local 40 Days for Life prayer witness campaign.  It struck me as odd that local Catholic officials appeared to suggest the event was not ‘age appropriate’.

A local pro-abortion activist, who joined a protest against Winnipeg’s 40 Days campaign this past weekend, claimed further that it’s “unfair” to children for parents to get them involved. From the Winnipeg Free Press:

Svitlana Maluzynsky said the incident [involving the Catholic principal] prompted her to participate in the pro-choice rally. She said there are a variety of reasons a woman may choose abortion and that it’s unfair to involve children in a debate that they don’t fully understand.

But, as far as pro-lifers are concerned, abortion is not complex at all.  Presented with a photo of an unborn child, a young boy or girl easily recognizes the child’s humanity even where some of the world’s most elite academics – clouded by prejudice – see nothing more than a “clump of cells.”

The claim, I suppose, is that parents are damaging their children’s innocence by getting them involved in a contentious and complex political debate.  Some might even claim that pro-lifers use their kids as a political tool.


But that completely misconstrues the situation.

Abortion is not first and foremost a debate or a political issue.  Abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent human person at his or her most vulnerable state, carried out with the sanction of the government, and so is without compare the most pressing social justice issue of our era.  Armed with this belief, why wouldn’t pro-lifers engage their children in the cause of life?

To me this seems like a repackaging of the old secularist claim that Christians who raise their children in the faith are “brainwashing” them.  They’re suggesting that parents should let children “make up their own minds” about abortion before engaging them in the pro-life cause.

But such proponents are relying on the myth that child-rearing and education can take place in a neutral or values-free environment.  More than a myth, it is actually a carefully-planned deception that has been used to fill our schools with anti-faith, anti-life and anti-family propaganda.

Children have a right to a strong formation in the good, the true, and the beautiful.  If parents believe something to be objectively true and right, how could they not share that belief with their child?

Parents need to judge how they will expose their children to the horrific evil of abortion.  Of course they must protect their children from evil, but at the same time they do their children a great disservice if they pretend that the evil does not exist.

In ways appropriate to the child’s stage of development, parents must indeed expose their children to abortion.  The pro-life battle is one that Christians do not have the luxury of avoiding, and so children must be suitably prepared to join it.

Parents will do this differently.  Our two-year-old has no idea what abortion is at this point.  He’s absolutely not ready and we take great pains to protect him.  But what he does know is that every Saturday for the last five weeks, we’ve been going down to the hospital to pray for babies “in mommies’ wombs.”  One day I’m sure he’ll ask why we’re praying for these unborn children, and we’ll have to discern our response when it comes up.

But even though he is definitely too young to be worrying about something as horrid as abortion, he most certainly is already pro-life.  And just as I have dedicated my life to raising him and all our children as believing Christians, so I will do everything in my power to ensure he is raised to believe in the inherent dignity of all men and women, born and unborn.

What could be fairer than that?

Patrick Craine is Canadian Bureau Chief for LifeSiteNews.com and the president of Campaign Life Coalition NS.  He lives with his wife and two children in East Chezzetcook, NS.