Rosey Rosenke's views on abortion were transformed after witnessing an ultrasound of an abortion procedure from a baby's point of view. The unborn baby was 10 weeks old. She resembled a little person in every imaginable way.
"The baby was dodging the instruments. You could see her little heart beating. It changed me watching that," said Rosenke, who recently became executive director of Alberta Pro-Life.
Pro-life groups are active throughout Alberta, including Edmonton, Calgary, Cold Lake, Wainwright, Barrhead and Drayton Valley. With momentum building towards bringing about political change to abortion legislation, Rosenke said that establishing strong bonds and building connections between groups is vital.
"One of the things I'm really excited about is the unity that we're achieving," said Rosenke. "Changing things politically is our vision right now.
An Alberta Pro-Life fundraiser was held in Edmonton March 2. Guest speakers included Rosenke, Conservative MP Mark Warawa and longtime pro-life advocate Joanne Byfield.
Warawa spoke on Motion 408, his political push to condemn abortion based on the gender of a fetus. He tabled the motion last September, calling for the House of Commons to condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective abortions. The first hour of debate will likely happen later this month, a second hour of debate in April, with a vote sometime soon.
"In countries like China and India, gender-selection abortion is rampant. It's coming here where people are finding out in advance if they're having a boy or a girl, and they terminate the pregnancy if it's a girl," said Rosenke.
Critics say the motion is a bid to reopen the abortion debate. Beyond the abortion issue, however, Warawa's motion opposes discrimination against girls.
"This is an atrocity to women," said Rosenke.
To help make a difference, she encourages people to visit Warawa's website, make positive comments about Motion 408, and inform people about pro-life issues.
Rosenke wears a pin on her jacket that shows a replica of a 10-week-old unborn baby's feet. The pin is a conversation starter on abortion because, upon seeing it, people inevitably ask questions.
The fundraiser, attended by about 250 people, also served as a chance for the unveiling of their new name, the Wilberforce Project. The organization now uses both monikers – Alberta Pro-Life and the Wilberforce Project.
William Wilberforce (1759 to 1833) was the subject of a movie called Amazing Grace. He was an evangelical philosopher who advocated for women to have rights equal to those of men. His maintained that all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity or other qualifications, have natural rights.
"We associate ourselves with William Wilberforce because that's where our vision is going. He was a politician who was ultimately able to lead to the demise of slavery in England," said Rosenke.
"We align ourselves the same way because pre-born babies are people. In Canada, euthanasia is becoming a big topic. All over the world, we see these elderly people and these pre-born babies who don't have a voice, and they are people. They need our voice, and they need our protection from our government and our society," said Rosenke.
The word "project" is important in the name Wilberforce Project because projects have an end. Like Wilberforce whose efforts brought an end to slavery, Alberta Pro-Life aims to bring an end to abortion and euthanasia.
"I love that they chose the word 'project' because it's true. We want to be working ourselves out of this job because we want to ultimately change things legally so that lives are saved and these human beings are recognized," said Rosenke.
While she's grateful for the many pro-life organizations throughout the province that are educating Albertans, Rosenke says the abortion debate in Alberta is still in a sad state politically.
In 2010, a total of 13,084 abortions were reported in Alberta. Between 2007 and 2011, more than $11 million of Alberta tax money was spent on abortions.
"If people think it's truly an individual choice to have an abortion, it should truly be my individual choice whether I'm going to pay for it. A lot of people aren't aware that they are funding abortions," said Rosenke.
She is a big believer in providing information. Once people are informed of the facts about abortion, she said they tend to be against it.
For example, since there is no abortion legislation in Canada, full-term abortions are permissible and, at a doctor's discretion, a baby can be aborted at nine months. Females under 18 do not require parental consent to have an abortion. Fathers have no rights whatsoever in regards to their pre-born children.
"Things are drastically out of balance, and that's what we want to bring change to," said Rosenke.
Another pro-life issue that's made the national headlines lately is the letter written by three Tory MPs who want the RCMP to investigate hundreds of abortions as possible homicides.
The Jan. 23 letter is signed by MPs Leon Benoit of Vegreville-Wainwright, Maurice Vellacott of Saskatoon-Wanuskwein and Wladyslaw Lizon of Missassauga East-Cooksville. The three MPs call the abortions "possible murders" that require police investigation.
"From 2000 to 2009 in Canada, there were 491 abortions of 20 weeks gestation and greater that resulted in live births. This means that the aborted child died after it was born," reads the letter.