Albertans descend on Legislature to support human life

Several hundred pro-lifers from across Alberta came to the Legislature in Edmonton May 8 to demonstrate their support for human life.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Several hundred pro-lifers from across Alberta came to the Legislature in Edmonton May 8 to demonstrate their support for human life.

Donna Zulker adopted her son Michael at age 18 months knowing he had Downs syndrome.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Donna Zulker adopted her son Michael at age 18 months knowing he had Downs syndrome.

May 26, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Donna Zuiker pushed her son Michael in a wheelchair through the streets of Edmonton May 8 to proclaim her belief in the sanctity of life.

"We are here because we believe in life and we live that," she said as marchers prepared to leave the Alberta Legislature toward downtown. "We want to demonstrate in person that everyone has a right to life."

Zuiker, a mother of five, adopted Michael when he was 18 months old knowing he had Down syndrome. He is now 29. "We are still grateful to his parents for allowing him to live."

Zuiker is sad that abortion continues to be provided on demand in Canada. "I was just reading that they are trying to open it up even further. It's a scary thought," she said.

"We don't seem to be getting very far with these annual demonstrations. I think we need a very concerted prayer life. That's the only thing that can change this."

Several hundred people carrying signs condemning abortion listened to speakers on the steps of the Legislature before marching to City Hall and back.

Carrying a sign that read "Everyone for Abortion Was Born" was 14-year-old Andrea Mul, one of 53 students from the Covenant Canadian Reform School near Neerlandia, which is north of Barrhead.

"We are here to protest against abortion because it stops beating hearts," Mul said. "It's just like murdering a human being. Our goal is to make abortion illegal in Canada."

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Nicole Mooney, a teacher at St. Dominic's Catholic High School in Rocky Mountain House, brought 41 students to the march.

"As a school we think the March for Life is an important event to participate in and we want to promote among our kids the message that abortion is wrong and that life begins at conception," Mooney said.

"As a Catholic school we want to promote Catholic values." Mooney said the school gave all its 170 students an opportunity to come to the march.

The Alberta bishops participated in the March this year and Mooney was happy to see that. "I think it's wonderful that the bishops are here supporting us. It's a wonderful example for the kids to see."

The bishops celebrated a well-attended Mass for Life at St. Joseph's Basilica before walking to the Legislature.

SANCTITY OF LIFE

Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton blessed the march and led participants in prayer. "We pray for the sick and the dying and in particular we pray for the unborn children, the most innocent and defenceless among us," Motiuk said. "Lord, bless our march as we give public witness to the joy of the Gospel and the sanctity of life."

Speaking at the Legislature, Dr. Rob Hauptman, a clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta and a primary care physician who has delivered hundreds of babies, said the advancement of technology in the 21st century has helped establish that "life clearly and scientifically begins at the moment that a baby is conceived."

"There is virtually no longer any medical reason to abort a child," Hauptman said, encouraging pregnant women to celebrate the joy and the miracle of life and men to support their pregnant partners and babies.

DOCTORS' DUTIES

He said times are changing and many young doctors he sees coming out of medical school have a good understanding that life is precious and that the duty of the medical profession is to protect life at all stages.

Dr. Rob Hauptman

Dr. Rob Hauptman

"I want you to remember that ultimately at the end of the day science is on our side, truth is on our side, love is on our side and God is on our side," Hauptman said to prolonged applause.

Veronica Isinger, a volunteer at the Back Porch, an outreach ministry to women and men who are confused or unsure about their decision to have an abortion, said in 2012 Back Porch volunteers talked to 557 women, 19 of whom decided against having an abortion.

"In 2013, 23 women changed their minds," Isinger said to applause. "We had at least five women in the last couple of years that chose adoption for their babies. This is a very exciting time for us at the Back Porch because adoption is a very mature decision."

The Back Porch operates directly across from Edmonton's abortion clinic.

UNTHINKABLE

Grant Mann, a father of nine and state membership director for the Knights of Columbus, said the goal of the pro-life movement is to make abortion unthinkable.

Since the 1970s, the movement has done a good job educating the masses about abortion. Today, through science and ultrasound, we know indisputably that human life begins at conception.

"We won the debate but people are still pro-choice (and believe in the right of a woman to have an abortion)," lamented Mann.

Pro-lifers need to look within and ask where they need conversion and whether they have true compassion for women in crisis pregnancies, he said.

Pro-lifers will not be effective until they revere every person even if they are on the other side of the issue. "That's what really changes minds and hearts."