Thousands attend March for Life, pro-choice demonstrations on Parliament Hill
Thousands of people gathered on Parliament Hill and marched through downtown Ottawa today as part of the March for Life rally.
The annual anti-abortion rally comes amid renewed attention on the issue in Canada and the United States following the leaked U.S. Supreme Court document on Roe v. Wade.
"We are here today because we think abortion is wrong, we think it takes a human life," said Valerie Luetke.
"I felt empowered with everybody around and we have to speak for the unborn child," Cecile Beaudoin said.
The March for Life began with a rally on Parliament Hill, followed by a march through Centretown.
"We love life and that's what we teach our children and we teach them to respect all lives," Mary Anne Brown said.
On Wellington Street, hundreds of counter-protesters attended a rally hosted by Planned Parenthood Ottawa. Women at the pro-choice rally held signs saying, "Keep your laws off my body" and "my body, my choice."
"The fact that this is still a debate and that this is still an issue. That we are still having to stand up against people who think that people should not have rights and people should not have bodily autonomy is just absurd," said Mackenzie Cielen-Gough.
Coun. Jeff Leiper and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attended the counter-protest. Ottawa Vanier Liberal candidate Lucille Collard posted a photo on Twitter saying, “It's a women's right to choose. It's as simple as that."
This year's annual March for Life event comes after the leaked U.S. Supreme Court document suggested a majority of justices were prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that allowed abortion to be legal in the United States.
"Concerned isn't the word," said Kate Headley, Planned Parenthood Ottawa Board member, while at the counter-protest. "It's scared, it's terrified, it's disgusting."
"We can't let what is going on in the United States creep up into Canada. We really need to solidify the support for abortion as healthcare here so we can't let that erode away," Charlotte Akin said.
Peter Baklinski of the Campaign Life Coalition told reporters outside the Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday that the leaked U.S. Supreme Court document has made the issue of abortion "suddenly explode" in Canada.
The National March for Life is held in May to mark the "Day of Infamy," according to the National March for Life website. "When the 1969 omnibus bill passed under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, decriminalizing abortion."
The first March for Life was held in 1998.