A woman pressured to have two abortions is walking from Montreal to Ottawa as Canada prepares for its March for Life this week.
Lisa LeDoux of Rivers, Manitoba, joins twenty-four other women walking from Montreal to the Supreme Court in Ottawa, in an abortion awareness initiative. They represent 25 years since the Supreme Court’s 1988 Morgentaler decision that left a legal vacuum on abortion in Canada.
Most of the walkers are women who had abortions and regret their decisions others are walking for mothers, sisters, and grandmothers who are suffering the physical and psychological aftermath of abortion. LeDoux, who is Métis, had 3 abortions.
LeDoux explained how the abortions sent her on a downward spiral and led to medical problems – including miscarriage – that she is still dealing with today:
“I was pressured into the first two abortions. When I got pregnant the first time I wanted to keep the baby but my parents told me that if I did I would have to find another place to live. When I got pregnant a second time I insisted to my parents that I was keeping the baby. This time they agreed. It was not until my boyfriend’s mother and sisters called me and told me I was selfish and going to wreck my boyfriend’s life that I gave in. The pressure was just too much.”
LeDoux explains her reasons for making this 200 km journey in a video message on the walk’s web site (www.backtolifecanada.com).
She says, “I believe it doesn’t matter what culture you come from, or what background you have – you know that life is life.”
She is walking for all the young girls that find themselves in the same situation, to make them aware that there are consequences to abortion, and to encourage them to keep their babies. She is also walking in hope that the government will stand up for women like her.
LeDoux’s husband is a First Nation man and the son of a First Nation’s chief in southern Manitoba. In support of his wife’s cause, he is manning the home front, taking care of their 5 children for the full two weeks that she is walking.
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Cree elders Kenny and Louise Blacksmith of Mistissini, QC, launched the walkers nine days ago, speaking a blessing and protection over them on their journey, calling on the Creator to heal the land, and reminding the women that life is sacred.
Blacksmith sees abortion as a cross-cultural issue in Canada, “Young aboriginal women are not immune to these kinds of challenges. Native women face the same issues with abortion, we can’t just let it go by.”
Walk organizer Faytene Grasseschi emphasizes that the underlying motive of the Back to Life Walk is love, “With every step we take we are walking for our own restoration, our mothers, our sisters, our friends, and our future nation. We count it an honor to share our stories in the hopes it will help other women and open many eyes in Canada.”