This weekend, we had the honour of planting 100,000 flags on the lawn of the Supreme Court of Canada to draw attention to the ongoing injustice of abortion in Canada. The sea of pink and blue flags is a humbling and sobering experience, as we consider that each flag represents one pre-born child whose life was taken, unprotected by our law. It is also a valuable opportunity to make visible those our society would like to forget.
We chose the Supreme Court location for the display because this is the court that struck down Canada’s abortion law in the 1988 Morgentaler ruling. This is also the Court that looked to Parliament to create a new law protecting “fetal interests,” or pre-born human rights. Parliament has failed to do that. This display and location gave a wonderful starting point for conversations, as we explained to people what happened at the Court and could then literally point to Parliament, within view, as we talked about the laws we would like to see enacted.
The far-reaching and devasting impact of abortion was evident on Saturday, as those going by somberly considered this ongoing injustice in Canada. This included one young couple who asked to plant their own flags. It also included one young woman who talked about being the daughter of a sexual assault survivor.
It was a beautiful opportunity to see hearts and minds changed about the status quo on abortion. So many people we talked to were unaware that Canada has no law restricting abortion, and our conversations affirmed polls, which say the majority of Canadians support some restrictions on abortion.
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More than 60 volunteers joined us from various parts of Ontario to plant the pink and blue flags (truth be told, we didn’t fit the full 100,000 flags on that lawn and had to keep some in the boxes – that alone is a sad testimony to just how many lives have been taken). Many stayed all day to engage with their fellow Canadians on the issue of abortion, and help with clean up at the end of the day.
In Canada, we consistently see our leaders try to shut down debate about abortion and the humanity of the pre-born. But our experience continues to be that most Canadians are open to the discussion in a way our leaders are not. Our lack of laws is not reflective of Canadians, but is due to Parliament’s inaction. For this reason, we continue to talk to Canadians and to visibly display the massive number of lives lost to abortion each year.