BY TYLER BATTEN
The abortion debate is not dead, it’s alive and kicking.
Ranata, a middle-aged, Roman-Catholic woman who refused to give her last name or allow a photo of her face to be taken, stands on the steep and angled roadway before the squeezed valley bridge of Freeport, just behind the health centre. With a sign that reads “abortion kills a baby,” she’s sending a clear message to all who pass.
The name Renatus, which translates from Latin to born again, was the name Renaissance philosopher Rene Descartes took when preparing to write his Meditations on First Philosophy, a book which largely investigates a priori knowledge, a type of knowledge that one has before experiencing it — the knowledge a baby would have — and to exhibit an argument which he believed was a proof for the existence of God.
“If abortion was imposed (on you or I, we) wouldn’t be here — everyone wants to live,” Ranata told me as another car barrelled by, driver’s fist out-stretched, horn thundering in the valley. “The (drivers) have the same view, it’s alright.”
Many of the recent outpourings of abortion protests across the city and worldwide are affiliated with a campaign called 40 Days for Life.
Forty Days for Life is also a book by motivational speakers David Bereit and Shawn Carney. The authors are working hard at making it a bestseller.
In a public letter addressed to patrons of the movement, Carney said: “DAY ONE is the most important day of sales for a new book. Let’s rally together TODAY to set sales records and start 40 Days for Life up the bestseller charts.”
The Forty Days for Life campaign has a self-estimated following of 575,000 people. Their website claims that 41 abortion clinics have been closed since the movement’s inception.
“From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. people are coming here, they want to voice their opinions,” Ranata said. “Even if I’m raped, why add more misery?”
Freeport Health Centre, which is owned and operated by Grand River Hospital, has an abortion clinic which performs procedures on a semi-regular basis.
“It’s not exactly new; this demonstration has taken place for a number of years,” said Mark Karjaluoto, director of communications for Grand River Hospital. “We acknowledge their perspective, we provide this service and our standpoint is to make sure patients have access to the service.”
Abortion was legalized in Canada by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau government in 1969.
The push to legalization was argued by an academic belief called the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis which argues that legal abortion reduces crime.
Eighteen- to 24-year-old males are most likely to commit crimes. Eighteen years after abortion was legalized, crime began to dramatically decline in both Canada and the United States.
The cold fact is children who aren’t wanted are aborted instead of put up for adoption and often neglected, or pushed into the streets at a young age.
Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region, a local pro-choice organization, was unavailable for comment on the abortion protests widespread across the city. A recently added poster on their Facebook wall reads “Sexual education classes in school should just be listening to a baby cry for five hours straight while watching the same cartoon on repeat.”
As more cars zipped by honking horns and more supporters flooded down to support the campaign, Ranata looked at me and said “maybe one day I’ll be born again — become a better person than I am already.”
BY TYLER BATTEN