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If you asked me to describe a day in my life as a pro-life advocate, it would be fairly straightforward to do. I go out on the streets of Toronto and show images of healthy and aborted children to a public that is largely ignorant and mostly supportive of what they think abortion is. I reach out to many with leaflets in hand, and while I am ignored by many, I get to talk with several people about the issue.

Despite the fact that these conversations can be difficult, challenging, disappointing, and emotional, they are also inspiring, moving, intellectually engaging, and evidence that what I do works. While pro-life outreach can perhaps feel repetitive at times, I can say from experience that every day that I am sharing the pro-life message, hearts and minds can and do change on the issue, and we are making progress in achieving our goal: to make abortion unthinkable in Canada.

The Toronto March for Life is a completely different experience. We might not be actively changing hearts and minds as we do during street outreach, yet we still are fulfilling a different, but still important, purpose.

A typical day on the streets of Toronto can involves thousands of people milling about, in their own worlds, busy to get on with their day. Gathering in a place with a crowd of people, deliberately unified and united in a common cause, is a powerful experience. It has a different tone, a certain camaraderie. In some ways it feels like being at a church service. You’re surrounded by like-minded people. You feel safe; you feel at home.

In a world that largely still needs to be reached with the pro-life message, it’s a refreshing change of pace to be surrounded by people who have the same passion and devotion to justice for the pre-born.

Last month, we met at Queen’s Park, and listened to the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the movement, both as volunteers and professionals. The speeches were powerful and heartbreaking, when the testimonies of the devastating effects abortion poured out from brave women who are letting their pain be used for good.

Speeches were also uplifting. We got to hear from Doctor Dermot Kearney, an Irish cardiologist who practices in the UK, and has saved dozens of babies with abortion pill reversal treatments, for women who have taken the first abortion pill, but change their minds before taking the second. The day of the March was coincidentally also the first and third birthdays of two children whose lives he helped to save.

It is empowering to hear from people in the educational, political and pregnancy resource arms of the movement. There are so many ways to get involved and make a difference, there’s a role and a part to play for every pro-lifer, and hearing from people doing each thing, is a good reminder of that, whether we have already found our place, or are still looking, and a reminder that there are still many good people out there, doing great things, to make abortion come to an end.

And then, we March. We take to the streets of Toronto, armed with signs that share our message in a multitude of ways. “Human rights for all human beings,” “Change minds, change laws, save lives,” “Make abortion unthinkable,” and many others. We March quietly, sombrely even, hearts broken that we even have to, blocks from the hospitals that end innocent lives day by day. We pause for a moment of silence, we reflect and pray for the dead, the women considering abortion, the ones hurting from the ones they’ve already had. We March in defiance of a culture that wants to ignore those who have been killed, to spin their deaths as a right, to dehumanize them, discard them, and keep the injustice hidden. We sense that so many are missing from among our ranks. We grieve for them. It is reminiscent of a funeral, but with the magnitude of a mass of graves.

We marched, and then we returned to Queen’s Park, we wrapped up the marching, and waited until the workshops portion would begin. During that time, we mingled, talked and laughed and enjoyed the company of our fellow pro-life advocates, the people who took time, who traveled, some who even flew across the ocean, to stand with us for justice for the preborn. The tone changed to one of joy, friendship, and happiness. We celebrated life, together. Each other’s company, each other’s lives, the new lives since the previous year, the lives safely growing in their mothers, that will be out and among us, next. We wished each other safe travels on the journey home. Many of us moved on to the workshops portion of the day, where we learned more about how to get involved, and what we can do to end the killing.

The March for Life 2024 was a powerful, meaningful day, with all of the ups and downs that are part of life, one that every human being is entitled to experience. The joy of friendship, unity and fighting for a noble and common cause, the sadness and mourning of the loss of countless innocent lives, and broken hearts wounded by abortion… the defiance of an unjust culture, and the dedication to making each day count towards some day, getting to put Marches for Life in the history books, where they belong, where they can be remembered as just a day in a movement that never gave up until every human life was protected, from start to end.