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Irene de Souza plans to resurrect Vancouver Against Abortion group

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Pro-life group that faded away in 2014 plans to rebuild
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

A pro-life group that once had an active presence on busy Vancouver streets is getting ready to make a comeback.

Vancouver Against Abortion fizzled out in 2014 after about two years of putting on outdoor displays of graphic images and interacting with passersby about abortion. Now, some local activists are planning to start the group up again.

“It’s so important that there are people on the ground engaging with the public,” said Irene de Souza, who is spearheading the re-launch of the pro-life group.

“Public policy won’t ever change unless public opinion first changes.”

De Souza, who works for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, said she’s been a pro-life activist since she was 12.

“I have such a heart for the pro-life cause, but I didn’t see the change I wanted to see. I went to conferences in high school, I got our pro-life club up and running, I gave talks at my school, and I went to the March for Life every year, but I never saw minds being changed about abortion and I never saw a baby that was saved.”

Then she joined CCBR, a pro-life group known for displaying images of aborted children at public events such as Choice Chain.

“In one day of activism alone, I can get many testimonies of people changing their minds about abortion because they see what abortion actually is and they encounter compassionate people who approach it from a human rights and scientific perspective,” she said.

“Knowledge and empathy are such a powerful combination.”

That’s why de Souza, who was not a member of Vancouver Against Abortion five years ago, sees a need to bring the initiative back. “This is a life-or-death emergency. We need to act now. We need to tell Canadians that this is a serious issue.”

Matthew Paone, one of the original founding members of Vancouver Against Abortion, is glad to hear the group is starting up again. “It means (unborn) children will again have a voice in Vancouver.”

Paone, who is currently studying in France and won’t be part of the re-launch, said new members will face a lot of apathy on the streets. “Indifferent Vancouver will see the reality of these children, real children who lose their lives.”

Luke Paone, his brother, was a member of the former group and is excited to re-join it.

“It’s really incredible. We’ve seen all sorts of people change their minds and look at the cause in a different way. Maybe people don’t change their minds right away, but you get them thinking about why they thought what they thought,” he said.

It’s worth the verbal abuse members receive. “For all the flack that you get from people, if you change a few minds, then it’s, in my mind, totally worth it.”

There are about 10 Against Abortion clubs from B.C. to Ontario, said Alex vande Bruinhorst, CCBR’s Calgary activism and community outreach coordinator.

He said the groups are independent of CCBR, but use similar strategy. CCBR offers its training, resources, and legal advice if requested.

“The goal with these groups and our relationship with them is to educate people in as many Canadian cities as possible about the fact that abortion is a human rights violation because it kills a tiny, helpless human being,” he said.

De Souza plans to spend the summer strategizing and building a volunteer base and hopes to have the group up and running again in September.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 May 2017 11:53  

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