Twenty-five women are walking from Montreal to the Supreme Court in Ottawa in an abortion harassment awareness initiative that launched Sunday.
The Back to Life Walk is an authentic women's movement that aims not only to raise awareness about abortion harassment, but also to pray for a shift in Canadian culture on this issue. The 25 culturally diverse women walking 200 km (about 125 miles) represent the 25 years of no laws on abortion in this nation.
"Abortion harassment" is the coercion of women into abortion when they do not want one. Studies indicate that as many as 64 percent of women in Canada who have had abortions would say they were badgered into it. The women walking are particularly interested in the issue because many of them have a personal harassment story to share. Many of them were pressured into unwanted abortions by boyfriends, family members and, unbelievably, even doctors. Video interviews of the walkers telling their stories are getting strong viewership online.
Organizer Faytene Grasseschi explains, "Many of the walkers have very painful abortion stories to share. What is troubling is that we are finding that their stories are representative of thousands of women—this really is the untold story of abortion in Canada."
Back to Life walker Ashley Williams shares, "I was pressured into abortion when my baby was 5 months old. I could already feel it moving. My boyfriend told me I was going to do it. I honestly felt trapped. It was like my voice on the issue didn't matter to him."
Ironically, while she was on the abortion table, her boyfriend had a change of heart and tried to stop the procedure. He was resisted by medical staff, who told him he had no right to interfere with her "choice." Ashley woke up on the other side of the abortion, devastated.
Grasseschi emphasizes the loving tone of the walk: "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."