In a grassroots effort to draw attention to the plight of unborn children, a Niagara ARPA group has been threatened with legal action if they do not remove a pro-life memorial which they erected to testify to the deaths of over 100,000 unborn children in Canada each year.
On Saturday, October 1st, several members of the ARPA Niagara group erected a memorial honouring victims of abortion on a vacant parcel of private property in a high-traffic area just Southeast of Industrial Park Road in Smithville, Ontario.
The memorial was constructed using straw bales on a flatbed trailer stacked like bleachers and one hundred white crosses were inserted into the bales. Organizers posted a 48″ x 48″ sign that read ‘Each cross represents 1,000 unborn children aborted every year in Canada,’ on one side of the display and a similar 48″ x 96″ sign featuring a picturing of a healthy unborn child alongside the Bible verse “I praise you Lord because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… You knit me together in my mother’s womb… Psalm 139.”
On Tuesday October 3rd, the Township of West Lincoln issued an order for the removal of the memorial, citing the memorial violated the township’s zoning and sign size regulations. The township has set an October 10th deadline for the removal of the memorial. Local officials, including West Lincoln mayor Douglas Joyner noted the removal order was initiated by a local complaint. Unfortunately, local officials have been unwilling to elaborate on the nature of the complaints or how many complaints were received despite several inquiries by local ARPA chair Ed VanderVegte. The township’s actions seem to be motivated by the content of the memorial rather than an actual by-law infraction.
ARPA Niagara Vice-chair Ralph Vis released an official statement, noting: “Roadside crosses and tributes to fallen soldiers are common across Southern Ontario honouring the victims of a traffic fatality or tragedy on the battlefield and pointing fellow drivers and citizens to the dignity and value of life. So why is a memorial that exposes the ongoing violence committed against some of the most vulnerable citizens in Canada being selectively targeted by the Township of West Lincoln? By forcing the removal of ARPA Niagara’s abortion memorial, the Township of West Lincoln is exposing a biased position on the abortion issue as well as restricting freedom of speech and religious expression.”
APRA Canada requests that you pray for the ARPA group, that there may be a good outcome on the matter and that the message of life can continue to be voiced in Ontario and throughout Canada.
For media inquiries, please contact ARPA Canada’s Ontario Director and Legal Counsel André Schutten 613-297-5172 or [email protected]