DWINDLING numbers at Brisbane’s annual Walk for Little Feet and other gatherings opposing the liberalisation of abortion laws in Queensland have pro-life organisers concerned.
But a campaign to unseat politicians supporting abortion legislation is gearing up across Quensland.
Right to Life Australia Queensland co-ordinator Graham Preston said the estimated 80 to 90 people who turned up to take part in this year’s walk last Saturday (September 10) was “a ridiculously low number”, but that such protests would continue “because if no one speaks out, people will start to think abortion’s okay”.
However, he also noted that for the first time in three years abortion supporters had not been present at the walk’s conclusion at Parliament House and “only a dozen or so protesters” had appeared elsewhere on the route.
Fellow walkers – National Civic Council (NCC) state president Luke McCormack and Cherish Life Queensland (CLQ) state president Teresa Martin – said pro-life groups would be joining forces during the next State election campaign to target candidates supporting decriminalisation of abortion.
The NCC campaign, launched jointly by the two groups in Mackay and Townsville with further centres to follow, will be conducted in about 20 marginal seats.
Mr McCormack said among Queensland politicians to be targeted would be 11 Aust-ralian Labor Party members who were declared members of Emily’s List, an international organisation supporting abortion.
The Walk for Little Feet, now in its 22nd year and usually held in May, was postponed until September this year as Mr Preston had been in jail for several months following his arrest on charges of obstructing clients at a Greenslopes abortion clinic in February this year.
Mr Preston said the decreasing numbers of those taking part in the walk could indicate “a wearing down effect” from a debate covering many years.
He warned that opponents of more liberalised abortion laws for Queensland should not become complacent.
“To those who don’t feel comfortable marching in protests such as the Walk for Little Feet I would say your support is needed,” he said.
“If you think the threat of legislation legalising abortion will go away all by itself, you’re kidding yourselves.
“If we don’t gather to show our opposition and say ‘no this isn’t right’, more and more will think abortion’s okay, that it’s merely a convenient way out of a dilemma … not the taking of a person’s life.”
Ms Martin agreed numbers publicly opposing abortion seemed to be decreasing.
The reasons for the decline were somewhat unclear, she said.
“Maybe it’s just too uncomfortable to take part in such protests … It’s a lovely sunny day and the skies are blue, so let’s go to the beach instead,” she said.
“Maybe it’s because these people think abortion has become so commonplace and accepted they fear being an oddity and don’t want to be involved.
“Perhaps they suspect so many are affected directly or indirectly in their circle of family and friends, they won’t speak up in case they offend people close to them.
“But if they do speak out, they may actually unlock and free the heart of someone who’s been bound into the sisterhood of silence caused by abortion.”
This year’s Rally for Life run by Cherish Life and held in Queen’s Park in the CBD attracted more than 1000 people.
“Statistics show that in 2006 there were 621,000 Catholics living in Bris-bane archdiocese – and at least that many Christians across all other denominations,” Ms Martin said.
“If even a small percentage of this number had attended the rally – or the weekend’s Walk for Little Feet – it would send a clear message to the Government that such legislation is not a vote winner.”
Mr McCormack said a Voters for Life website would be used to guide voters in the next State election towards pro-life candidates.
“The website will also be used to enlist volunteers to spread relevant information,” he said.
“In a tight election such information can be crucial to the final outcome, as we saw in last year’s Victorian election.
“The NCC is now trying to get people to help at polling booths in the next State election.
“We’re saying if you’re against liberalising of abortion laws, after coming all the way to vote why not stay on and make a difference for life?”
The Voters for Life campaign will have its next NCC/CLQ joint launch in Brisbane on October 11 at Paddington’s Emmaus Centre with Cindy Collins, from Operation Outcry, as guest speaker.
For details of this event visit www.cherishlife.org.au/ or contact Teresa Martin at Cherish Life Queensland on (07)3871 2445.