by John Fong

The March for Life in Hamilton on March 11 attracted some 450 people who came from different parts of the diocese, with some arriving by chartered bus. Joining in the march were Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe, Alex Bailey (pastoral services manager, Hamilton diocese), Margaret McDonald (member of organising committee) and the two guest speakers, Brendan Malone and Catherine Gillies.

According to an invitation on Hamilton diocese’s facebook page, The March for Life began in 2014 as an opportunity to march in support of all areas of life, from conception till natural death, for the poor and the vulnerable, for families, for women, for those trapped in modern day slavery such as prostitution and human trafficking, for the elderly, for an end to abortion and for the rejection of euthanasia.

The invitation continued: “Making a stand is especially important during this time of decision–making for our communities and politicians so as to continue to raise awareness of a people who are for life.”

The 2018 march began at 12.30pm at Memorial Park in Hamilton.

The sun shone benignly on those gathered and the mood was positive. The route took the marchers through the central business district of Hamilton along Victoria St before winding back to Memorial Park.

Mr Malone, who is a bioethics and life-issues speaker, spoke on the value of life and the many dangers of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide, illustrating these with examples from real-life situations.

Catherine Gillies

Ms Gillies, a chartered accountant and a former national president of Voice for Life, touched on her experiences as counsellor to women who were contemplating abortion, the trauma experienced by many women after an abortion, and criticised the lies that the pro-abortion lobbyists often tell (for instance, about the legal position of women who have had an abortion).

“Hopefully as we learn about the real impact of abortion, it will deepen our compassion for those already wounded, and also prompt us to stand in the gap and empower uncertain women to continue their pregnancy,” Ms Gillies told those at the March for Life.

She said that women considering abortion often “just need someone to be that person who listens, who offers them hope and a way forward”.

“Statistics consistently show,” she said, “that women considering an abortion, who receive unbiased support and counselling will more often choose to continue their pregnancy, than terminate it.”

Ms Gillies also related a story from her own family.

“Some nights stand out in your life: one such night was the first time I heard someone supporting someone in a crisis pregnancy . . .

“While I was doing dishes, there was a phone call for Dad. A 17-year-old boy in the soccer team Dad coached had got his girlfriend pregnant and didn’t know what to do.

“I was in awe as I heard my father encourage the lad. He told him he was up to the challenge; he’d make an excellent father, and that he and the girl would grow in their love as they committed to the child and each other. The lad was worried as he had no job, no problem — Dad would find him one. The couple eventually married and had other children.”

“The point of my story is”, Ms Gillies continued, “it doesn’t matter what our role is, even if it’s the soccer coach, we can be the catalyst of change in someone’s
life.”

“We can be the one who stands up for them, and their unborn child. We can be the one who helps them live a life they are proud of, a life that brings joy and love, rather than the heartache and sorrow of abortion.”

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