Katie Somers in her flight attendant uniform on the left and her activism role on the right --Photos: Katie Somers
How does a flight attendant go from traveling across Canada to spending most of her time in the streets of Toronto talking about abortion?
Katie Somers is the Outreach director at Toronto Right to Life, a pro-life organization that condemns all forms of abortion-related violence and works to make abortion “unthinkable.” However, before she dedicated herself to the pro-life cause, she was a flight attendant for 14 years working domestically across Canada, a job she told Quebec Life Coalition that she absolutely loved, but felt called by God to leave so that she could work for the pro-life movement.
In 2015, Katie involved herself in activism on Toronto’s city streets and campuses. This is also the year that she saw an abortion video on social media that compelled her to make the move permanently into activism.
In January 2023, Quebec Life Coalition held a conference titled Students for Life during which Katie shared about her experiences doing pro-life activism. She encouraged the students to be bold, because, she said, “ordinary people like you and me, with just a little bit of training and guidance can have powerful impacts on the pro-life cause.”
Katie speaking at the "Students for Life" event held by Quebec Life Coalition January 14th - Photo: Joanne Of Arc3 reactions Read more
Brian Jenkins at the Archdiocese of Montreal about to distribute prayers for the 40 days for Life vigil -- Photo: Joanne Of Arc
Montreal -- The 40 Days for Life vigil started in Montreal, Quebec on Ash Wednesday.
On Tuesday, February 21st, I had the opportunity to spend half of my day with VP of Quebec Life Coalition, Brian Jenkins, as he prepared for the 40 days for life vigil to begin in Montreal, Quebec on Ash Wednesday.
We started our morning with a quiet time in adoration of the blessed Sacrament who filled us with peace for the day to come.
Brian Jenkins distributing prayer cards at Marie-Reine-du-Monde for the 40 days for Life vigil --Photo: Joanne Of Arc
Then we attended a mass that was offered by Father Alain Vaillancourt for the 40 days vigil at the Cathedral, Marie-Reine du Monde. Before mass, I observed Brian cut out papers with prayers that he then distributed to parishioners at the church, asking to support him in his efforts.
Brian Jenkins cutting out prayers to distribute to parishioners to pray for the vigil. --Photo: Joanne Of Arc
As we walked through the Archdiocese of Montreal, I noticed that Brian was well known by priests and warmly encouraged in his efforts. Parishioners seemed to be responsive to his request for prayer and agreed to take the prayers he was distributing.1 reaction Read more
Why go to the March for Life? Father Alain Vaillancourt, pastor of the Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral answers.
Fr. Vaillancourt, the pastor of the Cathedral Marie-Reine-du-Monde in Montreal— Photo: Joanne Of Arc
Father Alain Vaillancourt, pastor of the Cathedral Marie-Reine-du-Monde in Montreal, agreed to speak with Quebec Life Coalition about March for Life.
Each year, the Cathedral encourages youth to participate in the March to promote a culture of life in Quebec.
Along with Brian Jenkins, Vice President of Quebec Life Coalition, the three of us sat down for a brief chat before attending mass at the Cathedral which was offered in support of the 40 Days for Life vigil beginning February 22, 2023.
Joanne for QLC: Brian told me that you are a frequent participant in the March for Life?
Father Alain Vaillancourt: Ah, yes, I've attended several times!
Joanne for QLC: Do you know how many Marches for Life have you participated in?
Father Alain Vaillancourt: I haven't counted them! However, I have been going to them since I have been at the Cathedral... so for over 10 years, I must have done at least five. My goal is to go every two years.
Joanne for QLC: Why is it a priority for you to attend the March for Life? We know that priests are very busy...
Father Alain Vaillancourt: Thursday is my day off!
[We share a moment of laughter].
Joanne for QLC: Always?
Father Alain Vaillancourt: Yes!
[We continue to laugh together]
Joanne for QLC: It's good timing then! What did you think of your last walk?1 reaction Read more
Philippe, the young founder of Action Vitale, a pro-life student organization in Montreal. --Photo : Joanne Of Arc
Philippe, an 18-year-old student from Cégep du Vieux Montréal who is studying social science, founded a pro-life group called "Action Vitale". Philippe and his group meet weekly near a popular metro station in Montreal to engage with college and university students on the topic of abortion. They hand out black and white flyers that they designed themselves and initiate conversations with by-passers who are open to doing so. They are not paid for their time nor their efforts, they simply do this willingly.
I had the pleasure of attending one of their sessions earlier this year and watching these courageous young men testify about their pro-life stance. To my surprise, several conversations took place and people showed a clear interest in having a dialogue. Among the interactions I observed, one man complimented them on their politeness. These are not aggressive activists, but young, educated men who want to make a difference in Quebec for the pro-life cause.
Philippe agreed to speak with Quebec Life Coalition about his group in an interview. Here's what he shared with us.
Joanne for QLC : What inspired you to start your group “Action Vitale”?
Philippe : It's been a little over two years since I converted to the pro-life position. I have always had this desire to share or talk to people about it. I like to propose activities to others, and I have noticed that this activity has been very fruitful. If there was one specific moment that inspired me to found Vital Action, it was when I saw people in the metro who were socialists and were handing out flyers promoting their position. At that moment, I asked myself: "Why are they doing it and I'm not? I have as much conviction as they do". So that's how Action Vitale was born.
Joanne for QLC : I really like the name "Action Vitale", can you tell us a bit about how you came to choose this name to represent your organization?
Philippe: We were looking for a name for a while and it was dragging on, finally I proposed it to the other team members and it was accepted. I wanted the name to start with the word "Action", as many political organizations start with the same word. Then I was looking for a predicate for the name that would be related to life.1 reaction Read more
A young adults group from YTOL (Youth Teams of Our Lady) at March For Life in 2019 — Photo: YTOL Canada
This year will mark the 26th year that March For Life is being organized by Campaign Life Coalition in Canada during the month of May.
Vice President of CLC, Matthew Wojciechowski released a special presentation joined by his team who are members of the organizing committee for the March which you can find on the March for Life website.
Here at Quebec Life Coalition, we want to give you our top 10 reasons for attending the March for Life this coming May.
1. You will be part of the largest yearly pro-life protest in Canada happening on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. March For Life will take place on Thursday, May 11th, 2023. As presented on their website, this year’s theme is : “STAND FIRM” which is elaborated through the following statement :
“We stand firm for the pre-born, mothers in crisis pregnancies, those targeted due to disability, and the elderly in hospitals and care homes. We march in solidarity with the vulnerable and marginalized.”
2. You will get to experience that you are not alone in your fight for life. If you have ever felt alone in your convictions about life beginning at natural conception, the March For Life will prove you otherwise. You will get to march with thousands of other pro-life youth and families that stand firm in their fight for life.
Young adults from the youth movement YTOL at the March in 2016 — Photo: YTOL Canada
3. You will be inspired by dynamic speakers that are part of the “Silent No More” awareness campaign who will share their powerful testimonies about abortion and why they regret it. Moreover, Isabel Brown from Turning Point USA will also share her story and encourage students to stand for life and make a difference in their homes, schools, and communities.
4. By attending the pro-life summit you will strengthen your pro-life position. The day after the March you can attend a pro-life summit. According to Kim Headley from Campaign Life Coalition, “Approximately 500 students and young pro-lifers ages 13-29 will attend our six-hour structured summit intended to educate and inspire.”
5. You could come home with new skills, experiences and friends. You will also get to meet different religious communities such as the Sisters of life or the Jesuits and fraternity groups like the SSPX or the FFSP.3 reactions Read more
Kim Headley at our Students for Life event in January 2023 — Photo: Joanne Of Arc
On Saturday, January 14th 2023, Quebec Life Coalition hosted a Students For Life Event in Montreal, Quebec.
The purpose of this event was to encourage all pro-life students to come together for an afternoon of discussion, training and networking.
Amongst the different speakers that were present at the event, we have invited Kim Headley from Campaign Life Coalition who is their Assistant Youth Coordinator to speak about her involvement in the culture of life.
Kim has agreed to speak with us after the event, so that you could get to know her better as well as learn more about why you should get involved in Students for life in Montreal.
Quebec Life Coalition: Can you please present yourself, your age and your current job position?
Kim Headley from CLC: My name is Kim Headley. I'm 27 years old from Aurora, Ontario. I studied business at Seneca College in Toronto and accounting at Ensign College in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am now working as an Assistant Youth Coordinator and Administrative Assistant at Campaign Life Coalition. Some of my responsibilities are planning activities for youth such as pro-life movies nights, game nights, virtual pro-life club activities, planning the annual trip to Washington DC for their March for Life, as well as planning the national youth summit and banquet here in Canada. I also help to make social media content for our Instagram and TikTok and do a few different administrative and clerical tasks to help our accounting team.
Quebec Life Coalition: How long have you been working for CLC?
Kim Headley from CLC: Nine months! I started as an intern in May 2022 and was hired full time in September 2022.
Quebec Life Coalition: What does a day to day look like for you?
Kim Headley from CLC: It depends! Sometimes I am sending emails all day to different schools, sometimes I am in our accounting system keeping the books up to date, and sometimes I can be planning out next youth event. Every day I do a bit of both youth outreach and administrative tasks.
Quebec Life Coalition: What is the most important aspect of your job?
Kim Headley from CLC: The Biggest project CLC has every year is the March for Life. The most important part of my job is to help plan all of the youth activities such as the Candlelight vigil for the victims of abortion, the youth banquet, as well as the youth summit.
Quebec Life Coalition: In January, we had the pleasure to host a Students for Life conference during which you shared your testimony about how you became pro-life. For those who didn’t have the chance to attend this event, can you share your journey in a nutshell?
Kim Headley from CLC: Growing up, I was pro-choice. It wasn’t until my first semester at College in my English class when everything changed, and it happened in a way I never would have expected. My teacher had everyone make a video about anything they wanted to. A girl in my class did her assignment on human rights violations. She started by showing pictures of victims from different injustices, saying they were horrible and evil to do, while still being completely legal at the time. Then she showed a picture of an aborted fetus…
I still can’t forget that image. That was the first time I had ever seen abortion victim photography. My classmate said this was also horrible and evil, even though it’s currently allowed in Canada. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – this was actually what an abortion looked like. Before that moment, I thought the preborn child was just a “clump of cells.” That’s the lie we’re all told, right? Well, that photograph forced me to start re-evaluating my opinion on abortion, but I didn’t become pro-life overnight.
For months, that picture kept creeping into my mind. I couldn’t forget it. That’s when I started looking into it more for myself, and doing my own research, which is how I slowly came around to becoming more and more pro-life. At some point later on, I saw a video of a first trimester abortion, and that was it. I was done being pro-choice. I was pro-life, right then and there, without exception, but if I was going to be “pro-life” now, how could I sit by and not do anything about it? It wasn’t enough for me to just be pro-life. I couldn’t just have this opinion and not do anything about these babies being killed.
I needed to be more involved in the pro-life movement, so I googled pro-life organizations in Toronto and found Toronto Right to Life where I was given apologetics training on how to have effective conversations about abortion and then I started doing “Choice? Chain" with Toronto against abortion, a project between Toronto Right to Life and CCBR. After a while of doing occasional activism, I decided that I still needed to do more for the movement. I wanted to do something more productive with my time. So, I decided to do a pro-life summer internship.
This past summer I had the privilege of interning for Campaign Life Coalition and was hired full time in September. Now I get to work full time in the pro-life movement, getting to use what I went to school for, as well as doing something I am passionate about.
Kim Headley sharing her testimony at our Students for life event in January — Photo: Joanne Of Arc1 reaction Read more
William after his healing, pictured at St. Joseph's Oratory —Photo: Catherine Lavoie
By Joanne of Arc (Quebec Life Coalition)
Catherine Lavoie experienced a conversion to the Catholic faith in 2012. Today, she is a mother of seven children and they all live in Valleyfield with her husband. Catherine has contacted us because she wanted to share her personal story on abortion with Quebec Life Coalition.
Catherine told us the story of William, her son who is now 16 years old, but who could have been aborted when Catherine was a teenager. When she was pregnant with William, at the 20-week ultrasound, doctors discovered abnormalities and transferred her to Sainte-Justine Hospital for more tests. Then, at almost 30 weeks of pregnancy, she was offered a late-term abortion.
This was in 2006 and Catherine was only 16 years old. The following is Ms. Lavoie's testimony.
Catherine Lavoie: It happened at Sainte-Justine Hospital. I know I'm not the only one who was asked to terminate a viable pregnancy (...) I have a friend whose baby was followed at Sainte-Justine Hospital, because he had malformations and the couple decided to do the procedure...1 reaction Read more
National President of Campaign Life Coalition, Jeff Gunnarson adressing Trudeau in front of the Supreme Court of Canada — Photo : Joanne Of Arc
OTTAWA – Quebec Life Coalition jointly held a conference with Campaign Life Coalition two days prior to the commemoration of “Morgentaler’s Decision Day” which took place 35 years ago.
On January 26th 2023, Quebec Life Coaltion’s president Georges Buscemi, Director of Political Operations, Arpad Nagy and myself attended a press conference held in front of the Supreme Court of Canada by Campaign Life Coalition's pro-life leader, Jeff Gunnarson. The event’s objective was to protest “Morgentaler’s Decision day” which took place on January 28th 1988 and to call out Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau on the matter. The National President of CLC read publicly a letter he addressed to Trudeau.
The press conference lasted about an hour and was held during heavy snow fall. The featured speakers were the National President of Campaign Life Coalition, Jeff Gunnarson, CLC’s Director of Political Operations, Jack Fonseca, CLC’s Director of Education and Advocacy, Josie Luetke, and the President of Quebec Life Coalition, Georges Buscemi.
Jeff Gunnarson read publicly a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada, for the first time in front of a group of supporters for the pro-life cause. His letter noted the betrayals on the part of Canada’s leaders who when asked by the Supreme Court to legislate abortion, failed to take responsability in 1988. This in turn “allowed mothers to kill their pre-born children at any stage during the pregnancy, for any reason at all which ultimately resulted in millions of Canadian mothers choosing to destroy the new human lives growing and developing inside of them” said Gunnarson. Following the reading of the letter, Jeff Gunnarson hand delivered his letter to the parliamentary office. You can read a copy of his letter here.
The above mentioned letter was also sent to other leaders of political parties including Pierre Poilievre (leader of the Conservative Party of Canada), Jagmeet Singh (leader of the New Democratic Party), Yves‐François Blanchet (leader of the Bloc Québécois) and Elizabeth May (leader of the Green Party of Canada).
A photo of the letter being dropped off in the mail by Matthew Wojciechowski, Campaign Life Coalition's VP1 reaction Read more
MONTREAL – The Quebec Court of Appeal has ruled that a child’s breathing tube could be permanently removed despite his parents opposing the decision.
According to Global News, Quebec’s Court of Appeal has ruled that hospital Sainte-Justine could be permanently remove the breathing tube from a five year old child in intensive care who has been in a coma since he fell into the family pool in June 2022.
“The parents were hoping that the Court of Appeal would force the hospital to keep the child alive with a breathing tube”...“but the court said ‘No’ ” reported Stephane Giroux for CTV news.
“The principle of preserving life at all costs is not absolute when the conditions for maintaining life are unacceptable,” the high court wrote.
The judgment confirms an earlier court judgment based on what doctors and experts were saying that there was no chance for the child to ever improve, as he has no brain activity, according to them.
“Quebec Superior Court Justice Bernard Jolin wrote in his Nov. 1 ruling that the parents’ objections were not in the child’s best interest and were based on the hope that God would miraculously return the boy to the way he was before he fell into the pool” reports Global News.
Patrick Martin-Ménard, the lawyer of the family, explains to CTV that this situation is very challenging for a family with limited resources and that cannot afford to fight the doctors.
“We will decide when to remove the breathing tube” said Hospital Saint Justine, while also stating that they will “respect the will of the parents”.
But the will of the parents is not being respected. They wish to save the life of the child, allowing extubation only if it does not lead to their child’s death, a condition which the hospital does not agree with...
Despite this, the experts say it would be best to provide end of life care. The parents of the five year old have one remaining option, to follow up with the Supreme Court of Canada.
Doctors can and have been wrong in the past. Below are a few examples of stories covered by LifeSiteNews that support this point.1 reaction Read more
Montreal Against Abortion (MAA) is a pro-life group in Montreal that is focused on Abortion Victim Photography (AVP).
The group was founded in 2021 by Manuel Medina and Merichel Diaz. It organizes activism sessions throughout the year and has been growing in activity for the last two years.
Quebec Life Coalition was able to interview one of its co-founders prior to the launch of Students For Life event in Montreal.
Joanna for QLC: Can you present yourself and your group Montreal Against Abortion?
Merichel for Montreal Against Abortion: I am Mexican. I came to Montreal 12 years ago. The group MAA was founded two years ago. We completed the second year of operation, but we built it one year prior to launching it. Therefore, we have two years of operation, but technically we exist since three years. We started in 2021 during the summer. It was founded by Manuel and myself. Friends in common helped us to meet, because they knew we were interested in the pro-life movement. I had a call to do something in the pro-life movement and he also had the same call. We decided to work together since we had the same purpose. Manuel had a previous contact in Toronto from CCBR (Canadian Center Bioethical Reform) and TRTL (Toronto Right To Life).
From TRTL we received online training (apologetics training) that was very helpful and we received some tools to defend the culture of life. We got the training in 2020, we also started to read books on the topic.
We were convinced that abortion is wrong, but we needed to know how to explain that it is wrong to other people.
It was important to learn about science and human rights. Because we defend life using science and human rights, it’s not a personal opinion or idea. We were encouraged to do it in a proper way, when we found out that there is a lot of scientific information that states that life starts from the moment of conception and a lot of literature confirms that. Learning that and learning that the first right is the right to life helped us recognize that we need to give a voice to the voiceless.
“Stuck” by Justina Van Manem is a book that explains how to go through each argument. How to defend life from the moment of conception if the mother is in danger, for example.
Right now the technology is improved, there is no need to do an abortion if we can do a C section. If they put the baby in the incubator, it can be saved and survive. We also don’t need to dismember the baby in pieces to save the life of the mother.
The book also explains what to say if the mother was raped. We first must have empathy for them, and show that we care about the trauma of the woman who has been raped, but we also need to show care about the trauma of an abortion.
We tried to learn all those sides of the arguments to explain these complicated situations to people.
When we got all this clarity, we decided to spread this information to other people who were also pro-life and we launched Montreal Against Abortion in 2021. We only had the idea in our heart that abortion was wrong and from that idea - we decided to put it into action.
Volunteers doing activism in the city of Montreal — Photo : Montreal Against Abortion
Joanna for QLC : You mentioned that you felt a calling for this mission. How did that happen specifically for you?
Merichel for M.A.A. : As I mentioned earlier, I am from Cancun,Mexico. In Cancun we protect nature, the ocean, the animals and the eggs of the turtles. There are a lot of groups who care about nature. Therefore, it was a shock for me to see that I was involved in groups that protect the eggs of the turtles and realize that in this country [Canada] we can kill a child, a baby in the womb and it just broke my heart. (...)
It was a call for me when I saw that behind all this, there is a business, because the same narrative that I hear from people in Canada is the same narrative I hear in Mexico and Latin America. So I am wondering why is the message the same when
in Mexico we care about family? There are a lot of poor people who would never have this idea, but why people who have more education are receiving and open to that message? Probably because they are closer to the media. The message being : “It’s just a clump of cells”
When I saw the same narrative in US and Latin America, it didn't make sense in my mind. In my country we care about family, I said to myself that maybe I should spread the message about why it’s important to care about family.1 reaction Read more