100,000 pink and blue flags fluttered in the wind over the weekend. Each one meant to represent an unborn life "lost to abortion" over the last year in Canada.
150 volunteers came out to St. Boniface on Saturday and planted the flags on the grounds of the St. Boniface Cathedral.
The massive flag display was an initiative of We Need a Law, a national advocacy organization with a mission of "to build support amongst Canadians and parliamentarians for regulations that protect pre-born human rights in Canada," according to Mike Schouten, a director with the organization.
Three local groups helped organize the display: Winnipeg Life’s Vision, the Knights of Columbus and the Marriage, Family & Life office of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface.
Schouten says that We Need a Law has been doing the visual practice since 2014. Often times they use kits of 10,000 flags. This is just the sixth time that the 100,000 kit has been used in Canada.
The flags are not only meant to serve as a visual cue to the realities of abortion but also to start a conversation. Schouten says that Saturday's event initiated a lot of discussion with people passing by.
"There were some folks who had negative conversations. They weren't hostile, but they couldn't find any common ground.
"But, by and large, 80 plus per cent of the conversations usually began with just an acknowledgement from the person asking the question that they had no idea that there were this many abortions and that they had no idea that Canada had no laws regulating abortions."
Schouten says that over the weekend the group focussed on two laws that We Need a Law is hoping to have passed in Canada in regards to abortion.
"The first is sex-selective abortion. That Canada should prohibit sex-selective abortions. These are abortions that are requested just because the gender of the pre-born child is not preferred.
"The other one that we focussed probably more so even was one we're calling an 'international standards law.' When we look around the world, countries that are even more secular and progressive than Canada they all have regulations surrounding abortion. In most of them, they mandate counselling prior to the abortion, and they also have a waiting period. So when a woman goes to request an abortion they can't have one until 48 hours later. That just provides a cooling off period before they make a decision that is irreversible."
We Need a Law also hopes to see a gestational cutoff law passed with abortions would be prohibited after 13 weeks gestation. Schouten says that it's a law similar to many other countries, as well as states in the United States.